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Nova Southeastern Forum Tackles Questions On New Restrictive Voting Laws

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MIAMI HERALD STAFF
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Nova Southeastern University held a community forum Tuesday to talk about voting rights and confusion around new laws emerging across the country — and in Florida — and what they could mean for elections in 2022.

In the first half of 2021 at least 17 states have enacted laws that restrict access to voting. That's according to the nonpartisan policy institute, the Brennan Center For Justice.

States like Georgia have passed controversial laws that overhaul elections. Other states, like Texas, still hang in limbo. Its legislature is divided at the moment over a bill that the Texas Tribune describes would, "outlaw things like 24-hour voting and widespread voting by mail."

In Broward County, Nova Southeastern University held an online forum Tuesday to try to address some of the community confusion around the new laws, and what they could mean for how people vote in midterm elections in 2022.

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Charles Zelden, a legal, government, and history professor at NSU, presented at the forum and answered questions from the attendees. He started with historical context as a guiding principle.

"Efforts to exclude people from the vote is nothing new. In fact, it is as American as apple pie," he said.

Florida's election law signed earlier this year means people will have to request a vote-by-mail ballot more often than before. And there will be less access to drop off boxes than Floridians had become familiar with during the last election cycle during the pandemic. One stipulation being, they have to be staffed.

Zelden argues this law will impact more Democratic voters than it will Republicans — but that's the intended effect.

"Even though we had a clean election in Florida, even though Republicans won, they've just made it harder for people to vote," Zelden said. "Harder to get your ballot, harder to turn in your ballot. Harder to get your ballot in on time so it can get counted."