Voting rights, voter registration, and voter protection
Expanding democracy through protection of voting rights, voter registration and education and voter protection have been the cornerstone foundations of NewFM-EF ever since the organization's founding. The NewFM-EF has been at the frontlines of the Right to Vote battle in the state since its creation and has been a vocal advocate of the fundamental Right to Vote. Our long term vision is to have that right enshrined in the state and federal constitutions. Full access to the voting booth is one of our core issues due to the significant impact it has on our target communities. We have taken on the issue through a multi-pronged approach to ensure best results through education, coalition building, organized grassroots field efforts and strategic communications.
We have worked on the ground to organize voter protection efforts during election periods, including during the 'long lines' of 2012. We have utilized the attention to push back and largely dismantle the main part of the 2011 voter suppression law. This was done in strong coalitional efforts with partners in the state, at the state and local levels. We have built Right to Vote coalitions in North (Duval County) and South Florida (Miami-Dade County), which are comprised of members from the legal, faith-based and grassroots communities. Members of these coalitions have provided integral voter protection, election poll watching and served as spokespeople and advocates for the fundamental Right to Vote.
NewFM-EF has vigorously taken up the issue of climate change in the past two years. Eight hurricanes directly impacted Miami-Dade between 2004 and 2005 and caused over $3 billion in damages within the county alone. The science suggests that as time passes and the globe continues to warm, Florida is increasingly threatened by not only astronomical infrastructure repairs, but the degradation of the tourism industry, and mounting danger to human quality of life and life itself-especially in underserved communities of color.
NewFM-EF is mobilizing frontline community groups towards the end of winning climate resilient jobs, housing and education. We seek to do this with a broad spectrum of partners both inside and outside the traditional environmental movement and led by frontline communities, consisting of African American, Caribbean and Latinos, all who would be most affected by the triple effects of rising sea levels, catastrophic effects of a giant storm and poverty.
The core components of this program include: a) non-partisan voter education and mobilization on climate change within low-income communities of color; b) developing a core of individuals from front line communities who are trained as First Responders in the event of climate catastrophe; and c) providing Green Economy skills training and green enterprise development in order to build climate resilient jobs within low- and moderate income communities.
Expanding Economic Security
NewFM-EF has partnered with Catalyst Miami to build a robust and dynamic shared outreach, membership, service delivery and communications model. Together we represent the ability to provide for workers' needs, recruit them into issue campaigns around their interests, and the ability to move a scaled political voice on government policy and public opinion. Catalyst is the hub for a coalition of human service providers providing a full range of basic needs services to thousands of low-wage workers throughout Miami-Dade County. NewFM-EF is a scaled voter engagement and policy organization. This collaboration will result in the following:
1. A core set of services (such as financial coaching, financial products designed for low-income families, access to health insurance) offered to new populations of South Florida.
2. A "functional ladder" of membership integration that begins with point of contact (through phone calls, community outreach or voter contact through door-to-door canvass) to membership, to activist leadership in two of Florida's flagship social change institutions.
3. Stabilization of low-income and working class communities through membership participation and involvement, in addition to stabilizing Prosperity Campaign services.
4. Service delivery on site at multiple locations of both partner organizations.
Limiting the Role of Big Money in Politics
NewFM-EF has initiated a comprehensive campaign to win a local ballot initiative that would change the rules of the game of campaign finance in Miami-Dade County, thereby leveling the playing field for all candidates and paving the way for locally elected officials to be truly beholden to the people from the communities that both elect them and finance their campaigns. This will involve a massive public education and mass communications campaign to connect with our base low-income communities of color and change the existing apathy and frustration felt there into a positive force for change.
The ballot initiative that we are supporting seeks to implement the following among other clauses:
¥ Limit the contribution amount of candidates not participating the matching support program to $500 per cycle;
¥ Creates a small donor public dollar matching program with a 6-1 matching ration for candidates that qualify;
¥ Small donor matching program limits contributions to $100 per cycle, and creating qualification requirements to receive matching dollars;
¥ Bars contributions from entities receiving contracts from the County
If successful, the initiative will go a long way to curb the power of big money interests dominating local politics by opening an avenue in which candidates will be able to compete effectively through matching small dollar donations. This will positively alter the structural arrangements around how elections and political power function in Miami-Dade County.