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An Open Letter to Dr. Brenda C. Snipes Regarding Broward 2012 Early Voting Locations

An Open Letter to Dr. Brenda C. Snipes 

Regarding Broward 2012 Early Voting Locations
Released November 29, 2011

TO: Dr. Brenda C. Snipes, Supervisor of Elections, Broward County, 954-357-7050

FROM: Richard DeNapoli, Chairman, Broward Republican Executive Committee

          d/b/a Republican Party of Broward County, 954-941-7775

Dear Dr. Snipes,

I am writing to you regarding early voting locations for the 2012 elections.  I understand that it takes time to set up early voting locations, which is why I am writing to you almost one year prior to the November 2012 elections and in advance of all the scheduled elections for 2012.

At a meeting you held recently at one of your Supervisor of Elections offices, you informed attendees that there would 16 early voting locations in Broward County. These locations were listed on the enclosed flyer (CLICK HERE TO VIEW).  After reviewing this document it appears there would be no early voting locations in the current State Senate, District 25 represented by State Senator Ellyn Bogdanoff or in the current State House, District 91 represented by State Representative George Moraitis.  The Republican Party of Broward County is respectfully requesting that early voting sites be placed in the geographical area currently represented by these districts.  This geographical area corresponds largely to those areas in Broward County represented by elected Republican officeholders.

According to the Florida Division of Elections Book Closing dates for the October 2010 elections, there were 107,592 registered voters in State Senate District 25. This corresponds to 10.3% of all the 1,041,641 registered voters in Broward County at that time.  There were 42,686 registered Republicans in State Senate District 25, which corresponded to 17.3% of all the 246,714 registered Republicans in Broward at that time.  Voter turnout per your office’s statistics for all voters in this district was 46.7%.  This is higher than the countywide average of 40.99%.  If there are to be 16 early voting sites, we find it hard to believe that not even one is placed in this State Senate district.  While there are early voting sites near the current State Senate District 25, and might even be early voting sites within the district after redistricting, it seems that early voting sites have increased in heavily Democratic areas since 2010.  Furthermore, the former early voting sites nearby Federal Highway from the county line to Sunrise Boulevard have been eliminated.  We know this is the heavily Republican area of Broward County.

Not having early voting locations in this area serves to disenfranchise all voters in this area, while especially disenfranchising the Republican voters.  All registered voters in this geographic area would have to drive a further distance than most other voters throughout Broward to find the nearest early voting site.  This clearly makes it more difficult for these voters to vote early.

I know that you have stated on numerous occasions that you would like to increase voter turnout for all voters.  I applaud this effort because voting is a sacred right and your office has done a great job with voter outreach.  As I reviewed the Florida Statutes, I came across Chapter 101.657 which requires that early voting “sites must be geographically located so as to provide all voters in the county an equal opportunity to cast a ballot, insofar as is practicable” (emphasis added). This law also states that the “supervisor may also designate any city hall or permanent public library facility as early voting sites.”

There are multiple locations available in this geographical area or a few blocks west of Federal Highway to place an early voting site and they include the following:

  • Hillsboro Beach City Hall
  • Lighthouse Point City Hall
  • Lauderdale-by-the-Sea City Hall
  • Beach Branch Library
  • Galt Ocean Mile Reading Center
  • Imperial Point Branch Library, a former early voting site
  • Deerfield Beach Percy White Branch Library, a former early voting site
  • Pompano Beach City Hall, a former early voting site

Research in numerous scholarly journals has shown that the greater the distance from a voting site, the greater exists the likelihood of nonvoting.  The incidence of early voting is highly sensitive to the location of the early voting location.

The Republican Party of Broward County has previously requested that early voting sites be placed in this area during the last election cycle.  Past Chairwoman Cindy Guerra and current Republican National Committee Co-Chair Sharon Day, who is also Florida’s National Committeewoman and Broward’s State Committeewoman, both requested that early voting locations be placed in this geographic area in 2010.

We have often heard the argument that Republican voters do not utilize early voting compared to Democrat voters.  Republicans are in fact taking advantage of early voting more frequently, and research has shown that distance has an undeniable impact on the voter’s method of voting.  If early voting is more convenient for all registered voters on the east side of Broward, they will use it more often.

Once again, Florida Law requires that early voting sites be allocated geographically so that all voters are provided an equal opportunity to cast a ballot, insofar as is practicable.  We do not feel the allocation is fair to all registered voters in this geographical area of Broward County.  Since the early voting sites have increased from 13 to 16 since the 2010 election cycle, I would have thought that early voting sites in this geographical area would have also increased due to the higher-than-average voter turnout in Senate District 25 in 2010.

I know that everyone’s philosophy is to increase voter turnout and I hope you can explain how we can increase it in this geographical area of our county.

The Republican Party of Broward County respectfully requests your assistance in helping to increase voter turnout in this geographical area. As I previously stated I hope that we can work together and comply with Florida Law and give all voters in Broward an equal opportunity to cast a ballot in the upcoming 2012 elections.

Sincerely,

Richard DeNapoli, Chairman

Broward Republican Executive Committee

RD

Attachments

cc:        ALL MEDIA SOURCES

            Broward Republican Executive Committee Board Members

            Broward Republican Executive Committee Members

            RNC Co-Chair, National Committeewoman, and Broward State

                   Committeewoman Sharon Day

            State Committeeman Ed Kennedy

            Broward Republican Executive Committee Legal Counsel

Cites & Research:

Florida Statute 101.657

Dyck, Joshua J. and Gimpel, James G. 2005. Distance, Turnout and the Convenience of Voting. Social Science Quarterly, Volume 86, Number 3.

Anthony Man, Fewer Early Voting sites in Broward and Palm Beach counties, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, August 2, 2010.

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