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Florida voting law changes cause ballot problems

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Professors from Dartmouth College and the University of Florida evaluated state voting data and summarized voting law changes from 2011 that contributed to Florida’s election woes.

During a conference call on his analysis, UF political science professor Daniel Smith said reduced early voting days, restricted polling locations and a requirement for voters to update their addresses on election day increased absentee voting.

In some counties, Smith found black, Hispanic and other minorities voting with absentee ballots were rejected disproportionately.

“We have one county, Collier County, that 6 percent of the absentee ballots cast by African-Americans were rejected as invalid. That compares to 1.3 percent of absentee ballots cast by white voters,” Smith said.

Hillsborough County, which is also under federal voting guidelines, had a much smaller discrepancy between rejected absentee ballots, he said.

The League of Women Voters is currently calling on lawmakers to rescind the voting changes they made in 2011. According to the New York Times, the group is suing the state over the changes to the law.

Gov. Rick Scott endorsed the three major changes proposed by the state’s election supervisors Thursday.

Sarah Brand edited this story online.

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