A small crowd delivered Tuesday what it hopes is a big message to state lawmakers: Stop Voter Suppression.
Awake The State SRQ and members from other groups, including the state League of Women Voters, rallied in front of The Sarasota Herald-Tribune building downtown to voice displeasure about Gov. Rick Scott's handling of voter laws, women's rights, redistricting and more.
"Awake The State is a statewide organic, grassroots movement of everyday Floridians who want to send a message to Gov. Rick Scott and Florida lawmakers and let them know we're fed up with their attacks on regular, everyday Floridians," said Donna Cubit-Swoyer, an Awake The State SRQ organizer and member of Sarasota Alliance for Fair Elections.
Today's event coincided with the opening day of the legislative season for the Florida state lawmakers when laws are formed and repealed.
Teresa Jenkins, from the statewide League of Women Voters speakers bureau, spoke at the event and highlighted a few key points:
• The League of Women Voters has registered voters since the 1940s and is no longer registering voters in Florida because of civil penalties and fines for voter registration drives.
• Voter registration must be done by July 16, including change of address. If not completed, only a provisional ballot can be filled out, having the chance your vote will not count.
• Early voting is cut from 14 days to eight days, and the League maintains that long lines are being created because of shortened dates, which will discourage seniors and disabled persons from standing for long periods of time.
• Voters cannot cast ballots on the Sunday before election day for early voting, which discourages "Souls to the Polls" initiative in black communities.