NASW Florida Chapter "Student Get Out the Vote" Campaign
Florida Elections Important Dates & Deadlines:
- Election day is Tuesday, November 3, 2020.
- The deadline to register online to vote is Monday, October 5, 2020.
- The deadline for registering by mail to vote is Monday, October 5, 2020.
- The deadline to register in person to vote is Monday, October 5, 2020.
- The deadline to request a ballot by mail is (received by) Saturday, October 24, 2020.
- The early voting period runs from Saturday, October 24, 2020 to Saturday, October 31, 2020, but dates and hours may vary based on where you live.
- National Voter Registration Day, September 22, 2020
- Registration Drive for the month of September
- Push to Vote for the month of October
NASW FL Student Task Force Coordinators:
Hakeen Rome - MSW Student Representative
Neal Sinha - BSW Student Representative
Jordan Reed - PACE Political Organizer
Susan Mankita - NASW FL Chapter President
Jim Akin - NASW FL Executive Director
This list provides websites for information on poll working in most Florida counties. Poll working has been described as a civic duty or a way to learn the democratic process.
Some of the benefits of poll working includes:
- Networking Opportunities
- Exposure to the voting process and
- Extra Income $$$
One of the extra benefits this would be helping to ensure that the voting process occurs swiftly. Due to COVID-19, there have been a shortage of poll workers, which could potentially increase waiting times, decrease polling locations and could potentially lower voted turnout.
There are different polling positions and pay varies by position but could be up to $400 for a day of work.
Please locate your county below. If you are unable to find you county on this list please go to https://calltoactionpac.org/
for a complete list.
Voting Rights for Returning Citizens
By Jordan Reed, PACE Political Organizer
As you may know, Florida is currently a battle ground for restoring voting rights for returning citizens. This fight began after the historic passing of Amendment 4 in 2018.
What is Amendment 4
In the United States, we have a democratic government. The highlight of this style of governance is the ability to make your voice heard by voting. Voting rights have gone on a roller coaster during the past 150 years. Over time each population was giving rights to vote from Blacks in the 1870s to Women in the 1920s. One group; however, has been denied their ability to vote for many years, returning citizens (felons). In 2018, Florida amended its constitution to allow ex-felons the chance to vote again with the passage of amendment 4.
The problem of the disenfranchised group in Florida who do not have their right to vote, ex-felons, needs to be addressed. Returning citizens are disproportionately minorities and have slowly crept into a modern Jim Crow era (Alexander,2012). These people may not have been given the same opportunities as their nonminority peers and are now labeled as felons. Despite them completing their sentence and described as "reformed," their rights are not returned. They must wear a badge of dishonor for the rest of their life. Amendment 4 seeks to recover some of those rights.
A significant barrier for voting rights is education and awareness. They may be aware they can have their rights returned, but without proper and appropriate support, they find themselves labeled as offenders once again. They deserve advocates to help them with their voting knowledge, support, and education.
Ideas for Practitioners and Community Agencies to Empower Clients through Voter Engagement
By Christina Cazanave, MSW
In nine weeks, our nation will open its polling doors for what many believe is the most critical election in modern times. Yet data from the 2016 election show that roughly 100 million or 44% of eligible registered voters did not vote (Knight Foundation, n.d). The number one reason for such a low-turnout; a strong dislike for the candidates or their issues (Lopez and Flores, 2017).
As social work practitioners, we should be alarmed by these numbers because we know elections are more than just the presidential race. It's about who is influencing our state and local government regarding spending, creating laws, and influencing our professional work. We understand the perspective of people who feel left out or distrust the process.
Here is an opportunity to engage, empower, and dispel these beliefs by participating in nonpartisan voter engagement. Voter engagement supports our clients and communities by registering and voting. It does not involve advocating for a particular candidate or platform.
Advocacy for All
Dawn Brown, MSW, NASW-FL Legislative Chair
We are less than two months away from arguably the most important election of my lifetime. We have experienced grief and loss not only because of COVID-19, but also the ongoing pandemic of racial injustices. As we were reminded of the courage, commitment and advocacy represented in the 1963 March on Washington with a 2020 March on Washington, let us not forget that August 28th is also the same day that Emmett Till was murdered. In order to understand the courage, pain, persistence and suffering embodied by many of the protesters who are outside making their voices heard or have been inside making calls and writing letters to ensure Daniel Prude, Jacob Blake, Breonna Taylor, and so many others get justice, it is important to have a true reckoning with the irrefutable history of this country.
In order to truly reflect what the Code of Ethics calls us to do we have to individually and collectively make sure we advocate at ALL levels of practice. Let us not forget or diminish in value the importance of understanding historical context, which serves as the foundation of our current circumstances. This is not only related to why we need to do more to ensure equity and justice are at the center of all legislative, institution and agency policies and practices, but also the role history (both individual and systemic) has played in the creation of racialized trauma. This means we need to treat this public health crisis of racism not only in our legislative halls, but also in our clinical settings. Part of this starts with having mirror moments with ourselves to see how we can individually and collectively do better in both arenas.
I invite each one of you to join us to unapologetically commit to making this world more equitable, just and accountable. I also invite each one of you to actively participate in our 2020 NASW-FL Legislative Priorities. The priorities will be discussed at a Membership Legislative Zoom meeting on September 24 at noon. Registration information will be available soon. As a reminder from the great Civil Rights Activist Fannie Lou Hamer, "Nobody's free until everybody's free."
- Please make sure to complete the 2020 Census...it is not too late...and it is imperative that we are all included in this count.
- Advocate for the passing of H.R. 7120 George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020 that was introduced by Rep. Karen Bass who is a social worker. https://www.socialworkers.org/Advocacy/Legislative-Alerts
- Please talk to 10 people who are not registered to vote either in Florida or elsewhere and try to encourage them to register to vote (Oct. 5, 2020, is the deadline in Florida). In addition to that please talk to 10 more people who are registered to vote to make sure they vote.
- Consider donating to FRRC (Florida Rights Restoration Coalition) to help assist justice-involved individuals with their court fees and fines to restore their right to vote. For more information: https://floridarrc.com/.
- Reach out to one NASW or NASW-FL PACE endorsed candidate to find one way to participate in their campaign.
- Please RSVP to attend the NASW-FL Legislative Update via Zoom on Thursday, September 24.
- Please take the time to not only make sure your own cup is filled, but when possible find ways to pour into others so that we can effectively make it through this marathon together.
- A very special thanks to the Legislative and Unit Chairs who are making it a priority to offer workshops and trainings about the importance of legislative advocacy and voting! Please click here to find out more about these upcoming events: http://www.naswfl.org/events.html
I thank you all in advance for the Good Trouble you get into to make this world a better place so that 10 years from now our nieces and nephews and children and grandchildren are not fighting the same battles.