Federal judge strikes down Florida law banning early voting on college campuses

A federal judge this week struck down a Florida ban on college campuses being used as early voting sites.

U.S. District Judge Mark WalkerBradley (Mark) Mark WalkerDemocrats press OSHA official on issuing an Emergency Temporary Standard John Ratcliffe is the right choice for director of national intelligence — and for America NCAA backs plan to allow college athletes to cash in on name, image and likeness MORE ripped the “lopsided” burden on college students that was put in place four years ago by Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner (R), The Associated Press reported on Tuesday.

Walker called the prohibition unconstitutional and said it appeared to be done to stop younger voters from participating in elections.


Detzner told election officials in 2014 that the student union at the University of Florida’s Gainesville campus could not be used as an early voting location. The state allows college campuses to serve as polling locations on Election Day, but Detzner argued that early voting was not applicable, the AP reported.

The League of Women Voters of Florida and several college students challenged the ban in May.

“Throwing up roadblocks in front of younger voters does not remotely serve the public interest,” Walker wrote in his ruling. “Abridging voter rights never does.”

The judge found that election supervisors may use campus buildings as early voting locations if they want to.

Walker, who was appointed during the Obama administration, said he is not the “early voting czar,” according to the AP.

“This is truly a victory for the citizens of Florida, especially with so many young people motivated to vote,” said Patricia Brigham, president of the League of Women Voters. “With this decision, we have an affirmation that making early voting accessible to all is part of a true democracy.”

McKinley Lewis, a spokesman for Republican Gov. Rick Scott (R), told the AP that the governor’s administration would review Walker’s ruling.

Alachua County Supervisor of Elections Kim Barton told The Tampa Bay Times that she will reach out to the University of Florida regarding early voting for the November general election, but it is too late to shift early voting sites for the Aug. 28 primaries.

Early voting is allowed up to 15 days before an election.

Florida’s election laws have been closely scrutinized since the 2000 presidential election, when George W. Bush narrowly defeated Al GoreAlbert (Al) Arnold GoreCNN coronavirus town hall to feature science author David Quammen, ‘Empire’ actress Taraji Henson Top Democratic pollster advised Biden campaign to pick Warren as VP Melania Trump to appear on CNN coronavirus town hall Thursday night MORE in the state after a Supreme Court ruling halted recounts.

State legislators voted in 2013 to lengthen the time available for early voting and expanded the locations that could be used, the AP reported.

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