Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

New election law still stings Hillsborough County's League of Women Voters

TAMPA — With the sting still fresh from a new election law that affects the way the League of Women Voters operates, members of the group heard suggestions Saturday on how to work with the law while still hoping for its repeal.

Florida's new election law, which went into effect in most counties last month, requires that groups wishing to sign up new voters register their volunteers with the state. They face fines of up to $1,000 for not submitting voting forms within 48 hours.

The League of Women Voters, for whom a main priority is voter registration, suspended the activity in Florida because of the law's restrictions.

In five counties, including Hillsborough, the law won't go into effect until the U.S. Justice Department approves it because of past voting rights problems in those areas.

Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections Earl Lennard, who spoke Saturday at the annual meeting of the league's Hillsborough County chapter, said he is confident federal officials will make the right decision.

"I think the Department of Justice will be very mindful in its deliberations and will look at any and all aspects of the law that would have negative effects on voters," he said.

In the meantime, Lennard said his office is figuring out how to implement the new rules, which also include reducing early voting from 15 to eight days and requiring some voters who have moved to cast provisional ballots.

He suggested the League of Women Voters plan for it, too.

"We can work together to register voters," Lennard said. Supervisor of Elections Office employees could come to League of Women Voters' events to register voters directly, he said, avoiding so-called third-party registration altogether.

Many of the league's members hope a resolution can be reached before that.

"We are still hopeful that the issues will be resolved," said Mickey Castor, president of the group's Hillsborough County chapter.

Former state Sen. Helen Gordon Davis agrees.

"It's just sickening what they have done," she said. "Now many people won't get to the polls, and people who do get there will be turned away."

Gordon Davis said she recently donated money to the American Civil Liberties Union to help appeal the law in court.

Al Davis, a civic activist from Tampa, said he worries about the driving force behind such a restrictive bill.

"What were the benefits they thought these massive changes would be for the people of Florida?" he asked. "I can only think they wanted to do damage."

Sponsors of the bill in this spring's legislative session have said it would help guard against voting fraud in Florida.

Because of his job, Lennard said he won't express his opinion on the law.

"I don't have the luxury of saying how I feel about it," Lennard said. "I have to administer the law as it is written."

When the Justice Department's decision comes in August, he must do his job either way, he said.

"The whole objective of our Supervisor of Elections Office is to get people to vote, to help them vote, to make it a convenience to vote," he said, "and to make the voting experience a good one."

Shelley Rossetter can be reached at (813) 661-2442 or srossetter@sptimes.com.

New election law still stings Hillsborough County's League of Women Voters 06/18/11 [Last modified: Saturday, June 18, 2011 10:03pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. CIA chief: Intel leaks on the rise amid 'worship' of leakers

    Politics

    WASHINGTON — CIA director Mike Pompeo says he thinks disclosure of America's secret intelligence is on the rise, fueled partly by the "worship" of leakers like Edward Snowden.

    CIA director Mike Pompeo said the U.S. must redouble its efforts to stop information from leaking.
  2. ABC Racing kennel advances three into semifinals

    Parimutuels

    ST. PETERSBURG — The maiden voyage by Don Burk into the $30,000 St. Petersburg Derby series — his first as the ABC Racing kennel owner — went as easy as ABC.

  3. Why Grenfell tower burned: Regulators put cost before safety

    World

    The doorbell woke Yassin Adam just before 1 a.m. A neighbor was frantically alerting others on the fourth floor of Grenfell Tower about a fire in his apartment. "My fridge blew up," the man shouted.

    At least 79 people were killed in the fire at the Grenfell Tower apartment building in London, and the toll is expected to rise.
  4. Bullpen melts down as Rays lose to Orioles (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Jacob Faria allowed his first two big-league home runs and was touched for a career-high three runs Saturday by the Orioles. Other than that, the rookie making his fourth major-league start did okay against the Baltimore bats.

    The bullpen, not so much.

    Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Jumbo Diaz wipes his face as he walks off the mound after the Baltimore Orioles scored four runs during the eighth inning of a baseball game Saturday, June 24, 2017, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) SPD118
  5. Lightning shifts search for defense to free agency

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — As much as he tried, Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman left the weekend's draft without acquiring another top-four defenseman.

    Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman gestures as he speaks to the media about recent trades during a news conference before an NHL hockey game against the Carolina Hurricanes Wednesday, March 1, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. The Lightning, over the past few days, have traded goaltender Ben Bishop to the Los Angeles Kings, forward Brian Boyle to the Toronto Maple Leafs, and forward Valtteri Filppula to the Philadelphia Flyers. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA101