Editorial: What did we do before 2004?

I find it interesting that elections supervisors in Florida have only offered the option of “early voting” since 2004; and yet some Jacksonville activists are clogging up the courts with a lawsuit that would have you to think that two-weeks of in-person voting before Election Day was their God-given right.

There is no right to vote in the United States Constitution, so each state’s standards have evolved separately; unless federal laws were passed that applied to every state. When this country was founded, only white men with property were routinely permitted to vote.

The 14th Amendment in 1866 and the 15th Amendment in 1869, guaranteed the “right to vote” to black men. However, most women, of all races, remained unable to vote until passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920.

Staffing and operations costs to elections offices who provide in-person voting are far greater, compared to the option of processing an absentee ballot from those voters otherwise unable to appear at their precinct on Election Day.

So, as a cost cutting measure, last year the legislature adopted changes to Florida’s election laws that gave the Supervisor of Elections in each county more discretion to decide exactly when polls will be open for early voting and reduced the number of days, by five, that early voting would be available.

Election Day, for the upcoming Primary Election, is August 14. In St Johns County, early voting in that election begins ten-days before; on Saturday, August 4.

The ability of voters to cast their ballots absentee, if they were not able to appear on Election Day, was not affected.

That was not good enough for Jacksonville’s Congresswoman Corrine Brown. Therefore, at 10:30 yesterday morning, she and Jacksonville NAACP President Isaiah Rumlin, joined the Jacksonville Chapter President of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference Reginald Gundy, in filing a federal lawsuit against Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner and Duval County Supervisor of Elections Jerry Holland.

Brown, et al, believes that narrowing the number of days that “in-person early voting” is available somehow discriminates against minorities; specifically keeping black Democrats from exercising their right to vote. This sort of race baiting, on Brown’s part, is nothing short of par for the woman who represents a gerrymandered congressional district; largely made up of black Democrats.

Not one to miss a photo opportunity, Brown solicited a press conference on the steps of the Bryan Simpson United States Courthouse in Jacksonville for the filing of her complaint.

“I sponsored the bill that named this courthouse for Judge Simpson because he was a giant in the civil rights movement,” Congresswoman Brown told reporters. “Among other things, his orders led to the passage of the Civil Rights Act and desegregated the city schools, pools, city golf courses, and the city zoo.”

According to Clerk of Court Sheryl Loesch, the Middle District of Florida is one of the busiest federal district courts in the nation.

Congresswoman Corrin Brown, Southern Christian Leadership Conference Jacksonville Florida Chapter, Duval County Democratic Executive Committee, Pastor Reginald Gundy, Bishop Lorenzo Hall, Jerry West, Carl Griffin, Elder Lee Harris, Helen Griffin Turner, Valerie Weeks, Elaine Ford Jackson, Frances R. Simmons, Ingrid Fluellen and Ezekiel C. Mann are unnecessarily clogging it up, in my view.

Black men and women have been freely voting in Florida elections since poll taxes and literacy tests were abolished following the enactment of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Reducing to ten the number of days before an election for “in-person early voting”, hardly discriminates against blacks — or anyone else for that matter. It applies to everyone equally, as it should. If that is a problem, vote by mail, or, better yet, show up on Election Day and cast your ballot.


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