2011-11-05 "Florida Teacher Faces Thousands In Fines For Registering Students To Vote" by Jessica Pieklo
Florida’s new voter-suppression law is so draconian that a high school civics teacher faces thousands of dollars in fines just for helping students register to vote [http://www.news-journalonline.com/news/local/southeast-volusia/2011/10/23/new-florida-election-law-stirs-up-controversy.html].
Apparently Jill Cicciarelli, a teacher in New Smyrna Beach may have violated the portion of the bill that requires third parties who sign up new voters to register with the state and submit new voter applications within 48 hours.
Cicciarelli organized a drive at the stat of the school year to get students pre-registered, all in part of doing her part to prep the soon-to-be voters for the privileges and responsibilities of voting in a democracy. But, it would appear that voting in a democracy is exactly what Republicans in Florida are trying to prevent.
The new law is so harsh that even the League of Women Voters has suspended registration drives in the state.
The intended effect of the new law has not been lost on the high school students either. Shannon Miller, a 17-year-old senior who serves as co-president of the student government association along with classmate Crystal Merrick, said she was glad she had the chance to register at school. She wonders how many of her peers will participate if the process is too formalized. “It may discourage some students (from registering) if it’s more difficult,” she said. “We’re more apt to get involved, but (some students) won’t go to the trouble if they think it’s hard.”
If there is one sure way of keeping power consolidated in any government it is by limiting civic participation for generations. If the Republicans get their way, that is exactly what will happen.