July 20, 2020

Florida Alliance for Retired Americans Reaches Agreement with State of Florida to Make Voting Easier During COVID-19 Pandemic

Tallahassee, FL – Older voters throughout Florida will be able to vote more easily in November while protecting their health as a result of a significant voting rights agreement between the Florida Alliance for Retired Americans and the State of Florida being filed today. In addition, Florida election officials at the state and local level will take specific steps to ensure that all eligible voters understand their options for voting during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This agreement is a victory for all eligible older voters in Florida. As a direct result of this suit, every Florida voter who needs to can cast a vote by mail and know that it will be counted. Florida’s COVID-19 cases continue to surge. It is essential that seniors avoid standing in long lines and avoid unnecessary risk while they exercise their right vote,” said Richard Fiesta, executive director of the Alliance for Retired Americans. 

The consent agreement was signed by Judge Robert L. Hinkle of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida. The Florida Alliance was joined in the suit by Priorities USA, Alianza for Progress, Inc, and several Florida Alliance members. 

“Seniors should not have to worry about safety of voting or encounter overly burdensome impediments to casting a ballot,” said Bill Sauers, President of the Florida Alliance for Retired Americans. “Understanding that there are alternatives to returning ballots by mail, especially if county Elections Offices are deluged with vote by mail requests as expected, will make an enormous difference and relieve a lot of anxiety for a lot of seniors.” 

The State of Florida has agreed to several measures that are particularly important to seniors:

  • Inform voters of the availability of drop boxes for mail-in ballots;
  • Mail unregistered but eligible voters information on how to register to vote;
  • The Secretary of State will encourage County Supervisors of Elections to maximize the use of ballot drop boxes and early voting period and further conduct multiple workshops to train the Supervisors in availability of CARES Act funding to provide pre-paid postage for ballot return, and to ensure that all voting locations follow the CDC guidelines for polling places during the pandemic.

The suit alleged that Governor Ron DeSantis, Secretary of State Laurel M. Lee, Florida Elections Commissioner Ashley Moody, the Florida Elections and Canvassing Commissions and Miami-Dade County Supervisor of Elections Christina White were inadequately prepared for an election during a serious public health crisis. 

This year the Alliance for Retired Americans, working with its state chapters, has filed lawsuits to protect vote by mail and absentee voters in Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Texas and Wisconsin, in addition to Florida.

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The Florida Alliance for Retired Americans is a state affiliate of the national Alliance for Retired Americans and has 197,069 members statewide.

Contact: Lisa Cutler, lcutler@retiredamericans.org

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Topics: 2020 Elections
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