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Contact: Chris Cate

DOJ Approves Florida’s New Flexible Early Voting Schedule, Ensures all 80 Sections from 2011 Elections Bill are Federally Approved

Tallahassee, Florida –

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) approved Florida’s new early voting statute without condition late yesterday, allowing the state’s five preclearance counties to offer early voting hours under the new law. Additionally, DOJ approved the five preclearance counties’ early voting schedule for the 2012 General Election. The federal approval of the early voting changes completes the federal approval process for all 80 sections of the 2011 elections bill. Every section can now be implemented statewide in future elections.

“The approval of these changes is a tremendous victory for Florida voters,” said Secretary of State Ken Detzner. “In the areas of the state already able to implement the changes, we have seen how the changes offer more flexibility to vote, more accountability and faster reporting times on Election Day.”

In June 2011, the Department of State (DOS) submitted House Bill 1355 for preclearance on behalf of Florida’s five covered counties (Collier, Hardee, Hendry, Hillsborough, and Monroe). The submission consisted of 80 sections and was initially sent to the United States Department of Justice for administrative preclearance.  DOS later sent four provisions of the preclearance package to the federal district court for a judicial review. Since that time, the Department of Justice and the federal court have approved all 80 sections as non-discriminatory.