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Stop Florida's Worst Elections Bill in 100 Years :)
Florida is always a critical state in national elections. I am sending you an alert from Florida democracy reform activists that we work with on an urgent matter.
The legislature is about to pass a sweeping election bill that is bad for voters, bad for democracy and will risk the outcome of national elections because Florida is a swing state. As you can see in the article below "the bill suppresses voter registration, harms senior citizens by eliminating two IDs they can use at the polls, hamstrings the rights of citizens to petition their government, and opens the floodgates to outside influence peddling and excessive campaign contributions by lobbyists." And, the bill centralizes power under the Secretary of State which has been a very partisan office in Florida.
Below are actions you can take to help stop this bill.
Kevin B. Zeese
THIS IS D-DAY:
House bill 7149 (the new number) goes to the floor Friday, April 24th.
The challenge now is to reach local legislators...all over the state.
It is going to be an uphill battle, but your calls can help. Call your LOCAL REPRESENTATIVE THURSDAY, April 23rd, and tell them to VOTE NO ON HB7149. You can also call and leave a message this evening (Wednesday) or early morning.
Find your senator and representative here:
1) Calling is better than emailing. Leave your NAME and CITY, so they know you are a constituent.
2) Keep your message short and to the point:
"Hi, my name is ___________________. I live in _______________________,
Florida. I am a CONSTITUENT of Senator/Rep. _______________________. Please
ask Senator/Rep.__________________ to OPPOSE SB 956 / HB 7149. (If you speak
with them), say "Can you please tell me how the Senator/Representative plans to
vote? [Wait for answer. Note answer.] Thank you for your time."
3) Find your senator and representative here:
CALL YOUR REPRESENTATIVE FIRST to VOTE NO on HB7149, then call your Senator to VOTE NO on SB956. The Bill will be heard in the Senate early next week.
4) THANK YOU FOR YOUR HELP!
More on the bill:
FLORIDA ELECTIONS BILL
Bad for voters and democracy
By KINDRA MUNTZ
Published: Wednesday, April 22, 2009 at 1:00 a.m.
It's time for voters to call their legislators.
The Florida Legislature may have crawled with myopic vision on critical problems of renewable energy, tax reform, property insurance, health care, and the budget, but it suddenly has a spring in its step and a laser-beam focus at the end of the session as it tries to push through a sweeping election bill that is bad for voters and bad for democracy.
Senate Bill 956 and its companion bill in the House were introduced late last week and raced through committees hurriedly after shutting off public comment. They may go to the floor of the House and Senate today.
The bill, which has been described as "the worst elections bill in 100 years," suppresses voter registration, harms senior citizens by eliminating two IDs they can use at the polls, hamstrings the rights of citizens to petition their government, and opens the floodgates to outside influence peddling and excessive campaign contributions by lobbyists. And it could cost voters more. That's only the beginning. Is that progress?
The worst feature of the bill is that it gives almost unlimited control over elections to the Florida secretary of state, and deprives citizens of their right to reform the local elections process in their communities.
Citizens of Sarasota County voted in 2006 to have paper ballots and random audits of election machine counts, to make sure elections are verifiable and voting machines are working properly. That makes sense. Our county charter amendment still hangs in the balance, waiting for a decision from the Florida Supreme Court.
SB 956 attempts to kill that amendment for good, and the voter protections it gave us. This bill would invalidate existing safeguards enacted at the local level and kill all future protections that citizens may fight for at the city or county level as they strive for open, fair elections, free from the influence of lobbyists and outrageous campaign spending.
It would hurt third-party voters who voted overwhelmingly for instant runoff voting in the city of Sarasota -- to save money on runoff elections, reduce negative campaigning and give third-party candidates a chance to compete.
Voters of all political parties should be able to field worthy candidates for public office, and know they have a chance to be elected.
Voters of all political parties should be able to hold our current public officials accountable.
Voters of all political parties should be able to petition for election protections if our Legislature and secretary of state don't provide them.
Now is the time for voters in Sarasota County and all Florida counties to call their state representative and state senator and tell them to VOTE NO on SB 956. Then call Gov. Charlie Crist to VETO this dangerous bill if it ever gets to his desk.
Kindra Muntz is president of the Sarasota Alliance for Fair Elections and co-founder of the Florida Voters Coalition. On the Web:
This story appeared in print on page A11
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