TALLAHASSEE, FLA. -- Federal Judge Robert Hinkle temporarily blocked implementation of a provision of the Florida law that critics said imposed severe restrictions on third-party groups that register new voters.
The judge's order said that a 48-hour deadline for such groups to turn in new voter registration forms is "harsh and impractical," adding that this provision and others may be unconstitutional.
Hinkle ruled that other provisions of the law imposed "burdensome record-keeping and reporting requirements that serve little if any purpose."
The question before Hinkle did not include changes to early voting and other controversial parts of the law that still are at issue in a Washington, D.C. court case.
Florida's voting law, enacted about a year ago, reduced the number of early-voting days, including canceling the Sunday right before the Tuesday election.
Florida's law also makes voting harder for people who have recently moved to another county and have an address change, like college students.
It would have subjected voter-registration groups to penalties and fines for mistakes. The League of Women Voters said the law was so burdensome that they had to abandon their registration drives in Florida after 72 years.
Critics contend the law is an attempt at voter suppression among groups that traditionally vote Democratic and Independent.
An attempt to clear the rolls of people who may not be eligible to vote also hit a snag this week.
The Florida Secretary of State sent a letter requesting access to a federal database that tracks people who are working in the U.S. but may not be eligible to vote.
Kent Detzner sent the letter after learning that a state agency couldn't keep a promise to use the database to cross-check voter eligibility, since it lacked the authority to do so.
This could affect 182,000 registered voters in the state.
Voting groups have called on the state to halt the purge, noting that errors continue to crop up and that people who are mistakenly removed from the list have few options and little time to correct the problem.