September 17: Voter Education Forum in Stuart will cover election issues

Pamela Goodman , president of the League of Women Voters of Florida, will speak at the Voter Education Forum in Stuart on Sept. 17.

With a host of election-related issues on the near horizon, the League of Women Voters of Martin County and the NAACP’s Martin County Branch have teamed up to present a Voter Education Forum on Sept. 17 at the 10th Street Recreation Center, 724 S.E. S.E. 10th St., Stuart.

The event, which is open to the public, will feature a panel discussion of congressional and legislative redistricting, federal legislation to amend and enhance the Voting Rights Act of 1965, restoration of voting rights for convicted felons and a proposed constitutional amendment to allow open primaries.

The panel will be moderated by Martin County Supervisor of Elections Vicki Davis. Davis’ role in this forum is nonpartisan. Comments and presentations made are not endorsed by her or her office.

Speakers will include Pamela Goodman, president of the League of Women Voters of Florida; Kalene Rowley, a district aide to U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy; and Deanna Smith and Choice Edwards, representing Floridians for a Fair Democracy and Florida IndependentVoting, respectively.

The forum begins at 6 p.m. and is underwritten by the law firms of Stone& Capobianco, LLC, and the Zweben Law Group.

Those attending the forum also will be able to register to vote and verify or change their current voter registration information.

A summary of the issues: Congressional districts: The Florida Legislature begins a court-ordered special session Aug. 10 to redraw congressional district maps following a state Supreme Court ruling in July that found that eight of the state’s 27 Congressional districts violated the “Fair Districts” amendment adopted by voters in 2010.

A separate trial begins Sept. 25 in a second lawsuit challenging the maps drawn for the state’s senate districts.

Voting Rights Act: Several bills have been filed in Congress to restore protections of the Voting Rights Act which were thrown out by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013, and buttress that law with additional voting rights policy.

Felons rights: The campaign for a constitutional amendment to establish a permanent policy for the restoration of voting rights to felons who have completed their sentences has been ongoing for more than a year; and a campaign for a constitutional amendment to allow all voters to vote in primary elections regardless of party affiliation or lack thereof was launched in July.

Coffee will be provided by Starbucks of Stuart and other refreshments will be offered.


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