Tim Canova Wins Environmental Endorsements

Canova Taking On Wasserman Schultz Who Accepts Money From Big Water Polluters


The past few months have brought untold devastation to Florida’s coastlines and internal waterways. Red tide and toxic blue-green algal have killed hundreds of sea turtles, manatees, dolphins, sea otters, and thousands of fish and birds. Scientists have long understood the leading role played by toxic fertilizers, pesticides, and animal waste. Yet the problem only gets worse. And that’s because politicians like Debbie Wasserman Schultz take so much money from Big Agribusinesses and the Big Sugar industry.

The Red Tide has now arrived in my own district! Fish are showing up dead, and several beaches have now been closed! And this goes well beyond the state of Florida. We are now witnessing growing “dead zones” in our oceans and coastal waters, from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic, and more and more toxic algal blooms as far away as the Great Lakes. We see not just dying sea creatures, but also many people now getting sick with respiratory ailments and worse, just from being in close proximity to the toxic algal.

Our leadership on this issue has been recognized by recent endorsements from fearless environmentalists in Florida. Bull Sugar, the leading group taking on the Big Sugar industry, along with the Green Party of Florida, and Florida Candidates for Science, have all announced their support for our campaign. I also met several times over the past few days with Erin Brockovich, the celebrity activist, to brief her on the crisis, and I’m grateful for the support Erin has provided for our efforts to reach a wider audience.

Tim with activist Erin Brockovich along with Bull Sugar leaders Allie Preston, Emily Mauri, and Peter Girard.

You can count on me to take on these special interests and to work hard to protect the environment. I have never taken a penny from the corporate polluters responsible for this crisis, and I never will. Click here to support our campaign now.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz often claims to help South Florida as a member of the House Appropriations Committee. Yet, she has voted for billions of dollars in federal subsidies to these polluting industries. And she’s never introduced legislation to address the root causes of this crisis. When elected, I pledge to oppose these taxpayer subsidies for polluters and to introduce comprehensive legislation to clean up our waterways before the crisis gets worse.

We must stop this crisis before our aquifers and drinking water are contaminated, and before our oceans and seas become completely acidified. Many experts are worried that we are at a tipping point, a point of no return. We must act now to have a fighting chance to save our ecosystem from complete collapse. But I need your help now and for the next few weeks! Please donate what you can and spread the word to others.

Thank you for your support for our agenda to put people and planet ahead of corporate profits.

Sincerely,

Volunteer Postcard Push For Canova

Volunteers Writing To South Florida Voters On Behalf Of Tim Canova

October 2, 2018

If a picture is worth 1,000 words, imagine the impact of personalized postcards being crafted and sent to voters by volunteers supporting Tim Canova’s Independent campaign to defeat Debbie Wasserman Schultz on November 6th.

Movement For a People’s Party unanimously endorsed Canova’s bid. Now volunteers

No matter where you live MPP VOLUNTEERS can easily support Tim Canova simply by joining Florida’s MPP Postcard Activity! Sign up and get started now.

The Canova campaign has created these mailers to send to thousands of voters.

MPP wants to make sure the mailers leave a lasting impression so they’re following up by organizing volunteers to send personalized postcards.

To get started, all you need to do is send your RSVP.  Then you will need a batch of at least (25) 4×6 unlined colored  index cards. When you sign up we will provide info on where you can purchase the cards.

In a nutshell you will be handwriting your own personal message on the postcards including a written address. Then you will mail your batch of cards to a local MPP volunteer who will put on the finishing touches.

Sounds easy enough right? Please RSVP and get started! You will receive complete easy to use instructions delivered to the email address you provide here.

Thank you for volunteering, supporting Movement For A People’s Party, and taking action for Tim.

 

Contact Info:    Elise Mysels  (813) 956-8661  |    mpptampabay@gmail.com

 

Startling ACLU Report: Higher Rejection Rate For Mail-in Ballots

September 19, 2018

In our new report “Vote-By-Mail Ballots Cast in Florida,” we found that vote-by-mail ballots cast in the 2012 and 2016 general election had a higher rejection rate than votes cast at assigned precincts on Election Day and at early voting sites. We also found that younger voters and racial and ethnic minority voters were much more likely to cast mail ballots that were rejected and were less likely to have their ballots cured.

This report contrasts the rates of rejected vote-by-mail (VBM) ballots in the 2012 and 2016 general elections—statewide broken down by age cohorts and racial and ethnic groups, and across counties.

For Florida to have free and fair elections, all eligible voters must have equal opportunity to vote, including those casting (and curing) VBM ballots.

In addition, drawing on available county-level records, it highlights variations in cure rates of VBM ballots received by Supervisors of Elections in the 2016 general election that initially were deemed invalid because they were contained in return envelopes with mismatched signatures. It finds that younger voters, as well as voters from racial and ethnic minorities, are much more likely to cast VBM ballots that are rejected, and are less likely to cure their VBM ballots if SOE staff flag them for having signature problems.

The report also found that Florida’s counties do not use standardized coding when documenting the reasons for VBM ballots to be initially rejected, processed, or cured.

All voters who choose to VBM should take the extra steps to track their mail ballot and, if there is a problem with the voter’s signature, to use the cure process to ensure that their vote is counted and their voice is heard. If your ballot was rejected because your signature was missing on the return envelope or it does not match the signature on file, you are permitted to mail, fax, email, or hand-deliver to your SOE your signed affidavit, along with a copy of a permissible form of identification. Click here for more step-by-step instructions on how to ensure your vote-by-mail ballot counts. 

VBM FL

Download the report


Summary

This report contrasts the rates of rejected vote-by-mail (VBM) ballots in the 2012 and 2016 general elections—statewide broken down by age cohorts and racial and ethnic groups, and across counties. In addition, drawing on available county-level records, it highlights variations in cure rates of VBM ballots received by Supervisors of Elections in the 2016 general election that initially were deemed invalid because they were contained in return envelopes with mismatched signatures. It finds that younger voters, as well as voters from racial and ethnic minorities, are much more likely to cast VBM ballots that are rejected, and are less likely to cure their VBM ballots if SOE staff flag them for having signature problems.

Principal Findings

  • Mail ballots (commonly referred to as “Vote by Mail” or VBM) have had a higher rejection rate than votes cast at assigned precincts on Election Day and at Early Voting sites;
  • There is a lack of uniformity in the Vote by Mail process as well as  procedures to cure invalid ballots across Florida’s 67 counties, leading to considerable variation in rejection rates and cure rates by counties;
  • Younger and racial and ethnic minority voters were much more likely to have their  VBM ballots  rejected, and  less likely to have  their VBM ballots cured when they are flagged for a signature problem;
  • Younger and racial and ethnic minority voters casting VBM ballots were at least twice as likely as older and white voters to have their VBM ballot rejected in the  presidential elections of 2012 and 2016;
  • The likelihood of younger and minority voters casting a mail  ballot that was rejected increased in 2016 compared to 2012 while the rejection rate of VBM ballots cast by white voters decreased;
  • Florida voters were more likely to have their vote tabulated and validated if they cast their ballot in person at an Early Voting site or at their assigned Election Day polling location.

Policy Recommendations

To ensure that all eligible voters have an equal access to the voting process and to have their vote processed, tabulated, and accepted as valid:

  • There should be greater statewide uniformity in the design of mail ballots and  the return 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 (SOEs) 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 SOEs shall notify voters of their rejected ballot status and how voters can cure their VBM ballot prior to Election Day.

Download the report


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Daniel A. Smith is Professor and Chair of Political Science at the University of Florida. He is the President of ElectionSmith, Inc., and a former Senior Fulbright Scholar in Ghana, West Africa. He has served as an expert witness in numerous voting rights lawsuits in Florida and across the country, working closely with the ACLU, the NAACP, Demos, the Campaign Legal Center, Mi Familia, SEIU, and numerous other voting rights groups. Dr. Smith holds a M.A. and a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison; he went to Penn State for his undergraduate degrees in Political Science and History. Dr. Smith’s research broadly examines how political institutions affect political behavior across and within the American states. In addition to publishing over 100 peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, and research reports on voting and elections in the American states, his authored and coauthored books include Tax Crusaders and the Politics of Direct Democracy (Routledge, 1998), Educated by Initiative (University of Michigan Press, 2004), and State and Local Politics: Institutions and Reform (4th edition, Cengage, 2015). He is widely quoted in the Florida and national media.

Election Activists: What Has Gone Wrong In Broward County?

Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes

Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes 

A group of elections transparency and fairness activists gathered in Hollywood Monday to discuss voter suppression, felony disenfranchisement and election security. But speaker after speaker asked a single question: What has gone wrong with the elections process in Broward County?

 

Chris Sautter, an elections attorney, first came to Broward to work for Democrat Al Gore during the infamous 2000 election in which 537 South Florida voters decided the presidential election. He said back then that Broward County was one of the only places in the region that seemed to have it together when it came to voting.

“But since I’ve been here there’ve been a whole host of problems,” he told WLRN at the meeting.

Elections transparency activists held a meeting in Hollywood this week. Many focused their attention on the Broward County Supervisor of Elections.

The approximately 50 attendees were mostly local progressives as well as some who had traveled here. They heard tales of voter intimidation in rural Virginia. They oohed and ahhed at a demonstration given by software developer and political consultant Bennie Smith, who discovered elections system vulnerabilities in his hometown Memphis in 2015. Yet the conversation kept coming back to why the event was being held in Broward County.

“Broward County is kind of ground zero in the fight for accountability and verifiability and transparency,” said Sautter.

The most prominent case of something running afoul in recent years was during a contested 2016 primary for Florida’s 23rd Congressional District. Incumbent Democrat Debbie Wasserman Schultz was facing an insurgent primary challenge by Bernie Sanders-backed Tim Canova, which gained national attention. As the chair of the Democratic National Committee, Wasserman Schultz faced allegations that she tipped the scales of the Democratic presidential primary to benefit  Hillary Clinton. (She denies this.)

Despite all his zeal, Canova lost the primary by a wide margin. But something felt off, he said. Shortly after the election he filed public records requests with the Broward County supervisor of elections to get access to the paper ballots, which are public records. For months he waited to gain access, but did not receive it. Then, he filed a lawsuit against Brenda Snipes, the supervisor of elections, an elected official.

Months into the lawsuit, Snipes ordered the destruction of the ballots Canova was requesting to see. He was unable to review the records and was stunned.

“I’ve lost much faith and confidence in the Broward Supervisor of Elections Office to conduct a fair election,” said Canova, who spoke Monday. “It’s undermined my confidence in the election system generally around this country.”

Legal experts maintained that Snipes broke federal and state laws. A Broward judge ruled that Snipes wrongly destroyed records pertaining to a pending lawsuit, which is illegal to do without a court order. Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner wrote a letter to Snipes expressing “concern” and asking for an explanation. The state declared it would be monitoring upcoming elections handled by her office.

The election transparency meeting in Hollywood was hosted by non-profit group Americans United for Democracy, Integrity and Transparency in Elections,or AUDIT.

“I think this office is run very well, I do,” said Snipes in a phone call. She said that “many offices have legal actions taken against them” and that the results of any court cases “are what they are.” Previously her attorneys told the Sun Sentinel that they “think the judge is wrong,” and that the records were destroyed because of a mistake, but she declined to rehash the episode.

But problems with the Broward County elections predate Snipes’ tenure. In 2003, her predecessor, Miriam Oliphant, was removed from by then-Gov. Jeb Bush for “grave” neglect and mismanagement of the department, culminating in a botched 2002 election. Snipes took over the office following that fall-out and has been re-elected ever since.

Early last month, a judge in the Broward County Circuit Court filed an injunction against Snipes’ office, preventing her from opening mail-in ballots before meeting with the county’s three-member Canvassing Board, which determines the validity of the ballots. The Republican Party sued her office after a controversy in 2016, “when Republican poll watchers complained that Snipes’ staff was opening the ballots in private, thereby making it impossible for citizens or groups to question whether the ballots were properly cast,” Politico reported.

The issue of how mail-in ballots are handled by the office again came up during the Aug. 28 primary election after a late delivery of thousands of ballots by the Supervisor of Elections office left several county races in limbo for days on end.

Snipes said her office is fully prepared for the upcoming elections on November 6.