BY JAMES HARPER
The League of Women voters has a history of not being bullied or intimidated, said Deirdre Macnab, the organization’s Florida president, in reference to an incident in Volusia County last month when a member of a conservative group was videotaping volunteers and threatening to sue those who were volunteering.
“I’m sure you are familiar with Harry Moore. He was born in Florida. After registering 81,000, he was blown up on Christmas Day. It’s stories like that that should remind people of the lives that have been lost,” Macnab said about the NAACP leader who was assassinated in 1951 at his home in Mims, Fla.
Macnab made comments this week during a telephone interview with the Daytona Times just as voting rolls closed Oct. 9, the last day to register to vote for the Nov. 6 general election.
The Times reported in its Sept. 20 issue that local NAACP President Cynthia Slater was contacted by Dale Ho of the National NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund after he received an email from Lee Rowland, counsel for the Democracy Program, Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law.
Macnab said the member of the conservative group did back down.
“This hasn’t happened anywhere else. It was an isolated circumstance. The man was intimidating and threatening. It was well handled by the volunteers. As far as we are concerned that’s the end of it,” Macnab said, adding that they had contacted their legal representatives at the Brennan Center about the incident.
“We notified our volunteers to be aware. We haven’t experienced the problem again,” said Macnab.
The member of the conservative group was identified as Daniel Taylor. He approached the league’s table and began snooping around to find voter registration forms, Rowland said in an e-mail to Ho.
The email said Taylor told the volunteers incorrectly they were breaking the law.
“He clearly was trying to scope out the Leagues’ third-party voter registration number,” wrote Rowland in the email.
Focusing on polls
Taylor’s complaint against the volunteers appeared to be that they were violating the law by using voter registration forms that did not have the league’s third-party voter registration organization number pre-stamped on the form.
League members legally were instructed “to print the 3PVRO number attaches only before the form is submitted, and not before.’’
Macnab said the League’s focus now is to make sure there is a big turnout at the polls and that when people arrive at the polls there are no problems.
Early voting starts Oct. 27 and runs through Nov. 3. Absentee ballot request deadline is Oct. 31.
“We are expecting a big turnout. We are keeping our eyes wide open. We want the election to be as smooth as possible,” she said.
“The most important thing is people should update their registration so they avoid the morning after feeling of embarrassment of not having cast their vote,” Macnab added.
Macnab said her role now is to push the League’s Be Ready campaign.
She urged those with questions or concerns to go to their website bereadytovote.org.
The League of Women Voters’ website is email@example.com.