DELAND, Fla. – The NAACP sued Volusia County's elections supervisor, alleging the county disenfranchises blacks by having only one early voting site in an area where fewer minorities live.
The NAACP wants elections chief Deanie Lowe (search) to open another early voting site by Oct. 18 in the eastern part of the county, where more blacks live, according to the federal voting rights lawsuit filed Thursday. The county's only site is in the administrative seat of DeLand, about 20 miles southwest of Daytona Beach.
State law requires county elections officials to offer early voting starting 15 days before an election. The voting can take place at elections offices, but if other sites are opened, they must be spread out evenly if possible, according to the law.
Lowe said that meant the county also would have to open sites in New Smyrna Beach and Deltona.
"It is humanly impossible to open three additional offices (in a matter of days)," Lowe said, noting she had to prepare for the Nov. 2 election.
Black leaders urged the county council Thursday to open more sites.
"We will not allow them to disenfranchise," said Beverlye Neal, executive director of the Florida National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
The lawsuit filed by the Volusia County-Daytona Beach Branch of the NAACP also asks the court to declare the decision not to open such a site a violation of federal civil rights law. It was unclear early Friday when a judge would hear the case.