Friday, June 01, 2012

Not So Fast

 The U.S. Justice Department has demanded that the GOPer state government of Florida stop its latest effort to destroy voting rights--by purging voters from the rolls.  It's a technical decision in a way--Florida must clear such changes to voting procedure with the Federal Courts and Justice Department under provisions of the Voting Rights Act, so that the Justice Department can determine whether such a change threatens minority voting rights.  The TPM story adds:

DOJ also said that Florida’s voter roll purge violated the National Voter Registration Act, which stipulates that voter roll maintenance should have ceased 90 days before an election, which given Florida’s August 14 primary, meant May 16.
Five of Florida’s counties are subject to the Voting Rights Act, but the state never sought permission from either the Justice Department or a federal court to implement its voter roll maintenance program. Florida officials said they were trying to remove non-citizens from the voting rolls, but a flawed process led to several U.S. citizens being asked to prove their citizenship status or be kicked off the rolls.

According to the Miami Herald's study of the voters being purged, most were Democrats and/or Latinos.

A second victory for voting rights on Thursday was a Federal Court judge's injunction against elements of the new registration rules in Florida:

"Judge Robert Hinkle said the law imposes "a harsh and impractical" metric for voter registration organizations, referring to record-keeping requirements and a 48-hour deadline to turn registrations in to the state. Failing to adhere to the "prompt" deadline could result in fines for organization.

The suit was brought by three third-party voter registration organizations: League of Women Voters of Florida, the Florida Public Interest Research Group and Rock the Vote."

These were not the only actions taken by Florida to deny voting rights,  and a scandalous number of other states have similarly outrageous anti-American laws.  There is little question that these efforts are designed to suppress Democratic votes for the 2012 election.  Those efforts go on in most of the states, and even in Florida, they have already been successful in suppressing new registrations, and some citizens have already been denied their right to vote.

The Obama campaign and the Democratic Party and allies are aware of what's going on, and devoting resources to overcoming the obstacles and getting people registered.  There's online tools and information at the new website,

Other tools and links are here at the Nation magazine.

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