Report: New Florida Laws Hurt Minority Vote

By: CBS (Posted by Mary Kenefake)
By: CBS (Posted by Mary Kenefake)

ORLANDO, Fla. (CBS) A new reports shows changes in Florida's voting laws disproportionately affected minority voters during campaign 2012, CBS Radio News correspondent Peter King reports.

The University of Florida report says the cutback of early voting days disproportionately affected African Americans, who tend to vote early. Politics professor Daniel Smith says that led to long lines "disproportionately filled with racial and ethnic minorities" on Election Day.

Attorney Lee Rowland of New York University's Brennan Center for Justice also thought the new law was more political than practical.

"The incredibly long lines we saw in Florida were part of the legacy of the movement to restrict voting," she said.

Rowland says Florida lawmakers now have the chance to turn the page. "The Florida legislature's actions didn't just harm the voters of Florida, but distinctly made Florida a national laughing stock," she said.

Republican Gov. Rick Scott originally defended the GOP-backed law, but lines on Election Day gave ammunition to critics and comedians.

Now, Scott says he wants to restore those early voting days. He also wants more flexibility and a shorter ballot, which is what his opponents have demanded all along.

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