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Category: Florida (page 1 of 4)

Florida Online Voter Registration: Cybersecurity vs. Burdening Eligible Voters

By: Alannah Shubrick

In 2015, the Florida Legislature passed a bill permitting Floridians to register online to vote. Two years later, registertovoteflorida.gov  finally went live in October. Now, Florida is one among 35 states that allow voters the option to register to vote online. The new online voter-registration system is part of broad efforts across the state to modernize the Florida voter registration system and enable all eligible Floridians to join the electorate.

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Florida Former Felons Form Franchise Focus

By: Alannah Shubrick

All men are created equal. Then, some of those men go forth into the world and commit felonies. While felons in Maine or Vermont can cast ballots from the comfort of their prison cells, those convicted of felonies in Florida permanently lose their ability to vote.

Florida is one of only four states that permanently disenfranchise felons. Each of these states has procedures whereby individual felons can apply for clemency. However, in Florida, felons must wait an additional five years after completing the terms of their sentence before applying for clemency consideration. Then, only about 8% of clemency requests are granted.

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Florida Activists Seek Re-Enfranchisement for Felons

By: Ethan Emery

With regards to the right to vote, a fair amount of press time has been spent on the ongoing situation surrounding the voting rights of felons in Virginia. Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe has attempted to return voting rights to thousands of Virginia felons, even in the face of a countermanding Supreme Court order. However, a little further South, a much larger group of the disenfranchised is seeking similar reforms.

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Federal Court Order Leads to Last Minute Surge in Florida Voter Registration

By: Ethan Emery

The month of October saw an election case with the potential for a serious impact on the 2016 election resolved in federal court. The result was a week-long extension of voter registration. This case arose in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew as a direct result of the natural disaster’s effect on the state.

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Election Law Program Pilots Three Online Platforms of State Election Codes in Colorado, Florida and Virginia

Wondering what the Virginia election code has to say about campaign volunteers and others at the polls? Want context on statutes that govern when voter registration ends in Florida? Curious about how Colorado election statutes impact voter registration lists?

In advance of next month’s election, the Election Law Program, a joint project of William & Mary Law School and the National Center for State Courts, is piloting three online platforms of state election codes in Colorado, Florida and Virginia. Teams of election experts have annotated their state’s election code to give context for how the law operates in these states. In addition, case law, regulations, advisory opinions, and administrative guidance are linked to relevant statutes to provide a full picture of how election codes in Colorado, Florida, and Virginia function.

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Crafting Competitive Criteria: The Institution is Critical

By: Benjamin Williams

With the rapid increase in political polarization in recent years, momentum is building in several states to dramatically alter the redistricting process after the 2020 Census. True to the idea of the states being laboratories of democracy, there have been state constitutional amendments in Florida, partisan gerrymandering challenges in Wisconsin, Maryland, and North Carolina, redistricting criteria bills in Virginia, as well as a myriad of racial gerrymandering challenges. But the new idea—based on a blend of Iowa-style and Florida-style redistricting—is to create stringent criteria for legislatures to follow. That idea is simple enough: if the redistricting body (legislature, independent redistricting commission, college students, etc.) is forced to follow strict criteria when redistricting, the result will be “better” districts that aren’t ugly and are more competitive. But does the data actually bear this out?

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The Fantasy of the Hispanic Voting Bloc in Florida and Its Implications on Redistricting

All across the country for the last few years, whenever politicians or the media talk about minority groups, they talk about the “Hispanic Vote,” lumping all Hispanic voters into a single group. But this statement is problematic for the United States, particularly in a state like Florida, in the context of redistricting, because Hispanic voters are not like other minority voters. Unlike black voters, Hispanic citizens, despite their shared language, are not one single homogenous block of voters. They come from different countries, have different cultures, and identify as different races. In fact, certain groups of Hispanics from some countries share strong animosity against groups of Hispanics from other countries. These differences, reflected in some Hispanic voting patterns, make it difficult for state legislatures to comply with the Voting Right Act when drawing district lines, but it can make it even more difficult for Hispanic plaintiffs to challenge districts because of the case law enunciated in Thornburg v. Gingles (1986). Gingles requires that a plaintiff challenging a state for violating §2 of the Voting Rights Act must prove that a minority is sufficiently large, politically cohesive, and that the majority votes as a block against the minority to prove vote dilution.

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When States Gerrymander, Everyone Loses: The Fight Over Florida’s Fifth Congressional District

FloridaFlorida’s Fifth Congressional District is quite a sight to behold. Beginning in Jacksonville, it runs south all the way to the outer edges of Orlando, also managing to scoop up part of Gainesville on the way. The District twists and turns, becoming very narrow and then very wide, so that one must wonder, what could be the motivation behind such an oddly shaped district? Unsurprisingly, the answer is gerrymandering. Unfortunately, the 5th District is an example of gerrymandering at its worst but there is hope. The shape of the 5th District may be changing very soon, but, in the meantime, nobody in either major political party will likely be happy with the district and average citizens are hurting when their community interests are not fairly represented.

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State of Elections Goes on Spring Break Hiatus

The writers and editors of State of Elections are currently on our spring break hiatus. We will return with new content soon.

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Another Election, Another Voting Controversy in Florida

By Nick Raffaele:

At this point, most everyone is familiar with Florida’s comically pitiful track record when it comes to administering elections. The state certainly earned this reputation when it suffered what is probably its most notorious voting disaster in 2000, and Broward County in particular has consistently maintained poor performance ever since. The county was a standout in 2000 when it used lackadaisical standards in reviewing contested punch card ballots containing dimpled chads, and even included these unclear votes in their certified results. Broward doubled down on their anything goes attitude towards elections in 2003, when they sent mail-in ballots to voters who had moved and sparked fear of fraudulent votes. Continue reading

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