Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Outcry raised over voter ID law

TAMPA — With Monday's deadline for voter registration looming, a new law has brought cries from advocacy groups about potential disenfranchisement.

The law, known as "No Match, No Vote," requires that people registering to vote show a driver's license number or Social Security number that corresponds to those in a government database. The law went into effect Sept. 8 and does not affect people who registered before that date.

But some have argued that minorities are unfairly targeted because they often have names with difficult spellings that may be wrong in the state's database.

Bill Newton, director of the Florida Consumer Action Network, a voters' advocacy group, said the reason behind the requirements — preventing voting fraud — is unfounded.

"It just simply does not happen," Newton said of fraud. "The intent is keeping certain people from voting."

At a Tuesday press conference outside the Hillsborough County Center, which houses the Supervisor of Elections Office, Newton called for Gov. Charlie Crist to suspend the law until after Election Day. The conference was organized by 12 groups across the state. There were similar events in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Orlando.

Paula Villarreal of the Florida Immigration Coalition said Hispanic voters' last names are often two or more words long. One ID card may list a last name as De La Puente Hernandez, while another ID or database might just list Hernandez.

Crist, through a spokesman, said he doesn't have the authority to change or suspend the law.

In a news release Sept. 18, the Department of State said the law was reviewed by the Justice Department in 2005 and was not found to deny votes of any group.

But Newton is not convinced. He said tighter regulations send the wrong message, especially to those with language barriers who have a difficult enough time as it is.

"All these little obstacles make it harder," Newton said. "You don't take draconian steps to solve a problem that may not even exist."

Kim Wilmath can be reached at kwilmath@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3386.

.Fast facts

The new voting law

DEADLINE: To vote on Nov. 4, people must register by Monday. Contact Supervisor of Elections Office to register. Voters must vote in the precinct where they live — proven by the address on the voter identification card. The address on other photo IDs need not match.

IDENTIFICATION: On Election Day, bring an ID with a photo or signature. Approved IDs include drivers' licenses, Florida ID cards from the Department of Motor Vehicles, U.S. passports, debit or credit cards, military or student IDs, retirement center IDs, neighborhood association IDs and public assistance IDs.

"NO MATCH, NO VOTE": Voters with problem registrations will get letters seeking proof of identity. Hillsborough has sent 318 letters since Sept. 8, and Pinellas has sent 266, according to each elections office.

Outcry raised over voter ID law 09/30/08 [Last modified: Thursday, October 2, 2008 2:14pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. A trip down memory lane of Bucs' preseason expectations

    Bucs

    With HBO's Hard Knocks in town and the Bucs opening training camp Friday with their highest expectations in a decade, here's a look back at Tampa Bay's preseason expectations since their last playoff appearance in 2007 — and the results.

    2008

    Jameis Winston and running back Peyton Barber celebrate a touchdown last season against the 49ers. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  2. Boy Scouts apologize over Trump's remarks at jamboree

    National

    Facing an angry backlash from parents and former members, the chief executive of the Boy Scouts of America apologized on Thursday for political remarks made by President Donald Trump at the organization's national jamboree this week, during which the commander-in-chief crowed over his election victory, attacked the news …

    President DonaldTrump, front left, gestures as former boys scouts, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, left, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, watch at the 2017 National Boy Scout Jamboree at the Summit in Glen Jean, W.Va. Boy Scouts president Randall Stephenson told the Associated Press on Wednesday, July 26, in his first public comments on the furor over President Donald Trump's speech on Monday that he'd be "disingenuous" if he suggested he was surprised by the Republican president's comments. [Associated Press]
  3. Drones restrictions coming at Tampa Bay area airports

    Airlines

    Starting Sept. 1, Tampa International Airport officials will be enforcing new height restrictions for drones and other unmanned aircraft systems, according to a press release.

    In this February 2017 file photo, a drone flies in Hanworth Park in west London. Starting Sept. 1, Tampa International Airport officials will be enforcing new height restrictions for drones and other unmanned aircraft systems,
[John Stillwell/PA via AP, File]
  4. Hit-run driver who refused to leave van threatened to shoot, Hillsborough deputies say

    Public Safety

    TAMPA — Eddie Carly Colon Soto peeked his head out the broken side window of his van as a SWAT team closed in.

    The driver of this van tried to flee the scene of a crash in north Tampa Thursday morning until he could travel no farther, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said. Then he refused to leave the van and threatened sheriff's deputies, they said. [TONY MARRERO   |   Times]
  5. Get the latest Tampa Bay Buccaneers news delivered daily to your email inbox

    Bucs

    They narrowly missed the playoffs by thismuch.

    Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans (13) celebrates with quarterback Jameis Winston (3) after they connected for a touchdown during a win over the Seattle Seahawks in November in Tampa. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]