Florida's attempt to scrub the voter rolls is un-American
Five good reasons why you should care about the Sunshine State's voter purge
Published: July 3, 2012
4 Because it's racist
Don't believe anyone who tells you that it's not. Even if the process itself is blind — that is to say, even if the voter purge is being implemented purely on data and not on the color of voters' skin — the statistics are not. Latinos make up more than 58 percent of those contained in the flawed voter-purge list being used to scrub the rolls. It's no secret that the Hispanic vote has yet to be fully claimed by any party — Hispanic voters, pollsters point out, are often swing voters, less likely to vote along party lines. Which means they are unpredictable. Which means it's better to just keep them from getting to the polls in the first place, rather than take a chance that they vote and fail to vote for the "right" candidate (cough cough, Mitt Romney-bot).
Pair this anti-Latino scrubbing effort with Gov. Scott's earlier chipping away at efforts that mobilize the black vote, and ... well, the ACLU's Simon doesn't mince words:
"There is a racial aspect to this and all the other voting-suppression measures that were adopted by the Legislature and championed by the governor and now being defended by the governor," he says. "Cutting in half the number of early voting days and specifically banning voting on the Sunday before the Tuesday election, for instance. Please, somebody explain to me how that addresses voter fraud, rather than simply make it more difficult for working people to vote? And to make ... the Souls to the Polls program, which so many African-American churches were engaged in, impossible. That's what it was designed to do, and fraud is being used as an excuse to make it more difficult to vote, more difficult to register to vote, and more difficult to have your vote counted."
5 Because the corporations
The injury currently being added to the insult of Gov. Scott's wild-eyed suppression tactics comes in the form of increased political clout among billionaire CEOs and the regulation-fearing corporations they represent. Part of the ramp-up in influence comes by way of the 2010 Citizens United ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that concluded that corporations are people too, and, as such, have the right to give back-scratching billions to whatever political campaigns might tickle their fancy. But even with that ruling, the rise of the Super PAC — a far less transparent means of funding candidates and issues — has attracted the lion's share of shadowy corporate money. What that means is that voters in general need to avoid an influx of lies parading across their television screens in order to make their own informed choices. But, as is the nature of advertising, it also indirectly means that general impressions and brand recognition are being nefariously directed by corporate interests. You buy your candidates like you buy your soda these days. It's no surprise that many of these corporate interests have likewise been trying to suppress voter registration at the state level via one-stop lobbying organizations such as the American Legislative Executive Council, a back-room factory for derailing progressive policies. The only way to counter the wholesale purchase of the electoral process is to have a strong, informed and varied pool of representation on the voter rolls. This, dear reader, is exactly what conservatives do not want. They don't want you.
Erin Sullivan is the editor of Orlando Weekly. Billy Manes is the paper's staff writer. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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