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The Florida Senate

Senator Taddeo, District 40 — Press Release


December 13, 2021

CONTACT: Veronica Sandoval, 17868779565

Senator Annette Taddeo & Representative Anna V. Eskamani Sponsor Legislation to Increase Youth Voter Registration

Tallahassee —

Senator Annette Taddeo (D-Miami-Dade) and Representative Anna V. Eskamani (D-Orlando) have filed legislation to implement online voter registration in public high schools. If passed, HB903/SB1228 would make Florida the seventh state to support voter registration in schools.

HB903/SB1228 would require all Florida public high schools to host voter registration presentations, giving eligible students the option to register or pre-register to vote. These presentations, designed by the Division of Elections, would give students the resources to register to vote online. Students could not be forced to register to vote or register with a certain party, and teachers would not be handling any applications.

“Our youth are the leaders and changemakers of tomorrow. By providing accessible voter registration in Florida’s public schools we are facilitating a space where these students can contribute to the democratic process of this great nation.”, said Senator Annette Taddeo. “Many people in our state don’t know that if you turn 18 years old by election time, you can pre-register at the age of 17 years old and these presentations can help inform on just that.”

Currently, anyone obtaining their driver’s license at the DMV has the ability to register to vote while completing their paperwork or can register through their local Supervisor of Elections office. More than 418,000 Floridians register to vote each year while getting their driver’s license, which accounts for roughly sixty percent of voter registrations over the past four years. 16 and 17-year-olds can pre-register in Florida, meaning they will automatically be registered upon turning 18. Organizations like Project Vote attest that outreach in schools will increase the numbers of youth voter turnout and make registering to vote more accessible.

“I first got pre-registered to vote as a high school student in Orange County thanks to the leadership of my public school teacher,” added Representative Anna V. Eskamani. “And that was before online voter registration was even an option! Now we have technology as a friend to help increase voter pre-registration and registration for students and their families. Let’s turn up civic engagement by leveraging and integrating this fantastic tool for our young leaders.” 

This bill was brought forth by two Orlando constituents who implemented this on a local level in 5 high schools and were inspired to seek statewide action.

“We saw an opportunity to help our generation have a lasting impact and we realized that one of the ways we could help our friends, as well as our generation as a whole, be more involved in this system was by encouraging participation through voting. From there, this initiative was born,” said Fred Asare-Konadu, former Orlando resident and current sophomore at Harvard College

His partner John Bedell, current freshman at the University of Virginia, said, “We hope to provide the opportunity for our generation to express itself through the ballot box. We hope this will help increase civic engagement, and lead to more participation in our democracy.”

This proposed legislation comes after more than 400 bills were filed across the nation with provisions to restrict voting access.