March 25, 2022

Contact: Vincent Thurman, [email protected], 202-417-8382

All Voting Is Local Urges Congress to Protect Voting Access at Hearing in Florida

TALLAHASSEE Brad Ashwell, Florida state director for All Voting Is Local, will testify before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on House Administration, Subcommittee on Elections, during the field hearing on “Voting in America: Access to the Ballot in Florida.”  Ashwell will urge federal policymakers to protect the freedom to vote amid alarming new state policies, fueled by conspiracy theories and lies about the 2020 election, that have imposed burdensome barriers to the ballot. 

“Instead of pursuing policies that ensure all Floridians have an equal opportunity to vote, State leaders have increasingly looked at elections through a partisan lens,” Ashwell will share  in his testimony. “The current legislature’s efforts to shape nonpartisan election processes in an effort to consolidate their own power has created a toxic environment where legislation incorporates little to no feedback from election administrators who, despite their best efforts, are given little to no opportunity to provide input until after these bills have been written. This is a crisis of government and indeed of our democracy.”

Ashwell’s testimony will detail the needless barriers to the ballot that silence Florida voters and note that Gov. Ron DeSantis’ adoption of restrictive vote-by-mail policies and the criminalization of vote-by-mail assistance harms all voters but will have a greater impact on communities of color. The centerpiece of legislation passed earlier this year is the creation of a dangerous, unnecessary, and costly elections police unit called the Office of Election Crimes & Security, which will use non-sworn investigators to conduct investigations and inquiries into any “election irregularities,” a term that lawmakers refused to define. 

Ashwell states: “This office builds on a long dark history in Florida of voter intimidation through the use of law enforcement and poses a severe threat to free and fair access to the ballot.”

His full testimony can be found here.

A live stream of the hearing is here.