WHAT’S UP IN FLORIDA?
Posted June 4, 2012on:
It seems as if your Governor, Rick Scott, isn’t too thrilled with letting all the people of his state engage in their legal right to exercise their right to vote. The guv apparently got it in his mind last year that there just might be some people who are voting who just aren’t entitled to vote. So ole Rick decided to have a meeting with the Secretary State Kurt Browning (now Ex. Secy’) about this awful problem.
Ex-Secretary of State Kurt Browning, who resigned this year, told The Associated Press that Scott asked him whether or not non-U.S. citizens were registered and if those people were voting. Browning explained to the governor during a face-to-face meeting last year that people who register and falsely claim they are citizens can be charged with a crime.
“He says to me – well, people lie,” Browning recalled this week. “Yes, people do. But we have always had to err on the side of the voter.”
Browning said the conversation prompted state election officials to begin working to identify non-U.S. citizens. The state’s initial list – compiled by comparing driver’s licenses with voter registration data – showed that as many as 182,000 registered voters were eligible to be in the country but ineligible to vote.
Hmm… 182,000 is an awfully big number of people to be voting who aren’t eligible to do so. And if you recall, the FL vote in the 2000 election, dangling, and pregnant chads and all, was decided by all of 537 votes.
However, there was a problem with the guv’s numbers. Apparently they weren’t so good. Sec’y Browning said: “We were not confident enough about the information for this secretary to hang his hat on it,”. So the good Secretary knew the numbers couldn’t be counted on, so to speak, for accuracy. The S.o.S.’s office then did some recounting or reconciling or something or other and then cane out with a brand new number of 2,600 people who have been identified as non-U.S. citizens. Now that’s a helluva big difference. Still, if the folks are not eligible to vote, they’re not eligible to vote. Except, they still had it wrong. Mikel Ertel is the Republican Seminole County Supervisor of Elections and he posted a picture on twitter of himself and one of the supposedly illegal voters with the voter holding up his passport.
Another fine example is shown here:
Maureen Russo was born in Akron, Ohio. For the last 40 years she’s operated a dog boarding and grooming business — Bobbi’s World Kennels — with her husband in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Maureen is 60 years old and has been a registered voter in the state for the last four decades. She regularly votes at the church around the corner from her home.
Two weeks ago she received a letter from the State of Florida informing her that they had received information that she was not born in this country and, therefore, was ineligible to vote.
You can read a little bit more abut Maureen and her travails here. It is natural to be a little suspicious when a Florida governor gets a bug up his ass about checking for “ineligible voters” because “7000 Florida voters were wrongfully removed from the voter rolls for the 2000 presidential election — 13 times George W. Bush’s margin of victory in that state after the Supreme Court halted the post-election recount.”
Another consideration with the good guv’s purge is who is being purged: primarily Hispanics and NPAs (NPA is No Party Affiliation) according to the Miami Herald.
Hispanic, Democratic and independent-minded voters are the most likely to be targeted in a state hunt to remove thousands of noncitizens from Florida’s voting rolls, a Miami Herald computer analysis of elections records has found.
Whites and Republicans are disproportionately the least-likely to face the threat of removal, the analysis of a list of more than 2,600 potential noncitizens shows. The list was first compiled by the state and furnished to county election supervisors and then The Herald.
The numbers change by the day. The state’s Division of Elections says it initially identified roughly 180,000 potential noncitizens by performing a search of a computer database that doesn’t have the most-updated information.
About 58% of those identified as potential noncitizens are Hispanics, Florida’s largest ethnic immigrant population, the analysis of the list obtained by The Herald shows. Hispanics make up 13 percent of the overall 11.3 million active registered voters.
Perhaps because of what happened the last time Florida purged their voter rolls, election officials in the state are refusing to use the tainted list provided by the state. The Palm Beach County Elections Supervisor has told the state she will not use the list as have a number of others:
– Sarasota County: Joyce Soltis, administrative assistant to Supervisor of Elections Kathy Dent (R) told ThinkProgress that the county received 14 names of from the state as sure-fire non-citizens. At least two to three of them have already proved their citizenship to the county and one was removed after indicating that he or she was not an eligible voter. Soltis said that while the remaining 10 or 11 voters have not responded, due to the significant inaccuracies on the list, the office has decided “we are not purging anyone” from that group.
– Volusia County: Supervisor of Elections Ann McFall (R) told ThinkProgress that that county received 15 names from the state. One was not even sent a letter, because the voter is currently serving in the military and another has already proven citizenship. But she said they have no plans to remove any of the remaining 13 voters unless her office receives clear proof. “To say the least, the list is very suspect,” she explained.
– Hillsborough County: The Tampa Tribune reported today that Supervisors or Elections Earl Lennard (R) has also decided not to remove any voters on the unreliable list from the rolls without first receiving corroborating evidence that the voters are not citizens.
– Pasco County: Supervisor of Elections Brian Corley (R) told the Tribune that the state had told supervisors that this purge list was “the low-hanging fruit” with “rock-solid data that they were not citizens.” He expressed frustration that the state has put them in a catch-22, complaining “If we truly comply and remove those that don’t respond, then folks say we’re suppressing voter rights. If we don’t, we have people saying we’re allowing non-citizens to vote.”
– Marin County: Because it has proven to be anything but “rock-solid” data, Supervisor of Elections Vicki Davis (R), president of the Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections, told the Tribune that she believes “most of the counties” have decided not to purge any voters without other evidence.
It was noted in the Miami Herald piece that Florida starting going after “ineligible” voters “following the lead of Republican secretaries of state in Colorado and New Mexico — two other Hispanic-heavy swing states this election year.”
The latest event concerning the voter purge is that the Dept. of Justice has sent a letter to the Florida S.o.S. telling them to stop the purge. The letter was sent because five counties in Florida like some other Southern states have to clear actions such as these before they are taken.
Florida is among a small number states, mostly in the South, covered by Section V of the Voting Rights Act, a 1965 law that reinforces voting rights guaranteed in the Constitution. In five Florida counties and other states, election officials have a history of such of egregious and creative efforts to suppress black and Latino votes that any changes in voting–related policy or procedure must first be approved by the Justice Department or a panel of federal judges, Browne Dianis said.
The response by the Florida S.o.S. to the DOJ was “uh, we’ll get back to you“.
I have no doubt that with Florida’s own county election officials saying they will not go along with this and then the Justice Dept. firing a shot across the the bow to Florida, that this purge is going to stop. No one wants a person who is not eligible to be able to cast a vote. But given the past history of 2000 and the shoddy work they did this time in creating a “list of ineligibles”, this just won’t fly.
A final note: I hope our Florida Widdershins will be around to provide their input into this post because I think it will be invaluable. However, I do believe our Chat is going to be out of town. If so, then we want to hear from you Fuzzy.
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