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Students Sue for Better Access to Early Voting

May 23rd, 2018 by Jake Stofan
In 2014, Florida expanded the number of places people could vote early, but the Secretary of State decided the new law didn’t apply to locations on college campuses.
“It’s quite frankly, simply a partisan effort to ensure that they don’t vote,” said former Leon County Supervisor of Elections Ion Sancho.
Now, the League of Women Voters backed by six university students, are challenging the decision, arguing it limits students’ ability to vote.
Students we spoke with at Florida State University agreed allowing early voting on campus could help students.
“Obviously everybody’s schedules are crazy so if they have like the opportunity to go earlier then yeah,” said FSU student Ashley Thomas.
“For students that do live on campus or don’t have any transportation to get around Tallahassee it would be easier,” said FSU student Tamera Howie.
Plaintiffs say with the wave of youthful political involvement following the Parkland shooting, the state should do everything possible to make sure students have the opportunity to have their voice heard.
“I would think our Secretary of State would be wanting to encourage young people to get engaged in the process,” said Patti Brigham, President of the League of Women Voters of Florida.
Elections experts say since young people have a lower voter turnout, more needs to be done to encourage them to become engaged.
“It’s fair,” said Sancho. “You do this for other populations groups, why not do it for students?”
The Governor’s Office responded to the suit calling it an election year gimmick, noting University buildings can be used as polling places on Election Day.
Elections experts say the decision of where early voting should be offered should be in the hands of local supervisors.

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