Sen. Nelson's prepared remarks on election reform to the Florida Senate
March 27, 2008
I am happy to be with you today, as a guest of your distinguished leaders – your president, Ken Pruitt, the president pro tempore Lisa Carlton, majority leader Dan Webster and minority leader Steve Geller.
It’s fitting that we come together in this city, in this state. For I wish to discuss an issue all too familiar to
A year ago, you passed a bill to move
And we all know what happened: Both national parties decided to punish
For eight months now, I have been immersed in a fight to get the chairman of my party to end a stalemate – to seat
For me this issue is simple: It's a case of fundamental rights vs. party rules.
Last October, I sued my own party and its chairman in federal district court. In December, I lost that court fight. But I have continued to push for my party to find a way to seat a delegation from
My fight has been based on the principle that in
More recently, I asked the National Democratic Party to pay for a mail-in revote. But the party declined. Few people could agree on specifics, including the candidates themselves.
Now, because we're at the point where reaching a solution is critical, I am asking the party to divvy up the equivalent of half of
If nothing else, this election has provided further evidence that our system is broken.
You and Gov. Crist are to be commended for banning touch-screen voting machines - six years after the state outlawed punch-card ballots because of the problems in the 2000 election. And this year, legislation has been introduced to toughen the audits of election results. Thank you.
What you have done in
As to our right to vote, and have that vote count, there can be no debate.
The goal is simple: one person, one vote.
Last fall, I filed legislation in the U.S. Senate requiring that no vote for federal office be cast on a touch-screen voting machine starting in 2012. I also joined the senior senator from
And very soon I will file a broader-based election-reform bill.
This new legislation will abolish the Electoral College and give citizens direct election of their president by popular vote. Additionally, six, rotating interregional primaries will give large and small states a fair say in the nomination process. The legislation will establish early voting in every state. It will eliminate machines that don’t produce a voting paper trail. It will allow every qualified voter in every state to cast an absentee ballot, if they want. And it will give grants to states that develop mail-in balloting and secure Internet voting.
I am reaching out to my colleagues in Congress and to you. Today, I respectfully ask each of you for suggestions to make this a better bill.
Let’s not forget: it was more than 230 years ago that our Founding Fathers declared that all men are created equal. But the country still had to wait 87 years before Abraham Lincoln signed a proclamation freeing the slaves. And it took another 57 years before women in
After her arrest for voting in the presidential election of 1872, Susan B. Anthony delivered a speech on a woman’s right to vote. The ballot, she said, is the only means of securing the blessings of liberty provided by this government.
Even still, it took another 93 years before our nation belatedly enacted a law guaranteeing every
This country cannot afford to wait that long, before we fix the flaws we still see in our election system. The blessings of liberty cannot wait. The time for reform is now.