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Nelson urges Scott to revamp elections law after teacher draws warning

by John Kennedy | October 25th, 2011

Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson has sent a critical letter to Republican Gov. Rick Scott and plans to meet Wednesday with a Volusia County high school teacher whose student voter registration drive could violate Florida’s tough, new elections law.

The law is already being challenged in court by the ACLU and allied organizations. But Nelson is calling on Scott to push for revamping or repealing the measure following the case of Jill Cicciarelli, a New Smyrna Beach teacher and adviser to a local high school’s student government association.

Cicciarelli was registering students to vote since the beginning of the school year. But county Elections Supervisor Ann McFall said she was required to report Cicciarelli to the Florida Department of State apparently for violating the new  standard for those acting as third-party registration organizations.

Florida’s new law imposes strict regulation of third-party registration groups, including requiring that they submit voter  forms within 48 hours after they are signed. Formerly, such organizations had 10 days to submit forms. Either way, state officials said Cicciarelli appears to be in violation — although state elections officials say it’s unclear whether the teacher’s case will be referred to Attorney General Pam Bondi for further action.

Nelson, though, says the controversy points to flaws in the law — which critics say is designed to put hurdles before groups likely to assist minorities, students and other Democratic-leaning voters in advance of the 2012 elections. The League of Women Voters has already announced it has dropped third-party registration efforts.

“After this incident with the teacher, can anyone actually say we aren’t taking a step backwards in Florida when it comes to protecting one of our most fundamental rights?” Nelson asked in his letter to Scott.  “I hope that you and every Floridian, regardless of political party, will stop and re-examine this controversial law.”


7 Responses to “Nelson urges Scott to revamp elections law after teacher draws warning”

  1. melody Says:

    Why isn’t it against the law to smoke tobacco in political campaign ads?

    Why isn’t it against the law for popular television ministries to talk political strategy on their religious shows?

  2. David Kearns Says:

    B(l)ondi will chase this teacher down to the ends of the earth for “improperly registering new democrats…er, voters,” but she will remain blind to her boss’s knee-jerk, email-destruction touret. She will also fail to investigate flubbed early voted ballots, 38,000 in Hillsborough, that were mishandled in the last election. Why? Because this hacked vote put Dadddy Warbucks in office.
    Shhhh, children. Mustn’t notice the bad thing.

  3. Tired of Nelson Says:

    You can’t trust third party voting registers.

    Does that mean I can register voters?

    Does that mean You can register voters?


    How come the ‘teacher’ didn’t fall the law or was even aware of the law? Not very smart.

    As for Nelson. He’s just pandering for votes. Can you recall anything Nelson has done for the State of FL during his tenure?

    The guy flew into space, but do you recall him fighting to keep the 26,000 space coast jobs which were lost when the Space Shuttle was shut down?!

    NOTHING, Bill Nelson has done NOTHING! for FL.

  4. Byproxy73 Says:

    I applaud Bill Nelson’s effort in this issue. These restrictive voter laws are being enacted all over the country and are no more than a vindictive Republic attempt to sway elections in their favor.

    And in response to “Tired of Nelson”, I would like to point out that it was George W. Bush, in 2004, who phased out the shuttle program. The Democrats, under President Obama, actually ADDED two more flights than were originally scheduled.

  5. Ex-Teacher Says:

    I always had a voter registration drive at the h/school in PB Cty where I worked for 20 yrs. I am a republican, but didn’t feel threatened as Scott does. The idea is to get young people to participate; that is how a democracy works, but then I must admit, Scott is fascist.

  6. Elli Hampton Says:

    I am always appalled at any attempts to discourage voter registration or to put roadblocks up that make it difficul to vote or to participate in our elections. My 94 year old mother gave up her drivers license, lives in a small Wyoming town that is 30 miles from the nearest place that can issue her a photo id that meets requirements. This is all a bogus attempt to keep the people most likely to vote for Democrats away from the polls. Ironically, Mom has been a life-long Republican – in Wyoming they all are! : )

  7. Ms Vicky Says:

    RICK SCOTT and his gang of thugs are a disgrace to a nation that values the right to vote! Our past and present soldiers fought and often lost their lives to ensure people the freedom to vote in foreign countries. Apparently Scott is aware that most Floridians curse the day he became governor, so he will do anything he can, legal or illegal, to put a halt to our most prized American freedom…the right to vote. But, then again, Scott has proven himself to be a master at skirting legal issues! VOTE ALL HIS CRONIES OUT IN 2012 and SAVE FLORIDA!

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