Government and politics teacher Dawn Quarles’ voice goes tight with frustration when she thinks back to how trying to register her students to vote thrust her into the center of Florida’s high profile and deeply partisan voting rights controversy.

“I never felt like the voting process was on my side… That’s not the way it’s supposed to be,” said Quarles, a registered Republican who was slapped with a $1,000 fine when she ran afoul of a state law requiring a 48-hour deadline for third parties to turn in voter registration forms.

“I felt like I was taking on my own party,” she said.

Though a federal judge recently struck down the 48-hour deadline requirement, Quarles and other Floridians have been stunned by the state’s standoff with the federal government over voter registration laws.

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