A broad group of Floridians alarmed by a legislative proposal they say would dramatically alter access to the voting booth plan to raise their voices in opposition at the state Capitol on Monday morning. From election supervisors to the state? senior U.S. senator to the Democratic Leadership in the state Senate and House, all agree the measure would make it more difficult for voters and would prevent many from casting ballots during early voting.
?e?e got kids dying in wars for Democracy ?and the right to vote is Democracy,?said U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson. ?his piece of legislation would hinder that right for an awful lot of people.?
In fact, several supervisors of elections in Florida already have estimated the measure ?which, among other things, would cut early voting from 14 days to six ?will disenfranchise a significant number of voters. Another provision of the legislation barring address changes on Election Day would result in longer lines at the polls and, thus, discourage many voters. Equally chilling in a state that was ground zero for the 2000 presidential contest, is those forced to cast ?rovisional?ballots might never see those votes counted. The legislation also imposes heavy restrictions on third-party registration groups along with delivering broad authority to the state attorney general to initiate action against them without the slightest evidence of any wrongdoing.
?his bill makes it harder to register voters, harder to cast a ballot and harder still to have a ballot counted,?said state Senate Democratic Leader Nan Rich ( D-Weston ). ?t? stacking the Republican deck one year out from a presidential election by attempting to silence the voices of dissent.?
State House Democratic Leader Ron Saunders ( D-Key West ) agreed. ?very citizen deserves the right to vote,?Saunders said. ?emocrats want to protect the right to vote and encourage full participation in elections.?
Despite overwhelming Democratic opposition, the legislation ?HB 1355 and SB 2086 ?already has passed the full House and is now awaiting a vote on the Senate floor.