The Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Rights will come to Tampa for a public hearing on January 27 on the controversial new election laws passed by the Florida Legislature and signed by Governor Rick Scott earlier this year. The hearing will be led by Illinois's Dick Durban, the second highest-ranking Democrat in the Senate.
The announcement was made Monday morning by Florida Democratic U.S. Senator Bill Nelson, who said the new legislation "arguably suppresses voters' rights."
Those laws include reducing the amount of early voting days from 14 to 8, as well as requiring that third party groups that register voters must submit those applications within 48 hours (the previous law allowed up to 10 days). And it requires voters who want to give a new county address at the polls to vote by provisional ballot, which is less likely to be counted than a regularly cast ballot.
Florida legislators who supported the vote said their goal was mainly to combat voter fraud, though in fact there have been very few such charges proven in Florida over the years.
Democrats beyond Florida have been complaining about similar election laws in 13 other states, as has the NAACP, which released a report last week that claimed new voting laws at the state level would disenfranchise minority voters.