Voters to Florida Secretary of State Browning: No Match - No Vote is Bad Enough, Don’t Make It Worse
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By Florida Voters Coalition
October 02, 2008
Florida Voter Groups Praise County Supervisors For Helping Voters Urge State to Clear The Path
Voting rights advocates today called on Secretary of State Kurt Browning to allow county Supervisors of Elections to implement the No Match – No Vote law in a way that reduces burdens on voters and increases the chances that unmatched voters who show photo ID at the polls will have their votes counted. Groups praised county Supervisors for making efforts to allow voters to resolve failed matches by showing identification when they appear to vote at Early Voting and on Election Day.
“We believe that the county Supervisors of Elections are doing their best to ensure that no eligible voter has their vote needlessly thrown out because of bureaucratic red tape,” said Jean Robert LaFortune, President of the Haitian-American Grassroots Coalition, a plaintiff in a lawsuit challenging the no-match law. “This is expected to be a very busy election, with huge voter turnout, and with so much to do in so little time, Supervisors trying to help voters can’t afford wasted efforts, They should be permitted to allow unmatched voters to correct their matching deficiency at the polls on Election Day and vote with a regular ballot,” LaFortune said.
“We are concerned that Secretary Browning will prevent Supervisors from allowing unmatched voters to resolve registration issues at the polls,” said Adam Skaggs of The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, co-counsel in a lawsuit challenging the no-match law. “If voters are forced to take a second step at another time to show their identification, it punishes them and doesn’t stop voter fraud, which is what this law was supposed to be about. Secretary Browning should not prevent Supervisors from doing everything they can to ensure that eligible voters, who have proven their identity by showing photo ID, can cast a regular ballot and have their votes counted like everyone else,” Skaggs said.
“The law is already bad enough and should be suspended,” said Pam
Haengel, Vice President and Co-founder of Florida Voters Coalition.
“But it certainly does not need to be made worse by further restricting
how it is implemented. We applaud Supervisors trying to ensure all
eligible voters can vote a regular ballot, and call on the State to
clear the path so they can do so. A simple word to Supervisors that
they can accept valid voter ID at Early Voting sites and Election Day
polling places, and then allow voters to cast regular ballots, will do
it,” Haengel said.
The groups said it is also crucial that Supervisors continue their
efforts to send notices to all unmatched voters who need to clear up
any failed matches by submitting a copy of their driver’s license or
Social Security card. “Unmatched voter applicants should make every
effort to ensure that their registrations are complete before they go
to the polls,” said Elizabeth Westfall of Advancement Project,
co-counsel in a lawsuit challenging the no-match law. “We urge
Supervisors to notify all voters currently shown as unmatched,
including those to whom letters have already been sent, that they can
correct their status by bringing their identification with them when
they appear to vote on Election Day, and reminding them what
identification they need to bring”
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