In the wee hours of November 7th, long after President Obama had been declared the projected winner to serve his second term as the President of the United States, voters in Miami-Dade County in Florida finally got to cast their vote.
Their persistence and dedication to make their voices heard is admirable — but the circumstances that led to this injustice are anything but.
Two days after the election, Governor Rick Scott, who cut back early voting hours after his predecessor extended them, said, “well I’m very comfortable that the right thing happened.”1 Outrageous.
Reports of voters waiting up to 4 hours to vote and an estimated 201,000 voters who were discouraged from voting because of those long lines is far from the “right thing” happening — unless your goal of course, is to suppress the right to vote.2
Since he was elected, Governor Rick Scott has sought to make it increasingly more difficult for citizens to vote. First, he made registering voters prohibitively complicated.3 Then, he purged hundreds of thousands of voters from the rolls, many of which were legally eligible to vote.4 And his final act to suppress the vote was to shorten early voting hours, including canceling the Sunday before Election Day, which historically, is a day that many African American churches take their members to the polls.5
The result was long lines on Election Day, discouraging many Floridians from voting. And it certainly hasn’t gone unnoticed that Rick Scott’s actions have targeted Hispanics, African Americans, seniors and young people — all of which tend to lean Democratic.
The right to vote in this country is fundamental to our Democracy. It is fundamental to what this country is founded on and since the inception of this country, we have consistently worked to extend that right to all Americans. That is, until now.
When President Obama gave his second inaugural address, he said, “Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote.”6 We couldn’t agree more.
1 - "Gov. Rick Scott on early voting: 'The Right thing happened," Click Orlando, November 8, 2012
2 - "Analysis: 201,000 in Florida didn't vote because of long lines," Orlando Sentinel, January 29, 2013
3 - "Rick Scott's Anti-Voter Effort Grinds Democratic Registration To A Halt," Think Progress, August 28, 2012
4 - "Fl Supervisor of Elections: Gov. Scott's Voter Purge Will Remove Eligible Voters From Rolls," Think Progress, May 26, 2012
5 - "Charlie Crist: Rick Scott's Refusal to Extend Early Voting is 'Indefensible," The Huffington Post, November 4, 2012
6 - "Obama Inauguration Speech Gives Voting Rights A Shout-Out," The Huffington Post, January 21, 2012