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Posted by seafan in General Discussion
Fri May 20th 2011, 09:23 AM

Early voters wait in line outside the county services building in downtown St. Petersburg on Sunday, Nov. 2, 2008. Under Florida’s new law, would-be weekend-before-Election-Day voters are shut out. Photo credit: WILLIE J. ALLEN JR. | Times (2008)

Today's St. Petersburg Times editorial:

May 20, 2011

Not surprisingly, Gov. Rick Scott signed into law on Thursday pernicious election changes designed to benefit Republicans and suppress voting by minorities, college students and low-wage workers. It is a blatant partisan effort to make it harder to register to vote and cast ballots, and it is up to the U.S. Department of Justice and the courts to stand up to this assault on democracy.

By shortening early voting from two weeks to eight days, the new law makes it harder for low-income working people who don't have flexible hours to vote. And early voting is barred three days before Election Day, ensuring that the weekend before the election, when casual voters are most engaged and most able to vote, there will be no opportunity. Republicans took aim at Florida's popular early voting process because it has favored Democrats and was utilized by African-Americans in 2008 as Barack Obama won Florida and the presidency. The other form of early voting, absentee ballots, which heavily favors Republicans, was untouched by the new law.

In another craven move by Republicans, voters who change their residences a lot such as renters, college students and the poor will now to be handed provisional ballots at the polls, which may or may not be counted. For the last 40 years, Floridians who moved out of the county of their registration had the convenience of changing their address at the polls, and with the state's new voter database, there's no chance of someone voting twice. But the rules were tightened to disadvantage Democratic voters.

The new law also suppresses voting by threatening groups that conduct voter registration drives. Groups will now face steep fines if they don't get new registrations submitted within 48 hours rather than 10 days. They also must register with the state, listing all volunteers who will be registering voters. And those volunteers must individually swear to uphold election laws. The paperwork is designed to be an administrative nightmare for organizations that utilize hundreds of volunteers with few resources. No wonder the League of Women Voters says it will suspend its voter registration efforts in Florida because of the new law.


And the reason, the Republicans insist, is to 'stop widespread voter fraud'.

It seems to me that voter fraud is being committed by Republicans.

Typical projection by these criminals. Accuse others of what they are doing themselves. Gives them cover, you see.

Gov. Rick Scott signs controversial election bill into law

By Steve Bousquet
St. Petersburg Times

May 19, 2011

TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott on Thursday signed a controversial overhaul of the election laws that Republicans say is needed to prevent voter fraud and Democrats call a cynical act of partisanship to improve GOP chances in Florida next year.

Scott signed the bill without comment. Critics of the legislation assailed him for endorsing "voter suppression" tactics aimed at making it tougher for President Barack Obama to capture Florida's prized 29 electoral votes in 2012.

"I want people to vote, but I also want to make sure there's no fraud involved in elections," Scott said earlier. "All of us as individuals that vote want to make sure that our elections are fair and honest."


Highlights of changes to Florida election laws:

• Early voting drops from 15 days to eight days; total number of early voting hours stays at 96; no additional early voting sites.

• Voters who have moved since the last election can only update their status at the polls if they have moved within the same county. All others must cast provisional ballots.

• Third-party groups that register new voters must submit forms within 48 hours or face fines of up to $1,000.

• A nine-member panel will choose the date of Florida's 2012 presidential preference primary.

• The 2012 primary election will be on Aug. 14, two weeks earlier than usual.

From the Palm Beach Post:


Scott's office issued a press release announcing he had signed the bill without comment but less than an hour later Secretary of State Kurt Browning addressed reporters in an attempt to calm what Brown called an overreaction to the new law.


Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, the Senate sponsor, said the law is necessary to cut back on voter fraud.

"Under previous law, it was too easy for bad actors to game Florida's voter registration system, and consequently our voters fell victim," Diaz de la Portilla, R-Miami, said in a statement.


Late last month, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, a Democrat, asked the U.S. Department of Justice to look into what was then a bill, believing it would not meet scrutiny under federal elections laws. Five counties in Florida require justice department preclearance for elections laws changes. This week, U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch of Boca Raton and other Florida Congressional Democrats also asked Justice's civil rights division to investigate the measure.


"We do not have a history of voter fraud in Florida, we have a history of not having our votes counted," Deutch said in a statement. "This bill will simply make it harder for eligible Floridians to vote and be heard."


Here are but a few of the very worst of the bad actors infesting our voting rights laws in the state of Florida, right up until today's plague of Rick Scott and his GOP extremist Legislature.

Tom Feeney

Tim Griffin (Oh, he's one of Monica Goodling's pals from Arkansas, now serving in Congress, sitting on Armed Services, Foreign Affairs and Judiciary.)

Election night, 2004, Karl Rove with Susan Ralston (hat tip to DUer Bleever for photo)

And the ringleaders:
Florida Governor Jeb Bush, right, gives a thumbs-up sign to Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris during a swearing-in ceremony at the House chamber of the state capitol November 21, 2000 in Tallahassee.

The catastrophe that seared into America's soul on December 12, 2000, continues.

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