Total Pageviews

Search This Blog

Thursday, April 21, 2011

It is about to become harder to vote in Florida

From the Sun Sentinel

By Kathleen Haughney

Florida lawmakers took up a massive overhaul of Florida election law Wednesday evening, setting up for a vote on Thursday afternoon.

The legislation, HB 1355, makes it harder to change your address at a polling place, changes third party voter registration rules and alters the ballot initiative process, among other changes. A companion Senate measure, which has yet to make it to the Senate floor, also reduces the period of early voting.

“Our greatest responsibility is to protect the integrity of this process so the result has credibility and if we fail to do that we disenfranchise every person that participates in that process,” said House sponsor Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala.

The changes could have a major impact on the 2012 presidential election. Many college students who may previously register at their parents’ home can currently change their address on Election Day at the polls, and many do, election supervisors have said. But under the change proposed in the House bill, Floridians would only be able to do that if their initial registration was within the same county as the college or university they attend.

Democrats have been united against the bill and attacked Republicans for proposing legislation that they said will make it harder for people to vote.

Lawmakers debated for several hours and considered more than 40 amendments to change the bill. Proposals by Democrats, which were all shot down by the Republican majority, included a requirement that the Secretary of State investigate all instances of attempts to disenfranchise voters, bans members of the Legislature or Cabinet from soliciting or accepting campaign contributions for federal office during a legislative session and allow college students and military families to change registration at the polls regardless of county.

Rep. Jeff Clemens, D-Lake Worth, said that the process of changing an address at the polls has worked for 40 years and questioned why the GOP-led Legislature wanted to change it now.

“I’m not sure how we could justify making it more difficult to have the votes of our military personnel counted or the votes of our college students counted,” Clemens said.

Lawmakers also voted down an amendment that would have restored voting rights to many convicted felons who have completed their sentences.


  1. If a College student can't plan ahead to register to vote I would not want to hire someone with such poor planning skills...

  2. The ability to plan ahead is not synonymous with the ability to understand the issues and vote responsibly. These proposals would shorten the window for early voting. Why? Many of us find it enormously helpful to vote on our own schedule and to eliminate the risk that, on Election Day, we might be ill and unable to vote, or might have a family or work crisis that prevents us from going to the polls.

    A politician who genuinely cared to protect the rights of the state's citizens would not do anything to hamper the RIGHT of those citizens to vote for their leaders.