On Friday, we delivered nearly 6,000 signatures on our joint petition with Florida Watch Action to Governor Rick Scott and the Florida State legislature, demanding real electoral reform now, including returning to 14 days of early voting.
But this issue doesn’t stop here. On March 5th, the first day of the legislative session, there will be rallies all over Florida. If you’re in Florida, click here to find a Free The Vote rally near you!
It is outrageous that voters in Florida were forced to wait in long lines — some up to 10 hours long. There were even some voters in Miami-Dade County who were still in line until 1:30 a.m., long after President Obama was declared a winner.
And these long lines had consequences. According to a recent report, an estimated 201,000 Floridians were deterred from voting on Election Day.1 That’s just wrong.
Since he was elected, Governor Rick Scott has sought to make it increasingly difficult to vote — particularly for minorities, senior citizens and young people. First, he made registering voters prohibitively complicated.2 Then, he purged hundreds of thousands of voters from the rolls — many of which were eligible to vote.3 And his final act to suppress the vote was to shorten early voting hours, including canceling the Sunday before Election Day, which historically is a day that many African American churches take their members to the polls.4
The right to vote in this country is fundamental to our Democracy. It is fundamental to what this country is founded on and since the inception of this country, we have consistently worked to extend that right to all Americans. That is, until now.
1 – “Analysis: 201,000 in Florida didn’t vote because of long lines,” Orlando Sentinel, January 29, 2013
2 – “Rick Scott’s Anti-Voter Effort Grinds Democratic Registration To A Halt,” Think Progress, August 28, 2012
3 – “Fl Supervisor of Elections: Gov. Scott’s Voter Purge Will Remove Eligible Voters From Rolls,” Think Progress, May 26, 2012
4 – “Charlie Crist: Rick Scott’s Refusal to Extend Early Voting is ‘Indefensible,” The Huffington Post, November 4, 2012