TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/AP) – Monroe County, along with four others in the state, will no longer need federal approval before voting changes are put in place.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a provision in the Voting Rights Act based on 40-year-old data and which didn’t reflect racial progress was unconstitutional.

Section 5 forced areas with a history of discrimination, primarily in the Deep South, to get approval from the Justice Department before any changes are made to how elections are run.

Before the ruling Monroe County, along with Hillsborough, Collier, Hendry and Hardee counties could not put in place election changes enacted by the Legislature until the U.S. Justice Department gave its OK.

U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz said a statement she was disappointed in the high court’s decision.

“The Voting Rights Act has helped secure the right to vote for millions of Americans and our Democracy is stronger for it. The Supreme Court struck down part of a law that was enacted and consistently renewed with wide bipartisan majorities, most recently in 2006. Today’s decision is a setback for voting rights and all Americans who believe protecting the right to vote is essential to our Democracy,” according to a statement from the congresswoman’s office.

“Our country has made enormous progress towards the promise of full equality set forth by the Declaration of Independence,” the statement went on to say. “African-Americans and Women overcame many obstacles to obtain the right to vote and the Democratic Party will continue to oppose legislative and political efforts that erode that most precious right.”

Secretary of State Ken Detzner said the ruling will allow Florida to streamline its elections and will save the state money on legal fees spend on defending election laws.

Gov. Rick Scott also praised the decision, saying it allows Florida to make its own decisions.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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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