Reporter William March has covered state and national politics since 1994. Email
Reporter Mike Salinero has covered Hillsborough County government since 2007. Email
Reporter James L. Rosica covers state government from the Tribune's Tallahassee bureau. Email
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CNN airing documentary on Florida voting restrictions
Posted Jul 9, 2012 by William March
Updated Jul 9, 2012 at 04:38 PM
CNN will air a documentary in prime time Sunday on the new voting restrictions in Florida that have roused nationwide controversy.
The hour-long film looks at the impact of the House Bill 1355, passed in last year’s legislative session, and how it could affect the 2012 presidential race.
That legislation cut hours for early voting, popular with minorities; tightened restrictions on voters who change their addresses at the polling places, which is considered likely to affect young and female voters; and imposed new requirements on voter registration drives, which caused groups including the League of Women Voters to halt registration efforts.
It prominently features state Rep. Dennis Baxley of Ocala, sponsor of the legislation; LaVon Bracy, a long-time voter registration activist in Orange County, who as a child was the first black student at her high school; and Alachua County Republican Party Chairman Stafford Jones, who suggested parts of the law to Baxley.
At one point, the documentary includes Baxley acknowledging that the new restrictions are likely to cut voter turnout, but calls that “a tradeoff that I’m willing to accept that others aren’t” to prevent possible fraud.
It also quotes Richard Hasen, voting rights expert at the University of California-Irvine saying there is “no credible evidence” of large scale fraud in which voters attempt to impersonate other voters, the kind of fraud the law is aimed at. “It’s not a serious problem.”
The documentary, “Voters in America: Who Counts,” has already been shown at a black film festival in Miami, and will air on CNN at 8 and 11 p.m. Sunday.
Update: CNN now says it’s going to hold off airing the documentary until September, to shoot more interviews and catch up with new developments on the issue.