Florida Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Announces Study on Voting Rights and Calls for Public Comment


Thursday, May 16, 2019 – The Florida Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights will conduct a study of voting rights to examine the extent to which Florida residents have free, equal access to exercise their right to vote without regard to race, color, disability status, national origin, age, religion, and/or sex. Specifically, the Committee will examine the rejection of absentee ballots in Florida and the alleged discrepancies between counties, paying particular attention to county responses to the legal requirement of equal treatment with other forms of voting.

“The right to vote is fundamental to democracy and every Floridian must have confidence that their access to the ballot is safeguarded,” said Committee Chair and Executive Director of Equality Florida Nadine Smith. “In 2001, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights held voting rights hearings across Florida and found ‘widespread voter disenfranchisement.’ Now, nearly two decades later, it is time to see how our state is ensuring every vote counts and every voter can vote.”

As part of this study, the Committee invites Florida voters to share their experiences registering to vote and voting in the state. Written statements may be submitted to the Regional Programs Unit of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, 230 S. Dearborn, Suite 2120, Chicago, IL 60616; via email at [email protected]; or fax 312-353-8324. Please submit statements by July 1, 2019.

The Committee will host a series of community forums, public briefings, and web-based meetings, to hear additional testimony. Dates, times, and locations are to be announced. You can stay abreast of updates at www.usccr.gov or at the Federal Register.

The Florida Advisory Committee will issue findings and recommendations in a report to the Commission after all testimony has been received.



The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, established by the Civil Rights Act of 1957, is the only independent, bipartisan agency charged with advising the President and Congress on civil rights and reporting annually on federal civil rights enforcement. Our 51 state Advisory Committees offer a broad perspective on civil rights concerns at state and local levels. The Commission: in our 7th decade, a continuing legacy of influence in civil rights. For information about the Commission, please visit http://www.usccr.gov and follow us on Twitter and Facebook. ​​​​​​​ ​​​​​​​

Equality Florida is the largest civil rights organization dedicated to securing full equality for Florida’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community. Through education, grassroots organizing, coalition building, and lobbying, we are changing Florida so that no one suffers harassment or discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity.​​​​​​​



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