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Voter Protection Newsletter: Henry Burden, Volunteer of the Month!

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Dear Florida Voter Protection Community,

We are reaching out to update you on Florida Elections news, our team’s progress, and highlight one of our readers and amazing team members!

Florida Election Law
Despite Republicans touting the 2020 Florida Election as a great success, they passed legislation, known as SB 90, to address unfounded election integrity concerns. Included in SB 90 are new requirements for Floridians registering to vote and cast a ballot. These unnecessary and cumbersome hurdles will make it harder for historically disenfranchised people to vote. We have seen national trends to increase barriers to voting and it is our work to push back on the effects of this legislation in Florida.

The Florida Supervisors of Elections (SOEs) opposed SB 90 and have been adjusting their systems to incorporate the changes imposed upon their office procedures. Failure to do so would result in personal penalties to our Supervisors. We must continue to maintain strong relationships with local SOEs and collaborate across networks to advocate for increased polling options. After all, we are the party of Democracy.

For more information, please see our SB-90 Fact Sheet.

Our Team
This team is dedicated to building upon the growth established by the Voter Protection Teams in the last electoral cycle. We value the hard work that each county team invested in recruiting members and refining our training materials. We are committed to building on the institutional knowledge that you helped forge to create a strong foundation for Florida’s Voter Protection Program. That is why we started with a listening tour across the state and with our out-of-state supporters. As we revamp and refresh our training materials, we have been mindful to incorporate your feedback and respect the structural differences between regions. This is only the start of our partnerships and we look forward to working with you to defend our democracy. In the following months, we will work to ensure that list maintenance and implementation of SB 90 are as fair and indiscriminate as possible. We will need your help! Sign Up Here

In the last few months, we brought on two Voter Protection Fellows (Diamond Rodriguez & Brooke Christy). They have spearheaded an effort to build phone banks consisting of volunteers from all over the country calling into Florida to help voters return to an active status on the voter rolls, register to vote, and request their vote by mail ballot.

Join Us for the Next Phone Bank by Clicking: HERE

If you are interested in leading a phone banking event in your county, email Diamond at drodriguez@floridadems.org!

Volunteer of the Month
Henry Burden lives in Fort Myers, Florida in Lee County. Although a native Floridian, in a previous life he lived in Maryland and worked in Human Resources and Training. In 2018, he thought he would never do anything political again, but he knew the Florida Election Protection and getting Donald Trump out of office were too important.

Before the pandemic hit, Henry drove across the state training voter protection volunteers. He tracked 5,000 miles from the Florida Keys up to the panhandle. Although he realized that he was only charged with leading Lee County, he knew that training as many poll watchers, canvassing board observers, and boiler room workers would be essential to our statewide race. However, as pandemic illness and fear spread across the nation and the State of Florida, Henry knew that in-person training would no longer be possible. Turning the problem into a solution, Henry rethought his approach and in the first week of May, he started bi-weekly trainings over zoom. By November 3, 2021, Henry Burden trained 2,500 volunteers on the rules, structure, and approach to the Florida Voter Protection program.

His team covered every early voting location and 27 of 80 polling places on Election Day in Lee County, had two people at every Canvassing Board meeting, and support 16 other counties with their programs. For now, Henry has stepped back and left the reins to the others in Lee County. His trainings, materials, and thinking were key to the South West Region’s strategy and influential on the whole state’s program.

This month, we are highlighting Henry Burden because of his dedication, hard work, and willingness to lead from behind. Thank you, Henry!

Join Us
None of this work would be possible without your help!
Please take 2 minutes to fill out this: Interest Form

The Florida Democratic Voter Protection Team

~~Kari Lerner, Lee County DEC State Committeewoman

Statement from FDP Chair on GOP’s Filing of a Texas-Style Abortion Bill

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September 22, 2021
For Immediate Release
Contact: Maurizio Passariello
‭+1 (786) 285-6398

Statement from Florida Democratic Party Chair Manny Diaz on GOP State Representative’s Filing of a Texas-Style Abortion Bill

This morning Republican Florida State Representative Webster Barnaby filed a Texas-style abortion ban that would prohibit abortions in the state after a fetus’s heartbeat has been detected. The bill (HB 167) would empower private individuals, not state authorities, to enforce the proposed law.
In reaction to this appalling development, Florida Democratic Party Chairman Manny Diaz issued the following statement:
“This morning’s filing of a Texas-style anti-choice bill is as outrageous as it is unsurprising. The GOP’s radical and abject hostility to women’s reproductive and health care rights has been on display across the nation for decades. And now a bunch of men are getting ready to launch an all-out assault on women’s rights and are willing to deputize and reward bounty hunters to enforce their control over women’s lives. 
“With the implementation of Texas’ unconscionable anti-choice vigilante bill, and the Supreme Court’s decision not to rule on it immediately, it was only a matter of time before Florida Republicans rushed to assault a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions. Women have a right to decide what happens in their lives, to their lives.
“Let me be absolutely clear, the Florida Democratic Party will mobilize down to the last woman and man in our ranks; we will exhaust every resource, contest every legislative maneuver and join every battle necessary to ensure a woman’s right to choose in our state. If Republicans attempt to bring Texas’ shocking and radical anti-abortion bill to Florida, we will give them the fight of their lives.”

~~Kari Lerner, Lee County DEC State Committeewoman

Mike & Kari would like to thank you for your votes and hope to assure all, whether or not you voted for us, that we will make every effort to be transparent and accessible to the Democrats of Lee County. The mission of the Florida Democratic Party and the Democratic Party of Lee County is to elect Democrats up and down the ballot. Although they may not always agree, Kari & Mike both pledge that all decisions will be made with that mission as the determining factor and welcome your input.

 Kari Lerner: karillerner@gmail.com

 Mike Bonacolta: mikebonacolta@gmail.com

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