Dear Florida Democrats,
We hope each of you and your loved ones are doing well and staying safe during these unprecedented times.
As you may have seen in the news this week, Democrats are continuing to fight for what is best for the people and hold Republicans accountable for the harm their failed policies are causing. See the multiple news stories in the Latest FDP News Digest below.
One example you may have read about is the unemployment insurance debacle created by Rick Scott and the Republican legislature since 2011. Now in the midst of this health crisis that is causing many Floridians to lose their jobs, the Sunshine State offers some of the worst unemployment benefits in the country and Floridians struggle to get through the outdated and broken system to even apply for the benefits. Together with our Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services Nikki Fried and our Congressional, Legislative, and local elected officials, I have called on our governor to take immediate action to fix our unemployment insurance system. If Floridians can't file a state claim, they aren't eligible for the additional federal unemployment benefits our Congressional leaders passed.
Social distancing requirements have hindered our candidates' abilities to qualify by petition. The week before last, we sent a letter to Secretary of State Laurel Lee, asking her to both extend the deadline to submit petitions and to allow petitions to be submitted digitally and in bulk. Late Friday we received her ruling -- a partial win. Candidates are now able to submit signed petitions via email; however, the deadline to qualify has not been extended. We've called again for Secretary Lee to extend the deadline for candidates to qualify by petition.
Additionally this week on behalf of the FDP, I joined 50 other State Democratic Parties in signing a letter to federal officials demanding immediate action to make voting easier and more accessible in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. We asked lawmakers to appropriate at least $2 billion to allow states to make improvements to their electoral systems to ensure every voice is heard come November 3, 2020, no matter what.
I know that despite our physical separation right now, we remain a united, unstoppable force to turn Florida Blue in November. See below for the many ways we are still able to engage both volunteers and voters. And, if you are able, please reach out to check with your friends and neighbors, especially those who may be alone, and do what you can to help those in need, even while sheltering in place. We are all in this together.
As of Sunday, April 5, there are exactly 212 days -- 7 months -- to November 3, 2020.