Editor’s Note: Apologies about the late musings this week. Katy had her Future of Florida Summit to wrap-up and Kartik had significant soccer-related work to complete today. Next week we aim to publish the musings at our normal hour.
While I know many at the Squeeze have noticed my lack of writing, I have been hard at work helping to educate the future leaders of this state through the Bob Graham Center. Each year, the Bob Graham Center hosts the Future of Florida Summit, which is the only student-run policy conference in the state of Florida. We took about 80 students from around the state and put in front of them policy leaders, elected officials, and academic experts and told them to ask questions and the results were fantastic. We had three days of non-stop dialogue and learning about public policy, issue advocacy, and leadership. There were students from Pensacola from Miami to Jacksonville in attendance, so all corners of the state were covered. If you know of any college student that would like to be involved next year, make sure they get on the Bob Graham Center’s email list. I truly believe that the Bob Graham Center is one of the true gems in the state of Florida, much like the retired Governor himself. – KB @BurnettKaty
The subject of the summit discussed above above was online voter registration. Already 22 states have the option to register online and Senator Jeff Clemens and Representative Alan Williams have introduced a bill this year with the backing of the Supervisor of Elections This bipartisan support is largely due to the enormous savings that come with online voter registration. Supervisors of elections spend millions of dollars every year inputting data from paper registrations into their own online systems, and more time correcting errors due to handwriting. The price of creating an online system is typically around $250,000-$750,000 and states quickly pay for the systems with the money it saves. When Arizona passed this legislation, the price of registering a voter went from 83 cents to 3. Since its inception over a decade ago, there have been no cases of voter fraud or security breaches. On the contrary, this program has actually made registering to vote more secure because hand-written forms actually leave a lot of room for wrong interpretation. Many voters are registered through third-party groups, giving sensitive information to strangers. With this system, voters can put information directly into the supervisors of elections’ databases. This is a very common sense reform, so it will be interesting to see if this legislature can get it right. – KB@BurnettKaty
I was really struck last week when a number of people kept referring to the Florida Democratic Party as a “Sinking Ship.” While I understand the sentiment, I cannot help but point out that it is almost impossible to sink any lower. With the exception of three victories by Senator Bill Nelson’s, who appears likely to retire in 2018, there are no-state-wide wins since 1998 and a dramatic minority legislature since 2000. The Democrats have lost 19 of the last 20 statewide races that Bill Nelson does not feature in. It seems a bit late to start bailing water at this point. When do we officially say it has sunk and begin to rebuild with a new crew? Does the current crew have a vision for what a rebuilt party would look like? – KB@BurnettKaty