Reporting Michele Gillen
MIAMI (CBSMiami) — The Reverend Al Sharpton is in South Florida again Tuesday urging African American voters to get out and cast their ballots in the Primary Election. He says he’s worried they won’t turn out because of crackdowns implemented this year by the state.
The activist and talk show host addressed elected officials, candidates, clergy and community leaders at New Birth Baptist Church Cathedral of Faith International on 2300 NW 135 Street in Miami.
Sharpton, who also spoke over the weekend in Miami, said his organization, the National Action Network (NAN), is working to inform communities to get out and vote and remind them to not forget identification or risk getting disenfranchised.
“You’ve got to be armed with information. There are a lot of people who do not even know that these laws even exist so we’ve got to spread the message. We’ve got to get into the churches, the community centers and all of the places. Our young people need to know that they have to have the necessary ID so that they can vote,” stressed Tamika Mallory, National Exec. Dir. for NAN.
Teaming up with Education for a Better America, NAN is hosting a daylong workshop Tuesday designed to inform the voting public and engage volunteers about new and existing laws that will impact them in their respective communities.
ID is the big word of the day because the NAN believes new voter identification laws in combination with cuts to early voting hours and Sunday voting are an effort to suppress minorities from voting.
According to the Florida Division of Elections there are nearly 11.5 million registered voters in Florida and NAN fears the specific requirements of Florida’s Voter ID law may cause many of these voters to be turned away at the polls on Election Day.
The Justice Department has filed suit to stop the practice arguing it violates the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which protects minorities and the 1993 National Voter Registration Act, which governs voter purges.
Supporters of the new laws believe voter registration needs to be researched carefully to prevent fraud. In Florida, there have been many cases of dead people voting and other irregularities.
Florida requires all voters to show ID. Acceptable forms of ID are Florida driver’s license, Florida ID card issued by the Dept. of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, U.S. Passport, Debit or credit card, Military identification, Student identification, Retirement center identification, neighborhood association ID, or Public assistance identification.