League of Women Voters Charlotte County Florida
League of Women Voters of Charlotte County Florida
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National Vote Interstate Compact
December 10, 2020 By: Jean Finks
Mondag, December 14, 2020, is the meeting date for the electoral college to cast their votes for the presidential candidates. In 2017, our state considered joining the interstate compact for a national vote.  The effects of this compact, now enacted by several other states, would be that a state's electors would be directed to vote in proportion to that state's popular vote.  In other words, no more winner take all.
 
If you want to read more about the 2017 consideration in our state legislature, click on MAKE YOUR VOTE COUNT and scroll down to read about it.  No longer current or upcoming news, but sure to rise again.

Covid-19 pandemic has effects here
June 11, 2020 By: Jean Finks
Even if you are no longer staying at home except for necessary errands, I hope you are all practicing social distancing and wearing a face covering when out and about.  Thankfully, many reusable cotton masks are now available in local stores, and the pleated white and blue variety are for sale in grocery stores, too.
 
How else has the pandemic affected us at your local and state League?  As recently as Tuesday night, we heard from our state president, Patricia Brigham, that it is just not safe for us to do in-person voter registration for this year's very important election.  But that won't stop our other efforts.  Thanks to the recent big win in Tallahassee's Federal Court, Judge Hinkle has cleared the way for felons who have paid all their fees and costs to register NOW, without delay.  Don't be misled by the outdated information you may see on a supervisor of election's website. The state has appealed the judge's ruling and asked for a stay at the 11th circuit in Atlanta, but chances for granting of a stay to the State are deemed slim by the League's legal team.  (One can never be sure till the gavel comes down or the slip opinion is released, however.)  I am hoping that Judge Hinkle's one-page how-to even for felons who are unsure about their outstanding money obligations to register to vote, provided they are unable to pay (hint: having a public defender can be deemed proof of same) will soon be posted at every SOE office and website.
 
Patti announced that we are negotiating with two of our lawsuit partners, the ACLU of Florida and a poor people's campaign, to assist in reaching out to possible new voters by text, phone or email.  The ACLU has a database of more than 200,000 felons who have no impediments to registering now; we just have to tell them, and show them how.  The roll-out of a script and training should be available within two weeks or so. 
 
THIS IS SOMETHING WE CAN DO FROM THE SAFETY OF OUR OWN HOMES. That is a first, and I hope some of you other "at risk" members who may be feeling cabin fever will rise to this challenge. Stay tuned.
 
After the debacle in Georgia's recent primary, with new machines, not enough election personnel or polling places, not enough paper ballots, we know that vote by mail is going to be very important in getting out the vote, safely. Stacey Abrams even reported that once she received and completed her Georgia mail in ballot, she found the return envelope sealed shut.  I am hopeful that nothing like that will happen here in Florida.
 
Meanwhile, the regular Friday "Lunch and Learn" one hour Zoom sessions are popular and available to all members.  We must reserve a place and get a code to join, so don't fear any intrusion.  And the hour from 1 to 2 pm on Friday goes far too quickly.  If I can figure out how to participate (I don't have a camera, so only my name appears, but I can talk on my phone and watch on my computer), then ANYBODY can learn too.
 
I for one think the "normal" we reach when the pandemic eventually settles down is going to be very different from what we knew till February.  We had all better practice our Zoom and other media skills, expect a changed retail and social landscape, and continuing economic woes, no matter who wins in November.  The "Black Lives Matter" theme present at recent rallies has gone worldwide. Even NASCAR has been affected (they have banned Confederate flags at NASCAR events). Let's all grow to meet this new world as we near the rest of this year's rather extraordinary celebration of 100 years of women's suffrage and the national League of Women Voters.
 
I will be out of touch next week while I get a new knee, now that elective surgery is allowed again.  See you on the other side.
Great News for Voting Rights Restoration
May 26, 2020 By: Jean Finks
 Little did I know on Sunday that federal Judge Robert Hinkle's stunning and brilliant Opinion on the       Merits  would come down later that day, Sunday, May 24, 2020. If you have been following the news,    especially NPR, you have probably already heard about it. NBC TV got the gist correct, but their   headline    was wrong.  The Judge did not invalidate amendment 4, which restored voting rights to all felons except    those convicted of murder or sexual abuse, once they completed all terms of their conviction.  At issue was a new Florida Statute which attempted to limit voting only to those who had paid all they owed (regardless of ability or lack of ability to do so).  Not so fast, said Judge Hinkle.  That violates the federal Constitution, Amendment 24, which outlaws all "poll taxes and other taxes" connected to one's ability to vote. And it violates the National Voter Registration Act.
 
The order declares the State of Florida's newly improvised pay-to-vote system as unconstitutional in part. as to any felon who is unable to pay what is owed. The order clarifies the uncertainty (and the fear that registering without first obtaining accurate payments due information might subject the citizen to criminal proceedings) which the new law created.  
 
But wait, there's more.  The judge created a fact sheet of standards governing eligibility to vote after a felony conviction, and ruled that if the state cannot provide accurate payment information within 21 days of a request, the citizen may register without fear.
 
All this came as the result of an 8 day trial after the prior injunctive relief provided by the US Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Jones vs. Governor oof Florida (2020) as to a limited number of plaintiff felons. Later that group was increased when the court accepted this as a class action..  Although the state, as defendant, may choose to appeal, if they were to lose again, Judge Hinkle's ruling would probably also affect the two other states in the 11th circuit which have similar felon disenfranchisement provisions, Alabama and Georgia.  THIS IS A JUDGMENT TO CELEBRATE!
 
More may follow after tonight's call with Cecile Scoon, our state First Vice President and one of the witnesses at trial.
 
[NOTE:  This version has been edited since the email blast sent out on Monday afternoon.]