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!
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.