March 05, 2013 –

‘Awake The State’ protests the Florida Legislature’s undemocratic, anti-middle class policies for the third straight year 

Miami – With the opening of the 2013 legislative session serving as a backdrop, dozens of Miami residents joined voters rallying throughout the state today as part of a growing grassroots chorus of discontent against Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Legislature’s undemocratic, anti-middle class policies. Across the state, thousands of concerned Floridians demanded that lawmakers undo the damage of their restrictive 2011 voting law that led to last year’s general election fiasco when Floridians waited in line for up to eight hours to cast their ballots, turning Florida into nationwide punch line.

“No eligible Florida voter should ever have to wait on line for hours to vote. Voting should be free, fair and accessible for all,” said Annette Taddeo-Goldstein, Chairwoman of the Miami-Dade Democratic Party and Vice-Chair of Florida Democratic Party to the crowd assembled at Stephen P. Clark Government Center (111 N.W. 1st Street, Miami, Florida, 33128)

“Voting is a human fundamental right,” said Rosaire Oliver, a local resident who was among the thousands of residents who waited hours to cast her vote. “We expect our voice to be heard because it is an important part of democracy.”

Awake The State – Free The Vote rallies were held today in Tallahassee, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Gainesville, Jacksonville, St. Augustine, Palatka, Pensacola, Tampa, St. Petersburg, Ocala, Orlando, West Palm Beach, Ft. Myers, Melbourne, Bradenton, Winter Haven, Flagler County and Vero Beach. In order to ‘Free The Vote’, concerned Floridians are demanding that legislators implement the following reforms:

·         We need to free early voting by expanding the number of early voting days back to 14, and allow for 12 hours per day while giving supervisors of election more flexibility in opening up new polling locations. Gov. Scott’s recent proposal only mandates 48 hours of early voting.

·         We need to free our ballots and ensure they’re reasonably sized. It’s time to reinstitute the 75-word cap on constitutional amendments proposed by the state legislature; just as citizen led initiatives are capped.

·         We need to free our voters by making our voter registration system more convenient. Voters should be able to update their voter registration address on Election Day if they move from one county to another, just as they could prior to the harmful changes made to election law in 2011 that gave us record long lines.
The ‘Awake the State’ rallies originally sprung from a growing grassroots backlash against the misguided budget proposals presented by Gov. Scott and legislative leaders in 2011. Since Gov. Scott took office, Tallahassee politicians have cut thousands of jobs and targeted teachers, health care workers and first responders with a tax increase, while prioritizing tax breaks and government handouts to corporations.

Awake the State started in 2011 as a Facebook page that quickly grew to thousands strong. Progress Florida, Florida Watch Action and America Votes joined together to provide a platform for everyday Floridians to make their voices heard. For more information, stay tuned to AwakeTheState.com.