Florida Infomation

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STILL GROWING - "Florida was again one of the country’s leaders in population growth in the last decade, according to a new study by the University of Florida.   Florida’s permanent resident population increased by more than 2.8 million between 2000 and 2010 — an increase of 17.6 percent to 18,801,310.   That mark was the third-largest numeric increase and the eighth-largest percentage increase in the country.  Projections are the growth rate will steadily decline through 2040.   'Growth rates varied considerably during the decade, not only from county to county but also from year to year,' said Stan Smith, director of the Bureau of Economic and Business Research at UF’s Warrington College of Business Administration.   'Fueled by an expanding economy and a booming housing market, population increases from 2003 to 2006 were among the largest in Florida’s history,' he said. 'As economic growth slowed and the housing market cooled later in the decade, population growth declined as well, reaching its lowest levels in more than 60 years.'" University of Florida: http://bit.ly/lw4iMf

Democrat voter advocates decry state decision to use tougher voter ID rule - [ New Voting Law ]

September 10, 2008 Palm Beach Post Capital Bureau By DARA KAM

[ I don't find anything here about Republicans complaining - Does that mean the Dems are pushing illegal sign-ups or are their people just too stupid to vote.  maybe the Dems can't manipulate intelligent people. ]

TALLAHASSEE — Having their vote count on Election Day just got a little tougher for newly registered voters in Florida. Secretary of State Kurt Browning put the state's 2005 "no match, no vote" law into effect Monday, less than a month before the Oct. 6 deadline to register to vote in the Nov. 4 general election.

What the registration law requires:

Voter registration applicants must provide a driver license, state-issued ID number or the last four digits of their Social Security number. Those numbers must match the information in databases kept by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. If the numbers match, the voter registration is approved.

If the numbers don't match:

The application is sent to the Bureau of Voter Registration Services in Tallahassee, which checks for typographical or other errors. If it resolves the issue, the application is approved. If the problem is not fixed, the application is sent back to the county supervisor of elections. The supervisor must notify the would-be voter that more information is needed. The applicant must provide a copy of a driver license or Social Security card in person or by mail, fax or e-mail. This can happen after the Oct. 6 registration deadline but must be done before Nov. 4.

If the issue is not resolved by Election Day:

Voters will have to cast provisional ballots, regardless of whether they provide the requisite information at their precinct. They must provide the information to the supervisor of elections office by 5 p.m. the second day after the election. If not, their votes won't count.

That means the voter registration information for anyone who signed up Monday or later must match identification information in other government databases. If the state can't make the match or the person can't prove that the registration information is correct with a driver license or Social Security card before Nov. 4, the voter will get only a provisional ballot on Election Day. And that's even if the voter shows up with the proper ID at the polls. Then, the voter will have two days after Election Day to prove his or her case, or the provisional vote won't count.

In a presidential election year when voter rolls have grown by 400,000 and are expected to add thousands more, voting rights activists said the decision could disenfranchise those new voters, most of them Democrats. "This 11th-hour decision is an ill-advised move to apply a policy the state has never enforced in its current form, at a time when registration activity is at its highest," Alvaro Fernandez, of the Southwest Voter Registration and Education Project, told The Miami Herald.

Fernandez's group, along with the NAACP and the Haitian-American Grassroots Coalition, challenged the law in 2007 and won an injunction in December, but the state won a reversal on appeal in June in federal district court in Atlanta. The ruling became final on July 28 but was not enforced during registration for the Aug. 26 primary. "It's another needless, unnecessary burden on the right to vote that Florida is imposing," said Elizabeth Westfall, senior attorney with the Washington-based Advancement Project, a civil rights organization that challenged the law on behalf of the groups.

In 2006 and 2007, the law blocked more than 12,000 voters from registering, Westfall said. Black and Latino voter applications were disproportionately rejected, she said, because they frequently had double or hyphenated last names that the database did not recognize.

Browning, a former Pasco County supervisor of elections, said he delayed implementation of the law until after the primary to give supervisors time to make changes to their computer systems and because registration had closed by the time the court order became final.

He also acknowledged that the court case prompted state legislators to make changes this year to the law, which originally was passed to prevent voter fraud, and said he gets "steamed up" by complaints. "Folks ... continue to stir this up, and they think it's wrong simply because they don't like it. That's it in a nutshell," he said. "They don't like it, therefore it's wrong. I'm telling you it's not wrong. You've had a district court and an appellate court and the United States Department of Justice that have signed off on that. It's good. It's valid.

"They want to keep the hysteria moved up. They want to keep everybody agitated. They want to make sure that nobody has confidence in their systems." But if the system doesn't work, elections experts say it could especially affect Democrats. Presidential candidate Barack Obama has made bringing new voters to the polls one of his campaign strategies, and many of the voters he has encouraged to sign up are minorities.

Of the 400,000 new voters registered in Florida this year, about two-thirds are Democrats.

"It's a recipe for legal Florida residents not being allowed to vote," said Leon County Elections Supervisor Ion Sancho, a Democrat. "How many of them, I don't know. But are we willing to risk disenfranchising legal Florida voters again? I guess so. "We have to start a new process inside of two months before the election. We have to divert resources to this in the middle of the largest voter registration glut possibly in the history of Florida."

Sancho said he had received more than 1,000 registration applications this week. "The flood is coming," he said. Sancho was incensed by Browning's decision to disallow voters who come to the polls with the proper identification from casting regular ballots instead of provisional ones. "We are now creating a double bureaucratic process where they can vote their ballot, but it won't be counted until they come back and show us the same thing they showed us on Election Day," he said.

But Rob Weiner, Palm Beach County Elections Supervisor Arthur Anderson's assistant, shrugged off the difficulty of enforcing the new law and said his office had bigger problems. "This has been a very difficult time for us, and I don't have the time, literally, to go through these multiple little things. ... So if Tallahassee says this is what you've got to do, OK, this is what you've got to do," he said.
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