Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Letter to House Speaker Larry Cretul regarding elections legislation

From the House Dems:

Dear Speaker Cretul:

On behalf of the House Democratic Caucus, I strongly urge you to halt any action in the Florida House of Representatives pertaining to PCB-EDCA 09-08 (a bill to amend election laws) other than to return this measure to committees and councils for more thorough analysis, public testimony and debate.

In its current form, this legislation will create new barriers to the voting process and drastically limit citizen involvement in elections and government.

The bill has been developed in near secrecy and was rushed through the legislative committee process in a manner that dishonors our stated efforts to conduct the people’s business in a fair and transparent manner.

As you know, there is nothing more sacred than the right to vote – and any legislation pertaining to this right deserves to be treated with extraordinary care and caution. Therefore, there is no need for this legislation to be rushed to the House floor without adequate review and public testimony.

As for the merits of the legislation, members of the House Democratic Caucus and numerous voter-advocacy and public interest groups see no justification for the radical changes entailed in this measure. Among other things, this bill would:

- Hurt third-party voter registration efforts;

- Make it much harder for grassroots groups to use the citizens’ initiative process;

- Restrict nonpartisan election protection programs;

- Weaken campaign finance laws and make lawmakers less accountable to the public;

- Reduce transparency in the funding of political advertisements;

- Eliminate voters’ ability to vote a regular ballot on Election Day;

- Restrict the list of accepted forms of identification for voter registration and identification at the polls; and

- Restrict the ability of the governor to extend early voting.

On behalf of our constituents throughout Florida, I respectfully request your urgent consideration of this matter.


Franklin Sands
House Democratic Leader

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