May 9, 2011- One of the oldest and most respected third party voter registration groups in the country just announced they will cease voter registration Florida after the passage last week of a bill that will attach significant civil penalties to voter registration groups (like the NAACP, the Boy Scouts and other civic groups) in the name of combating "fraud". It will now be difficult to change your registration if you move to another county in Florida and nobody will be going to help college students or minorities register.
“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,” said LWV President Deirdre Macnab, of Orange County.
“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.”
The bill requires third-party voter registration groups such as the League of Women Voters, unions and the NAACP to turn in voter-registration cards within 48 hours or face fines. Voter groups have said that requirement would be difficult to meet if they are registering thousands of voters at a time.
Critics have said that will make it harder for college students and minorities who flocked to the polls in 2008 to elect President Barack Obama to have their votes counted in next year’s presidential election.
Macnab went on to say the organization ”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.”