Harmful election bill SB956 and its companion bill HB7146 that the Republican leadership in the Florida House and Senate tried to push through the legislature in the last two weeks of the legislative session--HAVE BEEN DEFEATED. These bills would have limited the number of IDs that voters could use at the polls, restricted voter registration efforts, hamstrung petition-gatherers (who have a constitutional right to petition their government), and put almost all power over elections in the hands of the Florida Secretary of State, a political appointee.
That's just the start.
In addition, these bills would have opened the floodgates to unlimited political contributions by out-of-state lobbyists, thus making our already outrageously costly political races even more expensive and making elected offices simply baubles to be bought by the highest bidder.
Voters are waking up. Over 40 nonpartisan public interest groups around the state roused their members to call and email their state Representatives and Senators to oppose these two horrendous election bills. Newspapers all over Florida editorialized about the travesty of this naked power-grab by the already overweighted Republican majority. A team of progressive legislators led by Representative Keith Fitzgerald (D-69) and Representative Scott Randolph (D-36) worked hard to stop these bills from passing. They succeeded. Although they have a hard time passing bills voters need--such as one extending hours and locations for Early Voting sites--because they are in the minority in the legislature (isn't that odd, because there are 600,000 more registered Democrats than Republicans in this state?) at least they could stop SB956 and other harmful bills.
Thank you Keith and Scott and all those progressive legislators who fought for the voters of this state to defeat SB956 and HB7149.
Voters of all political parties owe you a debt of gratitude. Our democratic republic cannot succeed if the rights of voters are suppressed.
President, Sarasota Alliance for Fair Elections (SAFE)
Co-Founder, Florida Voters Coalition
Member, VoteTrustUSA Leaders