Activists urge Crist to prevent voter disenfranchisement
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09/25/08 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Thursday | Listen to this entire show:

The group Progress Florida today launched a statewide petition campaign urging Gov. Charlie Crist to prevent what they claim are efforts designed to confuse and disenfranchise voters this election.

Those include reports of possible Voters Caging, and the new “No Match, No Vote” law.

Mark Ferrulo, with Progress Florida, wants Crist to speak out on mailings that were sent to registered Democrats in several Florida counties, including Hillsborough. The mailings say recipients are actually registered Republicans and provides a fake registration number.

Duval County Supervisor of Elections Jerry Holland, a Republican, called it “mail fraud” and said it was “confusing to voters.” Holland’s office was inundated with calls from recipients of the mailing.

Progress Florida is also calling on Crist to suspend the “No Match, No Vote” law until after this election cycle.

As previously reported by WMNF, the law, which went into effect on Sept. 8, has been criticized by other voting rights groups. They worry that new voters whose registration information does not match up with the state’s Department of Safety and Motor Vehicles or with the Social Security Administration will be disenfranchised.

Florida’s "No Match, No Vote" law was also criticized today by Estelle Rogers, an attorney with the group Project Vote.

Earlier this week, the Washington, D.C., based group the Advancement Project issued a report on the problems with voting by provisional ballot. The report said 20 percent of those who voted via provisional ballot in Hillsborough County in November 2006 had their vote ultimately rejected.

Florida is one of 30 states who will only allow you to vote by provisional ballot if you vote in your correct precinct.

Florida’s Secretary of State office is being inundated with new registrations. The state’s Division of Elections sent out a memo yesterday requesting help from from local supervisors of Elections to help in preparing those registrations.

To see the petition, go to progressflorida.org.

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