TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Civil liberties groups are objecting to sections of Florida's elections reform package, saying they discriminate against minority voters.
The Florida Equal Voting Rights Project, whose members are drawn from the American Civil Liberties Union and other civil rights groups, said Thursday it has written to the U.S. Justice Department objecting to several provisions.
The Legislature overhauled the state's election laws this spring in the wake of the 2000 presidential election, which was decided by a razor-thin margin that illuminated flaws in the voting system.
But Project members say they object to a section of the reform package which mandates that a list of voter responsibilities be posted at polling places along with a list of voter rights.
The list says that voters are required to "study and know candidates and issues."
The group issued a news release Thursday saying such wording "harkens back to literacy tests," that were used to disqualify black voters.
"Rather than moving forward into the future, the provisions in question threaten to return minority voters to the Jim Crow past," said Howard Simon, executive director of the ACLU of Florida.
From the 1880s into the 1960s, a majority of American states enforced segregation through "Jim Crow" laws, named after a black character in minstrel shows.
Another provision of the law creates provisional ballots for people whom poll workers aren't sure are registered. Elections officials can settle the registration question later, but the ballots must be cast at the right precinct.
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