The elections supervisor in Rick Scott’s home county refuses to recognize a new law the governor signed out of concerns that the U.S. Department of Justice hasn’t decided whether it violates a law protecting minority voters.
In a letter to the state’s elections division, Collier County Elections Supervisor Jennifer Edwards pointed out that her county is one of five in Florida that needs Justice Department pre-approval “or pre-clearance” under the 1965 Voting Rights Act before it makes any voting changes.
“Since assuming office in 2000, it has been my practice to meticulously comply with the requirements,” she wrote last Friday. “The purpose of this letter is to inform you that due to our ‘covered’ status, I will not implement any changes resulting from the Governor’s signing of CS/CS/HB 1355 until we receive notification that the bill has beenprecleared by the U.S. Department of Justice.”
Supervisors from the other four Florida counties — Hillsborough, Monroe, Hendry and Hardee — joined Edwards in her opposition. At the same time, the state was planning to inform the five counties that they wouldn’t have to comply until the Justice Department gives its tentative “preclearance” approval, said Chris Cate, a Florida Division of Elections spokesman.
“We suggested the counties requiring preclearance wait to implement the new elections law until the DOJ has given their approval,” Cate said.