New laws in Fla. take toll on citizen-led voter registration

LEE COUNTY, Fla.- We may not see the large, citizen-driven voter registration drives in Florida, this election year. That’s because of new and tough laws governing the registration of voters. Some decry the new laws.

“What a shame! To discourage voting in America, that is not right. Our forefathers fought for the right to vote, women fought for the right to vote, now they want to make it harder to vote? I say, no!  Vote, vote, vote,” said Laura Hostetler of Lee County.

The new law says if you register someone to vote, you must turn in the application to the local elections office within 48 hours, two days. The law used to be 10 days. And the state has the power to levy fines of $50 on you, for every application that is late.

“It does seem like a short time to turn around the paperwork, but we are telling groups: just hand out the applications and tell the people to turn them in separately. That does not violate the new law,” said Sharon Harrington, Lee County supervisor of elections.

The groups, League of Women Voters, and Rock the Vote, are discontinuing their big registration drives in Florida, because of fears of violating the new laws. Rock The Vote confirms it has suspended all volunteer voter registration efforts in Florida, because of the new law.

FGCU freshman Jillian Gutierrez told WINK, “I don’t like the sound of it. I am upset. I think maybe the politicians are afraid that young people will vote liberal. But I know I am conservative, and I believe we should register more people, not make it hard to register.”