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Federal Judge to Decide Early Voting Challenge

July 16th, 2018 by Mike Vasilinda
A federal judge must decide if Florida went too far when it said student unions on college campuses don’t qualify for early voting sites.
The Federal lawsuit began with this 2014 opinion, when the City of Gainesville asked the Secretary of State if the Student Union at the University of Florida qualified to be an early voting site.
The state responded “No” because the student unions isn’t a convention center or a government owned community center.
Former State Elections Supervisors Association President Ion Sancho sides with the League of Women voters.
“The process should be accessible to all students, Students are citizens also, and that’s something the state sometimes forgets,” said former Leon County Supervisor of Elections Ion Sancho.
Lawyers for the state argued students that students at UF could vote early just a mile away. The League of Women voters countered many are first time voters and easily stymied.
“I think it would be best if you talk to the Communications Director for the Secretary of State,” Attorney for the Secretary of State, Mohammed Jazil.
Neither side would talk with reporters when the two and a half hour hearing ended.
“I want to let the judge issue his opinion,” said Elizabeth Frost, the attorney representing the League of Women Voters.
While this case could impact all 12 state universities and 28 state colleges, the focus is really on FSU and the University of Florida.
In Gainesville, more than 60% of the population is either a student or works on UF’s campus.
“Essentially, what I see going on is partisan politics and that shouldn’t be the deciding factor over how citizens utilize their right to vote,” said Sancho.
If overruled, the state expects local supervisors to get sued by early voters over the lack of parking campus.
Florida law limits early voting sites to eight kinds of buildings, but it also provides one wild card option for every county.

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