The League Of Women Voters of Florida appears to be the first victim of the harsh voter suppression bills passed by the Florida legislature this past session. If Gov. Rick Scott signs the bill into law the Republican Party of Florida will be well on their way to accomplishing what they set out to do all along in making it difficult to register voters.
The League has decided not to proceed with it's voter registration efforts in wake of the bill's passage. The regulations in question require that newly filled out registration forms be handed in within 48 hours or face penalties, a risk that the League says it isn't willing to let its members face.
Scott hasn't said whether he will sign the bill or veto it, but something tells me he'll sign it. He's become increasingly unpopular as it is, with members of his own party voicing concern over his being clueless at running the state so far. He'll need all the votes he can get when he runs for reelection which he's already promised (or threatened) to do.
Voters will remember who took their right to vote away in the first place, especially after they've experienced the other disasters about to befall the state after the legislative session that largely worked against the voters in Florida.
You could almost envision that they saw that coming when they put together the voter suppression bills in the first place. But that would be giving them too much credit. They're not that smart. Instead they use the handy excuse the party has always relied on in the past, preventing non-existent "voter fraud."
Either way, of course Scott won't veto the bill. When you're as unpopular as Scott is, and as unpopular as Republicans in Florida will be come the next election, making it harder for the opposition to vote is just one of the ways to boost your chances. That's all they've got.
From the League Of Women Voters of Florida:
Tallahassee, FL —Today, the League of Women Voters of Florida announced that it will cease voter registration in the state of Florida upon implementation of HB 1355. For more information, please see the below statement from League president Deirdre Macnab:
It is with great regret that the League of Women Voters of Florida announces that we must cease our voter registration efforts in this state should HB 1355, the elections bill recently passed by the Florida legislature, become law.
Despite the fact that the League of Women Voters is one of the nation’s most respected civic organizations, with a 91-year history of registering and educating voters, we will be unable to comply with the egregious provisions contained in HB 1355.
Not only does the bill make it more difficult for voters to participate in our democracy via a decrease in early voting and new policies regarding address changes at the polls, it also imposes an undue burden on groups such as ours that work to register voters.
Under the false pretext of reducing “fraud,” Florida’s legislative leaders have instituted a law that will shut down the efforts of groups such as the League, the Boy Scouts, student groups, civic organizations and others who undertake the important task of helping citizens get registered to vote.
While the League remains committed to empowering an active and informed citizenry, we cannot and will not place our thousands of volunteers at risk, subjecting them to a process in which one late form could result in their facing financial and civil penalties.
By passing HB 1355, the legislature has declared war on voters. Effective immediately, the League will begin to explore legal remedies. In the meantime, the League urges Governor Rick Scott to stand up for democracy and veto HB 1355.