In response to Florida Republicans long history of voter suppression — underlined by the recent passage of SB 7066, that created a poll tax on ex-felons and would have invalidated 53,929 mail-in ballots if it were law in 2018 — the Florida Democratic Party is announcing a year-round voter protection program to tackle this growing threat to Floridians right to vote.
As part of the program launch, the Florida Democratic Party has named Brandon Peters as it’s new Voter Protection Director. Peters is the first person to fill this role for the Party in a year-round capacity. Peters’ team will include Alma Gonzalez, who will serve as senior legal advisor for voter protection, and Charles H. Lichtman, who will serve as chief legal counsel for voter protection.
Terrie Rizzo, chair of the Florida Democratic Party, on the addition of year-round voter protection staff and support:
“Today in Florida, there is no greater assault on our Democracy than the continued efforts to restrict the right to vote. And while Democrats have long stood against voting restrictions implemented by Republicans in the Florida legislature, we need a sustained year-round effort to make voting easier, more transparent, and ensure that every legal vote is counted. We welcome Brandon Peters, along with Charles H. Lichtman and Alma Gonzalez, to champion our efforts to protect voting rights in Florida, because if the 2019 legislative session, driven by Governor DeSantis and the Florida GOP, has taught us anything, it is that voter suppression doesn’t just happen on election day.”
“There is nothing more American than voting and making your voice heard,” said Brandon Peters. “I’m excited to work with a dedicated group of staff, volunteers, and elections officials who are committed to protecting the vote in Florida and working to make sure that every vote is counted.”
Voter Protection Director Brandon Peters will oversee a statewide team of grassroots activists and legal professionals dedicated to protecting the rights of voters across the Sunshine State. He has been a practicing attorney for nearly three decades and has served as an adjunct professor at Florida A&M University College of Law. He holds a J.D. from the University of Virginia and received his bachelor’s degree from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Peters was a candidate for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. House of Representatives in the Florida Second Congressional District in 2018 and is the former vice-chair of the Levy County Democrats.
Chief Legal Counsel for Voter Protection Charles H. Lichtman has served as co-lead counsel for the Democratic Party in the 2000 Presidential election recount and related litigation matters, pending in Broward County, Florida, while also being known as “the chad guy.” He was the statewide lead counsel for the Florida Democratic Party from 2002 through 2012. He helped draft and implement the DNC’s national voter protection program. He has served as statewide lead council on voter protection efforts for the Democratic nominee for president in 2004, 2008, and 2012. In November 2018, he worked on the Florida Democratic Party’s recount efforts.
Senior Legal Advisor for Voter Protection Alma Gonzalez is employed by Hillsborough County government and was special counsel for AFSCME Florida Council 79 from 1999 to 2014. Gonzalez served as voter protection director for the state and national AFL-CIO and AFSCME. She has served as a member of the Democratic National Committee since 2011 and was state treasurer of the Florida Democratic Party from 2008 to 2012. She served as executive director of the Florida Battered Women’s Clemency Project. Gonzalez also has the distinction of having attended three law schools in three years — the University of Wisconsin, Georgetown University Law Center, and graduated cum laude from the Florida State College of Law in 1988.