Here in the U.S., it’s National Voter Registration Day. First observed in 2012, it’s a day designated for reminding U.S. citizens to register to vote.
In this blog entry, I’m going to point to a couple of people who are helping the democratic process.
BetterKnowABallot.com by The Late Show with Stephen Colbert
Voting in the U.S. can be confusing because the systems and rules aren’t organized federally, but by state. In order to help alleviate this problem and be interesting, late-night TV show host Stephen Colbert and his team have put together BetterKnowABallot.com, a site that explains how to register to vote, vote by mail and vote in person based on your state’s specific laws.
Here’s Colbert explaining what it’s all about:
Find out more at BetterKnowABallot.com.
- The easiest way to register to vote in Florida is to do it online. Tap here to do so.
- You can also register to vote in Florida by mailing in an application. Tap here to do so.
- And finally, you go to a location in person and register to vote in Florida. Tap here to do so.
You can also request a vote-by-mail ballot, the deadline for which is Saturday, October 24:
- Learn more about voting by mail in Florida here.
- Find out more about voting by mail in your county here.
- Want to know who the supervisor of elections in your area is? Tap here.
Michael Bloomberg and company pay Florida felons’ poll tax
If you’ve never seen John Oliver’s piece on felony disenfranchisement on Last Week Tonight back in September 2018, here it is:
The piece was focused on Florida (yup, where I live), where 1.5 million citizens — nearly 10% of the adult population — have completed sentences for felony convictions but still can’t vote.
Nearly 1 in 5 black adults is disenfranchised from voting.
In the 2018 midterm elections, Florida voters approved Amendment 4, which automatically restored voting rights in the state for people previously convicted of felonies, with the notable exception of those who were convicted of murder or sex crimes. It’s fair — if you’ve paid your debt to society, you should be able to vote.
Florida’s governor — Ron “DipShantis” DeSantis, who hews very closely to Trump — has been fighting this tooth and nail. His most effective action was to add on a requirement that felons could have their voting right restored if and only if they pay all fines, fees and restitution.
Florida’s voter registration deadline is Oct. 5 and as many as 775,000 felons may have outstanding court debts — which include fines, fees and restitution — that preclude them from registering under the law passed last year by the Republican-controlled state Legislature.
This is nothing more than a poll tax, a trick that goes back to before the turn of the previous century, as a way of keeping black people from voting in southern states. Otherwise, there’d be laws that required you to pay off any outstanding taxes and traffic violation tickets in order to be able to vote.
To help right this wrong, Michael Bloomberg — for whom this is poker night money — and other people have raised $16 million to pay those outstanding fines and help restore those voting rights.