Brennan Center challenges Florida’ vote-blocking law

Brennan Center Submits Testimony Challenging Florida’s Restrictive Election Law

For Immediate Release: January 27, 2012

Contact: Erik Opsal, erik.opsal@nyu.edu, 646-292-8356

The Brennan Center for Justice submitted written testimony in advance of today’s U.S. Senate hearing examining Florida’s new election law, H.B. 1355, stating that the law’s onerous restrictions on community-based voter registration drives are unconstitutional and offering solutions for modernizing the state’s voter registration system.

In “New State Voting Laws II: Protecting the Right to Vote in the Sunshine State,” the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Human Rights will examine the law, which passed the legislature last year.

Read the Brennan Center’s full testimony.

“Rather than making it more difficult for Floridians to vote, the state should be working to encourage widespread participation and increase voter registration rates. Responsibility for voter registration must be transferred from the citizens to the government, and Florida must upgrade its registration process. Florida’s antiquated, paper-based registration system is expensive, inefficient and prone to errors which can disenfranchise voters,” reads the testimony.

“By implementing common-sense reforms, Florida can ensure that more citizens are registered to vote while reducing burdens on election officials. These steps would not only boost Florida’s dismal voter registration rates, they would save the state money in the long run. Florida should overturn the law’s unreasonable restrictions on community-based voter registration and instead adopt commonsense reforms to modernize voter registration.”

The Brennan Center for Justice is involved in two separate lawsuits challenging the Florida law.

In Florida v. United States, the Center is co-counsel with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and the law firm Bryan Cave LLP in representing the League of Women Voters of Florida (LWVF) and the National Council of La Raza, who oppose H.B. 1355 because of the harm it will cause to minority voters.

The Brennan Center also represents LWVF, Rock the Vote (RTV), and Florida Public Interest Research Group Education Fund (FL PIRG) in LWVF v. Browning, a broad challenge to the law on the basis that its restrictions on community-based voter registration violate the U.S. Constitution, the National Voter Registration Act, and the Voting Rights Act. The Center is co-counsel with the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, the ACLU of Florida, and the law firm Coffey Burlington.

The Center’s testimony includes the detailed comments from their clients LWVF, RTV, and FL PIRG, explaining the devastating impacts of the Florida law’s new restrictions on community-based voter registration groups.

For more information, or to set up an interview, please contact Erik Opsal at erik.opsal@nyu.edu or 646-292-8356.

1 thought on “Brennan Center challenges Florida’ vote-blocking law”

  1. Brad — I’m with a cnmpaoy called Verafirma. We launched out first election product in California a couple months ago — signing ballot initiatives with your iphone — and are launching our second next week — registering to vote via an iphone, ipod touch, driod, or ipad. We see the registration experience as something that can be done with devices that are becoming commonplace to consumers – all with digitizers (touchscreens) capable of capturing an original handwritten signature. We believe that this type of registration — as opposed to the type that Project Vote is doing — is allowable in 18 states.An all electronic process can be made much safer and more secure than the paper process — which as I’m sure you know – has almost no process, security, or privacy controls. Everyone instinctively fears fraud on a mass scale whenever this technology is discussed. We worry as well, and have taken great pains to design tamper-evident systems. Though I will remind you of the digital security mantra . . the bigger the fraud attempt, the easier it is to catch the culprits in an electronic system. We will be testing it first in California — most likely through the courts. I invite you to check out our site, and if you are interested, would be happy to walk you through our security and privacy provisions. In the meantime, I hope you will keep us on your radar — there are only a few groups out there working to solve this.

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