voting

Second Chance campaign dumps $5 million on major ad buy

The scene’s a modern version of a Norman Rockwell painting.

A young man with a close-cropped haircut lifts his too-cute-for-words daughter in the air.

“This is Brett. He was addicted to opioids, and has a non-violent felony conviction. Now, he’s clean, has completed the terms of his sentence, and is helping others,” a voiceover says, as Brett and Mallery cavort with their baby on a playground somewhere in Florida.

 

 

The ad is part of a nearly $5 million pushed out by the “Second Chances” campaign behind Amendment 4, the proposal on the November ballot that would automatically restore voting rights for about 1.4 million Floridians who’ve been convicted of felonies. The proposal excludes murderers and sex offenders.

Other stars in the three ads include a vet with a Purple Heart and a former prosecutor.

 

From the press release announcing the ad buy, which will run in Spanish and English on TV and radio, and star real people who’ve lost their right to vote:

“We are excited to share stories with people all across Florida as we approach the start of early voting in Florida,” stated Floridians for a Fair Democracy Campaign Manager Jackie Lee. “Floridians from all walks of life have been energized by this grassroots campaign, and with this ad buy we are bringing the message of second chances to voters across the state.”

Among the stories in the ads are those of Alan Rhyelle, a Vietnam veteran who received a Purple Heart but lost his eligibility to vote due to a marijuana conviction, and Gary Winston, former Assistant State’s Attorney for Miami-Dade County.

“I was a prosecutor for 34 years,” states Winston in the ad featuring him. “A prosecutor should acknowledge that sometimes people make mistakes. I believe that when a debt is paid, it’s paid.”

The $4.956 million ad buy includes over half a million dollars for Spanish-language TV, over $700,000 in radio stations serving minority communities.

 

¡Queremos nuestras boletas!

A handful of Democratic state legislators are asking Secretary of State Ken Detzner, who was appointed by Republican Gov. Rick Scott, to make sure that every county has bilingual ballots on hand during the upcoming election season.

The lawmakers, including Sen. Victor Torres of Orlando, warned Detzner that “failure to accommodate Florida’s large influx of Spanish-speaking American citizens” from Puerto Rico could violate the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

It’s unknown exactly how many Puerto Ricans sought refuge in Florida following Hurricane Maria, which ravaged the island in September and left tens of thousands of island dwellers without power even now — six months after the storm.

“Florida is home to over 20 million individuals and more than 4 million of them are of Hispanic or Latino origin,” Torres, who is of Puerto Rican descent, wrote to Detzner. “Additionally, with the influx of evacuees from Puerto Rico, there are an additional 300,000 American citizens who are eligible to vote in this upcoming election cycle.  Providing election information and ballots in Spanish-language are essential for some qualified electors to participate in the 2018 Florida elections process.”

Elections officials in more than a dozen counties said they aren’t going to provide ballots in Spanish, according to the release issued by the Senate Minority Office today. That may put them at odds with Gov. Rick Scott, who’s running for the U.S. Senate and has gone out of his way to court the Puerto Rican community, in Florida and on the island.

“Florida has a long history of failing to accommodate citizens whose native language may be other than English,” Torres said in the release. “With more than 4 million Hispanics now living in Florida, there is no excuse for not providing election services to citizens in the language with which they feel most confident.”

More from the Senate Minority Office press release today:

The letter, signed by Senators Torres, Annette Taddeo, Jose Javier Rodriguez, Linda Stewart, and Representatives Robert Asencio, John Cortes, Carlos Guillermo Smith, and Amy Mercado, follows efforts last week by several Hispanic and civil right organizations, including Demos and Latino Justice, calling for 13 of Florida’s 67 Supervisor of Election offices who are not currently supplying election materials and information in Spanish-language format to do so under requirements of the Federal Voting Rights Act. Their letter similarly asserts that under Section 4(e) of the Voting Rights Act, bilingual ballots, election materials and poll worker assistance should be provided to America citizens whose primary language is Spanish.

The lawmakers are seeking reassurances that federal law will be obeyed.

“We are requesting that you respond to the allegations that some Supervisor of Elections offices may be in violation of the Federal Voting Rights Act by failing to provide required Spanish-language elections materials.  We further request you outline any plans your office has to ensure that no qualified electors are discouraged from exercising their Constitutional rights to participate in the 2018 election due to a failure of the local Supervisor of Elections to provide this information,” they wrote.

 

 

Chris King talks voting at universities

ChrisKing_PressImage-683x1024Chris King, a Democratic candidate for governor, wants to make it easier for Floridians to register to vote and to cast their ballots.

That was his message as King visited three state university campuses today, kicking off the campus appearances in Tallahassee at Florida State University, dropping by the University of Florida before winding up at the University of North Florida.

In a press release, King said his “Every Florida Voter” plan is part of his overall effort to make government “work for ordinary people, not special interests and those in power.”

“The first step to restore our democracy is to put that power back in the hands of the people of Florida,” King said, an attorney who graduated from Harvard University and attended law school at UF.

Among his proposals, King wants to expand the early voting period, automatically register voters and allow Election Day registration, instead of the current system of closing registration books roughly a month before each election.

King also said he supports providing a system for the restoration of voting rights for an estimated 1.6 million non-violent felons who have served their time but are denied the right to vote.

“But expanding voter registration and increasing access to the polls are not enough to increase voter participation,” King said. “Past candidates and elected officials from both parties have failed to give Floridians a reason to get out and vote.

“This campaign will be different. It will be unafraid of fighting for a new fair and Florida-focused economy that lifts up all Floridians and championing fresh ideas to give people a reason to stand and be counted,” he said.

By Lloyd Dunkelberger.

Nelson: Trump elex info request would make it “so easy for Vladimir” to hack

Concerned about President Donald Trump’s elections inquiry, voters are asking county supervisors to yank them from the rolls, ostensibly more concerned about keeping their personal data private than giving up their rights to cast ballots.

The whole effort is on hold right now, at least until a judge weighs in on one of a handful of lawsuits about the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity.

NOTE: Secretary of State Ken Detzner hasn’t transmitted any information to the commission yet.

More than 40 states refused to give the commission all or part of the data requested, which included partial Social Security numbers and driver’s license numbers.

Speaking to reporters in Tallahassee Friday, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson — who’s been a critic of Trump’s commission — questioned the rationale for demanding the data.

“Why should the federal government collect every state’s information in one place so anybody that wants to go and hack that information? It makes it so easy for Vladimir (Putin) to suddenly go in and find out all kind of personal things and all in one place,” Nelson said when asked for his thoughts on the elections commission.

“Let me tell you, only the most sophisticated systems — and even they’re not fool proof — cannot be hacked. Only the most sophisticated systems. And I’m telling you, you think yours is foolproof, somebody’s going to get a way to get through,” Nelson said. “This is true in our most important secrets in the country. In our intelligence community, they’re having that problem.”