Civic Engagement for Community Conversations: VoteRiders’ Florida Voter ID Coalition

Florida is holding local elections this fall, and VoteRiders is there to help make sure citizens have the ID they need to vote — and understand why it’s important to vote in every election. 

Florida is holding local elections this fall, and VoteRiders is there to help make sure citizens have the ID they need to vote. Ahead of municipal elections this November, VoteRiders convened a coalition of diverse organizations that collectively is working to educate voters about the importance of local elections and help them to cast a ballot that counts. The coalition, which involves seven organizations, collaborated to produce a Statewide FL 2021 Voting Guide that outlines some of the ways in which local elected officials impact our daily lives, especially during the pandemic. The guide also highlights the free resources offered by VoteRiders and others that are available to help voters cast a ballot that counts.

“Working together with our partners, we created literature that helps citizens understand what ID they need to vote,” said Jazlyn Gallego, VoteRiders’ Florida Coalition Coordinator. “Our guide also illustrates for voters what their vote can influence, and how organizations like VoteRiders can help them participate in upcoming elections.”

Partners are using the Guide and other VoteRiders resources in different ways this fall. For example, the League of Women Voters of Florida is distributing more than 6,000 flyers that share VoteRiders’ free bilingual Helpline number (866-ID-2-VOTE) as part of its voter registration efforts. The Florida Rights Restoration Coalition (FRRC) is passing out hundreds of VoteRiders’ Florida Voter ID Information Cards at its community events, and the Clearwater-based organization Pinellas Hope is referring clients at its shelter with ID needs to VoteRiders, which covers all costs needed for voters to obtain an ID. 

“The League of Women Voters of Florida is thrilled to partner with VoteRiders,” said Cecile Scoon, President of the League of Women Voters of Florida. “We plan to use our co-branded flyers in all of our tabling events. We’ll also send them to the reentry programs that we work with so that returning citizens and people with limited financial resources can get basic state IDs that will enable them to be able to vote, to request an absentee ballot, and to get certain jobs.” 

VoteRiders’ tools and services, along with those of its partner organizations, are more important than ever this year in Florida due to recent changes to the state’s voting law that could lead to confusion among potential voters. Senate Bill 90 eliminates secure vote-by-mail drop boxes, retroactively cancels vote-by-mail ballot requests, and criminalizes voters who request a caregiver to pick up or drop off a vote-by-mail ballot. With these new restrictions, it is vital that voters stay informed and make a plan to vote. 

Florida organizations can download the Statewide FL 2021 Voting Guide. Florida groups can also refer to the Florida Voter ID Rules page on VoteRiders’ website and download Voter ID Information Cards in English and Spanish that reflect the state’s current voter ID requirements. The Statewide Guide and other resources will next be updated for 2022, and VoteRiders looks forward to continuing to find innovative ways to partner with community groups ahead of next year’s midterm elections. 

To learn more about how VoteRiders can support your work in Florida, contact Eli Garcia, VoteRiders’ Florida Voter ID Coalition Coordinator, at [email protected].