ACLU was involved in multiple legal challenges to voter suppression policies, is seeking broader reforms to make Florida elections fairer
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 17, 2013
CONTACT: ACLU of Florida Media Office, 786-363-2737, email@example.com
MIAMI - Today, Governor Rick Scott issued a statement expressing a desire to reform elections in Florida, identifying “More Early Voting Days,” “More Early Voting Locations,” and “Shorter Ballot” as targets for reform.
The ACLU of Florida had been involved in multiple legal challenges to voter suppression policies signed and enforced by Governor Scott and his administration. The following statement on election reform may be attributed to Howard Simon, Executive Director of the ACLU of Florida:
“Politicians are usually hesitant to take responsibility for errors they have made, and many of the embarrassments that we saw in the November election would not have happened without Governor Scott’s signature and his administration spending taxpayer dollars to defend the legislature’s voter suppression tactics. So while it is heartening to see that the governor is willing to start a discussion about addressing flaws in our state’s election system, that conversation can’t stop here.
“The governor’s suggestion to correct the problems that he helped create is not the same as real election reform. The proposals put forth in the governor’s statement are a step in the right direction, but they are too narrow in scope and there are critical details missing. The governor must clearly outline how he plans to address the shortage of election equipment as well as the need for uniform voting rules across the state to ensure that our elections are fair. Short of that, these proposals will do nothing to prevent another election like 2012; or even 2000.
“The ACLU of Florida is committed to defending voting rights and fair elections – the backbone of our democracy – not just in the courts, but also by advocating for real election reform. If the governor is really interested in election reform, he must take this opportunity to make other needed changes as well. We need to expand qualified Floridians’ access to vote with laws providing for more places where people can register, as well as allowing for same-day registration. We must also address the many Floridians who saw their votes tossed out last year by changing laws regarding people who accidentally went to a wrong precinct to vote. Finally, we must address the lifetime disfranchisement program that has prevented over a million formerly-incarcerated Floridians from fully reintegrating into our communities by denying them the right to vote.
“Real election reform cannot be limited to solving the problems that were created in the months before the 2012 election. There are serious flaws in the way that our state manages elections that need to be addressed to make sure our democracy is free and fair. The governor has said that his plan for reform ‘is not limited to’ the three issue areas he outlined. We hope that he will work with voting rights advocates to solve these other problems and make elections fair for all citizens. To do otherwise would be a tragic missed opportunity for democracy in our state.”
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