Florida’s election supervisors announced their decision Friday evening to stop the controversial effort of Governor Rick Scott’s (R) administration removing names off the state’s voter rolls, according to The Palm Beach Post.
Spurred by the Department of Justice delivered a letter to Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner that the name purging was illegal, the state’s Supervisors of Elections president Vicki Davis acknowledged the numerous mistakes located in purging eligible voters off the rolls.
“There are just too many variables with this entire process at this time for supervisors to continue,” David said.
The Miami Herald ran an editorial Sunday urging Florida to Purge the Purge List.
The Marietta Daily Journal calls this ‘voter supression’…
But here’s the problem. It’s not just Florida. The Sunshine State is just one of more than 20 states, led by Republican governors, where so-called “voter reform” laws — in reality, voter suppression laws — have been enacted within the last year. Based on model legislation provided by the Koch Brothers-funded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), they target seniors, students, the poor and racial minorities by restricting voting rights in several different ways. Many states, collectively accounting for 171 out of 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency, now require an official government photo ID. Early voting is eliminated or curtailed. No more registering to vote on Election Day. Voting on the Sunday before the election, when black churches drive “souls to the polls,” no longer permitted.
Republicans justify attempts to suppress the vote by warning about massive voter fraud — of which there is simply zero evidence. A 2011 survey by the Brennan Center for Justice found voter fraud “extremely rare.” Washington state, for example, reported a fraud rate of 0.0009 percent; Ohio, only 0.00004 percent. You’re more likely to be struck by lightning.
In living memory, Americans risked injury and death at the the hands of domestic terrorists such as the Ku Klux Klan to exercise their right to vote. Women have had the vote for less than a hundred years, and it was hard-earned by the efforts of Suffragists over lifetimes. Now the anti-suffragists are eroding our rights on the margins, a little at a time, counting on complacency, ignorance and hopelessness to persuade Americans that our vote doesn’t count.
We’re not the Koch Brothers, but the 99% has them outnumbered. Get your civics and spread the word. Knowledge is power.
Okay, ya wanna see voter fraud? Let’s go back to Florida, 2000, when the presidential election was decided by 537 votes and a Supreme Court 5-4 ruling…
TAMPA — Kelvin King was turned away from the polls here in November when records showed that he was ineligible to vote as a convicted felon. County election officials learned days later that King’s civil rights had been restored eight months earlier.
Sandylynn Williams had voted in every election since she was 18. But this time, election officials confused her with her sister — a felon who had once used Williams’s name — and refused to let her vote.
Jeffrey Key, 37, who served time on a 1989 armed robbery charge, said he resumed voting in 1992 without applying to have his voting rights restored. He said he also voted in 1996, but in 2000, he was turned away from the polls.
“They sent me a letter of apology, and I just laughed,” recalled Williams, 34, who said she had planned to vote for Democratic nominee Al Gore. “I was cheated out of voting.”
The Tampa residents were among hundreds, perhaps thousands, of non-felons in Florida who civil rights lawyers contend were wrongly prevented from voting in the Nov. 7 election after state election officials and a private contractor bungled an attempt to cleanse felons from voter rolls.
More from the US Commission on Civil Rights…
The magnitude of the disenfranchisement, including the disparity between black and nonblack voters, is supported by the testimony of witnesses at the Commission’s hearings. These witnesses include local election officials, poll workers, ordinary voters, and activists. Among the sworn testimony:
One potential voter waited hours at the polls because of a registration mix-up as poll workers attempted to call the office of the supervisor of elections. The call never got through and the individual was not allowed to vote. A former poll worker herself, she testified that she never saw anything like it during her 18 years as a poll worker.
A poll worker in Miami-Dade County with 15 years of experience testified, “By far this was the worst election I have ever experienced. After that election, I decided I didn’t want to work as a clerk anymore.”
A poll worker in Palm Beach County testified that she had to use her personal cell phone to attempt to contact the election supervisor’s office. Despite trying all day, she only got through two or three times over the course of 12 hours.
A Broward County poll worker testified that in past elections it took about 10 minutes to get through to the elections supervisor. During the course of the November 2000 election, she turned away approximately 40–50 potential voters because she could not access the supervisor of elections.
A Boynton Beach poll worker explained how his precinct workers turned away about 30–50 potential voters because they could not get through to the supervisor of elections. He was successful only once during an eight-hour period.
Other persons testified about waiting in long lines only to be ultimately denied their right to vote.
The secretary of state, Katherine Harris, made no secret of her support for George Bush. She was the person trusted to ensure a fair election. She got to decide how to interpret the rules. From CBS News…
(CBS) Government computers in the office of Florida’s top elections official contained documents endorsing George W. Bush’s candidacy for president, an initial review of computer files showed.
Secretary of State Katherine Harris, who also served as co-chair of Bush’s Florida campaign, had said repeatedly that she had erected “a firewall” during the election between her state office and the Republican Party.
The documents found on her state computers endorsing Mr. Bush were among tens of thousands of computer files released by Harris last week after reporters questioned whether she had erased records about the 2000 election that a newspaper had asked to examine.
One of the documents was titled “George W. Bush Talking Points.” It was dated March 14, 2000, and endorsed Mr. Bush’s nomination for president, saying he had “proven in Texas that he can manage like an executive, govern across party lines and lead with inclusiveness.”
Another document, written for Harris, urged Republicans to support Mr. Bush and “send the loudest possible message that we are ready to lead!” The speech was written following the New Hampshire primary, which Mr. Bush lost to Arizona Sen. John McCain.
The steamroller Florida used to sweep away thousands of votes was a list of felons– not qualified to vote under Florida law. Harris’ office decided to take a liberal interpretation of the felon list. According to the federal civil rights investigation…
Florida’s overzealous efforts to purge voters from the rolls, conducted under the guise of an anti-fraud campaign, resulted in the inexcusable and patently unjust removal of disproportionate numbers of African American voters from Florida’s voter registration rolls for the November 2000 election.
The purge system in Florida proceeded on the premise of guilty until proven innocent.
GUILTY UNTIL PROVED INNOCENT!
Exactly. How do you prove you’re not a felon? This is totally Un-American. And it invites corruption. Just apply the felon-screen to the districts you want to disqualify, and watch the numbers drop.
Woody Guthrie said, ‘Some will rob you with a six-gun, some with a fountain pen.’ The fountain pen is the more effective weapon. You might hypothetically get a few hundred illegitimate votes by pounding the pavements and bribing street people, but you will have to put out massive money and energy, and probably get caught. How much better to sit in a state office and make the calls that will bar some from the polls and invalidate the votes of others– all in the name of preventing fraud. Good Americans bear the penalty of being denied their vote without a trial–GUILTY UNTIL PROVED INNOCENT. This in the first election of the new century, the closest in history.
This still outrages me. I can’t believe this happened in America in the 21st Century.