Dear Florida Voter Protection Community,
Here’s an update on Florida Elections news, our efforts to protect voting rights, and a profile of another incredible team member!
Florida Election Law
Cases challenging Senate Bill 90, last year’s voter suppression law, were heard last month. Plaintiffs argued that SB 90 imposes an unnecessary burden on voters, particularly Black, Latino, seniors and voters with disabilities. The statute makes vote-by-mail harder by reducing both the number of drop boxes and their hours of operation. These restrictions are significant because almost 1.5 million Floridians — about 30 percent of all mail-in voters — used a drop box to cast their ballot in 2020.
While we await the SB 90 ruling, the flurry of restrictive voting legislation continues. Recently passed SB 524, creates a 15-member “Office of Election Crimes and Security,” a so-called elections police force to investigate allegations — even anonymous ones left on tip lines — of election irregularities. SB 524 also dictates how election officials should scrub their voter-registration rolls; commissions a state-level study of vote-by-mail ballot operations; prohibits election officials from accepting grants to help administer elections; bans ranked-choice voting, and raises the penalty for voter-registration organization errors (charged at $250 per violation) from a cap of $1,000 to a cap of $50,000. SB 524 will make election administration more difficult and seriously hampers voter registration efforts. For more information, check out our two-pager on these changes.
In other concerning news, canvassers using the Republican’s third-party voter registration switched at least 141 Miami voters’ party affiliation without their consent, according to the Miami Herald. The State Attorney’s office has collected statements from a few impacted voters as part of an ongoing investigation into voter registration fraud. This incident is a timely reminder that our voter protection work is more critical than ever.
Our Focus: Building a Strong SOE Network & Solving Voters’ Problems
Our team is focused on expanding our Supervisor of Election (SOE) Liaison program. By interviewing SOEs from across the state to assess individual county needs, our team is now building county-specific advocacy plans to expand access to voting and improve election administration. Simultaneously, we have been phone banking voters who called the Voter Protection Hotline during the last election cycle with registration problems. One Miami-Dade county voter, Lawrence (who has a visual impairment), was having trouble voting. He wasn’t even sure if he had successfully requested his vote by mail ballot. We connected Lawrence with the Miami-Dade Supervisor of Elections office, stayed on the phone with him to make sure his vote by mail ballot request was set up, and ensured that the SOE’s office will double-check that he gets his ballot come election time.
If you are interested in making sure folks like Lawrence can vote, please join our team of phone bankers. Sign up HERE.
Volunteer of the Month
This newsletter’s volunteer of the month is: YOU!!
For 20 years we have enjoyed the support of more than 15,000 volunteers from Florida and across the country. Thanks to you, we’ve protected countless votes, safeguarded voters’ rights, expanded access to voting, and answered voter questions on our hotline. Now, when voting rights are more important than ever, we want to thank and celebrate you by kicking off the 2022 election cycle with a special guest.
Please join us by signing up HERE
The Florida Democratic Voter Protection Team