Election Protection Stories

Election Protection Stories

By Bob Chapman A couple of “good” stories Dedication Three of our Election Protection poll monitors were teachers. Every weekday during Early Voting, they worked at the Belle Glade Early Voting site from 6:45 to 8:00 a.m. before school started, they returned after school from 5:00 p.m. to closing at 7:00 p.m. On Election Day, five minutes before the polls closed (in Acreage, Palm Beach County), two of our poll monitors spoke with a disgruntled voter who was denied a provisional ballot. Our monitors sent him back into the polling place to insist that he receive a ballot. They waited almost half-an-hour until he exited the polling location. He provided his information to us so a lawyer could contact him to have his ballot cured.   A Mediation role  In both Jupiter and Palm Beach Gardens, where partisan tempers ran very strong, our poll monitors were asked on more than

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Election Protection

By Voting Rights Coalition If you voted in person during Early Voting or on Election day, you might have seen our Election Protection poll monitors offering assistance to voters. The League of Women Voters of Palm Beach County (LWVPBC) was Palm Beach County’s lead for the national Election Protection program, in coalition with the ACLU and the National Council of Jewish Women. The program, which is coordinated by Common Cause, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights under the Law, and State Voices, works to ensure that every eligible voter can exercise his or her right to vote. Central to the Election Protection program is a National Voting Hotline (866-OUR-VOTE). Staffed by trained lawyers, the hotline provides service in 26 languages and is available 24 hours to assist with voting needs. During Early Voting and on Election Day, the hotline received 1521 calls from Palm Beach County residents. Our Election Protection

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An Exceptional Texting Experience

By Phyllis Applebaum Voter Services and the Voter Rights Coalition have been doing a three-phase Get Out the Vote texting campaign to numerous groups of people, including first-time voters. Our voting system can seem complicated to many. We are just trying to simplify things. We started in September telling people to make a plan to vote. Then in early October, we suggested that people familiarize themselves with the ballot. We sent them links to the Voters’ Guide and Vote411.org. Finally, in the last phase, which will be ending soon, we encouraged people to vote early, either in person or by mail. Although we get our share of negative responses, there are many very appreciative people asking their own questions. “I didn’t get my ballot yet, what should I do?” “Where are the drop boxes for my ballot?” “How do I track my ballot?” “Where can I vote early in person?”

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Returning Citizens Postcards

By Phyllis Applebaum    Florida has the most restrictive voting laws for ex-felons in the nation.  In 2018, the Florida electorate, believing that people should have a second chance, passed an amendment allowing ex-felons who were not murderers or sex-offenders to vote once they had completed their sentence including probation.  However, the Florida legislature then passed a bill specifying that full payment of any ordered restitution, fines, fees, or costs was part of their sentence.  Even though some returning citizens have paid these fines and costs, they find it difficult to navigate the system alone. So, Voter Services in coordination with the LWVFL decided to send attractive postcards encouraging returning citizens to register to vote.  They sent out 6,000 postcards last week—writing each address and a message by hand.   One of our members, Carol Carnevale, has a mother who really wanted to help as well.  Louise Carnevale of Stuart

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The Fragility of Voting Rights

The Fragility of Voting Rights

The Fragility of Voting Rights: The 2020 Election By Linda Geller-Schwartz On July 30, 2020, when the iconic civil rights leader Representative John Lewis was laid to rest, his final message to the American people was conveyed in a letter published in the New York Times. It included this advice and caution: “The vote is the most powerful non-violent change agent you have in a democratic society. You must use it because it is not guaranteed. You can lose it.” Representative Lewis knew all too well of what he spoke. Read the entire SAM Magazine article below. (3/20)

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Returning Felon Plans to Vote for First Time

Returning Felon Plans to Vote for First Time

Rights restored, returning felon plans to vote for first time ever RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. (CBS12) — by Chuck Weber – Wednesday, August 12th 2020   Voting — it’s a right many take for granted. But one lost that right if sentenced to prison in Florida. Next week, thanks to a state constitutional amendment approved by voters in 2018, a Riviera Beach man plans to cast a ballot for the first time ever in his life. “I am so excited to cast a vote,” said William Freeman, speaking with CBS12 News via Zoom. Freeman said he grew up in Palm Beach County, but got addicted to cocaine, leading to four different stints in state prison, for charges ranging from grand theft and burglary to fraud. This past December, Freeman finished serving his most recent, three-year sentence. This time, he said, he’s a different man. “I am sober, and I have to give

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100 Years of Voting Hasn’t Done What We Thought It Would

The unfinished business of the women’s vote. By Gail Collins New York Times Opinion Columnist July 30, 2020 What better way to celebrate the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage than by discussing the way it turned out to be a big flop? The great champions of the 19th Amendment thought that when America’s women got the right to vote, they’d immediately start to change the nation. Promote women’s issues, like better health care and education. Refocus politics from special interests to the general good. Read More on the NY Times…

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Florida’s Voter Registration System is Broken

by Nancy Cohen This year with the Corona pandemic online voter registration is critical. But Florida’s online voter registration system keeps breaking down. This video will acquaint you with the problems. Brad Ashwell, Florida State Director of All Voting Is Local, will tell us at the Voting Rights Coalition meeting on August 6 at 2:00 P.M. on Zoom about Florida’s broken online voter registration website and how we can help to ensure it does not break down again in this election cycle.  Here’s the link for the meeting Join Zoom Meeting: https://aclu.zoom.us/j/91505817028?pwd=YUxNSGY3QXNiTTYrZDlNM2RoK2Y3QT09 Meeting ID: 915 0581 7028  Password: 716014  

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Voting Rights for Felons

Voting Rights Coalition   On July 1, a federal appeals court halted voting registration for Florida citizens with felony convictions and court fees that they cannot afford to pay.   However, citizens with Palm Beach County felony convictions may still be able to vote in 2020 elections:    Have a felony conviction in PBC? Contact the Public Defender’s Office and the State Attorney’s office to receive assistance for restoring your voting rights. Call (561) 355-7500.   Have a felony conviction elsewhere?  The Florida Rights Restoration Coalition’s Fines and Fees program will help you determine what needs to be done so that you can vote.  Call 1-877-MY-VOTE-0 (1-877-698-6830) OR TEXT ‘FINES’ TO 82623.   If you owe no fine, fees, restitution, or court costs, this decision does not affect your ability to register and vote.  Register to vote at (561) 656-6200 or pbcelections.org.   If your conviction was in another state, you

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