This is Part LVI of My Stupid State where I document what happens when a state full of Democrats elect a veto-proof, right-wing legislature along with a teabag, CRIMINAL governor to lead us. (Once again, yes--an actual bona-fide criminal who literally stole from seniors, who subsequently elected him.) This is my documentation of my beloved but idiotic state's slow descent into chaos.
The country had many extra days to hear about the voting woes in Florida as, once again the state took it's time to count the votes -- the official tally from the November 6th election was presented on November 10th, finally. But what we are learning now, in light of some eye opening data compiled by the Orlando Sentinal from research done by Ohio State University professor, Theodore Allen, is that a minimum of 201,000 probable voters gave up on voting on November 6th.
The analysis of the data led professor Allen to conclude that the lengthy lines lowered actual turnout by roughly 2.3 percent/per hour of delay.
"The biggest surprise is that people waited so long," Allen said of his review, saying he would have expected the length of the lines to discourage even more voters. Overall, the 201,000 voters he indicated gave up equaled 2.3 percent of the Election Day turnout.
I've been on the ground this week in Arizona to help a campaign UNITE HERE invested in this year called Adios Arpaio. Adios Arpaio was a massive voter-registration campaign, aimed at voting out the notoriously anti-immigrant Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, that was led by 2,000 high school students, many of them the children of immigrants. We registered 35,000 new voters, and 70% of them are Latino. I've spent some time here before and many, many weeks since helping with everything I could.
Coming back after the election, I think part of me knew what I would hear, the same things we all hear about on the news: sarcastic and racist comments from poll workers, everyone who is different looking gets a provisional ballot...it's the same song for a different election. There's a familiarity that comes from being a person whose first election was 2000. This is the state of voting in contemporary America.
Strict voter-ID laws spurred massive opposition this year as GOP-dominated legislatures sought to prevent fraudulent voting that foes said happens so rarely that it's not even a statistical blip. What the initiators of these laws were actually trying to do was suppress the votes of people who are more likely to cast ballots supporting Democrats: minorities, low-income people, young people. But the courts, state and federal, sometimes with the Voting Rights Act of 1965 as a backstop, blocked most of the laws from going into effect, at least for the 2012 elections.
The fear among citizen advocates was that even though the laws weren't in effect, some voters would stay home out of confusion over whether they needed a photo ID and whether some poll workers would ask for IDs despite court rulings. We'll never know how many people may have stayed home because they were fearful, confused or poorly informed about the laws. We do know that some poll workers asked for ID even though they weren't supposed to, but that the instances of this occurring were apparently not frequent.
Suevon Lee at the Pulitzer-winning investigative website ProPublica reported:
Experts agree that much-assailed voter ID laws were less an issue in this election than limited early voting hours, lengthy ballots and precincts shuttered after Hurricane Sandy. These issues contributed to long wait times, prompting some to simply throw up their hands and give up on voting.There were anecdotal reports that voter suppression, including efforts to impose those strict ID laws, actually spurred black and Latino voters to turn out more than they would have otherwise. But ProPublica found evidence of this to be "spotty," at best. For instance, in Philadelphia, where the population is 57 percent African American and Latino, turnout dropped from 61.6 percent in 2008 to 59.7 percent this year. Barack Obama received some 5,300 fewer votes in the city in 2012 than he did four years ago.
“Of all the issues relating to voting rules, voter ID got the most attention but was probably the least significant, mainly because we didn’t have it in Pennsylvania,” said Rick Hasen, a professor at the University of California-Irvine who specializes in election law.
In Pennsylvania, where some feared the state’s continuing efforts to advertise the new law would confuse voters, election officials were required to ask voters for ID , but were not allowed to prevent anyone from casting a ballot for failure to produce one.
“On November 6, it was a dry run just as it was in the (April 24) primary,” said Ellen Kaplan, vice president and policy director at the Committee of Seventy, a non-partisan voter education group in Philadelphia. “We don’t know how many people might have been confused and didn’t show up. Among the people that did show up, there was certainly some confusion out there. But I wouldn’t characterize it as so overwhelming that it disrupted the voting process.”
Rep. George Miller proposes plans to speed voting
Democratic Rep. George Miller of California has proposed legislation to speed up voting:
“Americans shouldn’t have to wait for hours and hours to cast a ballot – and the fact that they had to do so in the 2012 election is absolutely unacceptable,” Miller [said]. “Voting is one of the most fundamental rights in our democracy and we must ensure that that right is protected. What we’re proposing here is a very simple solution. We’re saying give voters in every state the opportunity to vote early so that they won’t be left out on account of a last minute illness, a change in work schedules, or unavoidable emergencies, and make sure that there are enough resources on Election Day so that voters casting their ballots in person are not forced to choose between waiting hours to vote or not voting at all.”In the Senate, Democratic Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware introduced legislation to provide Justice Department grants to the states as incentives for upgrading their voting procedures. Democratic Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia signed on as co-sponsor, taking note as he did so the long lines at the polls in his state last week.
The proposed legislation:
• Requires all states to provide for a minimum of 15 days of early voting in federal elections.
• Requires states to ensure that each voting precinct has sufficient poll workers, voting machines and other resources to ensure that voting lines do not exceed one hour, whether on Election Day or during periods of early voting.
• Requires states to have contingency plans in place to resolve situations in which long lines nevertheless develop.
“In Prince William County, folks waited for up to three hours. In Chesapeake, Va., folks waited up to four hours. It was remarkable that it was five days after the fact before we even knew the results in Florida,” Warner said on the Senate floor.No amount of funding was specified.
The Justice Department is also looking into ways to deal with long voting lines.
(Please continue reading about the War on Voting below the fold.)
Bill would require all states to have early voting for at least 15 days prior to Election Day.
According to Rachel Maddow, some Republicans are learning the lessons of 2012 better than others. The absolutely mind boggling part of this revelation is who Rachel cited as examples of both sides of the spectrum on last night's The Rachel Maddow Show.
If you are drinking something, please swallow and place your beverage on the table away from you before reading further; otherwise you might need to clean off your computer screen. The example of a Republican who has not learned the lessons from the election that Rachel presented last night was Wisconsin State Senator Alberta Darling who now famously said in an interview that she believed that Mitt Romney would have won the State of Wisconsin if Voter I.D. laws had it been in place in Wisconsin for the 2012 election. As a regular reader here at Daily Kos, you are probably already aware of how ridiculous that position is. We have all come to understand that these Voter I.D. laws that Republicans have been pushing in states around the country have more to do with voter suppression than voter protection.
Who did Rachel use as an example of a Republican who has learned the lessons from the campaign? Erick Erickson at the conservative blog RedState. Rachel came to this conclusion by reading a post by Erickson yesterday where he considers who should be allowed to be a member of his community.
Barack Obama won. He won by turning out the most people in a well run campaign. In other words, he won fair and square.On the surface, yes I have to agree with Rachel about who understands that President Obama won the election fair and square. What's frightening about this observation though is that an elected official is the one who is taking the side of crazy conspiracy theories, while a conservative blogger is the one who is seeing reality. Shouldn't it be the other way around? Shouldn't somebody elected by the people to serve be the one living in reality? However, when taking Erick Erickson's post in its entirety, I have to say he is still arguing for policies that would be detrimental to our country.
We here at RedState are American citizens. We have no plans to secede from the union. If you do, good luck with that, but this is not the place for you.
We have a place for you here if you wish to continue the fight against Republicans in Washington like John Boehner and Mitch McConnell who’d be happy to sell us down the river to keep their power, no matter how devoid of principle or sound policy. You have a place here if you’d like to keep fighting the Democrats who are intent on further stifling economic growth, pushing forward with Obamacare, bankrupting the nation, and siding with teachers unions against kids who deserve better.
Too many people have spent the past four years obsessed with birth certificates. Now they are obsessed with voter fraud conspiracies, talk of secession, and supposed election changing news stories if only we had known.
While it's comforting to know that one conservative blogger sees that the conspiracy theories about voter fraud aren't based in realty, it does not mean we should sit back and relax. There are still too many Republicans who have been elected to state legislative bodies that are determined to continue to enact laws designed to suppress Democratic voter turnout in future elections because they know if Republicans run solely on their own policies, they will continue to lose elections. Rachel often uses the graph on the left to demonstrate the large spike in abortion legislation that was passed in 2011 after Republicans won control of so many state legislatures in 2010. We can not let the same thing happen to voting laws in states around the country. We need uniform election laws on a national basis. That's why I've started a new group, Do You Know Why We Vote On Tuesday? to work towards fixing our broken election system. Please consider joining. More about the group in this diary and this diary.
The video and transcript of The Rachel Maddow Show segment, as well as the follow-up interview with Dan Rather, are below the fleur-de-orange.
Written by Matt Murray for the NH Labor News
If you think the elections are over then you would be wrong. In New Hampshire they are currently holding numerous recounts throughout the state. While the overall media opinion is that New Hampshire voting went smoothly. There were a few issues with the new Voter ID law and long lines.
The biggest story comes from Merrimack. The entire town voted in one polling station. Over 18,000 registered voters in Merrimack were force to go to the town high school to cast their ballot. This could be the largest polling station in the country. There were long lines at the polls but the traffic getting to the polls actually kept people from the polls. The town has a significate traffic problem on a normal day now add in thousands of people trying to go to a school with only two entrance roads. The town ended up keeping the polls open till after 8pm due to the traffic on the roads. It is unknown how many if any were turned away or neglected to go because the polls were supposed to be closed.
The good thing is that all 15,000 people who cast their ballot in Merrimack had their ballot counted. This is not the case in some places.
In Maricopa Arizona thousands of people exercised their Constitutional Right to vote and yet their vote has still not been counted. Listen to the dramatic story of this first time voter who was forced to file a 'provisional' ballot.
UNITE HERE has been on the ground in Arizona since the election season started. They were working to turn out voters. They registered 34,000 new voters like Faez. Now the state is refusing to count their votes.
UNITE HERE and other community members are standing up for these voters. Working to ensure that they get their voice heard this election. They will be hosting a rally tomorrow at the Maricopa County Recorders Office.
Holding up our rights is paramount to what we in the labor movement have fighting for since the beginning. Ensuring that our collective voice is heard is what labor is all about. Now we have to hold the government accountable to ensure that all voters get their voice heard too. Our right to vote is guaranteed by the Constitution and nothing the Maricopa Country Recorder does will ever take that away.
The race to represent CD-2, my new district this year, has not been resolved thanks to a close race and a whole lot of as-yet uncounted ballots, many of them provisional. The state created this mess by consolidating voting locations and insisting on much more of this 'provisional' voting this time around, and they've managed to surpass Florida in terms of election-day screwups.
The latest news is unfortunate, but I think predictable: now they're hitting the courts trying to disqualify some provisional ballots in this rather close race, and I wonder who has been hurt more by this provisional method, anyway?
Breaking: Federal judge in Ohio rules against Sec. of State Husted on provisional ballot fight. Calls Husted conduct "an illegal act."
Here is link to Judge Marbley's order today halting Ohio Sec. of State Husted from changing provisional ballot rules.
Federal judge Marbley rules that Ohio's Husted violated state law and consent decree on provisional ballots, not yet counted there.
Unless overturned, Judge Marbley's ruling will mean that many more provisional ballots cast in Ohio WILL be counted in state's tally.
Judge Marbley: Husted engaged in no fact-finding to determine that change in ballot interpretation would increase integrity of voting system
Judge Marbley: "The voter acting in good faith cannot suffer disenfranchisement as a result of the Secretary’s drafting errors."
Watching a short segment between commercial breaks on The Rachel Maddow Show tonight, I learned that the Governor of my state (I can't bring myself to call him my Governor) has called for a review of the general election and a report on how to improve the process. Are you freaking kidding me? Seriously! I live in Florida. I was one of the lucky ones. I only stood in line for one hour to Early Vote. I watched the news and saw the images of the long, long lines here in Florida. I remember reading the news about requests for extended hours when it was evident voters were already standing in line for hours when Early Voting started.
But the focus largely remains on early voting. On Thursday, Former State Senator Dan Gelber implored Scott to extend the early voting period to Sunday (as it stands now, the period ends Saturday at 7pm). “In parts of Florida many citizens — including veterans and seniors — have had to wait for as many as 5 hours to simply express the most fundamental right guaranteed to them in a democracy,” Gelber wrote in his letter to Scott, according to the Miami Herald.Break the law? Okay my head is just going to explode? A Republican in Florida didn't want to extend early voting because it would break the law? Did he say that with a straight face? Would that be the same law that the super-Republican majority in Florida's legislature passed to reduce early voting hours? Even though ...
Gelber’s fellow Democrats — including Florida Democratic Party Chairman Rod Smith and League of Women Voters President Deirdre Macnab — also sent appeals to Scott about extending early voting hours. Republicans derided the Democrats’ pleas as partisan attacks.“Florida has a law in regard to early voting — this law provides for 96 hours of operation for early voting locations, the exact same amount of hours as 2008,” Mike Grissom, executive director of the Republican Party of Florida commented. “The fact is simple as this: more Floridians have cast a ballot as of 5 days out than in 2008. For one side to demand that we break the law because they feel like they are losing is wrong.”
It should be noted, however, that the number of early voting hours in 2008 was actually 120. Ironically, then-Republican Governor Charlie Crist issued the order expanding the hours after seeing the long voting lines firsthand.Who do they think they're kidding? I haven't heard anything about this guy, Adam Putnam, who used to be my representative in the House of Representatives in Washington since he gave up his seat to become Commissioner of Agriculture. And now This is what he had to say about extending the voting hours?
“There’s no unusual circumstances,” Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putman, a GOP member, said. “There’s no weather-related events. There’s nothing out there in the state of Florida right now that would create the basis for an emergency order for the governor to produce.”So people standing on line for up to 9 hours ... longer than a regular work day ... doesn't constitute an unusual circumstance? Ha! And what did these Republican leaders get for their stance on making people stand in line for all those hours? Well, let's see, President Obama won the State of Florida. Senator Bill Nelson won reelection to the Senate. Democrats added four more Representatives to Florida's Congressional delegation. Oh, and better yet, Democrats broke the GOP supermajority with historic gains in the Florida Legislature.
And yet today, Governor Rick Scott had the gall to to put out this announcement on Saturday:
“Around 8.5 million Floridians voted in this general election – more votes cast than in any other election in state history. A record of nearly 4.8 million Floridians also voted early and absentee ballots. We are glad that so many voters made their voices heard in this election, but as we go forward we must see improvements in our election process.
“I have asked Secretary of State Ken Detzner to review this general election and report on ways we can improve the process after all the races are certified. As part of this evaluation, Secretary Detzner will meet with County Election Supervisors, who are elected or appointed to their position – especially those who ran elections in counties where voters experienced long lines of four hours or more. We need to make improvements for Florida voters and it is important to look at processes on the state and the county level. We will carefully review suggestions for bettering the voting process in our state.
“Now that the election is over we have an opportunity to come together – regardless of political party – and focus on the issues important to Florida families. Our families care about getting a great job, a quality education and keeping their cost of living low. Making our state better for Florida families is our ultimate goal.”
I've got news for Rick Scott. He's up for reelection in Florida is in 2014, and as a Florida resident I intend to work my butt off to make sure he gets defeated. I remember how you tried to purge actual citizens from our voter rolls claiming that they were noncitizens. I also remember a poll from PPP that came out in June.
Several polls have shown now that Rick Scott would lose in 2014 if Charlie Crist became a Democrat and ran against him but our newest survey finds that Democrats might not need that high of a profile candidate to knock off Scott, at least if he remains this unpopular. 5% of voters in the state have a positive opinion of State Senator Nan Rich. Only 14% have even heard of her. And despite that she still leads Scott by 12 points in a hypothetical match up, 47-35.Now maybe Rick Scott is one of those Republicans that doesn't believe the polls. Too bad for him that PPP was rated the most accurate poll of 2012. But, Rick Scott, this Floridian isn't going to forget the fact that you watched as citizens of this state stood in line for up to nine hours to exercise their right to vote. Just like we stood on those lines and voted despite your attempt to keep us from voting, we will remember the 2012 election and the part you played when time comes to vote for a new Governor in 2014.
I can't help but wonder how much larger President Obama's margin of victory would have been if we had been able to put a stop to the GOP's voter suppression efforts. How many more votes would have been cast if people didn't give up and leave those long lines? That's why I've started a new group, Do You Know Why We Vote On Tuesday? to work towards fixing our broken election system. Please consider joining. More about the group in this diary and this diary.
The video and transcript of tonight's The Rachel Maddow Show segment is below the fleur-de-orange.
Ah, the good old days. How Republicans long for the America of yesteryear then Romney would have won the election. As President Obama pointed out at the last debate:
But Governor, when it comes to our foreign policy, you seem to want to import the foreign policies of the 1980s, just like the social policies of the 1950s and the economic policies of the 1920s.If only Romney could have imported the voting policies of the 1840s when only white men could vote before the 15th Amendment, he would have won in a landslide as BuzzFeed shows us in a handy map:
President Barack Obama has been elected twice by a coalition that reflects the diversity of America. Republicans have struggled to win with ever-higher percentages of the shrinking share of the population that is white men — "a Mad Men party in a Modern Family world," in the words of one strategist.
But at America's founding, only white men could vote, and the franchise has only slowly expanded to include people of color, women, and — during the Vietnam War — people under 21. These maps show how American politics would have looked in that undemocratic past.
I introduced this new group on Saturday in a diary which explains where the name comes from; a video by the nonprofit, non-partisan organization called Why Tuesday? The video explains that Tuesday was chosen as the day we vote in an 1845 law so that each voter had time to ride to the county seat in his horse and buggy order to be able to vote.
Yes, I said "his" horse and buggy because originally only white men could vote. In fact, as Maureen Dowd pointed out in her column Romney Is President on Saturday:
Team Romney has every reason to be shellshocked. Its candidate, after all, resoundingly won the election of the country he was wooing.If our country had not grown and changed, then only white men who owned land would have been allowed to vote in the election, and Romney would have been elected the 45th president of the United States. But we have changed and if this election proved anything, we need further change to protect the rights of all Americans to vote.
Mitt Romney is the president of white male America.