A report released today by a group that aims to increase youth voter participation blasts states for “actively restricting access to the political process,” and finds Florida is no exception.
Florida ranks 34 out of 50 states on Rock the Vote’s national scorecard, meeting 35 percent of the group’s recommendations, which are intended to serve as a “national benchmark.” States are meeting 41 percent of the recommendations on average.
Spokeswoman Chrissy Faessen said that because the group looked at state laws as of May 31, the study reflects the effects of a new law signed last month by Gov. Rick Scott, which the group has criticized because of the chilling effect it expects the law will have on voter registration drives.
With its early voting and absentee ballot systems and its accommodations for members of the millitary, Florida earns relatively high marks when it comes to voting itself.
It falls short in the voter registration category for not providing online registration and for its new “onerous restrictions on third-party voter registration drives.” Of 11 possible points for making voter registration accessible, Florida earned just one, for making registration available through the Department of Motor Vehicles. That does top Illinois, Nebraska and New Mexico, which scored no points in that area.
“Research shows that voter registration is a significant barrier to young voter participation, and citizens ages 18 to 24 have the lowest rates of registration amongst all segments of the population,” notes the press release.