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Tallahassee, FL – A State Affairs Committee elections bill filed Monday introduced legislation that would prohibit drop boxes for people to turn in their absentee or vote by mail ballots unless they are in the physical offices of county supervisors of elections or at an early voting polling place during hours when early voting can occur. If passed, PCB SAC 6 would ban almost all drop boxes that have worked effectively and safely in previous Florida elections.

The drop boxes have not gotten the attention of other aspects of the bill. But State Voices Florida condemns the banning of drop boxes and urges all legislators in the House and Senate to oppose it.  It will make it harder to vote in Florida, but won’t make our elections more secure.
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February 16, 2024
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A strong and healthy democracy reflects the will of the people. It gives everyone an equal opportunity to participate and have their vote counted, regardless of race, gender, wealth, or social status. It ensures that all voters have the ability to advocate for themselves and their communities.   It depends on all of us to take part and strengthen our democracy together, and science has a crucial role to play. The science of elections can help us identify evidence-based best practices to improve voter access, increase public trust in the election process, and ensure fair representation so that elected officials can be held accountable to the interests of their voters.  Past UCS work has called out the role of disinformation in weakening our democracy, the dangers of artificial intelligence in elections, and how voting restrictions harm public health. The 2024 election will have consequential outcomes and we want to ensure that everyone eligible can vote and
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February 12, 2024
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TALLAHASSEE — While saying Florida has repeatedly changed laws to “target” ways Black voters cast ballots, a federal judge Thursday closed the door on allegations that key parts of a 2021 elections law were unconstitutional. Chief U.S. District Judge Mark Walker issued a 17-page order after the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last year overturned a ruling in which he found the law improperly discriminated against Black voters. The Atlanta-based appeals court sent the case back to Walker to address two major issues. Walker, in Thursday’s order, appeared to criticize the appeals court for “reweighing” facts in the case. But he entered a judgment in favor of the state, concluding that plaintiffs had not met a legal test for showing that the changes in the law “unduly burden” First Amendment and equal protection rights.
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February 8, 2024
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State Voices Florida was proud to take part in a rally in support of the Harry T. and Harriette V. Moore Voting Rights Act at the Florida Capitol on Wednesday, February 7. We want to extend our thanks to Equal Ground and  the NAACP of Florida for planning and putting on this event. It was a joyous occasion with many different organizations coming together in solidarity.

While it has no chance of passing this session, it will be the most important piece of voting rights legislation in the history of Florida whenever it does become law.

The legislation is named in honor of Harry T. and Harriette V. Moore, two of Florida’s most important voting rights advocates who died championing the right to vote for Black Floridians.

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February 8, 2024
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State Voices joined with other supporters outside of the Florida Supreme Court in support of Amendment 4. This is the abortion ballot initiative that would legalize reproductive freedom in the Florida Constitution. The Florida Supreme Court reviewed the ballot language on Wednesday, February 7. As Communications Director Larry Hannan explains in the video below, the Supreme Court reviewed whether the ballot language was clear for voters.

Larry was one of the many who showed up for the Supreme Court oral argument to show their support for reproductive freedom. Now that the ballot signature requirement has been achieved we still have the challenge of getting people to the polls in November. Polling shows that the majority of Floridians support Amendment 4, but we must get to 60% to win.

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What: An Invitation from Equal Ground, Florida Rising, SPLC  Action Fund, All Voting is Local, ACLU Florida, and the NAACP to a Press Conference and Voting Rights Rally calling for the passage of the Harry T. and Harriette V. Moore Voting Rights Act (Senate Bill 1522 and House Bill 1035). When: February 7, 2024 at noon. Where:  House Plaza (north side) at the Capitol, Tallahassee, FL. Featured Speakers: Senator Geraldine Thompson and Representative Lavon Bracy-Davis, sponsors of the legislation. Please RSVP here.
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January 30, 2024
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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A federal appeals court on Tuesday declined to reconsider its decision that would prevent private groups from suing under a key section of the Voting Rights Act, prompting a potential fight before the U.S. Supreme Court over a ruling that civil rights groups say erodes the law aimed at prohibiting racial discrimination in voting. The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of appeals denied the request for the case to go before the full 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals after a panel ruled 2-1 last year that only the U.S. attorney general can enforce Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. The Arkansas Public Policy Panel and the Arkansas State Conference NAACP, which are challenging Arkansas’ new state House districts under the law, have argued last year’s ruling would upend decades of precedent and would remove a key tool for voters to stand up for their
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January 28, 2024
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High turnout in previous elections has caused states like Florida to take steps to reduce access to voting. As the 2024 election approaches, organizers are working hard to preserve voting rights in states that have made it drastically more difficult to vote.  After record voter turnout in 2020, several states, including Georgia, Florida, and Iowa, took steps to make voting more difficult. Some reduced drop box access, and others limited vote-by-mail or shortened voting times. Voting rights organizations across the country are fighting to curb the impact of these laws by challenging them in court while also trying to help voters navigate obstacles that keep them from exercising their democratic right.
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A federal judge stopped the enforcement of a Florida law in July that bans non-U.S. citizens from collecting or handling voter registrations. Now, the voting rights advocates are preparing to defend their temporary victory in an appellate court on Thursday. Florida Secretary of State Cord Byrd and Attorney General Ashley Moody filed an appeal of U.S. Chief District Judge Mark Walker’s decision to stop the enforcement of the law just days after it went into effect. The appeal is set to be heard on Jan. 25 in the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta, Georgia.
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – As democratic ideals and values continue to face attacks from extremist politicians, Senator Geraldine Thompson (D-Orlando) and Rep. LaVon Bracy Davis (D-Orlando) proudly announce legislation to protect democracy and ensure equal access at the ballot box: the Harry T. & Harriette V. Moore Florida Voting Rights Act (SB 1522/HB 1035).
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Tallahassee, FL – Last week Senate Bill 1752 was introduced. This legislation would limit access to vote by mail, which is now available to any registered voter who requests it. State Voices Florida opposes this legislation. We believe everyone should have the right to vote, and voting should be simple and easy. SB 1752 will make it more difficult for all Floridians to vote regardless of their politics.
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A senator in Florida is pushing a bill that would make it more difficult to vote by mail.  Currently, people who want to vote by mail in the state of Florida simply register to vote and request a mail-in ballot.  However, Senate Bill 1752, filed by state Sen. Blaise Ingolia, would change that system with one word: eligibility. The bill says a qualified absent voter may vote by mail if, on election day and during early in-person voting, the absent voter expects to be: It’s a move that Ramon Perez, the executive director of the nonprofit organization Digital Democracy Project, believes would limit access to voting.
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December 18, 2023
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WASHINGTON, Dec 18 (Reuters) – A U.S. government report on Monday found that hackers linked to Russia and China targeted some election systems during the 2022 midterms, but found no evidence that foreign governments compromised the vote. The U.S. Justice Department and Department of Homeland Security issued a public report concluding that no foreign government or agent undermined the security or integrity of election systems. The report found that pro-Russian activist hackers claimed to have temporarily restricted access to the website of a state election office. Hackers the United States accused of having links to China also scanned both election related and non-election related state government websites, the report found.
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December 14, 2023
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TALLAHASSEE — Voting-rights groups Wednesday night asked the Florida Supreme Court to take up a battle about the constitutionality of a congressional redistricting plan and to quickly decide the case as the 2024 elections loom. Attorneys for the groups and other plaintiffs argued in a brief that the Supreme Court should reject a Dec. 1 ruling by the 1st District Court of Appeal that upheld the plan, which Gov. Ron DeSantis pushed through the Legislature in 2022.
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December 11, 2023
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Progressive advocacy groups in Arkansas on Monday asked a full federal appeals court to reconsider a three-judge panel’s ruling that private groups can’t sue under a key section of the federal Voting Rights Act. The Arkansas Public Policy Panel and the Arkansas State Conference NAACP asked for the case to go before the full 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals after a panel ruled 2-1 last month that only the U.S. attorney general can enforce Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.
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December 6, 2023
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WASHINGTON (AP) — Congressional Democrats have introduced legislation that would allow people convicted of a felony to vote in federal elections, a proposal that if enacted could restore the voting rights of millions of people in U.S. elections. Rep. Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Sen. Peter Welch of Vermont submitted the legislation, named the Inclusive Democracy Act, on Tuesday which would guarantee the right to vote in federal elections for all citizens regardless of their criminal record.
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December 5, 2023
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WASHINGTON — Kaylie Martinez-Ochoa arrived at an elementary school at 5 a.m. on Election Day barely awake for duty as a poll worker in northern Virginia. The 22-year-old recent college graduate spent hours at the polling site earlier this month helping check in hundreds of voters. Despite the exhausting day, Martinez-Ochoa plans to do it again in 2024 and hopes more young people will join the pool of much-needed poll workers.
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December 3, 2023
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It has been more than a year since Gov. Ron DeSantis announced the arrests of 20 people across the state who allegedly voted illegally in 2020 elections. DeSantis touted the arrests as cracking down on election fraud, a national hot-button issue for Republicans after former President Donald Trump’s loss in the 2020 election and his subsequent false claims of voter fraud. However, not long after the arrests were announced, judges started dismissing cases, ruling that the Office of Statewide Prosecution did not have jurisdiction.
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December 1, 2023
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A Florida appeals court upheld Gov. Ron DeSantis’ congressional redistricting map, finding a lower state court should have dismissed a lawsuit challenging North Florida’s districts. Even though DeSantis’ lawyers admitted his map violated the state constitution by diminishing Black voting power, the First District Court of Appeal said state voting protections shouldn’t apply to a Jacksonville-to-Tallahassee congressional district ordered by the Florida Supreme Court last decade.
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Today is Giving Tuesday, a global generosity movement unleashing the power of people and organizations to transform their communities, and that is what we hope to do, transform communities. State Voices Florida is a  statewide civic engagement organization committed to bringing together progressive Non Partisan organizations to work together in building power around civic issues.  If the progressive movement works together and speaks with one voice, great things will happen. We believe everyone should have the right to vote, and voting should be simple and easy. We also support reproductive rights, environmental justice, criminal justice reform, economic justice and affordable housing for everyone. Along with our partner organizations, we use data and technology, people-powered campaigns, and coalitions to collectively build a multiracial democracy that allows every Floridian to thrive and live in their full dignity. We are a member of the State Voices Affiliated Network, a network of state-based coalitions,
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November 28, 2023
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The 2024 presidential election is a full year away – and many of the rules that will govern the pivotal contest have already been written. The past three years make up one of the most prolific periods for election legislation in American history. Over 560 new laws governing our elections – many of them containing pages and pages of changes – have become law in states all across the country.
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November 27, 2023
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Andrea Mercado, the executive director of Florida Rising, a nonpartisan nonprofit that leads civic engagement and helps to educate and register voters in Black and Latino communities, is just as blunt in her assessment of the leading GOP contender. “(Trump) built a campaign stoking racial animus with a promise to deliver solely for white working-class voters, and we saw corporations and the rich get richer and others hurt in the process,” Mercado said. “If he wins, we enter a new chapter in American history, as his playbook is no friend to marginalized people.”
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November 20, 2023
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A divided federal appeals court on Monday ruled that private individuals and groups such as the NAACP do not have the ability to sue under a key section of the federal Voting Rights Act, a decision that contradicts decades of precedent and could further erode protections under the landmark 1965 law. The 2-1 decision by a panel of the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals based in St. Louis found that only the U.S. attorney general can enforce Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which requires political maps to include districts where minority populations’ preferred candidates can win elections.
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November 17, 2023
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In the last decade, the U.S. overall and the South specifically have become more racially diverse, according to the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau. An analysis from the nonpartisan Brennan Center for Justice found that racially-diverse states governed by Republicans are more likely to implement restrictive voting policies. And three of the 10 states that had the highest diversity index in 2020 are in the South: Florida, Georgia, and Texas.  All three are controlled by Republican governors and legislatures that have passed restrictive voting laws disproportionately affecting communities of color. So far this year, at least 14 states have implemented laws making it more difficult to cast a ballotthat will be in place for the 2024 election.
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November 16, 2023
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Last fall, the Movement Advancement Project released The ID Divide: How barriers to ID impact different communities and affect everyone. The analysis outlines in grave detail how barriers to obtaining IDs can impact one’s daily life, including voting, which communities are most harmed by restrictive policies and the ways that policymakers can address systemic inequities and barriers that make IDs inaccessible for too many Americans. Photo by Judson McCranie
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November 16, 2023
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Civil rights groups and local leaders are kicking off a campaign to register more Black Floridians to vote in the next election.
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November 16, 2023
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Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody unholstered one bogeyman after another in urging the state Supreme Court to deny Floridians even the opportunity to vote on a proposed constitutional amendment enshrining abortion rights. Her legal brief in a procedural matter is a nakedly political assault on privacy, freedom, medicine — and even the English language itself. The court should see through this maneuvering and allow Floridians to address this issue through the democratic process.
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November 15, 2023
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Four advocacy groups have gone to an appeals court after a federal judge rejected a lawsuit challenging a Florida requirement for “wet” signatures on voter-registration forms. Vote.org, the Florida Alliance for Retired Americans, the Florida NAACP and Disability Rights Florida filed a notice last week that was a first step in appealing the Oct. 30 ruling by U.S. District Judge Allen Winsor. As is common, the notice did not detail arguments the groups will make at the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
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November 11, 2023
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One in 5 voters with disabilities either needed assistance or had difficulty voting in 2022 — three times the rate of people without disabilities, according to the most recent survey from the U.S. Election Assistance Committee (EAC). The survey report, “Disability and Voting Accessibility in the 2022 Elections,” highlights the difficulties faced by the estimated 30 million Americans with disabilities who are eligible to vote and the subsequent negative impact on their civic engagement.
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November 10, 2023
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In Marion County, Fla., elections supervisor Wesley Wilcox has stopped using the word “misinformation.” Not because lies or misleading rumors about elections are any less prevalent in his county than the rest of the country. Wilcox says he regularly interacts with groups that aim to find what they see as rampant fraud in elections.
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November 6, 2023
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As a minority voter in the United States, I have experienced firsthand the detrimental effects of gerrymandering on our democratic process. Gerrymandering, a practice that involves manipulating electoral boundaries to favor a particular political party, has long been a cause for concern. With reference to the insightful article from the NYC Daily Post on the overview of political segregation and gerrymandering, I will shed light on how this practice disproportionately affects minority communities.
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