Florida Democratic Party Chairman Condemns Marco Rubio’s Vote Against Measures To Protect Voting Rights And Secure Elections

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Florida Democratic Party Chairman Manny Diaz released the following statement on Marco Rubio’s vote against the Freedom To Vote Act earlier today: 

“Voting rights are fundamental to our democracy, and the Freedom To Vote Act would help ensure every American could cast their ballot safely and securely with the confidence it will be counted. Yet, once again, Marco Rubio kowtows to his party while trampling over the rights of millions of Floridians.

At a time when officials in Florida and other states are attempting to restrict access to the ballot box, voters deserve strong leaders who will defend their basic rights to participate in free and fair elections. Marco Rubio’s vote today is a shameful reminder that he will always put his own political agenda ahead of what’s best for Florida, even when the very foundation of our democracy is at stake.” 

The Freedom To Vote Act includes common sense reforms to make voting accessible for everyone, and puts in place new measures to protect our elections from dark money corruption, cyber attacks, and partisan gerrymandering. 


On July 27 and 28, Democrats in House Districts 94, 88 and in Senate District 33 submitted their irrevocable resignations from their seats. By law, Gov. Ron DeSantis is required to call special elections to fill those vacancies. As of this date, he has not done so. It has been 84 days since those vacancies were announced. By comparison —as noted in a lawsuit filed by residents from those districts to compel the Governor to call the elections— between 1999 and 2020 there were 65 vacancies at different points in time and on average it took the sitting governor 7.6 days to call for an special election. Ben Tyler, the Florida Democratic Party’s general counsel, issued the following statement.

“The Resign to Run law was designed to avoid a domino effect of empty seats caused by legislators running for different offices. Governor DeSantis is shirking his responsibility and potentially leaving hundreds of thousands of Floridians without representation in the process. Floridians in House Districts 88 and 94, and Senate District 33 have a right to equal representation.

“The Governor should call a special primary election on January 11, 2022, concurrently with the congressional special general election. The Governor should similarly call a special general election by February 15, 2022. We know that the Supervisor of Elections offices are capable of holding elections on these dates and further delay is simply unacceptable. It should not take citizens filing a lawsuit for the Governor to do what he is required to – it’s long past time to stop playing politics and schedule these elections.”

El Partido Demócrata de Florida Se Une a Llamados Para Que El Gobernador DeSantis Convoque a Elecciones Especiales

El 27 y 28 de julio, los demócratas de los distritos de la Cámara 94, 88 y del Distrito Senatorial 33 presentaron sus renuncias irrevocables de sus escaños. Por ley, el gobernador Ron DeSantis debe convocar elecciones especiales para cubrir esas vacantes. Hasta la fecha, no lo ha hecho. Han pasado 84 días desde que se anunciaron esas vacantes. En comparación, como se señaló en una demanda presentada por residentes de esos distritos para obligar al gobernador a convocar las elecciones, entre 1999 y 2020 hubo 65 vacantes en diferentes momentos y, en promedio, el gobernador en funciones tardó 7,6 días. para convocar una elección especial. Ben Tyler, abogado general del Partido Demócrata de Florida, emitió la siguiente declaración.
“La ley Resign to Run fue diseñada para evitar un efecto dominó de escaños vacíos causado por legisladores que se postulan para diferentes cargos. El gobernador DeSantis está eludiendo su responsabilidad y potencialmente dejando a cientos de miles de floridanos sin representación en el proceso. Los floridanos en los Distritos de la Cámara 88 y 94, y el Distrito Senatorial 33 tienen derecho a una representación equitativa.
“El gobernador debería convocar una elección primaria especial el 11 de enero de 2022, al mismo tiempo que la elección general especial del Congreso. Similarmente, el Gobernador debería convocar una elección general especial antes del 15 de febrero de 2022. Sabemos que las oficinas de los supervisores de elecciones pueden celebrar elecciones en estas fechas y una mayor demora es simplemente inaceptable. No debería ser necesario que los ciudadanos presenten una demanda para que el gobernador haga lo que se le exige; ya es hora de dejar de jugar a la política y programar estas elecciones “.
Texto Twitter: Abogado general del FDP declara sobre las elecciones especiales demoradas por DeSantis: “No debería ser necesario que los ciudadanos presenten una demanda para que el gobernador haga lo que se le exige; ya es hora de dejar de jugar a la política y programar estas elecciones.”

ICYMI: Tampa Bay Times Editorial Board Calls For the Governor and the Legislature to Fix Florida’s Broken Unemployment System

In an editorial published on Tuesday October 19th, 2021, the Tampa Bay Times Editorial Board called on Governor DeSantis and Florida’s Legislature to finally “get serious” about fixing the state’s messy and perhaps purposely dysfunctional, GOP-created unemployment system.
The editorial specifically references the recent mailing of overpayment notices, which have caused confusion, anxiety and consternation among many benefits recipients: ”The state Department of Economic Opportunity mailed thousands of notices recently to Floridians who filed for unemployment, stating they must repay in some cases thousands of dollars — or face being sent to debt collectors. The notices have caused angst because they almost never say why the recipient owes the state money or how the amount was calculated. Some notices have even been mailed after the deadline to appeal them.”
Read more below: 

Tampa Bay Times: More evidence that Florida’s unemployment system needs a permanent fix
Key Quotes:

• “The notices are one offshoot of an inherently flawed unemployment system that was wholly unprepared for the onslaught of job losses brought by COVID-19. In its haste to fulfill claims last year, the state automatically sent money out without verifying the exact dates the recipient was eligible. That required recipients to navigate the state’s confusing online unemployment website, known as CONNECT, and to “claim” those benefits after the fact. If the recipient failed — many were unaware of the requirement in the first place — they were likely sent an overpayment notice.”
• “How the state can prosecute fraud without knowing how many innocents are caught in this bureaucratic maze is anybody’s guess. But as the Tampa Bay Times reported earlier this month, the DOE is trying to claw back possibly billions of dollars in non-fraudulent unemployment claims distributed during the first 18 months of the pandemic.” 
• “The overpayment notices are but the latest feature of a benefits system stricken with chaos and disarray.”
• “Jobless Floridians should be able to navigate the system easily, and depend on a reliable flow of assistance. And taxpayers should have the confidence that the state is managing the operation well. Neither is currently the case, and the Legislature should make a turnaround a priority in the coming session.”

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Florida Democrats believe in effective and efficient government that prioritizes quality education, affordable health care, and an economy in which anyone who works hard can succeed.

Most importantly, we believe that we are stronger together. We believe the fundamental American promise — that you can go as far as your own hard work will take you — should shine brightest in Florida.

That is why we champion the middle class and cherish the principle that all Floridians should have the opportunity to work hard and succeed. That is why we will never stop fighting for better public schools, because education is the surest path to a better life for millions.

From standing for affordable health care and better schools to fighting for civil rights and access to the ballot box, Florida Democrats are leading every day to move our state forward.

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