STATE REPRESENTATIVE ALAN WILLIAMS STATEMENT ON BARRING ENFORCEMENT OF VOTER SUPPRESSION LAW
TALLAHASSEE, FL – State Representative Alan Williams (D-Tallahassee) issued the following statement today about U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle ruling on Florida’s election law changes:
“I am pleased with today’s decision by Judge Hinkle issuing an injunction barring enforcement of part of the state’s new election law requiring a 48-hour deadline for groups to submit new voter registration forms.
“During the 2011 Legislative session, the Legislature passed (HB 1355) Election Reform law, which raised great concerns of voter suppression. A significant portion of the law would have adversely impact voters. The consequence of this change made it harder for people to register and vote. Restricting voting rights can make it more difficult for people who move to retain their status as registered voters. As an elected official, I have remain at the forefront of voters rights, fighting to protect and advance the people’s constitutional right to vote.
“I filed legislation this session to create an official state holiday for Election Day during the day of the general election and offered an amendment to allow an early voting site on a university campus. I will continue to stand up for voter rights to ensure the right to vote is protected and focus on policies that would make the election process better. This ruling sends an important statement about the importance of increasing voter participation in our state by not severely restricting voting registration initiatives. Florida should take the lead to make certain that citizens are registered to vote, we should be going forward not backwards.”
Voter Database Under Fire
by Mike Vasilinda
Tallahassee, FL -- May 31, 2012 --
New concerns are being raised tonight from elections supervisors across the state. The Supervisors are being asked to remove non-citizens from their rolls, but as Mike Vasilinda tells us, doubts about the accuracy and legality of the push are being questioned.
Voters registration forms require would be voters to check whether they are a citizen. If not, they can’t register. The state now says thousands of names have slipped through the database that shouldn’t have. But, in Palm Beach County, Supervisor Susan Bucher has found that some of the questionable names are based on decade old information.
“We, in fact, need credible and reliable information, that’s what the law requires and I did not believe that this was credible information,” Bucher said.
Six groups have asked the state to stop the purge. They cite Federal law which says no names can be removed within 90 days of an election unless due to death, criminal conviction, or mental incapacity. The state concedes the list isn’t perfect but it’s moving forward anyway.
“We disagree with that interpretation of the law, and we’re going to continue our process to remove ineligible voters because we have an obligation and a duty to remove ineligible voters,” Florida Elections Spokesman Chris Cate said.
Ion Sancho, who overseas elections in the state capital, says he isn’t removing any names until he gets an okay from the U.S. Government.
“Before we can proceed further, I need to have clarification as to whether or not these actions by the state of Florida are legal,” Sancho said.
If a voter shows up on election day and has been removed from the rolls, but doesn’t know it, they will still be allowed to cast a provisional ballot.
The problem was highlighted when a 91-year-old World War Two veteran who has voted all his life was wrongly labeled a non citizen by the state.
The debate has become political. The Chairman of the Republican Party of Florida says the faulty list is the Obama administrations problem because it won’t share an accurate homeland security list with the state.
Florida May Not Double-Check Status of Voters
Tallahassee, FL (AP) -- May 31, 2012 --
Florida officials are now saying they may not be able to double-check whether 182,000 registered voters are U.S. citizens.
Secretary of State Kent Detzner sent a letter Thursday requesting access to a federal database that tracks people who are visiting or working in the country.
He took the step because he learned the agency that handles driver's licenses did not have authority to access the database after promising to do so.
Florida compared driver's licenses with voter rolls to come up with its initial list. So far the state has sent the names of more than 2,600 people to local election officials. But local officials have discovered errors on the list.
Democrats and voting rights groups have called on Florida to halt the purge, saying it violates federal voting laws.