Ken Detzner Suppresses Early Voting at University of Florida
:"I just can't understand why they feel the need to be so restrictive about where people are allowed to vote ... This is strategic. They're worried about young people voting." Lori Edwards, Polk County Supervisor of Elections. Edwards was speaking on Secretary of State Ken Detzner denying the University of Florida student union being used as a early voting site. Detzner gave this reason.
"The Reitz Union is a structure designed for, and affiliated with, a specific educational institution," says an advisory opinion from Maria Matthews, director of the state Division of Elections, which is run by a Scott appointee, Secretary of State Ken Detzner. "The terms 'convention center' and 'government-owned community center' cannot be construed so broadly as to include the Reitz Union."The Republican controlled state legislature reject having "educational facilities" as voting sites. Edwards is right. Republicans have given up on young voters and simply want to suppress the vote. State Senator Jeff Clemens sent this letter.
I write you to express my concern with a misinterpretation of statute from a bill that passed through the Florida legislature last session, as it relates to voting at community centers. The bill we passed, which later was signed into law by the governor, was very clear in stating that a "government-owned community center" is an acceptable location for early voting... The Reitz Union is government-owned, as the University of Florida is a public insitution founded and funded by the state of Florida. The Reitz Union is also (a) community center, obviously. There is no ambiguity in the statute, nor is there any in the public nature or purpose of the Reitz Union. The statute is crystal clear, straightforward and with no room for misinterpretation. As a member of the Senate Ethics and Elections Committee that formulated this bill, I ask that you immediately re-evaluate your unlawful decision to not allow voting at the Reitz Union..."Sadly, the complaints of Clemens will fall on deaf ears. We need stronger fedral voting laws to stop this kind of voting suppression.