Howard Simon was appointed Executive Director of the ACLU of Florida on October 1, 1997. Dr. Simon was raised in New York, and graduated from the City College of New York. He received a Ph.D. degree from the University of Minnesota in legal and political philosophy and social ethics.
Prior to his appointment as Executive Director of the Florida affiliate of the ACLU in 1997, Simon served as Executive Director of the Michigan affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union since 1974.
Prior to his work with the ACLU, he taught philosophy at the University of Minnesota and was a faculty member in the Department of Philosophy and Religion at DePauw University in Indiana.
As Executive Director of the Florida affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union, Simon has overall responsibility for ACLU’s legal, public education, legislative lobbying, and membership and fund-raising programs.
During Simon’s tenure with the ACLU, the organization has been involved in cases and controversies dealing with school vouchers, charter schools, religious practices in the public schools, abortion rights, the Terri Schiavo case as well as physician-assisted suicide, and numerous controversies involving freedom of speech.
The ACLU has been extensively involved in addressing the need for electoral reforms in Florida. The organization played a key role in securing the end of the use of paperless electronic voting systems in Florida, leading to the 2008 election in which every county used the optical scan system. The organization has also led efforts to end Florida’s policy requiring the lifetime voting ban of former felons.