Concealed guns at Tampa Bay Buccaneers games, local bars and even voting booths could be commonplace under a sweeping measure introduced this week in the Florida Legislature. With the recent, tragic history of the Pulse nightclub massacre last June in Orlando and the Fort Lauderdale airport shooting last month, two conservative Republican lawmakers want to do away with all of Florida’s “gun-free zones” — 15 locations in state law where concealed weapons are currently prohibited. Sen. Dennis Baxley of Ocala and Rep. Don Hahnfeldt of the Villages have proposed eliminating all state-imposed restrictions on where Florida’s concealed weapons permit holders can carry their guns — with the goal of allowing businesses, institutions and people to have greater control over their own protection, Hahnfeldt said.
Articles about voting issues in Florida.
Lynn Dierksen of Orlando was surprised to get a new voter ID card in the mail this week which revealed she was suddenly without a party. The Independent Party of Florida, founded in 1992, was stripped of its official status because it didn’t use a certified public accountant to audit its finances in 2014. “I really don’t like the change going out without people being informed,” said Dierksen, who had to call the Orange County Supervisor of Elections office to learn why she no longer belonged to the Independent Party. “Right now, with what’s going on with politics, I’m just suspicious of everything.”
There may be one more statewide office for Florida voters to select the occupant of soon. Senate Joint Resolution 882, filed by Aaron Bean, proposes an amendment to the Florida Constitution for direct election of Florida’s Secretary of State starting in the 2022 election. The Bean bill also would elevate the Secretary of State to a Cabinet position in June 2019. The language of the legislation denotes a perceived flaw in the current model: “Currently, the secretary is appointed by and serves at the pleasure of the Governor and is not a Cabinet member.
Florida: Invalid votes for president spike in Florida, outnumbering Trump’s margin of victory here | Tampa Bay Times
Beyoncé, Tim Tebow or the Norse god Thor for prez? Those were some of Florida’s more unusual picks for president this past election. And the number of Florida voters who didn’t cast a vote for either Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton or any other valid contender spiked in 2016, apparently in protest over the ballot choices. A report released by state officials Wednesday showed more than 161,000 Florida voters who took part in the elections either at the polls or by mail didn’t cast a valid vote for president. The “non-valid votes” include those who wrote in such names as Mickey Mouse or Bernie Sanders and others who simply left the ballot blank. It also includes those who voted for more than one candidate.
Beyonce, Tim Tebow or the Norse god Thor for prez? Those were some of Florida’s more unusual picks for president this past election. And the number of Florida voters who didn’t cast a vote for either Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton or any other valid contender spiked in 2016, apparently in protest over the ballot choices. A report released by state officials Wednesday showed more than 161,000 Florida voters who took part in the elections either at the polls or by mail didn’t cast a valid vote for president. The “non-valid votes” include those who wrote in such names as Mickey Mouse or Bernie Sanders and others who simply left the ballot blank. It also includes those who voted for more than one candidate. All told, the invalid ballots outnumbered Republican Trump’s margin of victory over Democrat Clinton of nearly 113,000 votes to clinch Florida’s 29 electoral votes. And the rate of invalid votes for president in 2016 — 1.69 percent overall — was more than double the rate it was in 2012 and 2008 when President Barack Obama won the state each time.
Florida: Joint House resolution would restore felon voting rights after three years | Florida Politics
A new joint resolution in the House would allow felons the right to vote in Florida three years after their sentence is up. The resolution by Rep. Al Jacquet of West Palm Beach would, if passed on the next general election (or a special election specifically for this) ballot, amend the statutes on voting to extend the right to felons. A previous resolution failed to even make it on the ballot in 2016 due to not getting the required number of signatures in time by Florida Rights Coalition President Desmond Meade, who spearheaded the movement to do so.
President Donald Trump’s unfounded claims that millions of people voted illegally in November brought a torrent of criticism Wednesday from Florida elections experts and legislators, who demanded a federal investigation they say will prove Trump wrong. On his sixth day in office, Trump took to Twitter to say he will seek a “major investigation into VOTER FRAUD, including those registered to vote in two states, those who are illegal and even those registered to vote who are dead (and many for a long time).” At least three in Trump’s inner circle fit his description of voter fraud. His chief campaign strategist, Stephen Bannon, was registered in New York and Florida until Wednesday. His nominee to run the Treasury department, Steven Mnuchin, is registered to vote in New York and California, CNN reported. And his own daughter, Tiffany Trump, has been registered to vote in two states, New York and Pennsylvania. Florida Democrats pounced. In a letter sent Wednesday to Gov. Rick Scott’s top elections official, Senate Democratic leader Oscar Braynon urged a state investigation of voter fraud “in the interests of reassuring the citizens of this state and Mr. Trump that his election to the presidency was beyond reproach.”
Florida: Does Stephen Bannon live in Sarasota County? Because he’s registered to vote here | Herald Tribune
One of the most powerful men in America happens to be a resident of Sarasota County. We think. His name is Stephen K. Bannon, the scruffy-faced senior adviser to our new president. Maybe you’ve heard of him. But has anyone actually seen him? In particular, has anyone ever seen him at 3108 Casey Key Road, though probably not asking neighbor Stephen King to borrow a cup of sugar, considering King once wrote on Twitter: “My newest horror story. Once upon a time there was a man named Donald Trump and he ran for president.” Anyway, this is where Bannon lives, or is supposed to live, still, according to the Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections office. It’s the address listed on his voter registration form, effective Aug. 25. There is only problem: Bannon is also registered to vote in New York City, listing a home address on West 40th Street, and according to a spokesman for the New York State Board of Elections, he voted there in November by absentee ballot. That means he voted in New York while still registered in Sarasota County, where he did not vote. His voting status in both places remains active, records show.
A bill filed Thursday in the Florida Senate would fast-track court rulings in challenges to electoral district boundaries, while requiring current boundaries to be used if the ruling isn’t rendered in a timely fashion. Senate Bill 352, filed by Elkton Republican Travis Hutson, seeks to resolve uncertainty among candidates and voters alike – a utilitarian measure in the light of high-profile recent challenges to Florida Senate boundaries as well as to those of the United States House of Representatives. Challenges to boundaries in legislative races must be given an expedited hearing, according to the bill.
While Dave Jacobsen’s introduction hung in the air, more than 60 people rose to their feet for a standing ovation for Ion Sancho. Jacobsen had said the Leon County Elections Supervisor will be long remembered for his efforts to make voting easier and the ability to run a problem-free election. Sancho’s term as supervisor ends Tuesday. While Sancho was not available for comment for this story because his wife passed away on Wednesday, his decades-long career speaks for itself. Back in May 2016, Sancho beamed as he walked to the lectern at the Leon County Public Library. He wore an American flag bow tie. He’s an internationally-recognized elections experts and was featured in an HBO documentary 10 years ago. “The most basic civil right, no other right stands if you don’t get to vote for who represents you in government,” he said earlier when asked what he was going to talk about. Sancho has been strumming the same chord for 30 years — leafing through notebooks and recordings of radio, television or newspaper interviews the song remains the same. On this particular afternoon in May the chorus he wrote for the mix of retirees, downtown office workers, and university students was a ditty about career politicians and their bureaucratic henchmen attacking democracy’s foundation — fair, transparent elections.