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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

Bernie Sanders’ staff demand to be payed the $15-an-hour minimum wage he advocates: report

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Campaign workers working for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) are demanding an increase in pay consistent with the senator's campaign rhetoric, The Washington Post reported Thursday.

"Unionized campaign organizers working for Sen. Bernie Sanders’s presidential effort are battling with its management, arguing that the compensation and treatment they are receiving does not meet the standards Sanders espouses in his rhetoric, according to internal communications," the newspaper reported.

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2020 Election

Here is why Nancy Pelosi allowed a House impeachment vote

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Admitting that he isn't privy to insider knowledge from the Democratic leadership, Bloomberg columnist Jonathan Bernstein suggested that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi may be playing a much longer game on the possibility of impeachment hearings on Donald Trump than her detractors believe.

Wondering, "Is Nancy Pelosi closer to impeachment?' Bernstein writes, "Usually, when a regular bill or resolution has been introduced, it’s then referred to committee. If the majority party doesn’t want to consider the bill, it will die with no further action. Under House rules, however, any member can force an impeachment resolution onto the floor as pending business. That’s what [Rep. Al] Green (D-TX) did Wednesday."

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2020 Election

White House aides fear Trump believes House vote against impeachment means it’s never going to happen: report

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A proposal to start impeachment hearings that failed in the House on Wednesday led Donald Trump to optimistically proclaim that his presidency is safe at his North Carolina rally last night. But his proclamation has some White House officials worried the president really believes he is out of the woods.

According to a report at Politico, close aides to the president worry that his comment that "we have all this [impeachment] behind us," may be based on an unfounded notion by Trump about how Congress works.

Speaking at his campaign rally in Greenville, N.C., Trump boasted to the crowd, "I just heard that the United States House of Representatives has overwhelmingly voted to kill the most ridiculous project I’ve ever been involved in: the resolution -- how stupid is that -- on impeachment. I want to thank those Democrats because many of them voted for us, the vote was a totally lopsided 332-95-1.”

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