Two Florida counties are asking a court to throw an amendment off the November ballot that asks voters around the state to overrule decisions made by their local voters on which of their officials should be elected. In separate lawsuits filed this month in Leon County Circuit Court, Broward and Volusia counties are asking the court to invalidate Amendment 10, the proposal placed on the November ballot by the Republican-controlled Constitution Revision Commission. The two counties argue that the proposal unconstitutionally misleads voters because it fails to explain that if approved, voters in Broward and Volusia counties would be stripped of their right to govern themselves.
Articles about voting issues in Florida.
Florida: Secretary of State wants lawsuit over early voting ban on college campuses moved to state court | Orlando Weekly
Secretary of State Ken Detzner is asking a federal court to let the state courts decide a dispute over whether early voting sites should be allowed on state university or college campuses. In May, the Florida League of Women Voters filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Tallahassee, alleging the constitutional rights of students at the University of Florida and Florida State University were being violated by a 2014 interpretation of a state law by Detzner’s agency that found early-voting sites were not specifically authorized on university campuses. The lawsuit alleged the state was placing “an unjustifiable burden on the voting rights of hundreds of thousands of eligible Florida voters” and that Detzner’s policy “disproportionately” impacted the state’s younger voters.
Gov. Rick Scott’s administration fired back in federal court Friday, seeking to undercut a League of Women Voters lawsuit over early voting on college campuses. The League last month sued Scott’s chief elections official, Secretary of State Ken Detzner, whose office in 2014 interpreted state law to exclude state university buildings from a list of sites available for early voting. Florida allows early voting at elections offices, city halls, libraries, fairgrounds, civic centers, courthouses, county commission buildings, stadiums, convention centers, government-owned senior centers and government-owned community centers. But buildings on state college and university campuses? No. Democrats tried to include them as early voting sites, but Republicans blocked the proposal.
Florida: After two months, Florida’s election security money is approved in one day | Tampa Bay Times
Well, that was fast. It took Gov. Rick Scott’s administration two months to formally apply for $19.2 million in election security money. It took the feds one day to approve the request. The U.S. Election Assistance Commission on Monday released a letter it sent to Sen. Marco Rubio that said the EAC “has reviewed Florida’s disbursement request and approved the request in one working day. We expect funds will be in Florida’s account this week.” … The money will be divided among the state and all 67 counties to improve security procedures to help detect threats to voting systems, such as the attempted phishing emails in at least five counties in 2016 that a federal agency said was the work of Russian hackers.
Following a meeting with U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, who has called elections supervisors “overconfident”, Florida election officials say they have security in place to prevent foreign actors from tampering with this year’s election. In 2016, suspected Russian hackers got into a Tallahassee company. It provides support to the majority of the state’s elections supervisors. At least five suspicious emails were intercepted before they were opened in county supervisor’s offices. Mark Early was one of the supervisors meeting with U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, “We don’t think we want a repeat of 2016 where there was information out there that could have been helpful to us, but we can’t get our hands on that data to make good decisions on how to handle any threats we may not know about, so we are doing our best,” said the 32-year veteran elections official. Supervisor told Rubio they were prepared.
On a muggy 90-degree day in 2013, Virginia Atkins traveled to Florida’s state capitol building in Tallahassee to ask Gov. Rick Scott for her voting rights back. Dressed conservatively in a black blouse, blue dress with a palm tree print and thick, horn-rimmed glasses, the 44-year-old waited nearly three hours before a clerk called her number: 36. Atkins, accompanied by her adult daughter, approached the podium and timidly greeted the governor. “It’s been 10 years since these charges,” she began, referring to a 2001 conviction for aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. “I’ve served my time. I’m working. I’m a grandmamma. I’m going to be a grandmamma to twins.” Atkins smiled and touched her daughter’s belly. “I work every day,” she continued. “I’m active in the community. I stay out of trouble.” She paused and bit her lower lip, seeming to swallow her tears. Scott asked why she did it. “I was protecting my daughter at the time,” Atkins said, explaining an incident involving a woman spitting on and slapping her 13-year-old daughter, Kashandra Nixon.
Florida formally asked the federal government Wednesday for $19 million in election security money, one week after Gov. Rick Scott directed the state’s top election official to request it and two months after the feds announced the money was available. Secretary of State Ken Detzner signed the letter that went to Washington. The Department of State released a three-page letter that made Florida the 17th state to apply for its share of a $380 million pot of money included in a spending bill that President Donald J. Trump signed two months ago.
Gov. Rick Scott and Florida’s three elected Cabinet members Friday mounted a new legal defense of the state’s 150-year-old system for restoring the voting rights of convicted felons. In a filing with the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, the four Republican state officials said U.S. District Judge Mark Walker repeatedly “erred” and abused the court’s discretion when he struck down the system as unconstitutional in March. Walker had ordered the state to create a new clemency system for felons within 30 days, but on the night before the deadline, a three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit stayed Walker’s order, which criticized the existing system for being arbitrary and for giving the governor too much power over every case.
The people who run Florida’s elections used to fret about having enough poll workers and voting machines. Now they talk about incident response teams and threat detectors. They buy expensive sensors that can detect malicious intruders bent on creating havoc. They field sales pitches from election vendors selling cyber-insurance. It may be a matter of time before elections workers have to pass a Level 2 criminal background check — just to be on the safe side. Absentee ballots are important, but so are “hacktivists,” computer hackers on a social or political mission. “A cyber attack is like a hurricane,” said Klint Walker, a U.S. Department of Homeland Security cyber expert. “It’s always brewing out there.”
Sixteen states have formally applied for federal money to improve their election security in advance of the 2018 vote. Florida is not yet one of them. The state’s chief elections officer, Secretary of State Ken Detzner, says: “We’ve been working on it daily.” The state hasn’t specifically said why up until this week it hasn’t sought the money. Gov. Rick Scott on Wednesday ordered Detzner to seek Florida’s $19 million share of a $380 million fund, part of a spending bill that President Donald J. Trump signed in March. Scott also directed Detzner to hire five cyber-security experts.