The state of Florida is blocking the use of a college student union as an early voting center.
Senator Bill Nelson, D-Orlando, accused Governor Rick Scott’s administration of trying to suppress college voters at the University of Florida.
Senator Nelson, who will be meeting with UF students Monday, claims the state is doing this to help Governor Rick Scott in the November election.
However, the governor’s office said they’re simply following state law. Gov. Scott’s Secretary of State rejected a proposal to add an early voting site on the campus of the University of Florida in Gainesville.
“Now are we in a democracy, in a free republic or not. We simply just can’t tolerate this stuff and that’s why I’m going to the Justice Department and say I want you to use the weight of the law, the voting rights act to stop this non sense or trying to make it more difficult for people to vote,” explained Sen.l Nelson.
Governor Scott's office issued this statement in response to Nelson's comments.
“Voting locations are determined by the law, not politics. A political party cannot arbitrarily advocate for an early voting location that is outside the letter of the law. We should not be playing politics with the sacred right to vote,” wrote Frank Collins, Governor Rick Scott’s communications director.
The site would have been at the University of Florida student union, which is already a certified voting site on Election Day.
However, state leaders concluded the student union is not a “convention center” or a “government-owned community center,” so it is not eligible, according to state law, to be an early voting site.
Meanwhile, Senator Nelson said the move is a very subtle effort to limit the number of early voting locations, so that it will be “inconvenient” for certain voting groups who usually don’t vote Republican.
“And all of this is preliminary to what they're trying to do this coming November election, trying to suppress in this case, the votes of students,” Senator Nelson concluded.
Last year, state lawmakers rejected an amendment that would have added “educational facilities” to the list of approved early voting sites.