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Florida Dems want investigation of "radical" election bill

Florida's congressional Democrats have sent a letter to the Department of Justice asking it to determine whether an elections bill passed by the state Legislature violates the Voting Rights Act.

"The role of government should never be to curtail the registration of newly eligible voters or hinder Americans from exercising the most fundamental democratic right afforded by our Constitution," the Democrats wrote. "We are confident that any honest examination of this legislation will determine that it is in clear violation of the Voting Rights Act."

Democrats say the bill -- which has yet to be signed by Gov. Rick Scott -- "contains unprecedented restrictions of the voting rights of Floridians" and "all but eradicates voter registration drives conducted by volunteer-based, third party groups like the League of Women Voters, the Boy Scouts of America, and the NAACP."

And they say it cuts early voting from 14 days to 6, "posing a special challenge to working Floridians and elderly voters who cannot wait on the long lines of Election Day" and "places new restrictions on the validity of absentee ballots, determining them illegal if signatures do not closely enough match those on older state documents."