Thursday, May 19, 2011

NAACP Against Scott Signing Voter Suppression Bill

The Florida chapter of the NAACP sent out a press release voicing their disapproval of Gov. Rick Scott signing HB 1355. The bill shortens early voting, makes it more difficult for voter registration groups to operate, and does not allow voters that have moved to vote on the day of the election. People that have moved or changed their last name would have to use a provisional ballot. Provisional ballots usually are never looked at and thrown out.

(Miami, FL.) – The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is outraged that Gov. Rick Scott signed HB1355, a bill that actively seeks to disenfranchise racial and ethnic minorities, women, the elderly, the working poor, and young Americans in the voting process.

“The NAACP is outraged that Governor Scott signed this bill that blatantly and maliciously attacks, restricts and suppresses the voting rights of Florida’s racial and ethnic minorities, women, students and working communities,” said NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous. “We are calling upon all Floridians to stand up for the rights of all Florida citizens and repeal this deplorable new law.”

Newly enacted, HB1355 will restrain voting rights on multiple fronts. First, the bill would limit voters to only casting provisional ballots if they wish to change their address or name at the polls (provisional ballots in Florida are not counted at alarmingly high proportions). Second, the legislation cuts the number of days of early voting by more than half (from 13 to 5). More than 2.6 million people voted early in the 2008 elections. Finally, the law imposes overburdening regulations on organizations like the NAACP seeking to register voters.

“I am disappointed that such a disenfranchising bill, with such damaging implications has been signed into law by Governor Scott,” remarked NAACP Chairman Roslyn M. Brock. “One of the most sacred rights as an American is the right to cast an unfettered vote for your elected representative and this right should be protected. This bill is not consistent with the democratic promise of our nation or the American Dream.”

“This bill is an egregious attempt by misguided state legislators to suppress the voting rights of women, minorities and the poor by forcing them to jump though excessive hoops to exercise their constitutional right to vote,” stated Adora Obi Nweze, President of the Florida State Conference of the NAACP. “The NAACP Florida State Conference is calling for the repeal of this discriminatory bill so all Floridians can exercise their constitutional right to cast an unfettered ballot.”

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