Florida Students Get Lesson in Voter Suppression

The abhorrent new Florida election-law has snared its first public victim: A high school teacher who’s being fined a thousand dollars for failing to turn in voter registration forms she collected from her civics class within 48 hours.

Earlier this year, Governor Rick Scott and his Republican legislative allies amended the state’s election law to make it more difficult to both register voters and for citizens exercise their right to vote in upcoming elections. Recently, Secretary of State Kurt Browning, a Rick Scott appointee, wrote a letter to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi that asked her to impose the fine on Dawn Quarles, a high school government teacher.

Before the law was amended, people running registration drives were given 10 days to send their applications to election officials. Now, they have only 48 hours. The law isn’t just affecting civics teachers–thanks to the strict requirements imposed by the legislation the Florida League of Women Voters has ceased to conduct voter registration drives.

Additionally, the law decreases the number of early voting days, which were seen as aiding democratic-leaning constituencies during the 2008 election. Florida Republicans are trying to shape the electorate to their advantage by disenfranchising Florida voters, and whatever your political leanings, the new election law isn’t the American way.