JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A local Congresswoman is fighting Florida's early voting law. U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown says that the state needs to give voters more time to cast their ballots. A motion for preliminary injunction was heard before a federal judge Wednesday morning.
Brown says Florida's early voting law suppresses minority voters. Brown, who is one of the plaintiffs in the federal lawsuit, says the state needs to revert back to the previous law and expand the number of early in-person voting days and hours throughout Florida.
Early voting used to start 15 days before an election. Polls were required to be open for 96 hours and allow voting the Sunday before Election Day. In 2011, the Florida legislature reduced the number of early voting days from 14 to eight. Polls are now only required to be open 48 hours and the polls are closed on the Sunday before Election Day.
Attorney Neil Henrichsen says the state needs to enforce a uniform policy for all local supervisors of elections.
"Take Congresswoman Brown's district, she has a number of counties within her district that have different hours for early voting and that's something we believe is an equal protection violation," said Henrichsen, the attorney leading the lawsuit against the state.
During three hours of testimony in Federal Court, the state argued there's no proof that extending early voting will help draw minorities to the polls. Attorney George Meros reported early voting during last month's primary was up 52 percent across the state under the new law.
With only 48 days until Election Day, U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Corrigan said he is aware the court needs to act quickly and issue a ruling sooner rather than later.
"What happens when failure is not an option," said Brown. "I'm going to continue to do what I can so people understand what's at stake. It's very important they have their opportunity to vote and their vote count."
A ruling is expected by the end of the week.
In Duval County, the polls are open 96 hours over the course of eight days.