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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.

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.”

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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

Georgetown Law professor: Top broadcaster ‘likely’ killed interview because Buttigieg is gay

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A prominent Georgetown Law professor says Cumulus Media likely blocked an interview one of its country music station hosts had conducted with Pete Buttigieg from airing because the Democratic presidential candidate is gay.

After Huffpost reported that Blair Garner had been told by Cumulus Media he could not air any part of his interview with Buttigieg, Cumulus – the number three broadcaster in the nation of AM and FM radio stations – claimed the decision was based on the “equal time rule.”

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2020 Election

Mike Pence to headline ‘intimate’ $35,000 per couple fundraiser at gay-owned private club

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Location reportedly revealed by chef during hearing on felony assault and domestic violence charges

Vice President Mike Pence will headline a $35,000-per-couple fundraiser at a private club owned by two gay men in Aspen, Colorado Monday evening.

The invitation, sent by Bob Jenkins, vice chair of Pitkin County Republicans, calls it "an intimate high dollar reception," and says, "we would like you to participate if possible. Additionally, please quietly spread the word," according to The Aspen Times.

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2020 Election

‘Warning lights are flashing,’ says Elizabeth Warren, detailing plan to stave off impending financial crisis

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Democratic presidential hopeful warns of "a number of serious shocks on the horizon that could cause our economy's shaky foundation to crumble."

"Warning lights are flashing," Sen. Elizabeth Warren wrote Monday, predicting an economic crisis within two years unless federal regulators and Congress take swift action.

The Democratic presidential contender outlined the reasons for her concerns and plans to address them in Medium post entitled "The Coming Economic Crash—And How to Stop It."

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