Purging Their Way To The White’s House

Whatever one thinks of their strategy to invent a solution to a problem that doesn’t really exist, one has to acknowledge that Republicans these days have balls the size of Rush Limbaugh’s slandering mouth.

Today’s right-wingers just don’t give a damn what the mainstream press—or the Justice Department—says about them or their people-purging, anti-voter strategy. By God, they have an election to win!

From HuffPo:

Florida will defy a federal warning to stop purging people the state suspects aren’t U.S. citizens from voter registration rolls.

The whole idea in Florida, as in other states where Republicans enjoy legislative dominance, is, by hook or by crook, to purge enough voters—obviously overwhelmingly Democratic voters—to give Romney an electoral edge so as to ensure Obama’s defeat this November and make the White’s House white again.

Here are just two examples of the egregiousness in Florida:

In Broward County, a 91-year-old World War II veteran was forced to provide proof of his citizenship in order to remain on the voter rolls. And in Seminole County, an election official tweeted a picture of himself with one man who received a warning letter. In the picture, the two men stood side by side, holding the suspect voter’s U.S. passport.

Now, as I said, Republicans have been doing this stuff all over the country, but given how important Florida is to the outcome of November’s presidential election, Republicans in that state have perhaps been the most creative and tenacious in supressing Democratic votes.

Besides the purging of legitimate voters, another of those creative attempts recently ran into problems:

(CBS News) A Federal District judge in Florida placed a preliminary injunction on new Florida voter registration requirements on third-party organizations, calling parts of the law “onerous.”

The judge in that case labeled as “risky business” anyone who might undertake to register voters under Florida’s new rules. The risk partly involves “substantial penalties for noncompliance,” for not meeting a ridiculous 48 hour deadline for submitting any and all voter applications collected. The judge said,

If the goal is to discourage voter-registration drives and thus also to make it harder for new voters to register, the 48-hour deadline may succeed.

Of course, that is precisely the goal of the legislators who concocted this scheme and the governor who signed it into law.

The new act also requires those who merely solicit folks to register to vote—not actually collecting any applications—to identify themselves to the state. As the judge said,

Soliciting an application is core First Amendment speech.

In other words, in order to exercise your core First Amendment rights in Florida, you have to first register with the state an tell ’em who you are! Awesome!

Republicans obviously want as few people going to the polls as possible, particularly the kind of people who have pigmentation that might suggest Democratic Party sympathies. The GOP has decided that suppressing the opposition’s voters is better than trying to win those voters over by proposing policies that might attract them.

Thankfully, there are a few courts left that are willing to see this suppression for what it is. And as for the matter of arbitrarily purging people from the voter rolls, hopefully the Justice Department will not stand for Florida ignoring its warning.

Who could have guessed that after all the time that has passed since we got our act together over voting rights, that we would be fighting folks who want to turn back the clock.

But this contemporary GOP is a turn-back-the-clock party, from the economy to health care reform to environmental protection to education to women’s rights to voting rights, the Republican Party sees our future in the failed ways of the past.



  1. ansonburlingame

     /  June 3, 2012

    To all,

    It is part of American politics to spend money, political money to “get out the vote”. As a result of Citizens United there is a lot of such money in the hands of both Parties and I do not dispute spending such money to rally voters to a particular cause.

    But I do insist that all such rallied voters are legal citizens of America thus having the “right to vote”. As well I expect such legal citizens to only vote once. Is that not a fair expectation of our election system?

    So how big is the problem of people that are not legal citizens with the right to vote, voting, and only voting once? I don’t know for sure but I suspect there IS a problem in some areas. If ONE illegal vote is cast, that is one thing. But if …. illegal votes are cast, well then something should be done to stop such a practice.

    Registering to vote is essentially receiving a license to vote from the government, usually the local government that controls such things. Well governments, state governments in this case control the process of obtaining a drivers license and when I renew mine I must now show PROOF of ctizenship or legal residence in America.

    Is that wrong? Which is more fundamental to our way of life, voting or legally driving an automobile? BOTH are pretty important today, in my view.

    The first time after 9/11 that I renewed my driver’s license I had to go home to get my birth certificate, a CERTIFIED birth certificate by the way, complete with a State seal on the thing, not just a copy of a copy of a copy! Copies are easy to get but State seals are a problem for some folks!

    Registering to vote is a legal process to gain the right to vote. No registration, no vote, no driver’s liscense, no legal driving, no hunting license, no legal hunting. Is that intrusive big government in any or all of such matters? Not to this conservative.

    Should ANY of those processes become “onerous” to the public. Well no of course not, in my view. But I suppose we must come to agreement on the defintion of “onerous”. To me presenting a birth certificate or legal passport/green card is NOT onerous.

    But I guess some folks think that is the case at least for voting, a very important AMERICAN right, not a right for anyone in the world that just happens to be here on election day.

    Finallly, when laws limit somethings only to legal American citizens, is it unreasonable to expect such citizens to be able to prove their citizenship, in a “non-onerous” manner? Or is simply living in America all the proof that anyone needs to do all sorts of things, legally.



    • “But I do insist that all such rallied voters are legal citizens of America thus having the “right to vote”.”

      The problem is that using the tactics described above the Republicans are also making it difficult for legitimate American citizens to vote. This is nothing new in the state of Florida. Remember the 2000 elections that gave us George Bush, because countless citizens were prevented from exercising their legal right to vote?

      “On November 7, 2000, millions of Florida voters arrived at their designated polling places to cast their votes. Unfortunately, countless voters were denied the opportunity to vote because their names did not appear on the lists of registered voters.”


      “The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights conducted the most extensive investigation to date concerning allegations of irregularities occurring during the November 2000 presidential election in Florida. Perhaps the most dramatic undercount in this election was the nonexistent ballots of the countless unknown eligible voters, who were wrongfully purged from the voter registration rolls, turned away from the polls, and by various other means prevented from exercising the franchise.”

      Note the words “wrongfully purged from the voter registration rolls?”

      “Registering to vote is a legal process to gain the right to vote.”

      No, registering to vote is a legal process to realize ones right to vote, but no citizen in the United States should be denied that right regardless of the process. Remember that during the late 1950’s and early 1960’s many African Americans were denied the right to vote because they couldn’t pass a test.

      “They created a variety of barriers, including requirements for poll taxes, residency requirements, rule variations, literacy and understanding tests, that achieved power through selective application against minorities, or were particularly hard for the poor to fulfill.”

      This of course gave us the Civil Rights Movement. If Republicans continue their creative efforts to disenfranchise those of us who disagree with them then who knows what will rise out of that, but you can be certain of one thing, something will rise.


      You seem tp buy into just about every piece of disinformation disseminated by your party of choice.


      • HLG,

        Excellent summary and great contribution.

        By the way, you said to Anson,

        You seem tp buy into just about every piece of disinformation disseminated by your party of choice.

        Yep, that’s right, including birtherism. To wit, he said above,

        The first time after 9/11 that I renewed my driver’s license I had to go home to get my birth certificate, a CERTIFIED birth certificate by the way, complete with a State seal on the thing, not just a copy of a copy of a copy! Copies are easy to get but State seals are a problem for some folks!

        You see, HLG? Obama doesn’t have a “CERTIFIED” birth certificate! Oh, my! Obama’s birth certificate doesn’t have that official “State seal” on it! Damn, how did that negro ever get to be in the White’s House?



    • Anonymous

       /  June 3, 2012

      AB, this goes hand in hand with our wage discussion on the other blog. How can the Republican party be so uptight about the prospect of a few illegal aliens voting but have absolutely no problem with illegally hiring them by the millions. When they do this they are undercutting the American people of better wages and also the federal government out of taxes that the higher wages would bring. Where is all the sanctimonious talk about that? How hard would it be to monitor companies that hire illegal aliens? If they want to control voting rights then don’t pay illegals to stay here and work. They will leave and you have solved two problems.



  2. Political dirty tricks, while reprehensible, have a long history in this country and are likely to continue. I see these manipulations in Florida as more of the same, and as Duane says in the post, they amount to fixing a problem that really doesn’t exist.

    One could also stipulate that some people aren’t mentally qualified to vote by virtue of mental defect or inadequacy, but with the obvious exception of a medical diagnosis I can think of no fair criterion for that. Frankly, based on the latest science regarding maturity and the human brain I think voting should be restricted to people 30 and over, but on the other hand I have no good answer to give to the 18 year old who asks, “Why am I old enough to die for my country but not old enough to vote?” I would point out however that most young people don’t bother to vote, probably because they think they are 10 feet tall and bullet-proof.

    We’ve come a long way on this issue. When America was founded only white men with property were allowed to vote.

    <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voting_rights_in_the_United_States"Wikipedia has this to say on the subject:

    The United States Constitution, in Article VI, section 3, stipulates that “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.” The Constitution, however, leaves the determination of voting qualifications to the individual states. Over time, the federal role in elections has increased through amendments to the Constitution and enacted legislation, such as the Voting Rights Act of 1965.[1] At least four of the fifteen post-Civil War constitutional amendments were ratified specifically to extend voting rights to different groups of citizens. These extensions state that voting rights cannot be denied or abridged based on the following:

    # Birth – “All persons born or naturalized” “are citizens” of the US and the US State where they reside (14th Amendment, 1868)
    “# Race, color, or previous condition of servitude” – (15th Amendment, 1870)
    # “On account of sex” – (19th Amendment, 1920)
    # In Washington, DC, presidential elections after 164 year suspension by US Congress (23rd Amendment, 1961)
    (# For federal elections) “By reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax” – (24th Amendment, 1964)
    #(For state elections) Taxes – (Harper v. Virginia Board of Elections, 383 U.S. 663 (1966))
    # “Who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of age” (26th Amendment, 1971).

    I think it is up to the general public, in reading the free press, to form opinions about what’s going on in Florida and elsewhere, and to vote accordingly. Harassment of and interference with voters should have consequences and I think Duane’s post here is an inspiration for just that.


    • Thanks for that comment, Jim.

      You know, reading what you wrote and what you posted, Democracy is a damn messy business, with lots of chances for people to screw things up, no? I sometimes wonder if ultimately it will work, this American experiment. But then I think of the alternatives.

      And by the way, excellent column in the paper, my friend.



  3. The link’s not working right. Here it is for convenience:



  4. ansonburlingame

     /  June 4, 2012

    To all,

    Hlg wrote above, “…but no citizen in the United States should be denied that right regardless of the process.” I agree with that 100%. But note the word citizen included therein. Should any “non-citizen” have the right to vote in America? Living in America is not citizenship, far from it.

    As for the shot about hiring illegal residents, I oppose such hiring, obviously. And I doubt seriously that only Republicans do so. My guess is there are prosperous businesses of all sorts run by Dems that hire illegal workers all over the place.

    On the other hand I like to see cheap strawberries in the grocery store as well. I suppose that is a dilemma for all of us.

    However, I hope most herein agree that voting should be a serious, thoughtful process. It is a fundamental responsibility of citizens in a democracy to THINK then vote accordingly. Now how many voters in America do that today I wonder?

    Of course the Founders were very worried about that sort of thing, having “thinking and responsible” voters only allowed to go to the polls. And even with such limitations on who could vote back then the rest of the world thought they were crazy.

    No I don’t call for anything to limit one’s ability to vote in America except ONE thing today. It is be an American citizen, period. Is that unreasonable?



    • KABE

       /  June 4, 2012

      AB, I am with you that Americans only be allowed to vote. But that problem is minor in relation to to the perceived problem being thrown out by the Right. The Ed Show said the Wisconsin had 7 bad votes out of 3 million in its last election, .0002 %. I wonder how many illegal aliens work in Wiscy?

      We are on the same page for the responsibility of voting though. Instead of going to Wal Mart to buy an “I support the troops” sticker, just go vote!



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