Teacher Breaks Law by Registering Kids to Vote

Tougher Florida election rules spark anger

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Oct 25, 2011 2:30 PM CDT | Updated Oct 29, 2011 11:35 AM CDT

(Newser) – A Florida civics teacher didn’t know about a new state law when she helped students register to vote—and now may have to pay thousands of dollars in fines, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports. The law required her to first register with the state as a third party who planned to sign up new voters, which Jill Cicciarelli didn't do before starting her registration drive. "I just want them to be participating in our democracy," she says. "The more participation we have, the stronger our democracy will be."

Republican state lawmakers passed the measure mostly along party lines, and say it’s aimed at reducing voter fraud—but others fear it will shrink participation. In Cicciarelli’s county, both parties have found the law baffling, says one elections official: “I haven't found one person who likes this law." Thus far, state officials have only issued warnings; Cicciarelli probably won’t be fined because she didn't intend to commit fraud. Meanwhile, the ACLU has sued over the measure, and sections of it are currently under review in a federal court. It's one of several new laws cracking down on voter registration.

A Florida teacher could be fined for helping kids register to vote.   (Shutterstock)
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