Saturday, April 06, 2024

ANNALS OF DeSANTISTAN: FL NAACP stopped voter registration drives amid legal challenge to election law, leader testifies. (Jackie Llanos, Florida Phoenix)

I remember watching the Alabama police riot at Selma, Alabama in 1965, sitting with my father watching our B&W tv with my late father, Edward Adelbert Slavin, Sr., an outspoken supporter of civil rights, who helped America take back the first French town liberated from Nazi tyranny at 1 AM on June 6, 1944. Dad taught me, as JFK's dad taught him, that you have to stand up to people with power, or else they  walk all over you.  The South Jersey Chapter of the 82nd ABN DIVN. ASSN is named for my my dad, the "CPL Edward A. Slavin Chapter."  Today, your racist rebarbative Dull Republican Flori-DUH Boy Governor, RONALD DION DeSANTIS and his hicks hack haughty henchmen are running amuck. Are they simpletons, simply misguided, or on a mendacious miscreant mission to achieve KKK and John Birch Society goals?  You tell me. From Florida Phoenix: 

FL NAACP stopped voter registration drives amid legal challenge to election law, leader testifies

BY:  - APRIL 4, 2024 4:19 PM

 U.S. District Courthouse for the Northern District of Florida, Tallahassee. Credit: Michael Moline

For more than three decades, Cynthia Slater has helped Black Floridians register to vote, she testified Thursday morning. But the Florida NAACP’s civic engagement chair stopped organizing voter registration drives because of restrictions imposed under a 2023 law.

Before Gov. Ron DeSantis signed SB 7050 last year, the Florida State Conference of the NAACP had volunteers to help people register to vote at churches, high school and college sporting events, and other community gatherings throughout the state, Slater said. Since passage of the law, the group has instead opted to hand out voter registration forms, hoping prospective voters follow through on filling them out and mailing them to elections officials.

Her testimony came in a lawsuit by the Florida NAACP and other third-party voter registration groups (otherwise known as 3PVROs)  against Florida Secretary of State Cord Byrd and each of the state’s 67 county supervisors of elections over the 2023 crackdown.

“Every couple of years it just got harder and harder for organizations to do voter outreach in African American communities,” Slater said during Day Four of the trial. “Now, it’s up to a point where we can’t register voters.”

Crackdown on third-party voter registration groups

The groups take issue with several provisions of the law, including its prohibition of noncitizens and people who’ve been convicted of felony election and identity theft crimes registering voters. The law makes no exceptions for people who are permanent residents of the U.S. or hold work permits, or those who have won restoration of their civil and voting rights.

In the NAACP’s case, the group has noncitizen volunteers who have registered voters, and Slater said their help was paramount in reaching people who spoke languages other than English.

Noah Sjostrom, an attorney in the Florida Attorney General’s Office, asked Slater whether she thought handing out the applications counted as canvassing. She replied that it didn’t because her organization was not checking those applications and turning them in, as they previously did.

“We are unsure whether a person completes the form, whether the information is accurate,” Slater said. “That’s the difference between the success and lack of success.”

Additionally, the law reduced the deadline from 14 to 10 days for the 3PVROs to turn in applications before the registration closes for the next election. The law prohibits the organizations from maintaining any information about the people they help register to vote. Each infraction of the law can result in a fine of up to $50,000.

Mark Walker, chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida, enjoined the parts of the law preventing the retention of information and barring noncitizens from handling voter registrations in July 2023. Walker is presiding over the trial. However, leaders from the Florida NAACP, in line with testimony from representatives of groups that focused on registering Hispanic people earlier in the trial, testified the law has decreased voter registration efforts.

Asked by Sjostrom to explain how the Florida NAACP has used voter’s contact information, Slater replied that they called the people they helped register to vote to make sure they had received their voter registration cards and that they were accurate. Sjostrom then asked if she or any volunteers kept the contact information for personal use. Slater said they had no reason to.

The defense sought to enter into evidence notices the Florida Department of State sent to multiple Florida NAACP chapters in 2016 about complaints that the chapters had turned in voter registration applications late. Slater acknowledged being familiar with two of the notices but said another was inaccurate because it was addressed to a person not associated with that specific chapter of the organization. The attorneys from the state refrained from entering that notice into the record.

The trial will continue on Friday.

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our website. AP and Getty images may not be republished. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of any other photos and graphics.

Jackie Llanos

Jackie is a recent graduate of the University of Richmond. She has interned at Nashville Public Radio, Virginia Public Media and Virginia Mercury.

Florida Phoenix is part of States Newsroom, the nation’s largest state-focused nonprofit news organization.


1 comment:

George said...

People should be able to vote unless they've committed crimes against the state such as treason or sedition. Taking voting rights away is only taking democracy away. That's how it should be viewed instead of an attempt to damage a person civily as much as if that doesn't also damage a democratic society. Democratic ideals should be more important to the partisans.