The Voting Rights Saga in Florida Continues - Advancement Project - Advancement Project

The Voting Rights Saga in Florida Continues

Advancement Project National Office Testifies at Congressional Hearing on the State of Voting Rights in Florida

Judith Browne Dianis testifies at Congressional Hearing on the State of Voting Rights in Florida

“As we’ve learned in Florida, it’s too late after the vote is taken and counted to protect the civil rights of people of color.  And the problem is, the federal government is not watching.”

On Monday, May 6, 2019, Advancement Project National Office testified before the U.S. House Committee on Administration in Miami during a hearing on the status of voting rights in Florida. As Judith Browne Dianis, our executive director, detailed in her testimony, Florida is a battleground in access to the polls. The state has a history of intentionally limiting access to the ballot box – and in a way that disproportionately disenfranchises voters of color.

In 2006 & 2007, Florida’s rigid matching requirements for voter registration disenfranchised tens of thousands of otherwise eligible voters, disproportionately Latinx, Haitian American, and African-American. During this period, 65 percent of the unmatched rejected applicants were either Latinx or African-American, even though Latinx communities comprised only 15 percent of the applicant pool and African Americans only 13 percent of the pool.  Advancement Project National Office litigated on behalf of the Florida NAACP & the Haitian-American Grassroots Coalition. As a result, 16,000 unmatched voter applicants were added to the rolls on the eve of the registration deadline.

In 2011, Florida cut the number of early voting days and eliminated the final Sunday before Election Day, when Souls to the Polls programs increase Black voter turnout. The law’s cuts to early voting led to long lines and massive wait times on Election Day in 2012. These cuts impacted 102-year-old Desiline Victor who waited more than three hours to vote. She was later recognized by President Obama in his 2013 State of the Union Address.

In 2012, Florida attempted to purge thousands of voters from its voter rolls by using a flawed data matching process that wrongly targeted eligible citizens – disproportionately people of color. Advancement Project National Office research found that 87 percent of the people on Florida’s purge list were people of color and more than 50 percent were Latinx. We joined forces with LatinoJustice PRLDEF to bring a lawsuit that stopped the mass purge.

Last week, Florida’s legislature passed a bill undercutting Amendment 4, a ballot measure overwhelmingly approved by voters that automatically restores the voting rights of Floridians with past felony convictions. Gov. Ron DeSantis plans to sign the legislation into law. We won’t stop fighting for the voting rights of every Floridian. This month, we’re hosting five community hearings to amplify the voices of voters who faced challenges voting during the 2016 and 2018 midterm elections. Look out for this announcement!

“We know Congress must act to protect the voting rights of the people of Florida and elsewhere in the country. Just because voter turnout has increased, doesn’t mean that we have overcome,” said Judith Browne Dianis during the hearing. Advancement Project National Office is committed to acting in this moment as well.

Advancement Project National Office was honored to testify along with other panelists including former Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, Marleine Bastien of Fanm Ayisyen Nan Miyami, Inc. and Nancy Batista of Mi Familia Vota.

Watch our hearing remarks below. Explore our latest report, Democracy Rising, to see how felony disenfranchisement harms Florida’s Black communities and creates a web of disempowerment.

KEEP READING

Advancement Project Releases Poll and Focus Group Data on Gen Z Voters of Color Spanning Four States

Advancement Project Releases Poll and Focus Group Data on Gen Z Voters of Color in Michigan, Florida, Georgia, and Virginia Issues that rose to the top include abortion access, the economy, and systemic racism and discrimination WASHINGTON D.C. – Today, Advancement Project released findings from a poll and focus groups of Gen Z voters of color (Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and Asian American and Pacific Islander) in Michigan, Florida, Georgia, and Virginia ahead of the upcoming midterm elections. This survey was conducted by HIT Strategies in September 2022.  “We know that when our…

Read More
BREAKING: Court Denies Motion from Civil Rights Groups Challenging Georgia’s Voting Line Relief Ban

GEORGIA – The United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia denied a motion for a preliminary injunction to suspend the line relief ban in Senate Bill 202. Line relief is the practice of distributing food, water and other support to voters stuck waiting in line at a polling place. The plaintiffs include local Black faith leaders and Georgia civil rights groups. In response, Jess Unger, Staff Attorney for the Power and Democracy program at Advancement Project National Office, released this statement: “The criminalization of people providing food and water to voters who are waiting to cast their…

Read More
Hearing in Lawsuit Challenging Georgia Anti-Voting Rights Law Weighs Impact of Line Relief Restrictions

GEORGIA —  The United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia will be hearing motions for a preliminary injunction in the consolidated litigation challenging SB 202 (In Re Georgia Senate Bill 202). This hearing will consider the “line relief” provision that criminalizes those who provide voters waiting in line with food and water, which disproportionately impacts communities of color in Georgia who face some of the longest waiting times at the ballot box in the country.  SB 202 creates significant barriers for Black, Latinx and other voters of color…

Read More
Advancement Project National Office Condemns New Anti-Voting Rights Law in Florida that Creates Office of Election Crimes, Mandates Special Voter-Fraud Police Officers

FLORIDA – Moments ago, Governor DeSantis signed into law a bill passed by the Republican Florida legislature that claims to fight “voter fraud” by creating an Office of Election Crimes and mandating the appointment of “special” members of law enforcement.  This comes on the heels of the conclusion of a trial challenging SB 90, another anti-voting rights measure in Florida. This law was successfully challenged in court by several national and Florida civil rights and voting rights groups, including Advancement Project. Similar anti-voting rights bills…

Read More
Civil Rights Organizations Celebrate Decision in Florida Voting Rights Trial

Chief U.S. District Judge Mark Walker released a landmark decision today in the nationally-watched voting rights trial on Florida’s SB 90 bill to strike down key provisions of the law. This restrictive voting law passed by the Republican-majority legislature and Gov. DeSantis  would have put in place new constraints on the use of drop boxes and organizations conducting voter registration drives, among other measures that would significantly hinder access to the vote for millions of state residents.

Read More
Trial Challenging Florida’s SB 90 Voter Suppression Law Begins Today

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. —  A trial challenging SB 90 (League of Women Voters v Lee), a Florida measure to make it harder and in many ways impossible for Black and Brown people to vote, kicked off on Monday, Jan. 31. This is one of the first trials of the year challenging anti-voting laws at the state level. It comes just as national voting rights efforts have stalled, with the Senate recently failing to change rules on the filibuster to pass voting rights.  SB 90 was passed by the Republican-controlled Florida Legislature and Gov. Ron DeSantis in spring…

Read More
Advancement Project National Office Statement on the Senate’s Failure to Pass Voting Rights Legislation

WASHINGTON — Last night, the Senate blocked the Freedom to Vote John R. Lewis Act from advancing to a final passage vote. In response to this, Judith Browne Dianis, Executive Director of the Advancement Project National Office released this statement: “Last night, all 50 Senate Republicans and two Senate Democrats voted to maintain the filibuster and block the Freedom to Vote Act and John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act from advancing to a final vote. These bills would protect voters and undo many of the barriers and restrictions that bar thousands of Black, Latinx, Asian, and…

Read More
Advancement Project National Office: “Passing voting rights legislation will protect right to free, fair, and accessible elections”

Washington, DC — In response to President Biden’s speech in Georgia today on voting rights legislation and the filibuster, Judith Browne Dianis, Executive Director of Advancement Project National Office, issued this statement: “While President Biden’s speech in Georgia today rings the alarm on voting rights, we need to put out the fire by immediately changing Senate rules on the filibuster to pass voting rights legislation.  “The urgency of this moment cannot be understated. Black voters and other voters of color need concrete action on voting rights immediately. Over 400 state-level bills undermining the right to vote were introduced last…

Read More
Advancement Project National Office Applauds the Passage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act

CONTACT Jeralyn Cave [email protected] 202-921-7321 WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 4, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. The legislation restores key provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and helps prevent racial discrimination in voting by requiring states to obtain federal approval before enacting specific types of voting changes known to be racially discriminatory. The legislation also restores voters’ ability to challenge racial discrimination in court. Advancement Project National Office, a national racial justice and civil rights organization, released the following statement: “We applaud the efforts of the U.S.

Read More
Congress Must Combat New Wave of Voter Suppression, Pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act

On Monday, the U.S. House Judiciary hosted a hearing on H.R. 4, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act (VRAA), discussing the need to restore federal oversight of elections in the wake of a new wave of voter suppression sweeping the nation.

Read More