October 2, 2019
State lawmakers came dangerously close to creating two classes of Floridians this year.
One class — call them the politically connected class — would have consisted of candidates, parties and political action committees. This group’s right to access valuable voter information would have been protected by a bill advanced last spring in the Florida Legislature.
The second class — meaning everyone else in Florida — would have been legally blocked from accessing the same information: voter email addresses, cellphone numbers and addresses.
That would have put grassroots organizations and civic groups at a disadvantage to PACs, parties and candidates. Involved citizens would have had a tough time contacting voters in their communities.
It was a dangerous and undemocratic idea — and, fortunately, outcry from public-records advocates prompted cooler heads in the Florida Legislature to remove the worst provisions from the bill, CS/HB 281.