JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- US District Judge Timothy Corrigan asked tough questions of the lawyer representing the Gateway Shopping Center today. But Corrigan won't issue a decision on the future location of the Supervisor of Elections Office until October 3.
At issue is whether the Supervisor can move to a new location at One Imeson, in North Jacksonville, or must remain at the Gateway location.
The case involves allegations of disenfranchisement of African American voters, a tender subject in Florida and one that Judge Corrigan said merited his full attention.
"There's no question that early voting, voting in general as it affects African Americans who have historically had reasons to be concerned about their voting rights... When anybody stands here and says that's in play you're going to have this courts attention."
But, Corrigan questioned the feasibility of the suit, and challenged attorney Joseph Goldstein to explain why the city terminating its lease held was an issue that merited a hearing in federal court. "I'm just not quite clear what cause of action is here or what it is you're trying to do," said Corrigan.
After observing that Goldstein appeared to be claiming a "First Amendment retaliation issue with some type of claim regarding ... racial discrimination," Corrigan said he was "having trouble understanding exactly what you're claiming."
For its part, the City of Jacksonville, represented by General Counsel Cindy Laquidara, insisted the move out of Gateway will not affect early voting opportunities in the Gateway area. Elections Supervisor Jerry Holland told First Coast News that it is his plan to put an early voting site for the 2014 elections either at the mall or within blocks of it. "That budge is already submitted, and that included Gateway."
First Coast News will bring you Corrigan's ruling as soon as it becomes available.