Sunday, July 15, 2018
The Buzz
  • The Buzz
  • From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Study: Florida’s policies are keeping hundreds of thousands from voting

Florida is not making it easy enough for you to vote, according to a new report from the liberal Center for American Progress.

The new study, "Increasing Voter Participation in America: Policies to Drive Participation and Make Voting More Convenient," which was released Wednesday morning, details a number of policies states could enact to maximize voter turnout.

They include:

  • Automatic voter registration
  • Same-day voter registration
  • Pre-registration
  • Online registration
  • At-home voting
  • “No-excuse” absentee voting
  • Restoring voting rights to felons
  • Early voting

Florida only takes advantage of the four bolded policies, leaving untold hundreds of thousands of votes on the table every election cycle, CAP authors Danielle Root and Liz Kennedy write.

Take automatic voter registration (AVR) system, a system in which every Floridian would instantly be signed up to vote. (Only those who de-register would have their names taken off of state voter rolls.) Were such a policy to be enacted, Florida would instantly add almost 575,000 new voters, CAP estimates by extrapolating from data from Oregon's AVR system.

Another way for Florida to add hundreds of thousands of new voters? Change its policy of disenfranchising convicted felons, Root and Kennedy write, citing data from The Sentencing Project. Florida could enfranchise more than a quarter million people by giving the right to vote back to formerly incarcerated people — a figure about four times higher than the state with the next-most voters to gain.

Florida voters have an opportunity to change the state's controversial voting rights restoration process in 2018 via a ballot referendum that would amend the state Constitution. Progressive reforms like automatic voter registration are unlikely to pass Florida's Republican-controlled Legislature anytime soon.

Read more from PolitiFact: Understanding felon voting rights restoration

The CAP report goes into great detail about how certain reforms stand to benefit voter turnout in certain states, and why increased turnout is important to democracy. But Root and Kennedy caution that policies by themselves are not enough to get people to the polls. Making citizens care about the importance of voting — and aware of their options is also paramount.

"Strong civics education and integrated voter engagement programs can help to address widespread alienation by connecting voting to the issues that affect people's lives, by demystifying government, and by educating people on the electoral process and inviting them to participate," they write.

Read the entire report here.

Comments
Time for Adam Putnam to start worrying

Time for Adam Putnam to start worrying

Republican gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam has drawn thousands of Republican activists to rallies and barbecues across the state and held dozens of well-attended “Up and Adam” breakfast talks with likely primary voters.The Agriculture...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Anti-sugar candidate takes his fight to sugarís doorstep

Anti-sugar candidate takes his fight to sugarís doorstep

"Sugar corporations bear clear responsibility for the billions of gallons of toxic algae water pumping out of Lake Okeechobee and threatening public health," Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris King said after campaigning in communities most hur...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Winner and loser of the week in Florida politics

Winner and loser of the week in Florida politics

Winner of the weekSean Shaw. The Republican primary for attorney general is turning into a nasty affair, and it’s not at all clear that Ashley Moody will have enough money to fend off attacks by Frank White.  That’s good news for sta...
Published: 07/15/18
Rick Scott uses executive power in attempt to quiet beach access furor

Rick Scott uses executive power in attempt to quiet beach access furor

Amid a growing public furor in an election year, Gov. Rick Scott is using his executive powers to override a beach access law he signed in March.Scott issued an executive order Thursday that blocks state agencies under his control from taking actions...
Published: 07/13/18
Updated: 07/14/18
Russians targeted by Mueller includes source of 2016 Florida Democrats leaks

Russians targeted by Mueller includes source of 2016 Florida Democrats leaks

FBI special counsel Robert Mueller's latest round of indictments, against 12 Russian intelligence operatives, has a slew of Florida connections, including naming the source of the 2016 leaks against some Florida Democrats, including Gwen Graham....
Published: 07/13/18
How Florida could have prevented the current SunPass mess

How Florida could have prevented the current SunPass mess

Florida's SunPass electronic tolling system is a mess. The vendor who runs the system has a backlog of unprocessed charges now running into the millions, a total accumulated since it stopped processing tolls on June 1.Earlier this week, after it bega...
Published: 07/13/18
Democrats think they can take control of the Florida Senate by winning these five seats

Democrats think they can take control of the Florida Senate by winning these five seats

Democrats are spending $6 million in an effort to flip a slew of legislative seats all over the country — including five Florida Senate seats.One small issue? Democrats are losing the fundraising battle* in all five of those races.The Demo...
Published: 07/13/18
First wave of primary election ballots heads to far-away Floridians

First wave of primary election ballots heads to far-away Floridians

Primary election ballots are on their way to far-flung Florida voters who requested ballots and who live overseas or are stationed in the military.Saturday is the deadline for mailing primary ballots to overseas and military voters. In Tampa, for exa...
Published: 07/13/18
Rick Scott blocks action on beach access law he signed in March

Rick Scott blocks action on beach access law he signed in March

Gov. Rick Scott issued an executive order Thursday to block state agencies from taking action on a bill he signed into law earlier this year that critics of the measure warned from the outset could limit the public's access to beaches.Scott's order i...
Published: 07/13/18
Chris King opens St. Petersburg campaign office

Chris King opens St. Petersburg campaign office

Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign had an office there. St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman's 2017 campaign had an office there. Now Democratic governor hopeful Chris King has an office at 833 22nd St. South in St. Petersburg.King, an Orland...
Published: 07/13/18