Articles about voting issues in Florida.

Florida: Head of State Elections Supervisors “Very Pleased” With Rollout of new Online Voter Registration System | The Capitolist

A week after Florida rolled out its new online voter registration system, the president of the state association representing election supervisors says she is “very pleased” with with the way the new system has been received and how it has performed. “To my knowledge, we’ve not had any issues. I have tried to keep in touch with the other counties and listen to anything that might be coming through, but I don’t know of anything,” said Taylor County Elections Supervisor Dana Southerland, who also serves as the president of the Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections. Florida is the 36th state to offer an online registration system. The system was activated on Oct. 1. Read More

Florida: State’s population grows but list of active voters shrinks. Here’s why. | Bradenton Herald

Even as Florida attracts hundreds of new residents every day, the state’s pool of active voters is actually shrinking. This paradox is easily explained. All 67 counties must periodically scrub the voter roll to make it more accurate and to be sure voters live where they say. Counties can’t do that close to an election, so they do it in non-election years. Turns out, that’s good news for Republicans and bad news for Democrats. In Florida, a revolving-door state where people are constantly coming and going, the roster of active voters keeps changing. The voter roll expands in a presidential election year, when political parties are aggressively signing up voters, and it shrinks the following year, only to grow again, then shrink, like an accordion. Read More

Florida: Will Florida Banish the Ghost of Jim Crow? | The Atlantic

Next year, Florida voters may finally right a wrong first perpetrated 150 years ago by racist state legislators who were desperate to deny equality to African Americans. Voters may enfranchise almost 1.6 million fellow Floridians; or they may retain an approach that long-dead white supremacists conceived to disenfranchise blacks, an approach that is still spectacularly successful at diluting their political power. This particular historical evil began after the Civil War, when white-supremacist legislatures were resisting efforts to treat blacks as fellow humans with equal rights and dignity. Though attempts to block the 14th Amendment failed, and though the Reconstruction Act of 1867 forced Florida to add an article to its state constitution granting suffrage to all men, creative racists kept many blacks from the ballot box with educational requirements and a lifetime voting ban for convicted felons, knowing blacks had been and would be abused by the criminal-justice system. Read More

Florida: St. Petersburg passes historic campaign finance limits, faces likely legal challenge | Tampa Bay Times

After four hours of debate, the St. Petersburg City Council voted to become a pioneer in local campaign finance reform Thursday and likely invited a legal challenge that could end up in the U.S. Supreme Court. A measure championed by City Council chairwoman Darden Rice and supported by Mayor Rick Kriseman, currently locked in what has become by far the most expensive race in the city’s history, would limit individual political action committee contributions to $5,000 and ban donations from companies that are more than 5 percent foreign owned. The 6-2 vote, with council members Jim Kennedy and Ed Montanari voting no, was a moment of high drama with Rice and council member Charlie Gerdes personally imploring their colleague, Amy Foster, to set aside her concerns about enforcement and join them. Read More

Florida: Leaders consider proposed Florida Constitution amendment to let more felons vote | Naples Daily News

Members of the Florida Constitution Revision Commission have taken initial steps toward loosening restrictions on felon voting rights. Under a proposed amendment, offenders who have served their sentences, including prison time, parole and probation, would have their voting rights automatically restored. The revision would apply only to felons who have committed nonviolent and nonsexual crimes. Proposed amendments must be approved by 22 commissioners to be placed on the 2018 ballot. Measures then must receive 60 percent of the vote to pass.  Read More

Florida: Closed primary elections draw scrutiny | News Service of Florida

As Florida’s population grows and more residents shun traditional party affiliations, voters are befuddled, if not angry, about the state’s closed-primary system, including the use of write-in candidates, three local elections supervisors testified Wednesday. “When it comes to the primary election, our voters are confused,” Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes told the state Constitution Revision Commission’s Ethics and Elections Committee. Many new voters move to Florida from other states with more open voting systems as opposed to Florida’s closed primaries, which are restricted to voters who are registered with parties. Florida is one of nine states using a closed-primary system. “We have people coming from all over the country, and they bring with them the experiences that they have had and what they know,” Snipes said. “It’s difficult for them to understand.” Read More

Florida: Amendment to end “write-in candidate loophole” advances | Palm Beach Post

The Florida Constitution Revision Commission got off to a cautious start Monday, advancing only two of more than 1,400 constitutional changes that had been filed by the public. The commission, which meets every 20 years and has the power to put constitutional amendments on the 2018 general-election ballot, voted to give further consideration to a measure to close the so-called “write-in candidate loophole” in state election law and to an amendment that would remove obsolete language related to a failed high-speed rail plan. Commissioner Sherry Plymale of Palm City asked the commission to give preliminary support to an amendment (700396) from Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg that seeks to end the practice of closing party primaries when a write-in candidate is on the general election ballot. Read More

Florida: Should Florida Restore Felon Voting Rights? | HuffPost

Nearly 1.7 million Florida citizens are permanently disenfranchised from voting in state and federal elections because of being former felons. Disenfranchisement has climbed from 2.6 percent of the state’s adult citizens in 1980, to 10.4% today, the highest rate in the nation, including one in five adult African Americans.[i] A pending Voting Restoration Amendment would automatically restore the right of all Florida’s former felons to vote after they complete parole and probation, except for those convicted of murder or felony sexual offences. If approximately 680,000 signatures are gathered by December 31, 2017, the Amendment will be included on Florida’s November 2018 ballot to be decided by Florida citizens. Read More

Florida: Once called too risky, Florida online voter registration finally arrives | Tampa Bay Times

Florida is now the 35th state in the U.S. where people have the option to register to vote or to update their registration online. The system went live Sunday, more than two years after the Legislature passed a bill requiring online registration to take effect by Oct. 1, 2017. … Applicants are required to provide information, such as the date their driver’s license was issued and the last four digits of their Social Security number. The 2018 election for U.S. Senate and governor will be the first in Florida to use online registration. The new option has been years in the making. County election supervisors lobbied for it for years, saying it will save money, improve accuracy of voter rolls and improve convenience for voters. But Gov. Rick Scott’s administration strongly resisted it, citing “potential risks and challenges” and the possibility of cyber-attacks, more than a year before Russians attempted to hack the state’s voting system in the 2016 election. Read More

Florida: Ex-senators pitch voting rights amendment | Florida Politics

Former state Senate Democratic leaders Arthenia Joyner and Chris Smith have filed a measure with the Constitution Revision Commission that would restore voting rights to felons who have served their time and completed any other post-prison requirements. Joyner, a Tampa lawyer, and Smith, a Fort Lauderdale lawyer, are members of the commission, which can place state constitutional amendments directly on the 2018 general-election ballot. Under the proposal, voting rights for convicted felons would be restored “upon completion of all terms of a sentence including parole and probation.” Felons convicted of murder or a sexual offense would be excluded from the automatic voter restoration under the amendment. Read More