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Florida Republicans concoct a new scheme to make it harder for students to vote

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Florida Republicans do not want to make voting easy for college students — a demographic that leans heavily Democratic.

Former GOP Secretary of State Ken Detzner, an appointee of Gov. Rick Scott, took that to the extreme in 2014, with an order banning county election officials from setting up any early voting sites on college campuses. Last year, following a lawsuit by the League of Women Voters, federal District Judge Mark Walker struck down that order as an unconstitutional burden on students’ voting rights. As a result, some 60,000 people were able to vote early on 11 college campuses in Florida in 2018.

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But the GOP has not given up. According to the Tampa Bay Times, a new elections bill under consideration by the legislature and Gov. Ron DeSantis, SB 7066, would effectively accomplish the same thing, making it impossible to set up early voting sites on most college campuses.

At issue, activists say, is the bill’s requirement that any early voting site “must provide sufficient nonpermitted parking to accommodate the anticipated amount of voters.” Most colleges in Florida do not offer free parking, let alone enough free parking to accommodate every voter. And the limitation doesn’t even make sense for sites on college campuses, which are often either walkable or in the heart of cities with public transportation.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit have filed an emergency motion with Judge Walker, saying that the bill “is aimed with laser-like precision at undoing this court’s standing preliminary injunction order, and again imposing an elections regime in which supervisors of election are effectively prohibited from offering early voting on Florida’s college and university campuses.”

This is not the first time the Florida GOP has moved to overrule expansions of voting rights. After the bipartisan passage of Amendment 4, a voter referendum restoring rights to most ex-convicts, the legislature passed, and DeSantis signed, a bill requiring people pay back all court fines and restitution to be re-enfranchised, a de facto poll tax that prevents the amendment from applying to hundreds of thousands of people.

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2020 Election

Rising star Warren weathers attacks at Democratic White House debate

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Surging White House hopeful Elizabeth Warren faced a barrage of attacks from fellow Democrats at the party's fourth 2020 debate Tuesday, cementing her status as a frontrunner in the race to challenge Donald Trump.

The president himself loomed large as the dozen Democratic contenders trained their fire on him, calling for his impeachment and assailing a Syria troop pullout that Joe Biden slammed as "shameful."

"The impeachment must go forward," thundered Warren, the progressive senator who is neck and neck with former vice president Biden at the head of the 2020 nomination race -- a stance loudly echoed by her fellow Democrats on stage.

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2020 Election

‘I don’t care’: Watch Kamala Harris shut down Chris Hayes for asking a dumb question about Trump

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Sen. Kamala Harris shut down MSNBC anchor Chris Hayes during a post-debate interview on Tuesday evening.

Hayes questioned Harris about her call for Twitter to follow their terms of service and kick President Donald Trump off of the platform.

"Do you think he puts people’s lives in danger when he targets them in tweets?" Hayes asked.

"Absolutely," Harris replied.

"Do you think he knows that?" Hayes asked.

"Does it matter?" Harris replied.

"The fact is he did it. The fact is that he is irresponsible, he is erratic," she explained. "He is like a 2-year-old with a machine gun."

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2020 Election

Democrats blast Trump and demand his impeachment at CNN debate

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Democratic White House hopefuls united in searing condemnation of Donald Trump during their fourth debate Tuesday, saying the president has broken the law, abused his power, and deserves to be impeached.

From the opening moments, most of the dozen candidates on stage launched fierce broadsides against Trump over the Ukrainian scandal at the heart of the impeachment inquiry.

"The impeachment must go forward," said Senator Elizabeth Warren, who is neck and neck with former vice president Joe Biden at the head of the 2020 nominations race.

"Impeachment is the way that we establish that this man will not be permitted to break the law over and over without consequences," she thundered.

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