Governor Rick Scott leads voter suppression drive in Florida
Florida Gov. Rick Scott has created a list of more than 180,000 registered voters who must now prove their citizenship, or lose their right to vote.
Scott used a Department of Motor Vehicles database to identify groups of voters he wants to purge from voting records, if they cannot provide proof of citizenship within 30 days of receipt of a letter from the state.
However, many of those being told they may be ineligible to vote, are citizens who have been voting legally for decades.
A 91-year-old veteran, Bill Internicola, was among the first group of 2,600 Florida voters who received letters saying that they needed to prove they were American citizens, or be purged from the voting rolls. The Brooklyn-born, decorated World War II veteran, appeared on MSNBC on Tuesday and called the letter, “insulting.”
Internicola, a registered Democrat, said he had been voting since he was 18 years old, and had been voting as a Florida resident for the past 15 years.
“The list of "ineligible" voters is riddled with errors and includes hundreds of eligible U.S. citizens." According to Think Progress, “Scott’s list is heavily targeted at Democratic and Hispanic voters.”
Voters who fail to respond in the 30 day time period will be removed from registration forms and refused the right to vote.
“Already, 359 people on the list have provided the county with proof of citizenship and 26 people were identified as U.S. citizens directly by the county. The remaining 1,200 have simply not responded to the letter informing them of their purported ineligibility.”
This is not the first time Florida has been the center of questionable voting practices. Before the 2000 Presidential Elections, Florida took more than 7,000 names off the voting rolls, mostly Democrats, and George W. Bush won the state by fewer than 600 votes.
Scott has been at the helm of additional voter suppression efforts. Earlier this year, the Florida governor signed a new voter ID law that requires photo identification for all voters. Early voting, which made it easier for veterans and the elderly to cast their ballots, was also cut from 14 days to 7 days.
Florida is considered a key swing state in 2012, and voter suppression, especially among the elderly, could change the outcome of the presidential race.
Republican candidate Mitt Romney has come out in support of the Paul Ryan budget plan, which would cut Social Security benefits and phase out the current, government guaranteed Medicare program, in favor of a voucher system. Medicare is a popular program that has broad support among seniors, particularly in Florida. If eligible seniors are prevented from voting, due to Scott’s voting record “purge,” the chances of losing their benefits greatly increases.
Minorities are also at great risk of losing their right to vote because the group, also being targeted, tends to vote for Democrats.
The Daily Kos said, “This is naked voter suppression, and it must be stopped.”
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