Statement on HB 7013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:           April 23, 2013
CONTACT:      ACLU of Florida Media Office, media@aclufl.org, (786) 363-2737
Stacie B. Royster, Lawyers’ Committee, (202) 662-8317, sroyster@lawyerscommittee.org

 The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida released the following statement regarding a provision in HB 7013 that would restrict election assistance:

An amendment to HB 7013, sponsored by Senator Jack Latvala, would restrict election assistance by requiring a voter to know their assistor prior to Election Day and limiting the number of voters an assistor can assist to 10 voters during any election. We sent this letter to members of the Florida Senate identifying the relevant legal provisions that the Senate should bear in mind and the effects the amendment may have upon future elections.

Statement from Bob Kengle, Co-Director of the Voting Rights Project, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law:

 “This amendment would create an unnecessary barrier to voting for Floridians who need assistance and place additional pressures on election officials causing delays and confusion.  It will also conflict with a number of provisions in the Voting Rights Act of 1965.   We urge the Legislature to recommit to fixing the laws that led to the election meltdown in 2012, and to stop creating new problems.”

Statement from Howard Simon, Executive Director, ACLU of Florida:

“What started out as an acknowledgement by Gov. Scott and the Legislature that their tampering with voting laws created the mess of last November’s elections and a commitment to fix it has now morphed into the Legislature making a bad situation worse.

There is no better example than the last minute amendment Sen. Jack Latvala inserted to limit assistance to voters at the polls.  The amendment clearly violates the Voting Rights Act and, if passed, will trigger a legal challenge by either the Department of Justice or voting rights groups like the ACLU – or both!”

About the Lawyers' Committee

The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (Lawyers’ Committee), a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, was formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to involve the private bar in providing legal services to address racial discrimination. We are celebrating our 50th anniversary in 2013 as we continue our quest of “Moving America Toward Justice.” The principal mission of the Lawyers' Committee is to secure, through the rule of law, equal justice under law, particularly in the areas of fair housing and fair lending, community development, employment; voting; education and environmental justice.  For more information about the LCCRUL, visit www.lawyerscommittee.org.

About the ACLU of Florida

The ACLU of Florida is freedom's watchdog, working daily in the courts, legislatures and communities to defend individual rights and personal freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.  For additional information, visit our web site at: www.aclufl.org.

 ###