Florida Senate - 2014 SB 1132 By Senator Braynon 36-01318A-14 20141132__ 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act relating to elections; creating s. 97.0111, 3 F.S.; establishing the rights of the electorate; 4 requiring that any restriction on voting rights or any 5 change in voting practices be narrowly tailored to 6 serve a compelling state interest; providing equal 7 protection of the right to vote; authorizing the use 8 of a violation of the act as a claim or defense in a 9 judicial proceeding; providing an effective date. 10 11 WHEREAS, Florida has a long history of problems in election 12 administration which has resulted in significant barriers to 13 participation in the democratic process, and 14 WHEREAS, in 2011, the Florida Legislature passed House Bill 15 1355, which was signed into law by the Governor and yielded many 16 restrictive and undemocratic changes in election administration, 17 including the reduction of the number of early voting days, 18 stringent restrictions on third-party voter registration 19 organizations, and the requirement that certain electors 20 changing their addresses at polling places vote provisional 21 ballots, and 22 WHEREAS, as a result, many residents of this state 23 experienced long lines at early voting sites and polling places 24 in the 2012 general election, with wait times of several hours, 25 causing potentially thousands of voters to leave early voting 26 sites and polling places before exercising their right to vote, 27 and 28 WHEREAS, in 2012, the Florida Department of State issued 29 inaccurate lists of potential noncitizen voters to county 30 supervisors of elections, which created confusion among 31 predominantly minority voters, and 32 WHEREAS, the right to vote is the most precious of all 33 American rights, and the right to free, fair, and accessible 34 elections should be a fundamental right, NOW, THEREFORE, 35 36 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 37 38 Section 1. Section 97.0111, Florida Statutes, is created to 39 read: 40 97.0111 Rights of the electorate.— 41 (1) A United States citizen who is at least 18 years of age 42 and who is a resident of this state has an explicit, fundamental 43 right to vote in any election held in the political subdivision 44 in which the citizen resides. The right to vote may not be 45 denied or abridged by this state or its political subdivisions 46 or by any private or public entity or person. Any restriction on 47 voting rights, or any change in voting practices or procedures 48 which would diminish access to the ballot, must be narrowly 49 tailored to serve a compelling state interest. 50 (2) A United States citizen who is at least 18 years of age 51 and who is a resident of this state shall have equal protection 52 of his or her right to vote. 53 (3) A person whose right to vote has been denied or 54 abridged by this state or its political subdivisions or by any 55 private or public entity or person in violation of this section 56 may assert such violation as a claim or defense in a judicial 57 proceeding to obtain appropriate relief. 58 Section 2. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.