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Florida PIRG and Election Advocates Thank Gov Crist for Expanding Early Voting Hours and Urge Him To Support County Supervisors Willing to Match Unverified Voters at the Polls

Dear Governor Crist:

As leaders of non-partisan civic engagement groups we applaud your Executive Order extending Early Voting hours.

Thank you for taking such a clear and decisive action to protect voters. We agree with the unequivocal language of the Executive Order that a primary goal of government must be to “ensure that the maximum number of citizens can participate in the electoral process, and that every person can exercise the right to vote.”

The most important right citizens have is the right to vote. Voting is the basis and heart of our democracy. Your defense of that right is laudable and important.  

In that spirit, we hope that you will also act promptly to protect the rights of the more than 12,000 voters whose recent registrations are in limbo under the new “No Match” law. People should not lose their voting rights because of clerical errors, typos or other minor mistakes.

Action by the Governor’s office, endorsing the solutions that various county supervisors are implementing, could clarify the process so that unmatched voters with the appropriate documentation can resolve their status at polling sites, vote by regular ballot, and have their vote counted.

The alternative procedure, advocated by Secretary Browning, involves providing unmatched voters with provisional ballots, and then requiring them to submit identification within two days if they hope to have those ballots count — even though these voters have already shown identification at the polls, in many cases the same identification. Such a procedure places an unnecessary and unfair burden on Florida voters and does not further any legitimate interest.  Forcing a voter who has already shown identification at the polls to return later and show it again to have their vote count does nothing to prevent fraud.  It only prevents valid votes from counting.

Once again, we very much appreciate your leadership and support your efforts to encourage all legally qualified residents of Florida to vote.

Signed by:

Organizational name and representative
Clean Water Fund – Kathy Aterno, Florida Director
Common Cause Florida – Ben Wilcox, Executive Director
Democracia USA – Rudi E. Navarra, National Program Coordinator
Florida 501C3 Civic Engagement Table, A “State Voices” Project of the Center for Civic Participation – Robert Schaeffer, coordinator
Florida ACORN – Leroy Bell, Board member
Florida Immigrant Coalition – Maria Rodriguez, Executive Director
Florida Public Interest Research Group - Brad Ashwell, Lead Advocate
Human Services Coalition –  Daniella Levine, Executive Director
Organic Consumers Association – Alexis Baden-Mayer
People for the American Way Foundation – Sharon J. Lettman, Executive Vice President
Sarasota Alliance for Fair Elections – Kindra Muntz, President
Service Employees International Union Florida State Council – Gene Mechanic, Senior Council
Advancement Project – NaKeisha S. Sylver, Senior Attorney
American Civil Liberties Union of Florida – Muslima Lewis, Director of Racial Justice and Voting Rights Projects
Brennan Center for Justice – Adam Skaggs, Counsel

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