June 10th, 2012
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.
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.
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.
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."
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!