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U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle — The Best New Thing In the World for Democracy and Legal and Constitutional Sanity in Florida — And America!

By Frank Byronn Glenn – In an a display of respect for and loyalty to democratic ideas and principles — District Judge Robert Hinkle of Florida demonstrated that there are still judges with integrity and principle –  who honor the democratic ideals upon which the United States was founded.

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Judge Hinkle order a preliminary injunction against a section of the law which requires third party organizations to submit voter-registration forms within 48 hours or face a $1000 fine for each instance (make that each signature) in which signatures were not turned in within the time-frame mandated by law.  The former requirement was that voter-registration forms be turned in within 10 days.

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The law had been challenged by the Florida League of Women Voters — who had suspended voter registration efforts in Florida pending a review of what the organization alleged to be a vague, confusing, incomplete, clumsily written — and anti-democratic and probably illegal law — in violation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.  Judge Hinkle substantially agreed with the League of Women Voters.

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In his ruling District Judge Hinkle stated:  The short dead-line, coupled with substantial penalties for noncompliance, make voter-registration a risky business.  If the goal is to discourage voter-registration drives and thus also to make it harder for new voters to register, the 48-hour deadline may succeed.  But if the goal is to further the state’s legitimate interests without unduly burdering the rights of voters and voter-registration organizations, 48 hours is a bad choice.”

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Courage, integrity, and considered judicial opinion has become so rare in the highly partisan, super-charged arena of judicial rulings on matters with potential political ramifications, that I take solace and find great hope in this ruling — which protects the sacred right to vote for the people of Florida — and reverberates across America — for all voters.   District Judge Robert Hinkle — we salute you!