As part of an ongoing legal battle regarding HB 1355, Florida's controversial election law, 11 state lawmakers were recently served subpoenas compelling them to furnish documentation related to the legislation.
The League of Women Voters and the National Council of La Raza filed a lawsuit to prevent a court from approving HB 1355, which the groups argue will suppress voter turnout and disenfranchise certain citizens prior to the 2012 presidential contest.
On November 23, La Raza issued a statement condemning the law, saying its provision to reduce early voting periods would disproportionately target minority voters, who historically have taken advantage of early voting in significant numbers. The statement also criticized a provision outlawing voters from changing their address at polling stations on Election Day, arguing this would also affect mainly Hispanic and other minority voters, who have been most impacted by the state's high rate of foreclosure in recent years.
The subpoenaed lawmakers - five state senators and five state representatives, all of them Republicans - have until December 14 to produce the requested documents. Representative Dennis Baxley of Ocala, the House sponsor of HB 1355, was among those subpoenaed.
Speaking to the Miami Herald, Baxley said, "I think we appropriately conducted ourselves to protect the elections process from mischief and mishap and make it credible to the public as to its results."
Controversy has erupted in several other states as election laws are changed in advance of the 2012 elections. A new voter ID law in Tennessee came under fire recently, after it was reported that a 96-year-old woman was denied the state ID necessary for her to cast a ballot because her birth certificate did not have her married name on it.