Ballot initiatives seek to boost voting in Florida

File photo
File photo

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Political committees have filed three proposed constitutional amendments aimed at expanding voting in Florida, including a measure that would register people to vote when they get driver’s licenses and a measure that would allow people to register and vote at the same time.

The amendments were posted on the state Division of Elections website Friday.

One, by the committee Our Votes Matter, would automatically register eligible people to vote when they get driver’s licenses, unless they opt out of registration.

Another proposal, by the committee Florida Votes Matter, would allow eligible voters to “both register and vote at the same time at early voting sites during early voting and at polling places on Election Day.”

The third proposal, by the committee Fair Vote Florida, says the restoration of voting eligibility could “not be denied because of any debt, including legal financial obligations.”

That proposal comes after a legal battle about a 2018 constitutional amendment aimed at restoring voting rights of felons who have served their sentences. Lawmakers required the felons to pay “legal financial obligations” before their rights could be restored.

The political committees are chaired by former state Rep. Sean Shaw, D-Tampa.

To get on the 2022 ballot, the committees would need to submit 891,589 valid petition signatures for each initiative and receive approval of the proposed ballot wording from the Florida Supreme Court.

Lawmakers in April approved a bill (SB 1890) that is designed to make the process harder by placing a $3,000 cap on contributions to committees trying to put initiatives on the ballot.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida has filed a federal-court challenge to the bill, which Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law.