Covid-19 pandemic has effects here
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 Don't be misled by the outdated information you may see on a supervisor of election's website.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.