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Florida’s Voters – Purged

Florida’s Voters – Purged > 2012 Campaign > DLU Articles > Democratic Liberal Umbrella

[important]Florida’s Voters – Purged! [/important]

>by Robert L. Gallimore | DLU |May 28, 2012 |

Well, here we go Florida’s Voters – Purged! The Headlines should read Florida’s Voters are purged from the electoral system to systematically suppress Civil Rights and Voting Rights! GOP strategist are attacking a particular voting block to influence the upcoming Presidential election in Florida  and through-out the country because they don’t have the numbers to win out-right! Well, in Florida you do remember the hanging Chad’s fiasco of 2000; sitting in front of the TV screen watching Court TV. Governor Rick Scott (FL) has now turned his attention on (purging), wiping-out the existence of non-citizens, convicted felon and it appears any group of people that historically vote Democrats.

As you read more and more articles like the ones below you become more determined to get out there and vote, you see as Democrats in the last midterm elections, we failed to do our civic duty. And for whatever reason we remained at home and didn’t vote. This act hurt the Party and the opposition is counting on this same complacency and they’re also taking addition measures like voter suppression, disenfranchisement and whatever it takes to win the 2012 Presidential election.  We cannot allow that to happen, we cannot take another wave of Right-wing extremists into the various branch of government to run this country; this may sound dramatic, but we will not survive as a Party!

This GOP isn’t the Party of old the party that I once belongs; it’s becoming the Party of Right-wing Extremism. If by chance, President Obama survives the Presidency and we lose more Democratic Lawmakers in Congress like 2010! Then, we may as well, hand over the keys to the White House because nothing will move in the form of policy and procedures for the good of the country and “What We Stand For.” There would be nothing stopping the Right from pushing their radical views and opinions, overturn milestones like Affordable Health Care, like the Safety Nets and like the Voting Right Act; except for the Vito pen and possibly some filibustering from member of Congress! We would be at a standstill until the next midterm election! Do you see a pattern here…like a vicious cycle of nothing-ism! There maybe some over dramatization of the situation, however we would be making a U-turn and we would start heading back into the direction from which we came – it’s called the Bush era!

It’s the Democratic Party [the Party for the People] that was responsible for virtually eliminating the widespread disenfranchisement of African-Americans. And if it wasn’t for the 1965 Voting Rights Act signed into law, a landmark piece of legislation that outlawed discriminatory voting practices was an important step forward; we would still be fighting Jim Crow. What you’re witnessing today by what Rick Scott is trying to accomplish is called Jim Crow or a form of it extended to Minorities; eliminating their right to vote. What is Jim Crow Law?

“The Jim Crow laws were state and local laws in the United States enacted between 1876 and 1965. They mandated de jure racial segregation in all public facilities in Southern states of the former Confederacy , with a supposedly ” separate but equal ” status for black Americans . The separation led to treatment, financial support and accommodations that were usually inferior to those provided for white Americans , systematizing a number of economic, educational and social disadvantages. De jure segregation mainly applied to the Southern United States. Northern segregation was generally de facto , with patterns of segregation in housing enforced by covenants, bank lending practices, and job discrimination, including discriminatory union practices for decades.”

“Some examples of Jim Crow laws are the segregation of public schools, public places, and public transportation, and the segregation of restrooms, restaurants, and drinking fountains for whites and blacks. The U.S. military was also segregated. These Jim Crow Laws were separate from the 1800–1866 Black Codes , which had previously restricted the civil rights and civil liberties of African Americans. State-sponsored school segregation was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of the United States in 1954 in Brown v. Board of Education . Generally, the remaining Jim Crow laws were overruled by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 [1] and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 .” This is straight out of Wikipedia!

It was the Democratic Party that overturns the Jim Crow Law that Rick Scott is trying to reenact and we can’t allow that happen – plain and simple! Follow the link if you’re interested in some history on the Jim Crow laws and era! In as such, my friends this practice of widespread disenfranchisement and voter suppression continues today from the Right! As stated in a previous article: Human Rights Issues – May 05, 2012; Voters Rights Suppression continues in a different form listed in articles below: click the go to link to jump to the article or click the original source link

 

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[important]Minorities, Democrats most likely to be purged from voter rolls due to felony convictions[/important]

>by Steve Bousquet | Naked Politics -The raw truth about power and ambition in Florida.| Read more here|

 

With attention focused on Florida’s effort to remove non-citizens from the voter rolls, another procedure continues as well: the purging of convicted felons from the rolls. Under Florida law, a convicted felon loses his or her right to vote and must petition the governor and state Cabinet for the restoration of civil rights, a process that can take up to seven years.


Related Notes:

This criminal Governor (who extorted billions from medicare) thinks he can do anything he wants to sabotage this election because he believes all the fear mongering bigots will support him and his money (that he accumulated from the extortion of medicare funds) will insulate him from the consequences of exterminating hundreds of thousands of democratic voter registration. OVER 200,000 people are earmarked to be purged from the registration rolls by this fascist Governor. WHY IS THIS NOT ON THE NEWS? God Bless the President of the United States

Continue from above:

A Times/Herald analysis of four months’ worth of data from the state Division of Elections shows that 6,934 people were removed from the rolls in the first four months of 2012 following felony convictions, and that Democrats were three times more likely to be removed than Republicans.

Of that total, 3,550 or 51 percent were registered as Democrats, and 1,206 or 17 percent were registered as Republicans. Another 1,614, or 23 percent, were registered with no party affiliation.

Here’s the racial breakdown of felons removed from the voter database in 2012: Whites accounted for 3,018 or 44 percent, and blacks accounted for 2,956 or 42 percent. Hispanics accounted for 608 or 9 percent.

The five zip codes that accounted for the largest number of civil rights revocations were in Jacksonville and Tampa.  Jacksonville, the state’s largest city, had the most purged felons (928). Tampa had 797, Miami 367, Orlando 222, and St. Petersburg 174.

“Obviously, we’re not targeting demographic groups,” said Chris Cate, a spokesman for the Division of Elections. “The only category we’re concerned about is, are they ineligible? If they’re ineligible, they need to be removed.”

While the purging process might be color- and party-blind, the results highlight the fact that the justice system might not be. About half of Florida’s prison population is black in a state that’s 14 percent African American — who are overwhelmingly Democratic voters as well.

So any voter purge of felons is bound to disproportionately affect African Americans and Democrats.

– Steve Bousquet


Related Comments:

Posted by: cjschmitt | May 28, 2012 at 02:31 AM |

  Just because the comments of Chris Cate, is ignorant about the state and nations long history of stacking the chips against people of color or non white rich men, doesn’t mean that it isn’t happening and Chris is aiding it just by doing their job….who owns the media in Florida? Isn’t one of the wealthiest media owners a resident conservative in Florida…so he’s use to buying his state government….need to rewrite the states constitution to include recall….hold these scumbags accountable….disgusting.

Victoria Lamb Hatch ·

Republicans can’t win elections honestly, so they have to steal them. This makes sense. What doesn’t make sense is that nobody seems to be stopping them and they’re getting away with it.
This is absolutely MADDENING! People and particularly Black and Latino folk down south: This what you get by not showing up to vote in 2010! Please get on this NOW… WALK the docs INTO the Offices that requested them: DO NOT MAIL THEM!They can DELIBERATELY put them aside and ‘forget them’… and THEN tell you the ‘Deadline has passed’…
“Sorry but you won’t be able to vote this year..”
Robert Levi Marenda ·

Florida Governor Rick Scott (R), like all fascist Republicans, is a criminal and a traitor to his country. If the law does not apply to him, it does not apply to any of us. I believe since the rule of law has been discarded, we are in anarchy.

[important] GOP Attempts Florida Voter Suppression — Again [/important]

>by Adodie Follow | Sun May 27, 2012 at 06:09 PM PDT |

 

Florida’s Republican Governor Rick Scott is once again carrying out blatant voter suppression . As reported by ThinkProgress:

Florida Governor Rick Scott (R) has ordered the state to purge all “non-citizens” from the voting rolls prior to November’s election. But that list compiled by the Scott administration is so riddled with errors that, in Miami-Dade County alone, hundreds of U.S. citizens are being told they are ineligible to vote,

In Miami-Dade County alone, 1638 people were labeled as non-citizens and were sent letters telling them they could not vote. Of those 1638 people, 385 have proven themselves to be citizens. The rest have simply not responded to the letter.Of course, the people who have been purged from the voting rolls are disproportionately Democrats and minorities.


[important] EXCLUSIVE: Florida Telling Hundreds Of Eligible Citizens That They Are Ineligible To Vote [/important]

>by Judd Legum on May 27, 2012 at 10:44 am

Florida Governor Rick Scott (R) has ordered the state to purge all “non-citizens” from the voting rolls prior to November’s election. But that list compiled by the Scott administration is so riddled with errors that, in Miami-Dade County alone, hundreds of U.S. citizens are being told they are ineligible to vote, ThinkProgress has learned exclusively.

According to data from the Miami-Dade County Supervisor of Elections obtained by ThinkProgress:

- 1638 people in Miami-Dade County were flagged by the state as “non-citizens” and sent letters informing them that they were ineligible to vote.

- Of that group, 359 people have subsequently provided the county with proof of citizenship.

- Another 26 people were identified as U.S. citizens directly by the county.

- The bulk of the remaining 1200 people have simply not responded yet to a letter sent to them by the Supervisor of Elections.

You can see a similar letter sent to alleged “non-citizens” by the Broward County Supervisor of Elections HERE . (“The Supervisor of Elections… has received information that you are not a citizen of the United States.”) If recipients of the letter do not respond within 30 days — a deadline that is mere days away — they will be summarily removed from the voting rolls. The voters purged from the list, election officials tell ThinkProgress, will inevitably include fully eligible Florida voters .

In short, an excess of 20 percent of the voters flagged as “non-citizens” in Miami-Dade are, in fact, citizens. And the actual number may be much higher.

An analysis of the state-wide list by the Miami Herald found that “ Hispanic, Democratic and independent-minded voters are the most likely to be targeted ” as ineligible by the list. Conversely, “whites and Republicans are disproportionately the least-likely to face the threat of removal.”

Late last year, Scott ordered his Secretary of State, Kurt Browning, to “ to identify and remove non-U.S. citizens from the voter rolls .” Browning could not access to reliable citizenship data. So election officials attempted to identify non-U.S. citizens by comparing data from the state motor vehicle administration with the voting file. That process produced a massive list of 182,000 names, which Browning considered unreliable and refused to release. Browning resigned in February and Scott pressed forward with the purge.

The Fair Elections Legal Network, which is challenging the purge, noted that database matching is “ notoriously unreliable ” and “data entry errors, similar-sounding names, and changing information can all produce false matches.” Further, some voters may have naturalized since their license information was collected.

For example, Juan Artabe, a resident of Miami-Dade, was flagged as a “non-citizen” based on motor vehicle records from 2006. He became a citizen in 2008 but no one notified the state. He was able to retain his ability to vote only by sending his citizenship papers to the Supervisor of Elections.

The situation in Miami-Dade is also apparent in elsewhere in Florida. According to a local reports in smaller Polk County of the 21 voters flagged by the state “ nine appear to be citizens, leaving 12 as questionable .”

The purge of fully eligible voters from the voting rolls by Scott could be enough to tip the balance in Florida and, perhaps, the presidential election. In 2000, the final (disputed) margin was just 537 votes .

This is naked voter suppression, and it must be stopped. 2000 shall hopefully never happen again.


[notice] Florida. How Soon We Forget. [/notice]

>by ERIKA L. WOOD | April 5, 2012, 10:22 pm |

Last spring, Florida made some changes to its election law. Cloaked as technical tweaks, the new laws have the potential to swing the 2012 election.

When it comes to presidential elections, Florida matters. With 29 electoral votes, Florida is by far the most influential swing state in the country. Who gets to vote in Florida could determine who will win the election.

There are over 11 million registered voters in the state. But after the changes put in place last spring, there may be far fewer Floridians going to the polls in 2012. President Obama and the Republican nominee will be fighting for every last one of those votes. The state is so critical to the race that there’s early talk of Floridian political stars like Senator Marco Rubio or former Governor Jeb Bush joining the Republican ticket. In 2008, Obama defeated Senator John McCain in Florida by a little more than 200,000 votes, out of more than 8 million cast.

The changes enacted last spring include severe restrictions on groups that register new voters, cutting the early voting period nearly in half and rolling back voting rights for those with criminal convictions in their past.

Of course this year will not be the first time Floridians have had trouble casting a ballot. Most of us remember the perfect storm of Florida election administration that kept the 2000 presidential election hanging on 537 votes for over a month, only to be finally handed to George W. Bush by a 5-4 vote backing an unsigned Supreme Court opinion .

The pathetic scene in 2000 was created by a convergence of administrative errors, technical glitches and a lack of judgment at the highest levels of election administration: broken polling machines, inaccurate and incomplete voter registration lists, inadequate language translation, inaccessible polling places, poorly trained poll workers and an overall lack of preparation for a large voter turnout that created long lines, eligible voters being turned away and valid votes left uncounted.

Although voters across the state were stymied that year, poor and minority communities suffered the worst of it. In a report documenting its comprehensive investigation of the 2000 election, the United States Commission on Civil Rights found that approximately 11 percent of Florida voters in 2000 were African-American; yet African-Americans cast more than half of the 180,000 rejected ballots. The commission found that “statistical data, reinforced by credible anecdotal evidence, point to the widespread denial of voting rights.” The report then concluded that “the disenfranchisement of Florida’s voters fell most harshly on the shoulders of black voters.”


Voters lined up outside the Leon County Courthouse in Tallahassee, Fla. on Nov. 1, 2004. Chris Livingston for The New York TimesVoters lined up outside the Leon County Courthouse in Tallahassee, Fla. on Nov. 1, 2004.


Continue from above

There is a long and troubled history of voter discrimination in Florida. Florida became a state in 1845, but refused to extend civil and political rights to blacks immediately following the Civil War. In its 1865 constitution , Florida explicitly limited the right to vote to “free white males.” In 1866, it rejected the 14th Amendment which granted equal citizenship to freed slaves. As a condition of readmission to the Union, Congress required Florida to extend voting rights regardless of race. In response, Florida’s 1868 Constitution established a legislative apportionment scheme that diminished representation from densely populated black counties and put in place a lifetime voting ban for people with criminal convictions that targeted crimes for which blacks were most often convicted like larceny, perjury and bribery. These measures were followed in 1885 by a poll tax, giving the legislature “the power to make the payment of the capitation tax a prerequisite for voting.”

Throughout the Jim Crow era, African-Americans who tried to register and vote in Florida were harassed and intimidated, resulting in extremely low voter registration rates. In 1961, the United States Commission on Civil Rights documented several of these incidents. In Liberty County, according to the Commission’s report :

Some Negroes registered in 1956, but thereafter they were subjected to harassment. Crosses were burned and fire bombs hurled upon their property, and abusive and threatening telephone calls were made late at night. Two white men advised one of the registrants that if the Negroes would remove their names from the books all the trouble would stop. All but one did remove their names, and their troubles ended; the one who did not was forced to leave the county.

The commission’s report presented corresponding statistics which showed that in the Florida counties with the highest black populations, the rates of black voter registration were the lowest in the state. In Gadsden County, one of two Florida counties where in 1960 blacks were the majority of the local population, there were 12,261 African-Americans of voting age, only seven of whom were registered to vote.

In 1965, Congress passed the Voting Rights Act to outlaw discriminatory voting rules and practices. Section 5 of the Act requires certain parts of the country , with particularly egregious histories of voting discrimination, to obtain approval from the federal government before making changes to their state election laws. Although Florida had a long history of voter discrimination, it was not originally covered by Section 5.

In 1975, Congress extended Section 5’s provisions and expanded its scope to address voting discrimination against members of language minority groups. After this expansion, five counties in Florida, which make up about nine percent of Florida’s total voting age population, now fall under Section 5 based on documented discrimination against language minorities. As a result, any changes to the state election code that will impact those counties must be “precleared” by either the Department of Justice or the federal district court in Washington.

So where do things stand today in Florida? Not surprisingly, it’s a bit complicated.

Florida should remember its past and then leave it behind.

In March 2011, Governor Rick Scott rolled back the right to vote for hundreds of thousands – perhaps as many as a million – Florida citizens who have criminal records. Florida has long had one of the harshest felony voting bans in the country, but Governor Scott not only reversed some moderate reforms put in place by former Governor Charlie Crist, he made the state’s policy even more restrictive than it was under the previous governor, Jeb Bush.

Under the new rules , even people with nonviolent convictions must wait five years after they complete all terms of their sentences before they are allowed to apply for restoration of civil rights; the clock resets if an individual is arrested, including for a misdemeanor, during the five-year waiting period. In some cases, people must wait seven years before being able to apply, and then they must appear in person for a hearing before the clemency board in Tallahassee.  Remember: all of this has to happen just to have the opportunity to ask for one’s right to vote back. After the waiting period, the application and the hearing, you could be denied restoration with no reason or explanation. And if that happens, you have to wait another two years before starting the process all over again.

Prior to Governor Scott’s changes, nearly a quarter of those disenfranchised in Florida were African-American. The new rules will most likely increase this number. For example, Florida law enforcement statistics show that nearly 35 percent of all arrests and 41 percent of drug arrests in Florida in 2010 were of African-Americans (African-Americans make up 16 percent of the state’s population). Consequently, the new “arrest-free” waiting period is likely to increase the impact on minorities.

In May 2011, Governor Scott signed an omnibus election law that makes it more difficult to register and to vote in Florida. The new law imposes severe restrictions and penalties on nonpartisan groups that register voters and slashes the number of days allowed for early voting, including eliminating the option of voting on the Sunday before Election Day.

These may seem like little technical tweaks, but in fact their impact could be dramatic. According to the League of Women Voters, African-American and Hispanic voters register to vote through community registration drives at twice the rate of white voters. Nearly 54 percent of Florida’s African-American voters used early voting sites in 2008. On the Sunday before the election, African-Americans accounted for nearly a third of the statewide turnout.

Who Votes?

A series about the complexities of voters and voting.

The new restrictions on voter registration groups include requiring every individual who registers voters on behalf of an organization to register his name and address with the state, and requires groups to turn in completed registration forms within 48 hours, or risk fines and penalties. As a result, the League of Women Voters and Rock the Vote have shut down their voter registration efforts in the state. There has already been a significant drop-off in new voter registration. Last week, The Times reported that in the months since the new law took effect, 81,471 fewer Floridians have registered to vote than in the same period in 2008.

In January, the Okaloosa County Branch of the Florida N.A.A.C.P. registered several new voters on Sunday of Martin Luther King weekend. According to the Times , the group submitted the forms on Tuesday, Jan. 17, when the local elections office reopened. Soon after, the group was copied on an e-mail from the county supervisor of elections reporting that the forms were turned in an hour past the 48-hour deadline.

The official rationale for these changes remains vague. Legislators who supported the new law said the tighter restrictions would combat fraud, but they have yet to identify a specific problem that will be addressed by these changes. In one of the few public statements from supporters of the law, State Senator Michael Bennett provided some clarity, explaining his support for the legislation during the floor debate:

You say it is inconvenient. Ever read the stories about people in Africa? People in the desert who literally walk 200-300 miles so they could have an opportunity to do what we do? And we want to make it more convenient? How much more convenient do you want to make it? Want to go to their house? Take the polling booth with us? This is a hard fought privilege. This is something people died for. And you want to make it convenient? To the guy who died to give you that right, it was not convenient. Why would we make it any easier? I want ‘em to fight for it. I want ‘em to know what it’s like. I want ‘em to have to walk across town to go over and vote.

The lengths to which Governor Scott is willing to go to defend this new law also raise flags about whether they are merely a technical fix or something more powerful. Last June, Florida submitted these changes to the Department of Justice as required by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. National and local voting rights groups strongly opposed the state’s submission, arguing that the new law disproportionately harmed minority voters.

A month later, before the D.O.J. could issue its ruling on the new law, Florida withdrew its submission from the D.O.J.’s review, opting instead to seek approval from the federal district court. In October, the state filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. Then in December, a number of voting rights groups challenged the law on First Amendment grounds, arguing that speaking to and registering voters is protected speech. That’s a lot of legal maneuvering, and the impact of these various lawsuits on Florida’s role in the presidential election remains unknown.

Florida should remember its past and then leave it behind. Rather than creating new and different obstructions to voting, it is time for the state to do its part to realize the true promise of our democracy.  That cannot happen until Florida repeals the barriers it put in place last year and allows the Voting Rights Act to do its job. How much longer will we have to wait until every vote counts?

Erika L. Wood is an associate professor of law at New York Law School. Christopher Binns, a student at New York Law School, contributed research to this article.


[notice] Florida Voter Suppression Taking Increasing Toll [/notice]


>by staff of The Democratic Strategist on March 29, 2012 12:14 PM |

 

It appears that Florida Republicans are still getting away with voter suppression activities, as Michael Cooper and Jo Craven McGinty report at the New York Times.

…Prominent civic organizations have suspended registration drives because of what they describe as onerous restrictions imposed last year by Republican state officials.The state’s new elections law — which requires groups that register voters to turn in completed forms within 48 hours or risk fines, among other things — has led the state’s League of Women Voters to halt its efforts this year. Rock the Vote, a national organization that encourages young people to vote, began an effort last week to register high school students around the nation — but not in Florida, over fears that teachers could face fines. And on college campuses, the once-ubiquitous folding tables piled high with voter registration forms are now a rarer sight.

…In the months since its new law took effect in July, 81,471 fewer Floridians have registered to vote than during the same period before the 2008 presidential election, according to an analysis of registration data by The New York Times. All told, there are 11.3 million voters registered in the state.

…new registrations dropped sharply in some areas where the voting-age population has been growing, the analysis found, including Miami-Dade County, where they fell by 39 percent, and Orange County, where they fell by a little more than a fifth. Some local elections officials said that the lack of registration drives by outside groups has been a factor in the decline.

More than a dozen states have passed laws making it harder to vote in recent years. Many of the laws require photo identification, restrict groups that register voters and cut back on early voting. In Florida, civic groups in counties covered by the Voting Rights Act are filing court challenges.

The authors describe the Florida law as “among the strictest in the nation and “similar to one New Mexico passed in 2005, which also imposes penalties for failing to meet a 48-hour deadline for handing in forms.” Unfortunately civic group court challenges failed in New Mexico and voter registration rolls have been shortened. In Florida, however, the Brennan Center for Justice is “challenging the Florida law on First Amendment grounds, arguing that speaking to voters and registering them is protected speech.”

If Super-PACs are protected by the First Amendment and citizens who register voters are not, then America is in trouble, and voters should hold the GOP accountable in November.


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