Florida Darkness in the Sunshine State

FL-VoterSuppression

Florida ought to know better. And must do better, particularly on the issue of voting and discrimination.

But, then again, we are talking about Florida, the state of Bush v. Gore infamy and the one that will celebrate the birthday of Jefferson Davis, the only president of the Confederacy, with a statewide holiday on Sunday.

What am I getting at? This: Few states in the union have done more in recent years to restrict and suppress voting — particularly by groups who lean Democratic, such as young people, the poor and minorities — than Florida.

In May 2011, the state’s Republican-led Legislature passed and the Republican governor, Rick Scott, signed a sweeping election law that cut early voting short and imposed onerous burdens on voter registration groups by requiring them to turn in registration applications within 48 hours of the time they are signed or face fines.

The threat of fines has meant that many groups that traditionally registered voters in the state have abandoned the effort, and it appears to be contributing to fewer new registrations. According to a March analysis of registration data by The Times, “in the months since its new law took effect in May, 81,471 fewer Floridians have registered to vote than during the same period before the 2008 presidential election.”

But there is good news. On Thursday, a federal judge overturned the 48-hour deadline as unconstitutional, writing, in part, that “if the goal is to discourage voter-registration drives and thus also to make it harder for new voters to register, the 48-hour deadline may succeed.”

Recently, the state announced that it would begin another round of voter purging to ensure that no ineligible voters were mistakenly on the voter rolls. Seems noble enough. But the problem is that Florida is notoriously bad at purging.

As the New York University School of Law’s Brennan Center for Justice pointed out last week: “In 2000, Florida’s efforts to purge persons with criminal convictions from the rolls led to, by conservative estimates, close to 12,000 eligible voters being removed” from the rolls. As most of us remember, George W. Bush beat Al Gore in the state of Florida that year, after the recounts and the Supreme Court stepped in, by 537 votes.

And as The Miami Herald reported on Thursday:

“So far, Florida has flagged 2,700 potential noncitizen voters and sent the list to county elections supervisors, who have found the data and methodology to be flawed and problematic. The list of potential noncitizen voters — many of whom have turned out to be lawful citizens and voters — disproportionately hits minorities, especially Hispanics.”

More good news: In his keynote address at the inaugural Faith Leaders Summit on Voting Rights, a joint effort by the Congressional Black Caucus and the Conference of National Black Churches, Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. told the group:

“Congressman John Lewis may have described the reason for these concerns best, in a speech on the House floor last summer, when pointing out that the voting rights he worked throughout his life — and nearly gave his life — to ensure are, ‘under attack ... [by] a deliberate and systematic attempt to prevent millions of elderly voters, young voters, students, [and] minority and low-income voters from exercising their constitutional right to engage in the democratic process.’ Not only was he referring to the all-too-common deceptive practices we’ve been fighting for years. He was echoing more recent fears and frustrations about some of the state-level voting law changes we’ve seen this legislative season.”

He didn’t mention Florida by name, but, on Thursday, the Department of Justice sent a letter to the Florida secretary of state demanding that they cease the purge.

Florida has more electoral votes than any other swing state, and the battle to win it — or steal it — will be epic because the election is likely to be another nail-biter, both nationally and in the state.

In an NBC-Marist poll of battleground states released last week, President Obama was leading Mitt Romney in the state 48 percent to 44 percent. But as NBC News pointed out, the president’s share was “below the 50 percent threshold usually considered safe haven for an incumbent president,” and Romney has narrowed the races in Florida and other battleground states since earlier in the year.

A Quinnipiac University Poll also released last week had Romney leading Obama by 6 points in Florida, although there has been some debate about the methodology of that poll.

We can’t predict a winner, but we must insist on a fair fight. Voter suppression can’t be allowed to overshadow democracy in the Sunshine State.

Link to original OpEd from The New York Times


blog comments powered by Disqus

States - Florida

Florida Articles

Prev Next Page:

Florida Is Illegally Limiting How Often Poor People On Medicaid Can Visit The ER

Florida Is Illegally Limiting How Often Poor People On Medicaid Can Visit The ER

Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s (R) effort to save his state’s Medicaid program money on the backs of the poor just backfired. In 2012, the Scott administration lobbied the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to allow it to limit the number of times that Medicaid beneficiaries can frequent emergency rooms to six visits. The Obama administration rejected that request, arguing that it constitutes a violation of the Social Security Act by placing “an arbitrary limit” on a legally mandated benefit, and that it has the potential to harm poor patients,...

Sy Mukherjee | Think Progress 04 Mar 2014 Hits:530 Florida

Read more

Rep. Trey Radel of Florida to take leave of absence after guilty plea to cocaine charge

Rep. Trey Radel of Florida to take leave of absence after guilty plea to cocaine charge

Late on a Tuesday evening, at a Dupont Circle bistro that serves $11 mojitos, the congressman and the undercover officer talked about cocaine. They talked about how much the congressman would have to pay for it. They talked about the quality of the drug for sale. Finally, they made a deal: $250 for 3.5 grams, an amount generally bought for personal use. Outside, in a car, the drug and money changed hands. And then, suddenly, there were feds outside the vehicle. Before that moment, Rep. Trey Radel (R-Fla.) had built a remarkable double...

David A. Fahrenthold, Keith L. Alexander and Sari Horwitz | The Washington Post 21 Nov 2013 Hits:413 Florida

Read more

Rubio heckled over immigration reform at conservative summit in Florida

Rubio heckled over immigration reform at conservative summit in Florida

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) faced hecklers angry with his leadership on immigration reform at a Friday Tea Party summit in his home state.  According to reports, Rubio was met with cries of "No amnesty!" as he gave an address during the opening session of the Americans for Prosperity's Defending the American Dream Summit in Orlando. The Florida senator joined a handful of other potential 2016 Republican presidential contenders, including Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, at the summit on Friday. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz will keynote Saturday's closing session. Rubio...

Alexandra Jaffe | The Hill 01 Sep 2013 Hits:719 Florida

Read more

'Bigger Than Stand Your Ground': Protesters Mark 13 Days of Florida Capitol Occupation

'Bigger Than Stand Your Ground': Protesters Mark 13 Days of Florida Capitol Occupation

(Photo: Phil Sears/ AP; Thumb: Dream Defenders/ Twitter) Civil rights icon Harry Belafonte joins mass rally against discrimination "I’m here because you called. I’m here because I am a part of your history," notable civil rights activist and musical icon Harry Belafonte declared Friday to a crowd of hundreds of demonstrators inside the main rotunda of the Florida capitol building. The rally, billed as #theTakeover, was one of a number of demonstrations staged by the Dream Defenders since the group took residence in the capitol on July 16 in an ongoing sit-in to...

Lauren McCauley | Common Dreams 31 Jul 2013 Hits:527 Florida

Read more

Florida Accidentally Banned All Computers, Smart Phones In The State Through Internet Cafe…

Florida Accidentally Banned All Computers, Smart Phones In The State Through Internet Cafe Ban: Lawsuit

When Florida lawmakers recently voted to ban all Internet cafes, they worded the bill so poorly that they effectively outlawed every computer in the state, according to a recent lawsuit. In April Florida Governor Rick Scott approved a ban on slot machines and Internet cafes after a charity tied to Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll was shut down on suspicion of being an Internet gambling front -- forcing Carroll, who had consulted with the charity, to resign. Florida's 1,000 Internet cafes were shut down immediately, including Miami-Dade's Incredible Investments, LLC, a café that provides online services to migrant workers,...

Huffington Post 08 Jul 2013 Hits:838 Florida

Read more

Gov. Rick Scott Deflowers Florida

Gov. Rick Scott Deflowers Florida

Members of the Florida state Legislature rarely agree on anything. It's unusual for a bill to get unanimous support from the body. But as it turns out, there is one thing that both Republicans and Democrats really love: wildflowers. Florida lawmakers in both houses of the Legislature voted a collective 157 to 0 this spring to increase the fee for a special Florida wildflower license plate from $15 to $25 starting in July. The proceeds would have gone to the Florida Wildflower Foundation, which for 13 years has been using...

Stephanie Mencimer | Mother Jones 18 Jun 2013 Hits:789 Florida

Read more

Miami-Dade Police Choke Black Teenager Because He Was Giving Them "Dehumanizing Stares"

Miami-Dade Police Choke Black Teenager Because He Was Giving Them

Fourteen-year-old Tremaine McMillian didn't threaten police. He didn't attack them. He wasn't armed. All the black teenager did was appear threatening by shooting Miami-Dade police officers a few "dehumanizing stares," and that was apparently enough for the officers to decide to slam him against the ground and put him in a chokehold. During Memorial Day weekend, McMillian was rough-housing with another teenager on the sand. Police approached the teen on an ATV and told him that wasn't acceptable behavior. They asked him where his parents were, but MicMillian attempted to walk...

Kyle Munzenrieder | Miami NewTimes 30 May 2013 Hits:770 Florida

Read more

Charges dropped against Florida teen over amateur science experiment

Charges dropped against Florida teen over amateur science experiment

The Florida teenager who was arrested two weeks ago for causing a small explosion on the campus of her high school will not be charged with a crime. Kiera Wilmot, 16, was arrested by police in Bartow, Florida, after conducting an unauthorized science experiment which lightly damaged an eight ounce plastic water bottle. At the time, Wilmot faced possible charges for “possessing or discharging weapons or firearms at a school sponsored event or on school property.” If she had been convicted, she could have faced up to five years in prison. Wilmot’s...

Ned Resnikoff | MSNBC.com 16 May 2013 Hits:856 Florida

Read more

Florida Campaign for Medical Marijuana Gets Financial Backers

Florida Campaign for Medical Marijuana Gets Financial Backers

Two top Democratic fundraisers in Florida have committed to providing the money and know-how to get the question of legalizing medical marijuana on the state ballot in 2014. "I'm prepared to keep raising money and writing checks until I get the signatures to put it on the ballot," attorney John Morgan said late on Tuesday. Morgan, who routinely hosts presidents and national political figures at his Orlando-area home, recently signed on as chairman of People United for Medical Marijuana-Florida, a grassroots campaign that operated on a shoestring until now. Morgan was recruited by...

Barbara Liston | Reuter's 22 Apr 2013 Hits:747 Florida

Read more

Occupy Palm Beach County: One Year Later

Occupy Palm Beach County: One Year Later

On September 17, 2011 Occupy Wall Street coalesced into sudden view, built from long work by many organizers, the promptings of Adbusters magazine, and the accumulated frustration, anger and desperation of decades of escalating class warfare by financial and corporate elites against ordinary people. A small group of young people near Lake Worth, Florida recognized themselves in the actions of the mostly young people in New York, and began to plan their own Occupation. People on local union, Democratic Party, progressive and other e-mail lists were invited to a rally at...

Mike Budd | Palm Beach Progressive Post 22 Jan 2013 Hits:655 Florida

Read more

Florida Governor Inflates Cost Of Medicaid Expansion By 2,600% To Avoid Implementing Obama…

Florida Governor Inflates Cost Of Medicaid Expansion By 2,600% To Avoid Implementing Obamacare

Internal email messages uncovered by Health News Florida reveal that Gov. Rick Scott (R-FL) is knowingly citing inaccurate cost estimates to justify his refusal to expand Florida’s Medicaid program. Though the governor’s office is fully aware that the numbers are wrong, Scott continues to use them anyway, the documents show. Florida, which has one of the highest rates of uninsurance in the nation, could extend health coverage to about one million low-income residents by accepting Obamacare’s optional Medicaid expansion. But the governor — an ardent Obamacare opponent — has...

Tara Culp-Ressler | Think Progress 08 Jan 2013 Hits:988 Florida

Read more

Ex-Fla. Gov. Crist tweets he's switching to Democrat Party

Ex-Fla. Gov. Crist tweets he's switching to Democrat Party

Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, who was elected as the state's chief executive as a Republican and then ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate as an independent, announced on Twitter on Friday night that he's switching to the Democratic Party. The announcement fanned speculation that Crist was gearing up to seek to regain his old job from Republican Gov. Rick Scott in 2014. Crist sent out a Tweet that said, "Proud and honored to join the Democratic Party in the home of President (at)Barack Obama!" The Tweet included a...

Gary Fineout | Associated Press 08 Dec 2012 Hits:1016 Florida

Read more

Florida Early Voters Show Up in Huge Numbers Despite Suppression Effort

Florida Early Voters Show Up in Huge Numbers Despite Suppression Effort

As the St. John Progressive Missionary Baptist Church vans pulled up to the C. Blythe Andrews library polling place to let congregants out to vote, a line already snaked out the voting entrance. A table was set up on one end of the library’s parking lot where volunteers served fried fish and hush puppies. A DJ blared gospel music that could be heard blocks away. It was after-church Sunday, the first and only Sunday of “Souls to the Polls” in most of Florida, and the second...

Brentin Mock and Voting Rights Watch | the Nation 30 Oct 2012 Hits:901 Florida

Read more

Florida Democrats Crushing The GOP in 2012 Voter Registrations

Florida Democrats Crushing The GOP in 2012 Voter Registrations

On the last day to register for the 2012 election, new Democratic voters outnumber the GOP by six-to-one or more.  Don’t get depressed by the latest polls with Mitt Romney pulling ahead in Florida or by reports of the GOP’s plans to steal the election there by falsifying Democratic voter registration files. Tuesday is the final day to register to vote for the presidential election in Florida and Democrats have trounced the GOP’s efforts to register voters. Consider these numbers from the Florida Secretary of State’s...

Steven Rosenfeld | AlterNet 09 Oct 2012 Hits:1492 Florida

Read more

Romney Works to Build Momentum in Florida, a State Critical to Victory

Romney Works to Build Momentum in Florida, a State Critical to Victory

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Seeking to capitalize on his commanding debate performance last week, Mitt Romney tried to turn the enthusiasm of large crowds during a three-day visit to Florida into momentum to carry a state that, by all accounts, is crucial to his path to the White House. His effort to capture a state that President Obama won in 2008 came on a day when the usual pattern of the race was reversed: while Mr. Romney has been criticized by some Republicans for spending too...

Trip Gabriel | The New York Times 08 Oct 2012 Hits:832 Florida

Read more

Has Florida Created a Trap at the Polls for Ex-Felons?

Has Florida Created a Trap at the Polls for Ex-Felons?

Tampa Despite the heat and threat of thunderstorms, about 500 African-Americans are gathered in Rowlett Park for an end-of-summer day of barbecuing, dancing and playing cards. It’s the fifth annual Old School Picnic, a community park jam that brings together two black neighborhoods that were torn apart when the College Hill and Ponce de Leon public housing projects were razed in 2000. Earlier that morning, President Barack Obama held a massive campaign rally in nearby St. Petersburg, trying to turn out every last...

Brentin Mock | The Nation 29 Sep 2012 Hits:1037 Florida

Read more

Suspicious voter registration forms found in 10 Florida counties

Suspicious voter registration forms found in 10 Florida counties

Florida elections officials said Friday that at least 10 counties have identified suspicious and possibly fraudulent voter registration forms turned in by a firm working for the Republican Party of Florida, which has filed an election fraud complaint with the state Division of Elections against its one-time consultant. The controversy in Florida -- which began with possibly fraudulent forms that first cropped up in Palm Beach County --  has engulfed the Republican National Committee, which admitted Thursday that it urged state parties in seven swing states...

By Matea Gold, Joseph Tanfani and Melanie Mason | LosAngeles Times Politics 29 Sep 2012 Hits:1186 Florida

Read more

After Mistakenly Purging Citizens, Florida Agrees to Let Them Vote

After Mistakenly Purging Citizens, Florida Agrees to Let Them Vote

In a partial victory for voter rights and immigrant groups, Florida residents who were mistakenly removed from the voter rolls this year because the state classified them as noncitizens will be returned to the rolls and allowed to vote in November. The Florida Department of State, which initiated the review of noncitizens on the voter rolls, also agreed Wednesday to inform the 2,625 people on the list who are eligible to vote that their voting rights had been fully restored. Still unresolved is whether Florida...

Lizette Alvarez | The New York Times 13 Sep 2012 Hits:991 Florida

Read more

Rick Scott Rejects Health Care Funds That Would Keep Disabled Kids Out of Nursing Homes

Rick Scott Rejects Health Care Funds That Would Keep Disabled Kids Out of Nursing Homes

Florida's Republican governor Rick Scott loathes Obamacare so much that he turned down $40 million in federal health care funds that would keep hundreds of disabled kids at home with their parents, rather than warehoused in nursing homes. So says the Department of Justice, whose civil rights division recently investigated the situation in Florida. ABC News reported this weekend that, in a letter to Florida's attorney general, the Justice Department cited the case of a "5-year-old child, a quadriplegic after a car accident, who had been...

Stephanie Mencimer | Mother Jones 11 Sep 2012 Hits:4200 Florida

Read more

The Faces of Voter Suppression Become the Voices of Voter Empowerment at “Let Me Vote”

The Faces of Voter Suppression Become the Voices of Voter Empowerment at “Let Me Vote”

On September 12, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Florida and partner organizations will host a coalition of individuals impacted by restrictive voting regulations in Florida sharing their stories about combating disenfranchisement and informing voters about their rights at “Let Me Vote: The Faces of Voter Suppression Become the Voices of Voter Empowerment.” The event marks the launch of the ACLU of Florida’s “Let Me Vote” campaign, part of a nationwide ACLU program of the same name aiming to get accessible,...

ACLU Florida 10 Sep 2012 Hits:825 Florida

Read more

Two Florida Republicans Want Law Allowing Gun Owners to Shoot 'Illegal' Voters

Two Florida Republicans Want Law Allowing Gun Owners to Shoot 'Illegal' Voters

They were classic buttoned-up conservatives, but I couldn’t believe my ears. “Are you guys performance artists?” "No," Stevens snorted. Just a few minutes earlier, two men who identified themselves as Robert Stevens and John Nelson had handed me a flyer. It explained that they wanted the state of Florida to pass a “Protect the Polls law” under which “anyone suspected of committing voter fraud can be fired upon – provided the weapon is registered and operated by its licensed owner.” The two 28-year-olds, who said...

Arun Gupta | AlterNet 30 Aug 2012 Hits:1196 Florida

Read more

PDA In Your State

Sign the Petition

Button-DetroitWater

 

PDA Issues

PDA is organized around several core issues. These issues include:

Each team hosts a monthly conference call. Calls feature legislators, staffers and other policy experts. On these calls we determine PDA legislation to support as well as actions and future events.

Florida Leadership


For support in organizing within your state, contact:



Mike Fox

 

State Leadership
Mike Fox

Email us at: field@pdamerica.org

Chapters

Broward County - CD 17, 19, 20, 21, 22 and 23
Daytona Beach - CD 07 and 24
Hillsborough County - CD 09 and 11
Martin County - CD 16 and 23
Miami - CD 17 and 20
Orange County
Palm Beach County - CD 16, 19 22 and 23
Pinellas County - CD 09, 10 and 11
Polk County - CD 12
Sarasota County - CD 17 and 20
Tallahassee

 Want to bring progressive change to Florida? Start a PDA chapter; send us an email and we'll get you started.


FL Legislators with ALEC Ties

House of Representatives

  • Rep. Larry Ahern (R-51), registered to attend 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting[51]
  • Rep. Ben Albritton (R-66), registered to attend 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting[51]
  • Rep. Dennis Baxley (R-Ocala), attended 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting, sponsored 2005 SB 436 "Castle Doctrine Act" based on ALEC model[52]
  • Rep. Michael Bileca (R-117), registered to attend 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting[51]
  • Rep. Jeff Brandes (R-52), attended 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting[52]
  • Rep. Jason Brodeur (R-33), ALEC Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force member, registered to attend 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting[51]
  • Rep. Rachel Burgin (R-56), registered to attend 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting[51]
  • Rep. Matt Caldwell (R-73), ALEC member who has "attended one conference to date, having paid for the membership and any conference costs with my excess campaign account"[53][51]
  • Rep. Richard Corcoran (R-45), registered to attend 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting[51]
  • Rep. Fred Costello (R-26), "could not afford the time out of my business to attend" the 2011 ALEC Annual meeting but looks "forward to attending ALEC in the future"[54]
  • Rep. Steve Crisafulli (R-32), registered to attend 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting[51] but "not a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council"[55]
  • Rep. Daniel Davis (R-13), registered to attend 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting[51]
  • Rep. Jose Diaz (R-115), registered to attend 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting[51]
  • Rep. Chris Dorworth (R-34), dues-paying ALEC member as of 2011[56], registered to attend 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting[51]
  • Rep. Brad Drake (R -5)[17]
  • Rep. Clay Ford (R-3)[17][20], ALEC Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force member, registered to attend 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting[51]
  • Rep. Rich Glorioso (R-Longwood), attended 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting[52]
  • Rep. Matt Hudson (R-101), ALEC Health and Human Services Task Force member, registered to attend 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting[51]
  • Rep. Clay Ingram (R-2), attended 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting[57][51]
  • Rep. Ana Rivas Logan (R-114), registered to attend 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting[51]
  • Rep. Debbie Mayfield (R-80), ALEC member[58]
  • Rep. Peter Nehr (R-48), registered to attend 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting[51]
  • Rep. Bryan Nelson (R-38), registered to attend 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting[51]
  • Rep. Jeanette Nunez (R-Miami), attended 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting[52]
  • Rep. Jimmy T. Patronis, Jr. (R-6), ALEC State Chairman[59], registered to attend 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting[51]
  • Rep. Ray Pilon (R-69); Public Safety and Elections Task Force
  • Rep. Scott Plakon (R-37), ALEC International Relations Task Force member, worked with ALEC in 2011 on "a proposed constitutional amendment that prohibits laws that would force people to join health care plans, an attack on federal health care changes"[52]
  • Rep. Stephen L. Precourt (R-41), ALEC Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force member, registered to attend 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting[51]
  • Rep. Lake Ray (R-17), registered to attend 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting[51]
  • Rep. Kelli Stargel (R-64), registered to attend 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting[51]
  • Rep. John Tobia (R-31), attended 2009 ALEC Annual Meeting at a taxpayer cost of $1,150; [60] in August 2011 claimed he has not attended another ALEC meeting and is not a member[61]
  • Rep. Carlos Trujillo (R-116), registered to attend 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting[51]
  • Rep. Will Weatherford (R-61), registered to attend 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting[51]
  • Rep. John Wood (R-65), ALEC Health and Human Services Task Force member who calls himself "proud to be a member of ALEC and has attended two annual conferences - Atlanta in 2009 and most recently New Orleans in 2011"[62][51]
  • Rep. Dana Young (R-Tampa), attended 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting[52]
  • Former Rep. Bill Posey (now Congressman, R-Rockledge), ALEC Alumni in Congress[63] and 1999 recipient of ALEC "Legislator of the Year" Award[64]

Senate

Information from Sourcewatch:

PR Rank