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View Diary: Ousted Florida Republicans, including ex-Gov. Crist, say voter suppression was state GOP's goal (146 comments)

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  •  It really depends on how (21+ / 0-)

    you define voter supression.  The obstacles put in front of Florida voters range from mere administration burden to actual voter disenfranchisement.  

    I have been part of the Democratic Legal Protection Team here for the last 4 cycles.  At its core, voter supression takes the following forms:

    1.  Reducing the ability of some to legally register to vote.  By far the biggest obstacle here is the requirement that a felon petition to have their voting rights restored.  Crist made this easier - and Scott undid the progress Crist had made here.

    Note - however - that restricting felon's right to vote is popular when it is polled.

    2.  Making it harder to conduct voter registration drives.  Here the new requirement was actually holding someone criminally liable if they registered a person who did not have the right to vote.  This made some groups here in Florida that have conducted voter registration efforts to stop doing them.

    The irony, of course, is that the only group to run afoul of the new law was the Republican GOP.

    3.  Removing people already registered from the rolls.  This happened in 2012 again - though it is worth noting that this involved far fewer voters than in 2000,  in part because of some very good reporting in the Miami Herald that noted the number of hispanics on the list.

    4.   Limiting early voting - in particularly SUNDAY early voting.  This was obviously designed to make it harder to vote, and in that case of Sunday early voting to stop black churches from running their "souls to the polls program".

    5.  Forcing voters to take provisional ballots - in each of the last 4 cycles this has really where the precinct level fights have been.  In 2012 there was a change in the law that made it harder for people who changed their addresses to take a regular ballot.   In early voting in Hillsborough we had answer for that: we would have the voter call the supervisor of elections and change their address.  They could then vote a regular ballot.  This was our strategy for election day as well - but it didn't work.  The SOE phone number became swamped, and as a result at my precinct a number of out of county voters DID have to take provisional ballots (though it would take a while to explain how I was able to get many of these voters to get a regular ballot).

    6.  Requiring voter ID's.  This law wasn't new in Florida - and by the way is very popular when polled.  In early voting we had an answer - we told the voter to go to the SOE and get an absentee ballot - since you don't need a picture to vote absentee.  This did not work on election day.

    7.  Voter name mismatches - I have not seen this reported elsewhere - but I saw a fair number of instances where the data on the election rolls was off.  For example, with hispanic voters the use of the mother's maiden name caused issues.  This required a call to the SOE to straighten out - but the SOE was so swamped that at times the clerk could get through.  As a result on a couple of instances these people had to take provisional ballots.  

    8.  Requiring clerks to call the SOE on election day to resolve this issues.
    This really makes me mad.  If there is a question about a voter's eligability, the clerks where given cell phones to use to call the SOE.  In both 2008 and 2012 the SOE was so swamped clerks could not get through.  In 2012 there was an improvement - each precinct had a computer that made it possible for the clerk to resolve some issues - but they all only had one!! Moreover, for reasons known to God, they limited the clerks to only access country records - which meant they had to call the SOE to deal with anything that might have been out of county.

    9.  The SOE LOST POWER ON ELECTION DAY - this was really comical.  Sometime in the afternoon the SOE actually lost power for about 20 minutes - which meant they could not resolve voter issues.  I have 8 voters at my precinct alone who had to take provisional ballots as a result.

    One of the reasons early voting is so great is that gives time for voters to cure many of the issues listed above (they can change their address, then can get id).  This is another reason why restricting early voting is so much a part of the GOP effort to restrict voting.

    In general I would say 2012 actually went better than in 2008 in some ways.  Certainly on election day the procedures were better - and things are miles better than in 2000.   Early voting, even when limited, has had a dramatic effect on election day lines.  The precinct I was in probably at most had a 40 minute wait in the morning.  In the evening there was very little wait - and this is a result of early voting.  Typically late voters are Democrats - and this is third cycle when I did not see a late rush just before the precinct close.

    I was in Hillsborough, though, and cannot comment on what happened in Miami-Dade.

    The bitter truth of deep inequality has been disguised by an era of cheap imported goods and the anyone-can-make-it celebrity myth - Polly Toynbee

    by fladem on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 11:07:31 AM PST

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    •  I Just Love It When The GOP Gets Trapped By It's (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      linkage, rubyduby7

      own ridiculous rules (see item #2 above - criminal liability for those registering voters that are ineligible to vote).

    •  Shortage of Voting Machines in Blue Precincts. (3+ / 0-)

      Reports of 8 and 10 hour waits were many this year. Ohio may be the current national champion for this, I think.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 03:53:24 PM PST

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      •  I didn't see that in tampa (0+ / 0-)

        Florida doesn't have voting machines - we have paper ballots with optical scanners.

        The bitter truth of deep inequality has been disguised by an era of cheap imported goods and the anyone-can-make-it celebrity myth - Polly Toynbee

        by fladem on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 07:23:05 PM PST

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