Archive for the 'Voting Rights' Category

Report: Protecting the Rights of Floridians in the Rick Scott Era

The ACLU of Florida has just issued a report entitled, “Protecting the Rights of Floridians in the Rick Scott Era: A Two-Year Report on Combatting Assaults by the Legislature and the Administration of Gov. Rick Scott on Civil Liberties,” which illustrates the work the ACLU and other organizations have undertaken to defend civil rights in Florida over  the last two years.

“In order to defend the rights of Floridians from their own state government, the ACLU of Florida was involved in nine lawsuits challenging Gov. Scott’s policies and legislative attacks on civil liberties[.]”

Among the issues listed in the report were:

  • the right to vote,
  • the right to be free from unreasonable searches,
  • religious freedom and the separation of church and state,
  • women’s rights and reproductive freedom,
  • an independent judiciary, and
  • freedom of speech.

The report was released at the halfway point of Governor Rick Scott’s term and before the new session of the Florida legislature gets under way.

“With the 2012 elections behind us and the 2014 gubernatorial election  already effectively begun,  it appears that the Governor is attempting to moderate his views to make them palatable,” said ACLU of Florida Executive Director Howard Simon.

“But no public relations campaign can paper over the picture described in our report,” continued Simon, “that for the last two years, whether it has been the right to vote, freedom from unreasonable searches by government officials, women’s rights, the protection of personal privacy, religious freedom or freedom of speech, the ACLU has had to protect Floridians from a wide-ranging assault on their rights by their own Legislature and Governor.”

Download the report. (PDF)

Madeline Pumariega, President of the Wolfson Campus of Miami Dade College, speaks at the ACLU of Florida’s Let Me Vote forum

Madeline Pumariega is the president of Wolfson Campus, located in the vibrant and cosmopolitan heart of downtown Miami. She began her career at Miami Dade College in 1992 and has occupied various roles throughout her tenure, including  Dean of Student Services at Wolfson Campus and Dean of Students and Administrative Services at Medical Campus. Pumariega serves on the boards of City Year Miami and Take Stock in Children, and was a national Kellogg Fellow for the League for Innovation’s Expanding Leadership Diversity in Community Colleges program. She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in education from Florida Atlantic University, and is pursuing a Ph.D. at Barry University.
Watch Madeline’s remarks here.
For more information on Miami Dade College, visit http://www.mdc.edu

Gilca Santos, a newly sworn-in U.S. citizen, speaks at ACLU of Florida’s Let Me Vote forum

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Gilca Santos, a newly sworn-in US citizen, spoke about voting at our “Let Me Vote” forum.

“It was one of the happiest days of my life. The day I got married, the day we arrived in the U.S., the days when my three children were born, and the day I became a citizen. […] Now that I am a citizen, I want to exercise my right to vote. I just registered for the first time one month ago and I am very excited. I want to help people from my community, and if I vote I can do it.”

Watch Gilca’s remarks here.

For more information on the Florida Immigrant Coalition, visit http://www.floridaimmigrant.org/

Fanny Rengifo speaks at ACLU of Florida’s Let Me Vote forum

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Fanny Renfigo, a Columbian-born US citizen registering to vote for the first time, spoke at our “Let Me Vote” forum.

Today, I am registering to vote. Despite the fact that I’ve been a citizen for almost 5 years now, I felt alone and without any motivation to vote. But this election I am more motivated than ever. […]Today I have a group of friends that teach me, support and encourage me, and this year I will finally feel the joy of casting my vote to help others achieve their dreams, the way I wanted to achieve my dreams, the way my daughter is achieving her dreams too.”

Watch Fanny’s remarks here.

For more information on the Florida Immigrant Coalition, visit

http://www.floridaimmigrant.org/

Kisha’sha B. Sharp, speaks at ACLU of Florida’s Let Me Vote Forum

Kisha’sha B. Sharp, General Counsel of the NAACP, Miami-Dade Branch, spoke about battling voter suppression at our “Let Me Vote” forum.

“We have answered the assault by registering more voters, and most importantly educating them on the new rules to ensure they have full access at the ballot box and turn out to vote.  We have utilized mobile technology and social media to recruit volunteers and register and educate voters. […]The bottom line is that we will not let any of the tactics be an excuse for anyone to fail to exercise their right to vote.”

Watch Kisha’sha’s remarks here: http://youtu.be/vlN82q2WsFA

For more information on the NAACP, Miami-Dade branch, visit http://miami-dadenaacp.org/

Natalie Carlier speaks at ACLU of Florida’s Let Me Vote event

Natalie Carter, South Florida Regional Field Coordinator for Civic Engagement for the National Council of La Raza, spoke about drawing inspiriation from her family in overcoming barriers to the ballot box.

In 2008 on the morning of election day, my mother rushed into my room at 6am to force me out of bed because we were going to go vote together. […] We stood in line together that day, waiting for the polls to open, and I realized then that my mom had come a long way from Colombia to the U.S. to let her voice be heard. And if it was important enough for her, it was important enough for me.”

Watch Natalie’s’s remarks here.

For more information on the National Council of La Raza, visit http://www.nclr.org/

Maribel Balbin speaks at ACLU of Florida’s Let Me Vote event

Maribel Balbin, President of the League of Women Voters of Miami-Dade County, spoke about how the league overcame restrictions on voter registrations to help people vote in this year’s election.

“Discouraging third-party voter registration groups from registering voters has a disproportionate impact on the minority community. Minority voters, such as blacks and Hispanics, are twice as likely to register to vote via a third-party group as non-minority voters. […]The New York Times reported that Florida was down 81,000 in voter registration this year, we at the League are doing everything possible to overcome that.”

Watch Maribel’s remarks here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j0NySm3XWyk

For more information on the League of Women Voters of Miami-Dade County, visit http://www.lwvmiamidade.org/



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