The Republicans are Trying to Suppress Your Vote
The dirty tricks part of the upcoming election is upon us and it really makes me grumpy. Daily Trump continues his disinformation (lying) campaign against “unsolicited ballots” and mail in voting. At the same time, his campaign is reaching out to Republican voters encouraging them to use an absentee ballot. To be clear, there is no such thing as an unsolicited ballot. Election officials note that by registering to vote, people are effectively requesting a ballot, so it makes no sense to call the materials sent to them “unsolicited.” Also, “absentee ballots” and “mail in ballots “are both terms for voting by mail.
Here in Florida, we have an especially dirty trick going on. In 2019, a majority of Florida voters approved constitutional amendment 4 that restored voting rights to more than a million former felons who had completed their sentence. Then DeSantis and Florida lawmakers amended the amendment to require payment of all fines and court debts. But many former felons can’t even find out how much they might owe. Court records are missing, incomplete or contradictory, and information about payments to collection agencies can be difficult or impossible to track down. A group called the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition is raising money to pay these financial obligations, spending some $5 million to clear the debts of about 5,000 former felons. Last week former candidate Mike Bloomberg raised $ 16 million for the cause. Now, Florida’s Attorney General is investigating Bloomberg’s efforts. Time is running out to beat an October 5 deadline for registering to vote.
So, have a plan to vote and vote as early as you can. If you haven’t requested a vote by mail ballot, do so. When you get your vote by mail ballot (also known as an absentee ballot), vote right away. You can return your ballot by dropping it in the mail (don’t forget to affix a first-class stamp), or drop it in the secure drop boxes at the Supervisor of Elections’ (SOE) office and the three early voting sites. You can still vote in person if you requested a vote by mail ballot. Bring your vote by mail ballot to the polling station and turn it in to the election officials. Then, vote in person. Ballots must be received by 7 p.m. on November 3. If you wish to confirm that your ballot has been received at the Election Office, select the “Track Your Vote-By-Mail Ballot” image on the front page of the SOE website or by calling them at 772.226.4700.
IMPORTANT VOTE BY MAIL DATES
September 24 – ballots begin being mailed in state
October 5 – deadline to register to vote
October 12 – ballots can begin to be canvassed
October 24, 5 p.m. – deadline to request ballot be mailed to voter
November 3, 7 p.m. – SOE must receive completed ballots from in-state and absent stateside voters
November 5, 5 p.m. – deadline to cure ballots with signature mismatches
November 13 – SOE must receive completed ballots from overseas voters