Racial Justice Orgs to FL Governor Ron DeSantis: Make Emergency Accommodations for Presidential Primary Election Due to COVID-19 Pandemic - Advancement Project - Advancement Project

Racial Justice Orgs to FL Governor Ron DeSantis: Make Emergency Accommodations for Presidential Primary Election Due to COVID-19 Pandemic

CONTACT
Jeralyn Cave, Advancement Project National Office, [email protected]
(202) 921-7321

Shanae Bass, Demos, [email protected]

Civil Rights Organizations Threaten Legal Action to Ensure All Voters Can Participate in FL Presidential Primary Election

TALLAHASSEE, FL—Yesterday, a coalition of racial justice organizations filed a letter with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Secretary of State Laurel M. Lee, demanding immediate changes to the state’s upcoming Presidential Primary Election procedures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The letter, submitted by Dream Defenders, New Florida Majority, Organize Florida, Advancement Project National Office, and Demos requests accommodations for voters statewide and threatens legal action to protect the voting rights of those directly and indirectly impacted by Florida’s subsequent State of Emergency.

“Florida’s Presidential Primary Election is tomorrow and unless immediate action is taken by the state, millions of voters could be disenfranchised,” said Rachel Gilmer, co-director of Dream Defenders. “Thousands of young people who anticipated voting on or near their college campuses were abruptly sent home last week and Florida’s leadership has disregarded them entirely. Other states with primaries on Tuesday have shown leadership we have yet to see from Florida. These students have now missed the deadline to request an absentee ballot and it is only fair that we provide them an opportunity to vote by mail. We must extend the vote by mail deadline until March 27 or we run the risk of massive voter suppression this primary.”

The joint letter recommends the Secretary of State immediately amend Florida’s vote-by-mail process by:

  • Extending the deadline for people to request a vote-by-mail ballot to March 27th;
  • Allowing voters to request ballots be sent to them via e-mail or fax consistent with military and overseas voter procedures;
  • Allowing third-party individuals to collect ballots from those utilizing vote-by-mail and drop off these ballots at the drop boxes mentioned above; and
  • Allowing voters to submit their ballot via fax.

“Approximately 112 polling places have been moved or consolidated including many at assisted living facilities,” said Andrea Mercado, Executive Director of New Florida Majority. “We understand that these closures are to protect public health, but it will create confusion, make lines longer at existing locations and will force people to travel farther. Extending and expanding vote by mail is common sense.”

Racial justice groups also cited quarantine requirements of Floridians with COVID-19 and a reduction in the number of poll workers available for Election Day duties as major voting barriers. To ensure all voters are able to cast a ballot, the groups also demand the state;

  • Contact all voters whose polling places have changed as a result of site relocations. Supervisors of Elections should also attempt to station a poll worker at each of the former voting sites to alert voters that the polling place has changed;
  • Permit voters to vote curbside with a paper ballot;
  • Give poll workers discretion to permit voters from vulnerable populations (senior citizens, voters who are immunocompromised, etc.) to move to the front of the line of waiting voters; and
  • Allow people utilizing vote-by-mail to submit their ballots at a variety of drop boxes, including drop boxes at polling sites that are not their precincts.

“We are in uncharted territory. With the declaration of a state of emergency and the serious risks posed by COVID-19, many Floridians who had planned to vote in person will be unable to vote unless the state takes immediate action,” said K. Sabeel Rahman, president of Demos. “Voters need accommodations for vote-by-mail and protective measures at the polls now.”

“The state must move swiftly to protect Floridians’ health and right to vote,” said Judith Browne Dianis, Executive Director of Advancement Project National Office. “This is not business as usual. Floridians are entitled to have their voices heard this election, and it is imperative that the state provides voters with an array of options to cast their ballots.”

###

Advancement Project National Office is a next-generation, multi-racial civil rights organization. Rooted in the great human rights struggles for equality and justice, we exist to fulfill America’s promise of a caring, inclusive and just democracy. We use innovative tools and strategies to strengthen social movements and achieve high impact policy change. Visit www.advancementproject.org

Demos is a dynamic think-and-do tank that powers the movement for a just, inclusive, multiracial democracy. Through cutting-edge policy research, inspiring litigation, and deep relationships with grassroots organizations, Demos champions solutions that will create a democracy and economy rooted in racial equity. To learn more visit www.demos.org.

The New Florida Majority (NewFM) is an independent political organization working to increase the voting and political power of historically marginalized and excluded constituencies toward an inclusive, equitable, and just Florida. For more information on NewFM, please visit our Website at www.newfloridamajority.org

Dream Defenders is an organization of multiracial, young people in Florida founded in the wake of Trayvon Martin’s murder that are organizing towards a new vision for safety away from prisons. To learn more about us, please visit dreamdefenders.org.

KEEP READING

Florida Voting Rights Organizations Prepare for Legal Showdown in Statewide Elections Trial

A coalition of racial justice organizations filed a trial brief documenting the gross inaction of the state of Florida in making voting changes amidst the coronavirus pandemic.

Read More
Racial Justice Organizations Condemn ‘Catastrophic’ Georgia Primary Election

The state’s primary was a nightmare and the perfect example of how not to run an election.

Read More
Former Virginia Commissioner of Elections Files Brief in Support of Absentee Ballot Accommodations Made by Commonwealth in Wake of COVID-19

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Advancement Project National Office and Hogan Lovells filed an amicus brief and declaration on behalf of Edgardo Cortés, Virginia’s first Commissioner of Elections, in support of the absentee voting accommodations made by Virginia to protect voters from potential exposure to the novel coronavirus. The brief, filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in Thomas Curtin v. Virginia State Board of Elections, urges the court to deny a preliminary injunction sought by plaintiffs several weeks into the absentee voting process for the state’s June 23rd primary. “Plaintiffs now…

Read More
Democratizing Voter Protection

  Access to the ballot gives Black and Brown communities power in the matters that affect their lives. State and local election officials that administer elections are critical players in ensuring access to the ballot. Year-round accountability with these election officials and following up on potential barriers is the only way to ensure smooth and inclusive elections. Advancement Project continues to lead the charge for free, fair and assessable elections, learning from the failed election administration practices and partisan political practices from the 2000 election debacle. We have a permanent presence on the ground working alongside grassroots and faith based civic engagement organizations, which register,…

Read More
Racial Justice Groups Take Legal Action Against FL Governor Ron DeSantis Demanding Changes to Upcoming Elections Due to COVID-19 Pandemic

CONTACT Jeralyn Cave, Advancement Project National Office, [email protected], (202) 921-7321 Shanae Bass, Demos, [email protected] Christiaan Perez, LatinoJustice PRLDEF, [email protected], (212) 739-7581     Civil Rights Organizations Renew Call for Emergency Accommodations for State’s August and November Election.  TALLAHASSEE – Today, a coalition of racial justice organizations renewed legal action against Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Secretary of State Laurel M. Lee, demanding emergency accommodations to the state’s election procedures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The updated complaint, filed by Dream Defenders, New Florida Majority, Organize Florida, Advancement Project National Office, Demos and…

Read More
Racial Justice Organizations to GA Governor Brian Kemp: Make Emergency Accommodations for Upcoming Elections Due to COVID-19 Pandemic

CONTACT Jeralyn Cave [email protected] (202) 921-7321 Civil Rights Organizations Demand Action to Ensure All Voters Can Safely Participate in GA Presidential Primary and State Elections ATLANTA, GA—Today, New Georgia Project and Advancement Project National Office filed a letter with Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, demanding immediate changes to the state’s upcoming primary election procedures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The letter requests accommodations for voters statewide and demands action to protect the voting rights of those directly and indirectly impacted by Georgia’s first public health state…

Read More
Racial Justice Organizations Issue Statement on Second Florida Ruling Denying Extension of Vote-By-Mail Deadline Amidst COVID-19 Pandemic

CONTACT Jeralyn Cave, Advancement Project National Office, [email protected], (202) 921-7321 Shanae Bass, Demos, [email protected] Christiaan Perez, LatinoJustice PRLDEF, [email protected], (212) 739-7581 Litigation is still ongoing to seek accommodations for future elections TALLAHASSEE, FL—On Wednesday, March 18, 2020, a U.S. District Court judge for the Northern District of Florida denied a second motion filed by a group of racial justice organizations to protect the right to vote of all Floridians impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Advancement Project National Office, Demos, and LatinoJustice PRLDEF filed the latest motion on Tuesday on behalf of Dream Defenders, New Florida Majority,…

Read More
Civil Rights Organizations File Lawsuit to Extend Florida Primary Election Vote-By-Mail Deadline Amidst COVID-19 Outbreak

CONTACT Jeralyn Cave, Advancement Project National Office, [email protected], (202) 921-7321 Shanae Bass, Demos, [email protected] Christiaan Perez, LatinoJustice PRLDEF, [email protected], (212) 739-7581 Group wants vote-by-mail deadline extended to March 27, citing state’s failure to make accommodation for those impacted by the current public health crisis TALLAHASSEE, FL—Civil rights organizations have filed a renewed petition in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida against Governor Ron DeSantis and Secretary of State Laurel M. Lee to require the state to extend the vote-by-mail deadline for Tuesday’s Presidential Preference Primary in Florida in the wake of the…

Read More
Racial Justice Organizations Issue Statement on Florida Ruling Denying Emergency Voter Accommodations Amidst COVID-19 Pandemic

CONTACT Jeralyn Cave, [email protected] 202-728-9557 TALLAHASSEE, FL—On Tuesday, March 17, 2020, Judge Robert Hinkle of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida denied a motion filed by a coalition of racial justice organizations to protect the right to vote of all Floridians impacted by the COVID-19 Pandemic. The complaint, filed by Dream Defenders, New Florida Majority, Organize Florida represented by Advancement Project National Office, Demos, and LatinoJustice PRLDEF, requested Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Secretary of State Laurel Lee extend the deadline to request and submit Vote-by-Mail ballots, extend early voting, and allowing…

Read More
Civil Rights Organizations File Lawsuit to Ensure Floridians Impacted by COVID-19 Can Participate in Presidential Primary Election

CONTACT Jeralyn Cave, Advancement Project National Office, [email protected], (202) 921-7321 Shanae Bass, Demos, [email protected] Christiaan Perez, LatinoJustice PRLDEF, [email protected], (212) 739-7581   TALLAHASSEE—Today, a coalition of racial justice organizations filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida against Governor Ron DeSantis and Secretary of State Laurel M. Lee for refusing to make reasonable voting accommodations for Floridians impacted by COVID-19. In a motion submitted by Dream Defenders, New Florida Majority, Organize Florida, Advancement Project National Office, Demos, and LatinoJustice PRLDEF plaintiffs allege the state’s failure to extend vote-by-mail deadlines, adjust…

Read More