Category Archives: Florida

Last Day to Register to Vote in the March 17 Florida Primary

Today is the last day to register to vote in the upcoming Florida primary, or to change party registration in order to vote in a different party’s primary. Go to www.registertovoteflorida.gov to register to vote or to change party affiliation.

The Florida primary is on March 17, two weeks after ‘Super Tuesday.’ If you’re already registered to vote, you may choose to enroll in vote-by-mail. Go to www.votefromhome.miami to request a vote-by-mail ballot. Note that this request will remain in effect until you countermand it.

Florida is very free and easy with postal ballots, which I think undermines democracy in several ways, notably that it makes ballot fraud easier (e.g. ‘ballot harvesting’ — a South Florida specialty — and forgery), and that it undermines the secret ballot (e.g. making it easier to sell votes since the seller can prove how he voted, and also enabling pressure from family members demanding to see the ballot).  But postal voting can be very convenient.  Whether they count the ballot is of course a matter of faith.

Remember: Florida has closed primaries, which means you must be registered as a Democrat to vote in the Democratic Presidential Preference Primary, or a Republican to vote in Republican primaries. If you are registered as an independent (or no party preference), you don’t get to vote in any party’s primary.

There is a state constitutional amendment making its way through the system to require open primaries, but I’m not a great fan of it.

Posted in 2020 Election, Florida | 6 Comments

Florida Voters: Sign the ‘Make It Legal Florida’ Petition

There’s a petition campaign being conducted by Make it Legal Florida to amend the Florida state Constitution to make possession and use of small quantities of marijuana legal under Florida law.

I strongly support this change: the war on pot has criminalized too many people, disproportionately poor.  The pot war also creates contempt for the law among an ever-larger population, one that thinks the ban is ridiculous and which thinks nothing of flouting the marijuana laws routinely. Also pernicious is the excuse, real or feigned, of ‘smelling marijuana’ that has justified a large number of law enforcement searches that would otherwise be illegal and, in poorer areas, would otherwise be seen as the discriminatory and coercive actions they are.  (Wait until we have driverless cars and the ‘erratic lane change’ and ‘failure to signal’ excuses go out the window….)

While pot use may not be totally safe, and has little appeal for me, it doesn’t seem as dangerous or addictive as alcohol, which is legal for adults, nor for that matter (as far as we know) tobacco, which is still legal for the moment. Bans on pot, and arguably other drugs also, not only motivate and finance organized crime, they divert police resources from more important public safety issues. The large profits available in the illicit drug trade is a major source of potential corruption in law enforcement — although to be fair this is likely more true of harder drugs where the public health consequences of legalization would be more fraught.

Normally, you would expect this sort of change by legislation.  But Florida is a 50/50 state which has a large gerrymandered Republican majority in the legislature.  As a result, state constitutional amendments are often the only way to get progressive proposals adopted, even when they have as wide popular support as this one. Thus, in Florida purism about what does and doesn’t belong in a Constitution needs to be relaxed considerably from the ideal.

Crassly, putting a pot amendment on the 2020 ballot should also motivate increased turnout from younger voters, something which is usually good for progressive candidates. So that’s another reason for registered Florida voters (only) to download, sign, and mail the petition.

The petition contains a summary, reflecting what would be on the ballot. The full text of the amendment is also online.

Posted in Florida, Law: Criminal Law, Politics: 2010 Election | 1 Comment

Florida Legalizes Fully Autonomous Vehicle Testing

Waymo Self-driving car
Source: Grendelkhan

Florida law now allows the testing of fully autonomous vehicles without a backup driver.

Since autonomous car tend to have trouble with bad weather–snow and sometimes rain–flat, sunny Florida would seem to be a natural testing grounds. Indeed, Ford is supposedly running or planning to run a test in Miami, although I haven’t heard of actual sightings yet. Then again, we have some of the craziest drivers in the US, which could be seen as a positive or negative, depending on what sort of torture test you want to give the AIs.

Posted in AI, Florida | Leave a comment

Florida’s Political Fulcrum: the I-4 Corridor

Master Florida psephologist Steve Schale does a deep dive as to why the road to winning Florida is the I-4 corridor (that’s the Orlando to Tampa link in the middle of the state).  The rest of us, it seems, are fairly predictable. Another nugget: some of the swing vote in the I-4 area are transplantees from the mid-West. (Does that make it Biden country?)

Posted in 2020 Election, Florida | Leave a comment

What Scares Floridians

Has poisonous scaly spines, belongs on the list.

Steve Schale, who usually writes informed wonky stuff about Florida politics, took a break to write about Things that scare Floridians, sort of ranked. Example:

Driving.    As my friend Tom Eldon says, Floridians drive as though they are a complete peace with God.  Others have suggested that turn signals here are a sign of weakness.  Florida interstates are kind of a bad combo of Mad Max, Survivor, and Seinfeld.   I’ve driven in some unique foreign places, and well, I’ll take most over I-4.   Add into it 100 million tourists a year, and yeah, Floridians know driving here is bad.

For my money, the whole list pretty much nails what it covers, but he left out lion fish and Portugese Man-of-wars, both of which at least ought to be on the ‘Tiny bit scared of’ list, and he exaggerates by about ten degrees Fahrenheit on the temperature thing.  We can handle 55 degrees in the Winter, no problem.

Posted in Florida | Leave a comment

Andrew Gillum Does the Daily Show

Trevor Noah interviews Andrew Gillum over lunch. (Noah had what Gillum called “a wimp plate”.)

It’s a 30-minute talk, and as is so often the case, the ‘comedy’ interviewers do more substance than you get on news TV.

Posted in 2018 Election, Florida | Leave a comment