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Two Decisions May Make Voting Easier In Florida


Two decisions this week could make voting easier in the crucial swing state of Florida. One involves early voting, the other deals with the state's controversial effort to purge non-citizens from its voter registration rolls.

NPR's Pam Fessler has updates on both.

PAM FESSLER, BYLINE: Florida voting laws have been the subject of a lot of litigation this year and this is unlikely to be the end. But the warring parties have managed to find some common ground.

CHRIS CATE: The last two days in general have been very successful days for us and for Florida voters.

FESSLER: Chris Cate is spokesman for the Florida secretary of state's office. He's referring to yesterday's decision by the Justice Department to approve an early voting plan for five counties covered by the Voting Rights Act. Cate says voters will now be able to cast ballots for eight 12-hour days before the election.

CATE: We're very pleased that. I guarantee a day of Sunday voting, as well.

FESSLER: It's not everything but advocacy groups wanted but more than the state had planned. The Justice Department rejected that earlier plan for hurting minorities, who often prefer early voting, especially on weekends.

The second decision involves Florida's effort to remove non-citizens from its voter rolls, an effort that netted many legitimate voters. The state has agreed to notify those falsely identified as non-citizens that they can vote.

Penda Hair is co-director of the Advancement Project, which had sued the state.

PENDA HAIR: So we view that as a victory because more than 2,000 people will be restored to an active safe voting status.

FESSLER: But she says her group will be watching closely as the state continues to comb its voter rolls for non-citizens. Florida claims to have already identified 207 who are illegally registered.

Pam Fessler, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Pam Fessler is a correspondent on NPR's National Desk, where she covers poverty, philanthropy, and voting issues.

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