Thursday, June 7, 2012

Round Two: Florida County Election Supervisors to Rick Scott:

Federal Judge and County Supervisors in Florida are not
playing Rick Scott's game of obvious anti-constitutional nonsense and disenfranchisement.
Yesterday on Rachel Maddow's (increasingly relevant and daily watch staple) show, Maddow reported that Governor Rick Scott, who had until June 6 to respond to the Justice Department's "cease and desist" letter, which found that the efinally did respond. And it wasn't positive. Rick Scott basically said "I'm not at fault here, you're at fault." Which is pretty standard stuff for today's extremist republicans. But I'm jumping ahead. Let's jump back for a minute: The latest in Florida is really a two-parter: Part 1, a Federal judge tells Rick Scott that his deadline is ridiculous and the penalties are ridiculous and that he is, basically, a ridiculous, sad man. (Okay, that last part seems implied, but I digress):


PART 1: WAIT, RICK SCOTT DID WHAT?
Apparently Rick Scott signed into law (jesus, it's hard to keep up with all this) legislation that could severely penalize voter registration organizations if they didn't return fully completed registration forms to Florida within 48 hours. According to the New York Times:
The state’s new elections law — which requires groups that register voters to turn in completed forms within 48 hours or risk fines, among other things — has led the state’s League of Women Voters to halt its efforts this year. Rock the Vote, a national organization that encourages young people to vote, began an effort last week to register high school students around the nation — but not in Florida, over fears that teachers could face fines. And on college campuses, the once-ubiquitous folding tables piled high with voter registration forms are now a rarer sight. 
The law imposed a $1,000-a-day fine on groups that fail to give election authorities voter registration forms filled out by Floridians within the 48-hour deadline. The League of Women Voters said the requirement was so onerous that it stopped holding voter registration drives in Florida after doing them for 72 years.

Since the law was Imposed, Florida's registrations have dropped. According to the NYT:
Florida, which reminded the nation of the importance of every vote in the disputed presidential election in 2000 when it reported that George W. Bush had won by 537 votes, is now seeing a significant drop-off in new voter registrations. In the months since its new law took effect in May, 81,471 fewer Floridians have registered to vote than during the same period before the 2008 presidential election, according to an analysis of registration data by The New York Times. All told, there are 11.3 million voters registered in the state. 
In Volusia County, where new registrations dropped by nearly a fifth compared with the same period four years ago, the supervisor of elections, Ann McFall, said that she attributed much of the change to the new law. “The drop-off is our League of Women Voters, our five universities in Volusia County, none of which are making a concentrated effort this year,” Ms. McFall said.
A Federal judge decides to stop the madness. In response to Rick Scott's arbitrary 48 hour deadline, a federal judge overturned the provision:
A U.S. judge on Thursday declared a Florida election law "harsh and impractical" for requiring groups conducting voter registration drives to turn in registration forms within 48 hours of collecting them, and blocked enforcement of the deadline.
They're back, baby. 
The League of Women Voters in Florida and Rock the Vote are starting up voter registration drives again in Florida. Both groups had discontinued voter registration drives there in response to the draconian penalties associated with the new Florida registration law. As I've said previously, the fewer voters, the better off it is for republicans' at the ballot box.

PART 2: REPUBLICAN? DEMOCRAT? DOESN'T MATTER: FLORIDA COUNTY SUPERVISORS AREN'T HAVING IT
In response to Governor Scott's 2,700 "suspected ineligible list of voters," (see previous post), the Civil Rights division of the Department of Justice asked Scott to cease and desist because his plan appeared to violate two statutes, including the Voting Rights Act, and appeared to target minorities. They asked him to by June 6. He did. His response was that he wasn't going to stop and that the feds themselves were at fault and demanded that the federal government reply to Florida's accusations by Monday. Sorry, this last bit is sooooo Tea Party, it makes me laugh out loud. How old is Rick Scott and his cohort of apparent head-trauma victim followers? Truly surreal. 

Florida Election Supervisors Respond. According to the Palm Beach Postall 67 of Florida's elections supervisors indicated on Friday that they will discontinue the State's effort to remove names:
"Florida elections supervisors said Friday they will discontinue a state-directed effort to remove names from county voter rolls because they believe the state data is flawed and because the U.S. Department of Justice has said the process violates federal voting laws.
The Justice Department letter and mistakes that the 67 county elections supervisors have found in the state list make the scrub undoable, said Martin County Elections Supervisor Vicki Davis, president of the Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections."
So, no, it's not just you--local officials are pretty upset at Rick Scott. 
I won't repeat everything here--just stop and watch the video, if you can--but basically the local election officials, all 67 of them, apparently, are seeing through Rick Scott's anti-democratic approach. This woman--a registered republican--calls bullshit on Rick's audacious attempt to disenfranchise voters, which is against the law.  Here's what the republican county election supervisor for Volusia County said on Maddow:
"...most of [the people on the list] were US citizens. How can I say 'Show me your evidence that you're a US citizen.' I was never asked that when I registered. Nor were the other 11 million people in the state of Florida. Why all of a sudden are we having to ask for evidence that you are a US citizen? It just doesn't make sense.  
...I just hope that this isn't some sort of partisan posturing, but I'm afraid that's what it's turning out to be. I can assure everyone who's listening tonight that the 67 supervisors in Florida take extreme pride and work very very hard at giving fair equitable and transparent elections. Whoever wins will win. Whoever loses will lose. There's no partisanship any way shape or form with the elections supervisors in Florida, and that is what is so very very frustrating." - Republican election official of Volusia County, Florida who is not enforcing voter purge initiative
Everyone in the country who cares about the democratic process needs to watch this. Please pass it along:

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1 comment:

  1. NPR mentioned that out of tens of millions of votes cast in Florida since 2000, there have been only 3 people charged with voter fraud...Gov. Scott's voter purge (whatever its legality) will cost Florida millions of dollars in the meantime. Typical teabagging Republitard idea of frugal government in action

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