Archive for May 11th, 2011


Voting: Florida Suppression Started

The Republican-controlled Florida State House and Senate, along with their Tea Party Gov. Rick Scott, just rewrote the state voting laws here to keep thousands from the polls in the 2012 election.

Republican Sen. Mike Bennett and his colleagues made voter registration more difficult. They also suppressed “early voting” by reducing the time in which it can be exercised. The St. Petersburg Times reported Bennett did this, because he thinks voting is too easy. “I want them to fight for it. I want them to walk across town to vote,” said Bennett, a white racist who was obviously talking about “non-whites,” when he used the word “them.”

Even if we gave Bennett the benefit of the doubt, as to the word them, and assume he meant all Democrats, then I guess I too would one of them, even though I am a middle-aged white man. Since Bennett wants me, as one of them, to walk clear across town to vote, I guess I can do that. I can promise him right now, I will walk as far as it takes to vote against every Republican I can.

But there was more from Bennett. He said: “voting is a privilege, so how easy should it be?” I started to ask if this guy was even an American. I mean, with a name like Bennett, I thought maybe he was a closet Englishman, you know, the kind George Washington fought against in the Revolution. I wondered if he had a legitimate birth certificate. I had a hard time imagining he could have passed a Naturalization test, since he didn’t seem to know the Constitution.

If Bennett had looked at the Constitution, he would have learned voting is a right. “The right of citizens…to vote shall not be denied…on account of race or color” (15th Amend). “The right…to vote shall not be denied…on account of sex” (19th Amend). “The right …to vote…shall not be denied…for failure to pay a poll tax” (Amend 24). “The right of citizens…18-years of age to vote, shall not be denied…on account of age” (Amend 26).

The Republicans want us to believe this is all about fraud, but of course, they provide no credible evidence of criminal wrongdoing in previous elections. In the past three years in Florida, only 3 people were charged with voter fraud. One can only assume the Republicans watch Fox, and their arguments are not based on fact.

The Republican voter law is right out of the Karl Rowe playbook. It is all about voter suppression. “Early voting” was reduced from 14 to 8 days. Election supervisors now have the discretion to limit “early voting” to 6 hours a day. Early voting now ends on the Saturday before the election, to ensure no last minute voting drive at churches, or elsewhere, on the Sunday before the election.

Groups that sign up new voters must now be registered with the state. The amount of time to return completed forms was reduced from 10 days, to just 48 hours. Voters who moved outside the county since the last election, like college students, are no longer able to update addresses at the polling place on Election Day.

All of this is sad, because the U.S. was the first nation to create a republic based on a faith in the common man. Florida Republicans are not at all like the founders of our country. They harbor a distain for the little man. In the next election, the common people of Florida should rise up and take these Republicans out.