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Justice Dept. Approves Fla.'s Early Voting Plan

TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/AP) — After months of legal battles, the Obama administration has agreed to a proposal that will cut the number of early voting days in five Florida counties covered by the federal Voting Rights Act.

The Justice Department decision ends a lengthy battle over a controversial election law passed by the GOP-controlled Florida Legislature last year.

The department late Wednesday notified a federal court in Washington, D.C., that it approved a Florida plan to provide 96 hours of early voting over eight days in Hillsborough, Collier, Hendry, Hardee and Monroe counties.

Justice Department or federal court approval is required for any changes in election laws affecting those counties due to past racial discrimination.

The D.C. court had previously raised questions about Florida's plan to cut the number early voting days.

Early voting is being cut back by Republican legislatures across the country including in Ohio and Pennsylvania, two other key swing states. Historically, early voting has skewed Democrat while absentee voting has skewed Republican.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)



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