It appears the Madoff of Medicare is now the Katherine Harris of voter suppression. Rick Scott’s unprecedented effort to suppress voting in Florida through purges and restrictive laws is, as one newspaper called it, “as blatant as it is undemocratic.” It’s time for Scott and the Republicans to stop the finger pointing and above all, stop playing politics with the right to vote.
Florida Election Laws: Feds Talk Straight [Lakeland Ledger editorial] “The Republican strategy to retain majority-party control of Florida is simple and straightforward: to prevent as many people as possible from voting…Both the temporary restraining order and the Justice Department’s intervention are welcome developments. The Republican strategy to solidify its hold on political power in Florida is as blatant as it is undemocratic.”
Editorial: Returns shaky for state [Palm Beach Post editorial] “If Florida truly wants to rid the voter rolls of noncitizens, the state is doing so in the worst way. Late, rushed and flawed are three appropriate adjectives, but the best one may be combative, because the state’s my-way-or-the-highway approach has created a nationally watched confrontation with two federal agencies, the 67 election supervisors and a litany of advocacy groups. Leave it to Gov. Scott’s administration to flub what could have been a noncontentious effort”
A Floridian horror story [PNJ Editorial] “That’s right, folks, just when you thought it was safe to go back to the voting booth, legions of non-American, illegal voters have flooded registration rolls and soon will infect our entire democracy! That’s the fear of Gov. Rick Scott and the Republican Party of Florida, anyway. Only one problem: Just like any good zombie story — it’s not real.”
Judge stops assault on democracy [Tampa Tribune editorial] “Such cavalier treatment of citizens’ rights should offend all voters…Lawmakers rammed through the measure with no evidence of widespread fraud…Scott’s and the Legislature’s haphazard efforts went beyond sensible safeguards and needlessly jeopardized Americans’ right to vote.”
Purge the purge list [Miami Herald editorial] “The problem is the way state GOP leaders in Florida (and various other GOP-led states) are going about it. They want to “prevent” a problem that there’s no evidence even exists. It carries the stench of voter suppression in a presidential election year when Florida is among a handful of swing states key to victory for either President Obama or his Republican opponent, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
Feds step in to protect Florida voters [Tampa Bay Times editorial] “It takes the federal courts and the U.S. Justice Department to defend democracy and protect Floridians from their governor and Legislature who are determined to suppress the vote. Now it should be clear even to Gov. Rick Scott that barriers to voter registration drives and the state’s heavy-handed purge of the voter rolls are unconstitutional. “
Reprieve for voter drives [Sarasota Herald Tribune editorial] “Next time Florida lawmakers are tempted to meddle with voter registration drives, they might want to read up on the First Amendment and the freedoms it protects…Hinkle’s words bring home the legislative arrogance that went into the ill-advised restrictions. Using a cover story of fighting voter fraud — which is rare — the Republican-dominated Legislature passed a measure that runs roughshod over some of the most precious rights that citizens possess. Legislators’ real motive, it seems, was more cynical: Stop Democrats from adding to their ranks.”
Drop purge and reform process [Sun Sentinel editorial] “Florida’s leadership finds itself in the public spotlight, accused of rigging another presidential election. It’s the type of national notoriety that suggests state officials learned nothing from the 2000 political debacle that made the state infamous… the timing of the department’s sparked accusations of political gamemanship — and justifably so.”
Stop trampling voters’ rights [Tampa Bay Times editorial] “The state’s campaign to purge suspected noncitizens from the voting rolls is flawed beyond repair, and Tallahassee should shelve it and start over. Already, hundreds of Florida voters have stepped forward to claim the blacklists are inaccurate. Local elections supervisors in at least two counties have called the lists unreliable and suspended or slowed enforcement. Gov. Rick Scott should put a halt to this mess made by his Secretary of State’s office and come back with a process that does not trample the rights of legal voters.”