College students fear new election bill

Bill aimed at reducing voter fraud, says lawmakers

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Dozens of college students from three Florida campuses marched to the state capitol, angry over how their elected officials are representing them.

"We vote for our representatives and expect them to do a good job," said Rachel Walsh, a senior at FSU.

The students came with a laundry list of changes being pursued by the governor and state lawmakers; among them a bill they say would make it harder for college students to cast a traditional ballot.

These students come from all corners of the state, and many of them are still registered to vote in their hometowns, not in Tallahassee. Because of the statewide voter database, right now they can change their address and vote on the same day. The election bill would stop that.

It would force students who update their information the same day they vote, cast a provisional ballot. The students fear those provisional ballots wouldn't be counted.

"This is a Democracy. If you are making it harder for people to vote I don't see the point in that," said John Saullo a TCC Freshman.

"It's a blatant effort to silence the voter base for progressive candidates," said Patrick Shepard a senior at FSU.

The bill's sponsor, Representative Dennis Baxley, says the changes will cut down on voter fraud and says if students want to make sure their vote is counted, they should update their information sooner.

"It's very easy to change your address. You can call in. You can do it online. But you need to be doing these things during the registration period, not during the voting event," said Baxley.

The students are also worried about a measure in the Senate version of the bill that would cut early voting in half. They say the change would silent the youth vote.
 

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