March 28, 2011- A few weeks ago, Rick Scott reintroduced Florida to Jim Crow-style voting laws, which essentially disenfranchise a large percentage of African Americans and just so happen to boost Scott's chances at reelection. The law brought back draconian restrictions on felon's voting rights that Florida's two previous governors worked to reform. Because of those reforms, however, Scott may actually need federal approval to make statewide changes in voter registration rules.
Earlier today, the NAACP sent a letter to Scott and his cabinet, saying that in compliance with Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, the changes must be submitted to the federal government.
"Section 5 serves as our democracy's checkpoint, requiring Florida to submit all proposed voting changes to the U.S. Department of Justice or federal court to ensure that they do not discriminate against minority voters," said John Payton, president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund.
Because five counties in Florida are covered by Section 5, statewide changes are subject to federal review, the association said in its letter.
But if this is true it may actually work against their cause. Scott hardly seems to mind defying the federal government. And like felon disfranchisement, the Tea Party governor just might benefit from another stand-off with the feds.