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Rev. Jackson blasts Florida voting-law changes

The Rev. Jesse Jackson on Friday called for the U.S. Justice Department to block implementation of changes to Florida election laws that he says will suppress turnout in 2012. The long-time civil rights leader and president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition took part in a conference call Friday with representatives of civil rights and civil liberties groups.

"By restricting voting, they (Republicans) are able to determine the outcome," Jackson said. He described Florida as "ground zero for the voter suppression movement" in the United States.

Jackson plans to attend rallies in Florida next week to mobilize opposition to the new law. After a rally Monday night in Orlando, Jackson vill take part in a rally at 2 p.m. Tuesday at the 34th Street Church of God. The ACLU of Florida is circulating a flier instructing how people can send emails and letters or make phone calls to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder urging the Obama administration to "stop voter suppression" in Florida.

The law (HB 1355), passed by the Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott, reduces early voting from 14 days to eight and requires voters to cast provisional ballots if their previous voting address was in another county. Supporters say the changes will reduce voter fraud at the polls. The law is already the focus of a legal challenge by the American Civil Liberties Union.

-- Steve Bousquet