U.S. Attorney General Goes After Scott on Voting Restrictions

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder wrote Florida Gov. Rick Scott a scathing letter about Florida laws and actions that have restricted access to voting, saying he is "deeply disturbed" by barriers to voting put in place since the governor took office.

Holder said that his office will carefully monitor Florida elections for voting changes that could hamper voting rights.

"During your tenure your state has repeatedly added barriers to voting and restricted access to the polls," Holder wrote. "Florida's decision to reduce early voting opportunities in 2011 was widely recognized as a disaster."

The letter was first reported by the Tampa Bay Times.

While Scott and the Republican-led Legislature significantly cut back early voting hours in 2011, they restored most of them in 2013 after complaints about long lines and voting problems in the 2012 presidential election.

While Holder recognized the restoration, he said, "I have grave concerns that there remains a troubling pattern in your state of measures that make it more difficult, not easier, for Floridians to vote."

He cited rules that make it more difficult for groups to register voters and Scott's effort to purge people from registration rolls. He also noted Scott's decision to make it more difficult for ex-felons to vote once they've completed their sentences, restrictions on returning absentee ballots and the Department of State's decision not to allow early voting on the University of Florida campus.

Scott spokesman John Tupps said only, "This is a blatantly political letter."

The letter comes three months before the November election, when voters will decide whether to re-elect Scott.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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