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If you vote by mail in Florida, it’s 10 times more likely that ballot won’t count From Miami Herald

I consider this headline which most will not read the whole story, just the headline, to be voter suppression 

Before you freak out at this headline and panic about voting by mail, consider these important facts:
Voting By Mail increases turnout by about 20%, far outpaces the rejection rate which is very low particularly in midterms.
I vote by mail early. Missing signatures can be cured by affidavit.
Finally, VBM leaves a paper trail, of increasing importance as hostile foreign countries seeks to disrupt our election machinery.

We absolutely need to understand why “rejection rates for mail ballots cast by blacks and Hispanics went up between 2012 and 2016,“ but voting by mail is a clear net positive in the number of counted ballots cast that should not be discouraged.

Remember to sign the back of the envelop.
Make sure you put enough postage on – better too much than not enough. (Stamps.com)

The study included six specific recommendations to reduce the vote-by-mail rejection rates:

▪

There should be greater statewide uniformity in the design of mail ballots and the return vote-by-mail (VBM) envelope.

▪

There should be greater uniformity in the procedures employed by supervisors of elections, their staff, and canvassing boards to process, validate and, if necessary, cure VBM ballots.

▪

The Florida statewide voter history file (the FVRS database) should include information about why a voter’s mail ballot was rejected, including whether it was rejected because it lacked a signature or the voter’s signature was mismatched, and if the voter attempted to cure the VBM ballot if it was flagged as invalid.

▪

The October 17, 2016 memorandum to supervisors of elections from Secretary of State Ken Detzner should be revised to include specific procedures that county election officials should follow when notifying voters of a rejected VBM ballot and the cure process for missing and mismatched signatures.

▪

The Florida Division of Elections should study procedures for processing VBM ballots as well as procedures in place for voters to cure an invalid mailed ballot, promoting “best practices” from those counties with the lowest rejection and highest cure rates.

▪

The legislature should create guidelines for how supervisors of elections shall notify voters of their rejected ballot status and how voters can cure their VBM ballot prior to Election Day -Nadine Smith   

Please forward and comment Ron Mills         https://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article218654810.html

How I Am Voting on the Amendments


    Hi, everybody!

    (This message represents my opinion alone and does not represent the view of any political club, party, or other organization.)

    This is How I am Voting on the Proposed Constitutional Amendments

    There are 12 proposed amendments to the Florida Constitution on the November Ballot.  Three were put on the ballot by the Republican-controlled Florida Legislature, and have the general goal of lowering property taxes and thereby reducing the money that local governments need for basic services, such as parks, libraries, and public safety.  Two reached the ballot through citizen-initiated petitions, each covering a single issue.  The remaining seven, many covering totally unrelated topics, were placed on the ballot by the Florida Constitution Revision Commission.  (There originally were 8, but the Florida Supreme Court removed Amendment 8 from the Ballot.)

    (Be sure to vote NO on each proposed amendment you are against.  Do not leave any question clank!)

    NO on Amendment 1, the Homestead Exemption Increase Amendment, put on the ballot by the Florida Legislature, would exempt more of a home’s value from property taxes.

    NO on Amendment 2, the Permanent Cap on Nonhomestead Parcel Assessment Increases Amendment, also put on the ballot by the Florida Legislature, would make permanent the 10% cap on property tax increases of nonhomestead property ( 2nd homes, rentals, and other commercial property), which would otherwise expire on January 1, 2019.

    NO POSITION on Amendment 3, the Voter Approval of Casino Gambling Initiative, put on the ballot by a citizen-initiated petition drive, would take the authority to authorize casino gambling in Florida away from the Legislature, and would make the citizen-initiated petition process the exclusive method for authorizing casino gambling in Florida.  Horse racing, dog racing, jai alai, and casino gambling at the Seminole Tribe’s facilities would not be impacted by this proposal.

    YES on Amendment 4, the Voting Rights Restoration for Felons Initiative, also on the ballot through the citizen-initiated petition process, would automatically restore the right to vote to Floridians with prior felony convictions, except for those convicted of murder or felony sexual offenses, upon completion of their sentences, including prison, parole, and probation.  Florida is one of only 3 states to impose a lifetime ban on voting for those with prior felony convictions, and as a result there are over 1.4 million of our friends and neighbors who cannot vote even after paying their debt to society.  The current system takes forever and is arbitrary.  Voting YES on Amendment 4 is a common sense approach to fixing our broken system and creating a more inclusive democracy.

    NO on Amendment 5, the 2/3 Vote of Legislature to Increase Taxes or Fees Amendment, placed on the ballot by the Florida Legislature, would require a 60% supermajority rather than a simple majority vote to enact new taxes or fees or increase existing taxes or fees.  (As the Democratic Progressive Caucus says, this would make it nearly impossible for future legislatures to address budget needs, such as teacher raises or natural catastrophes.)

    All of the remaining proposals were put on the ballot by the Constitution Revision Commission.

    NO on Amendment 6, the Marsy’s Law Crime Victims Rights, Judicial Retirement Age, and Judicial Interpretation of Laws and Rules Amendment would: (a) add specific rights for victims of crime to the Constitution; (b) increase the retirement age of judges, from 70 to 75 years of age; and (c) prohibit state courts from continuing to defer to an administrative agency’s interpretation of a statute or rule.  (This proposal is a perfect example of why an amendment should only cover one topic.  Many people like the idea of increasing the retirement age of judges, but don’t want to be forced to vote for the two other proposals.)

    NO on Amendment 7, the First Responder and Military Member Survivor Benefits, Supermajority Board Votes for College Fees, and State College System Amendment would: (a) require an employer or the state to provide death benefits to surviving spouses of 1st responders and active duty military members; (b) require a supermajority vote to increase college fees; and (c) add the current structure of Florida’s system of higher education to the Constitution.

    NO on Amendment 9, the Ban Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling, and Ban Vaping in Enclosed Indoor Workplaces Amendment, containing only two unrelated topics, would: (a) ban offshore drilling for oil and natural gas on land beneath all state waters; and (b) ban vaping (including the use of vapor-generating devices like electronic cigarettes) in enclosed indoor workplaces.

    NO on Amendment 10, the Florida State and Local Government Structure Amendment, with four unrelated topics, would: (a) require the Legislature to provide for a State Department of Veterans Affairs; (b) create a State Office of Domestic Security and Counter-Terrorism; (c) change the start date of legislative sessions from March to January; and (d) prohibit counties from abolishing certain local offices, including sheriffs, property appraisers, supervisors of elections, tax collectors, and clerks of courts, and require them to be elected.  (This would take away the control granted to charter counties and limit their ability to respond to local conditions.)

    NO on Amendment 11, the Repeal Prohibition on Aliens’ Property Ownership, Delete Obsolete Provision on High-Speed Rail, and Repeal of Criminal Statutes Effect on Prosecution Amendment would: (a) repeal the constitutional provision prohibiting aliens from owning, inheriting, disposing, and possessing property. (A similar proposal was rejected in 2008.); (b) repeal obsolete language in the Constitution about developing a high-speed monorail in Florida. (The original proposal was repealed in 2004.); and (c) delete a provision saying that changes to a criminal statute will not effect the prosecution or penalties for a crime committed before the change. (After re-reading this proposal multiple times, its impact is unclear and disputed.)

    NO on Amendment 12, the Lobbying Restrictions Amendment would prohibit public officials from lobbying for compensation while in office and six years thereafter.  (As the Democratic Progressive Caucus says, this could be applied too broadly at the local level, and would not solve the problem of money and influence in politics.)

    NO on Amendment 13, the Ban on Wagering on Dog Races Amendment would ban betting on dog races, including greyhound races.  (Many feel that dog racing is inhumane, but should this really be in the Constitution?)

    Many groups and individuals have different opinions about these proposed amendments.  The Broward Democratic Party’s Platform Committee, for example, recommends a yes vote on Amendments 3, 4, 9, and 13.  I happen to feel very strongly about some issues not being appropriate to include in the Florida Constitution, and about including totally unrelated topics in a single proposal.  It is absolutely essential that Amendment 4, the Rights Restoration Amendment, be approved and not just because I worked so hard to get it on the ballot.  Restoring the right to vote to over a million Florida residents could go a long way towards turning Florida into a reliably blue state.  And even if it does not accomplish that, it is still the right thing to do for people who have paid their debt to society.  Rather than confuse voters by trying to explain that they should vote yes on some amendments and no on others, I think it is a much better idea to make the slogan for the constitutional amendments on the 2018 Ballot: “YES ON 4 AND NO MORE!”

    And remember that for proposed amendments that you are against, you must vote NO and not just leave that question blank!

    Alan

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Our President is Definitely Not a Scientist!

    Hi, friends!

    Earlier today (Wednesday), Donald Trump made an insane and embarrassing statement about Hurricane Florence.  If I had not seen the video of his observation, I would not have believed these words could have come out if the mouth of the person who currently heads our government.  He said: “Florence is a tough hurricane, one of the wettest we’ve ever seen from the standpoint of water.”    
 
    I know, I know, it’s just unbelievable!  And yet, have you noticed the silence of Republicans all through each and every embarrassing action that Trump takes?  No Republican Senator or candidate who is running for a Senate seat in the Mid-Term Election on November 6th says anything.  By not speaking out, these Republicans enable the President and everything he does.  Democrats must point out that the inaction of these Republican is harmful to our country.  Democrats must point out that by supporting Trump, these Republicans are not worthy of being elected or re-elected to the Senate.

    So, the time has come again for all of us to make a contribution to the campaigns of the Democrats in tough races for the Senate, starting with our own Bill Nelson, right here in Florida:  https://www.nelsonforsenate.com/

    Think about all of the harm to the Federal Judiciary we can help prevent if the Democrats can retake the Senate!  Here are some of the other campaigns you can help with:

        Claire McCaskill (Missouri) – https://clairemccaskill.com/
        Joe Donelly (Indiana) – https://joeforindiana.com/
        Jacky Rosen (Nevada) – https://rosenfornevada.com/
        Heidi Heitkamp (North Dakota) – https://heidifornorthdakota.com/
        Phil Bredesen (Tennessee) – https://www.bredesen.com/

        and my personal favorite wish for November 6th:

        Beto O’Rourke – https://betofortexas.com/    (If Ted Cruz loses, I will dance a jig!)

    Thank you everybody for what you are doing to bring some sanity back to our country!

    (And please forward this message to everyone you know.)

    Alan

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We Need Your Help During Last 2 Weeks of Voter Registration!


    Hi, Democrats!

    There are only 3 weeks left for voter registration for the November 6th Mid-Terms. October 9th is the last day to turn in voter registration forms!

    I will be at the West Regional Courthouse (Broward & Pine Island) today (Monday) and Thursday, September 20th from 10 AM until 2 PM.  I can use your help.  Please let me know if you can join me.

    Volunteers are still needed for the following dates when I, unfortunately, will be out of town.  If you can help on any of these dates, please let me know now so I can schedule you and connect you with those who will handle voter registration on these dates at the Courthouse:

    Monday, September 24th from 10 AM to 2 PM;

    Wednesday, September 26th from 10 AM to 2 PM;

    Wednesday, October 3rd from 10 AM to 2 PM; and

    Monday, October 8th from 10 AM to 2 PM.

    Please choose the dates you can help and let me know as soon as possible.

    If you prefer to work on Saturdays at the West Regional Library in Plantation, John Ziegler’s team will be there next Saturday, September 22nd from 10 AM until 6 PM, and probably on the 29th, and October 7th.  Volunteers take 2-hour shifts.  If you’d like to help with voter registration at the Library on Saturday, please contact John at 954-232-3918 or johnjoeziegler@aol.com.

    Alan

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Dates and Times That Your Help is Sorely Needed

    Good evening everyone!

    I am going to give you the links to two videos you must watch if you have not yet seen them:  the first is Barack Obama’s speech last Friday and the second is John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight show from this past Sunday.

    But first I have to ask for your help!

    Voter registration closes for the November 6th General Election on Tuesday, October 9th.  That means there are only three more weeks to try to register voters to help Democrats succeed in this very crucial Mid-Term Election.

    I will be back at the West Regional Courthouse on Monday, September 17th from 10 AM until 2 PM.  The Courthouse will be closed on Wednesday the 19th for Yom Kippur, so I will go back to the Courthouse on Thursday, September 20th from 10 to 2.  Please let me know of you can join me on that Thursday.

    Volunteers will be greatly needed for the following dates when I, unfortunately, will be out of town.  If you can help on any of these dates, please let me know now so I can schedule you and connect you with those who will handle voter registration on these dates at the Courthouse:

    Monday, September 24th from 10 AM to 2 PM;

    Wednesday, September 26th from 10 AM to 2 PM;

    Monday, October 1st from 10 AM to 2 PM;

    Wednesday, October 3rd from 10 AM to 2 PM; and

    Monday, October 8th from 10 AM to 2 PM.

    Please choose the dates you can help and let me know as soon as possible.

    If you prefer to work on Saturdays at the West Regional Library in Plantation, John Ziegler’s team will be there this Saturday, September 15th from 10 AM until 6 PM, and probably on the 22nd, the 29th, and October 7th.  Volunteers take 2-hour shifts.  If you’d like to help with voter registration at the Library on Saturday, please contact John at 954-232-3918 or johnjoeziegler@aol.com;   

    We had a very productive day yesterday at the West Regional Courthouse.  Marsha Eisenberg, John Countryman, and Joseph Russel (on his very last day of volunteering before going back to UCLU where he is studying) helped to collect 14 voter registration forms (10 Democrats!), 13 vote-by-mail requests, and 31 pledge cards to vote yes on Amendment 4.  Many thanks to these wonderful and dedicated volunteers!

    Now for those video links:  The first is Obama’s Friday speech.  He says what we all already know.  That not only do we have a President who every day embarrasses our country and the rest of the world, but we also have a Republican Party, Congressmen, and Senators who remain silent and enable the craziness.  Barack Obama offers a great solution to restore some sanity to our country.  Don’t complain, don’t boo, don’t withdraw.  In the Mid-Terms, VOTE!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sHAkDTlv8fA

    The second is John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight show from last Sunday.  This short show is dedicated to exploring felony disenfranchisement in Florida.  John demonstrates why the current system is a joke, and he holds out the hope that Amendment 4 which would automatically restore the right to vote to Floridians with prior felony convictions (in my opinion, the most important Amendment on the ballot!) passes on November 6th.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NpPyLcQ2vdI

    I hope you enjoy President Obama’s speech and John Oliver’s show as much as I did.

    And to all of my Jewish friends, a very Happy New Year!

    Alan

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Courthouse Closed Monday for Rosh Hashanah, But You Can Still Come to Tuesday’s Meeting

    The Courthouse is closed tomorrow for Rosh Hashanah, so we won’t be back there until Wednesday. Here is my corrected list of activities:

    On Tuesday, September 11th, the Plantation Democratic Club will have its monthly meeting at 7 PM at the Jim Ward Community Center 301 NW 46 Avenue in Plantation.  We will be talking about what’s going on in Washington, and what will be on the ballot.  I will be making a presentation on the Constitutional Amendments which will be on the November Ballot.  Save the date and join us!

    On Wednesday, September 12th, I will be back at the West Regional Courthouse (Pine Island & Broward) from 10 AM to 2 PM to register voters and sign people up to vote by mail.  Please let me know if you can join me.

n Wednesday, September 12th, I will be back at the West Regional Courthouse (Pine Island & Broward) from 10 AM to 2 PM to register voters and sign people up to vote by mail.  Please let me know if you can join me.
    For those who live in Plantation, at 7 PM on Thursday, September 13th, there will be a Meet and Greet (NOT a fund-raiser) for Nick Sortal who is in the race for Plantation City Council at the home of Ryan & Maris Barth, 9343 NW 10 Street in the Enclave at Jacaranda Lakes in Plantation.  RSVP to Maria at 954-588-3982.

    My wonderful summer volunteer, Joseph Russel, will be going back to UCLA next week.  I will miss him sorely and will need help at the Courthouse on Monday and Wednesday, September 17th & 19th.  I arrive at 10 AM and leave at 2 PM and I need help putting up and taking down the canopy.  So please let me know if you will be able to join me at the West Regional Courthouse on those days

    As for the North Broward Democratic Club’s Annual Labor Day Picnic which was rained out on Monday, September 3rd, I believe it is being re-scheduled in October.  More when I find out.

    Remember: Broward County and Florida can lead the nation in voting for blue candidates who will bring sanity back to our nation.  And you can help!

    Alan


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Join Us On Tuesday Night

    Good afternoon, friends!

    History can be made on November 6, 2018.  We can help elect the first Democratic Governor of Florida in 20 years, and the first African-American Governor!  We can help Broward County do what is necessary to make sure that Andrew Gillum is elected Governor, Bill Nelson is re-elected Senator in Florida, and Amendment 4 passes to restore the right to vote to the 1.5 million Floridians with felony convictions.  And you can get involved and be a part of that effort.

    At the West Regional Courthouse yesterday, Joseph Russel, Lauren Tate, and John Countryman helped to register 10 voters (7 of them Democrats!), collect 12 vote-by-mail requests, 5 universal background check demands, and 54 pledges to vote yes on Amendment 4!

    Here’s what else is going on:

    On Saturday and Sunday, September 8th and 9th, we will be knocking on doors in east Plantation to let people know about Tuesday’s meeting at the Jim Ward Community Center, and about Andrew Gillum, Bill Nelson, and why it’s so important for everyone to vote in the Mid-Term Elections.  Please let me know if you can join us.

    On Monday and Wednesday, September 10th and 12th, I will be back at the West Regional Courthouse (Pine Island & Broward) from 10 AM to 2 PM to register voters and sign people up to vote by mail.  Please let me know if you can join me.

    On Tuesday, September 11th, the Plantation Democratic Club will have its monthly meeting at 7 PM at the Jim Ward Community Center 301 NW 46 Avenue in Plantation.  We will be talking about what’s going on in Washington, and what will be on the ballot.  I will be making a presentation on the Constitutional Amendments which will be on the November Ballot.  Save the date and join us!

    For those who live in Plantation, at 7 PM on Thursday, September 13th, there will be a Meet and Greet (NOT a fund-raiser) for Nick Sortal who is in the race for Plantation City Council at the home of Ryan & Maris Barth, 9343 NW 10 Street in the Enclave at Jacaranda Lakes in Plantation.  RSVP to Maria at 954-588-3982.

    My wonderful summer volunteer, Joseph Russel, will be going back to UCLA next week.  I will miss him sorely and will need help at the Courthouse on Monday and Wednesday, September 17th & 19th.  I arrive at 10 AM and leave at 2 PM and I need help putting up and taking down the canopy.  So please let me know if you will be able to join me at the West Regional Courthouse on those days

    As for the North Broward Democratic Club’s Annual Labor Day Picnic which was rained out on Monday, September 3rd, I believe it is being re-scheduled in October.  More when I find out.

    Remember: Broward County and Florida can lead the nation in voting for blue candidates who will bring sanity back to our nation.  And you can help!

    Alan


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Protect the Right to Choose: Make Two Phone Calls

    The Senate Confirmation Hearing for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh starts tomorrow (Tuesday.)  If you did not get a chance to see the Rachel Maddow show, try to watch it.  A very compelling case is made for opposing this nomination.  The show discusses Kavanaugh’s role in the case of a pregnant teenage immigrant who decided that she wanted an abortion and got a Texas Court to allow that abortion.  Judge Kavanaugh’s remarkable resistance to allowing that teenager to exercise her constitutional right to get an abortion and his dissenting opinion in that case contributes to the belief that many people have that he would vote to overturn Roe versus Wade if he becomes a Supreme Court Justice.

    This is why 46% of American women do not support the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.  And this is why, for the first time in its 25 years of existence, the Center for Reproductive Rights is opposing a President’s nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court.

     If you agree that a woman’s constitutional right to choose to have a abortion must be protected, think about making phone calls to the two Republican senators who may well decide whether or not Brett Kavanaugh becomes a Supreme Court Justice:

        Senator Susan Collins –  207-622-8414
        Senator Lisa Murkowski – 202-224-6665

    Thank you for making your voices heard!

    Alan


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Who Is Ron DeSantis?

Ron DeSantis is, of course, the Republican nominee for Governor of Florida.  He was also, until the day after he was nominated, an administrator of the Tea Party Facebook Group.  Other Tea Party group administrators included Corey Stewart, the notorious white supremacist Republican candidate for US Senate from Virginia and Kelli Ward who was John McCain’s Republican primary opponent two years ago.  All three have been endorsed by Donald Trump at one point or another.

Screen shot of a posting on the Tea Party Facebook page in which Maria Rubino-Decowski acknowledges Virginia Republican US Senate candidate Corey Stewart as a group administrator
Facebook Tea Party group acknowledges Corey Stewart as one of its group administrators

The same day that Ron DeSantis made his famous monkey gaffe on Fox TV, DeSantis, Stewart and Ward’s names disappeared from the administrator list, but as you can see, there is ample evidence of their leadership positions within the group.

Screen shot of Tea Party acknowledgement that Ron DeSantis is in fact a group administrator

It is worth looking at some of the Tea Party postings that happened while Ron DeSantis, Kelli Ward and Corey Stewart were group administrators.  Here are some examples of the group’s thoughts about the late Senator John McCain.  You can click on most of these images and go straight to the place on the Tea Party Group Facebook page where you can find the original post and all the comments that Tea Party members have made on that post.

Screen shot of a post in the Tea Party Facebook group.  The post calls the late Senator John McCain a traitor
Ron DeSantis’ Tea Party Facebook group proposed this tombstone for John McCain

Screen shot of a post to the Tea Party Facebook group on August 26, 2018 at 9:12 PM.  The dead rhinoceros is a reference to a derisive term used by right wing extremists -- Republican In Name Only (RINO).  Applying that term ot John McCain gives silly a whole new meaning
RINO means Republican In Name Only

The Tea Party Facebook has some strong opinions about President Barack Obama and his family

Screen shot of a cartoon posted to the Tea Party Facebook group on July 12, 2017.  The cartoon shows a caricature of President Obama being addressed as "boy"
This is one of the group’s cartoons about Barack Obama

Image calls First Lady Michele Obama a man
And this is the group’s comment on the Obama family

A sign written in English and Arabic.  The sign does not appear to say the same thing in both languages.  The English says "Welcome to Kenya, Birthplace of Barack Obama"
and of course, the group has the fairy tale about President Obama’s birthplace

The Tea Party Facebook group that Ron DeSantis administered has opinions about the kids who survived the shootings at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School.

The group had some opinions about the massacre at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas HS

Screen shot of a post to the Tea Party Facebook page on May 18, 2018.  The image shows Parkland shooting survivor David Hogg dressed as Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz.  The Santa Fe road sign is an oblique reference to a right wing conspiracy theory that the Parkland students faked the shooting at their high school
and they have opinions about David Hogg as well

In June of this year, somebody made a crank call to the Broward County Sheriff. They falsely reported that there was an active shooter at David Hogg’s house.  The danger here is that the police arrive at the scene expecting to find an armed bad guy.  Nobody at the house expects police.  It is extremely easy for innocent people to get hurt in such a situation.  The Tea Party group on Facebook postulated that David Hogg called the SWAT team on himself in order to get attention.

Tea Party group opinion of a life threatening false alarm at David Hogg’s house 

Ron DeSantis, the Trump endorsed Republican nominee for Governor of Florida was until just a few days ago, an administrator of the Facebook group that published these posts and a whole lot more.  I think Alan Ehrlich is correct to ask if Republicans know who they nominated.  See Alan’s post  https://www.bluebroward.org/2018/08/30/do-republicans-have-any-idea-who-desantis-is/