Some controversial changes may soon be coming to Florida elections. A provision in a new wide-ranging elections bill proposed by Republican State Senator Jack Latvala would limit the ability of outside volunteers to help in elections if they did not know the voter prior to the election. The law would also limit the number of people volunteers could help to 10 voters per election. Voting rights groups blasted the Florida Republican’s rewrite of the bill in a conference call with reporters on Monday, saying that the bill would make it harder for some minority, elderly, and disabled voters to cast their ballots. They argued that people who don’t speak English, or have trouble voting for any other reason wouldn’t be able to seek help from trained volunteers at the polls unless they already know them. Executive director of Florida New Majority advocate group Gihan Perera said that the bill would not help reform elections but instead create new barriers to voting for the Latino community and other segments of the population.
“This is again not about whats best for Florida’s elections, but it’s politicians getting in the way of solutions for democracy,” Perera says. “This has dire consequences for communities of color like the Latino and Haitian community.”
After the 2012 election, Florida lawmakers are proposing changes to elections that they say are designed to make voting easier. In addition to the limiting voter assistance, the proposed legislation gives counties the option of reinstating early voting the Sunday before the election. Senator Latvala did not immediately return request for comment on the bill. According to the Tampa Bay Times, in Senate floor debate last week the Florida Senator defended the bill and said that the change to the assistance provision came from people abusing their ability to help voters.
Full Article: Florida bill may limit outside volunteer help in elections.