Friday, June 8, 2012

Florida Voter Fraud Is Rare, But Scott Continues Purges

The Walker win in Wisconsin showed the results of the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, as it enabled right-wing billionaires to bombard the airwaves with ads supporting its union-busting candidate. The Republicans have another weapon in their quest to corrupt the electoral process: voter suppression. On Wednesday, Gov. Rick Scott of Florida and his Department of State defied the Justice Department's demand that it stop voter purges of over 2,600 supposed "non-citizens." Scott is combating a non-existent problem. Not coincidentally, the majority of those purged are Hispanic or black–and a minority are Republicans. The purges are part of Scott's ongoing effort to suppress the vote. Perhaps Florida will again help deliver a fraudulent GOP presidential victory:

According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, 178 cases of alleged voter fraud have been referred to the department since 2000...

"It's just not widespread," said Vicki Davis, president of the Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections and the supervisor for Martin County.

Added Mary Cooney, public-services director for the Broward Elections Office: "While there may have been complaints about perceived voter fraud, I am not aware of any actual cases which were turned over to law enforcement."

...Instead, Democrats and voter-registration groups argue that Republican concern about "fraud" is really aimed at "suppressing" minority voters — blacks and Hispanics — who tend to vote Democratic. They argue that was the aim of the 2011 reforms, which made it tougher for voting-rights groups to register new voters, restricted the number of "early voting" days and made it harder for a voter to change his or her name or address at the polls.

...What's more, according to an analysis by the (Fort Lauderdale) Sun-Sentinel and Orlando Sentinel, 64 percent identified themselves as Hispanic — roughly five times the 13 percent of all voters who say they're Hispanic — and 14 percent as black, non-Hispanic. Only 9 percent were non-Hispanic whites, who make up 68 percent of all registered voters. And just 21 percent are Republicans, compared with 36 percent of all voters.

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