Posts tagged ‘Voting Rights’

11/04/2012

Undecided Voters: Social Issues

The better choice on each issue is in the left column, indicated by a (D) for Democrat, (R) for Republican, or (N) for neither.

(D) VOTING RIGHTS AND ELECTIONS: Which party is more likely to promote a constitution amendment to remove money from campaigns, or appoint Supreme Court justices willing to interpret large contributions as bribery? Romney goes in the wrong direction as he suggests getting rid of campaign finance laws. (1-16-12). Who is more likely to promote and protect the right to vote by removing unnecessary obstacles, and yet preserve the integrity of the system? Democrats clearly win this one.

(D) MEDICARE: Although the nation must get Medicare spending under control, Romney has no solution, for he would block grant it to the states, which would effectively kill it. (10-18-11) (11-12-11) (2-22-12). Not changing things for current retirees is just a way of screwing those who’ll retire later (1-8-12) Romney wants a premium voucher program, which inevitably will not cover increases in insurance company premiums (1-16-12).

(D) MEDICAID: Romney would also effectively end Medicaid by sending it to the states. (1-16-12). As he put it, he would get the government out of Medicaid. (1-19-12). The problem is a large segment of the population will prematurely die off.

(D) HEALTH CARE COSTS: Health care needs tough federal regulation to control doctor and hospital costs, as well as drug prices, but neither party openly proposes a solution. Since regulation is the only answer, and the modern Republican Party never advocates price controls, Romney cannot be the solution.

(D) OBAMACARE: Romney was wrong when he thought Obamacare would be declared unconstitutional. (12-10-11). He repeatedly promised to repeal it. (10-11-11) (10-18-11) (1-7-12) (1-16-12) (1-19-12) (2-22-12). He posed a good question when he asked what we would be replaced with. (10-11-11). He alleged Obamacare raises taxes 500 billion, cuts Medicare 500 billion, and is a government takeover. (10-11-11). He thinks eliminating it would save 95 billion annually (11-12-11) (1-7-12). Romney would give states health care waivers (9-22-11), which effectively would repeal it. Since the current health care system is dysfunctional, the greatest problem with the Republican position is their failure to suggest a rational intelligent alternative.

(D) INDIVIDUAL MANDATE: Romney argued people need to purchase health insurance to show their personal responsibility. (8-11-11) (11-9-11). He said uninsured persons are going to emergency rooms and taxpayers end up picking up the tab. (9-7-11). Romney insulted those who cannot afford health insurance by calling them “free riders.” (1-26-12). He later contradicted himself saying he opposed the individual mandate (1-23-12). The problem is even with a government voucher program, health care providers and health insurance companies will continue raising costs and premiums, and most will be priced out of coverage. Deductibles and co-pays will continue to rise. Prices need to be controlled and regulated. Since Republicans will never regulate, the vote has got to go to the Democrats.

(D) PRESCRIPTION DRUGS: Romney said he would not repeal the unfunded Prescription Drug Program started by Little Bush (9-12-11). The problem is we need drug price regulation, but the Republicans will never do it. Our only hope is with Democrats.

(D) SOCIAL SECURITY RETIREMENT: Social Security retirement should never be confused with Medicare, or other social welfare programs. The retirement plan, created in 1935, is the most successful and efficient program ever created by the federal government. It needs nothing, except to be left alone. While Romney called it an “essential program” (9-12-11), Republicans from Reagan to Little Bush have advocated phasing it out. So, even though Romney said we should save the retirement plan (9-7-11), he would be pressured by House Republicans to push a right-wing agenda, which is to privatize it. Although Romney said it would not change for current retirees (1-8-12), he would add a year or two to the retirement age (1-16-12).

(D) WELFARE: Romney would turn poverty programs back to the states (1-8-12), which would kill them. He thinks Obama is creating a welfare state (1-19-12), and the U.S. has become an entitlement society. (1-16-12). Romney would block grant Food Stamps (2-22-12), which would cripple the needs of the hungry.

(D) EDUCATION: Romney apparently thinks there is something wrong with teacher unions, as he said he would stand up them. (9-22-11) While he would test children in math and English (2-22-12), which is fine, too many Republicans push the idea of privatizing schools, a long range threat to our culture.

(D) EDUCATIONAL TV/PUBLIC BROADCASTING (PBS): In an shocking campaign promise, Romney said he would eliminate Public Broadcasting (11-12-11). At a time when more, not less, non-fictional programming on science is needed, why cut PBS? Personally, it’s the only benefit I ever received from the federal government. I can’t believe any candidate would eliminate it.

(D) ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION: In Presidential elections, we don’t just elect a man; we choose a party to manage the agencies of government. If Romney wins, House Republicans will name the head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Extremists like Republican Michelle Bachmann, who advocated abolishing it, will have influence. If Romney wins, we will have a weak EPA. We should prefer over-regulation, than the other way around. Although Romney said we can’t let pollution flow from one state to another (1-8-12), which implies a need for federal law, modern Republicans cannot be trusted to regulate.

(D) FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY (FEMA) The storm that just hit the East Coast is a good reminder of how bad it would be if FEMA had been abolished, or privatized. We need to remember we all sink or swim together.

(D) SUPREME COURT: It is likely the next President will appoint one or more Justices. A Romney win would tip the court to the hard right. The Court currently has four right-wing Justices: Scalia, Thomas, Alito and Roberts (on most issues). Reagan’s appointee Kennedy completes the usual conservative majority, which has existed since 1972.

(D) ABORTION: The secular right to “liberty” found in the 5th and 14th Amendments allows women to have an abortion in the earlier stages of pregnancy, when the fetus is incapable of living outside the womb. As a practical matter, attempts to outlaw abortion have been a waste of time. Even if the anti-abortion crowd had another Justice, who would ignore precedent, and reverse Roe v Wade, subsequent attempts to convict women and doctors would fail. Prosecutors will never get 12 jurors to convict women or doctors, and there would be hung jury after hung jury. We live in a free country which has no official religious creed. People disagree as to whether life begins at birth, or some other point before the fetus can live outside the womb. Romney, a missionary for the very conservative Mormon Church, will almost certainly appoint right-wing Justices. He changed his position on abortion. Most recently, he said he is pro-life (12-15-11) (1-19-12). He said Roe v Wade was wrong, it should be overturned, and the issue should be left to the states. (1-7-12). His stand would only give religious fanatics the power to impose their religious views on a secular society, filled with many who want to be free.

(D) CONTRACEPTIVES: Romney did not think any state wanted to ban contraceptives (1-7-12), but he is part of a right-wing Republican Party willing to turn back the hands of time.

(D) GAYS: Romney, whose Mormon grandfather fled the U.S. and moved to Mexico, because he believed strongly in the right to have more than one wife, ironically wants to amend the Constitution to limit marriages to one man and one women. Why the Republicans want to control the life of gays, who are genetically predisposed, is a mystery. We live in free country. It’s time to leave gays alone. Although Romney opposes same-sex marriage (12-15-11) (1-8-12) (1-16-12), and would amend the constitution to stop gay marriage (1-7-12) (1-8-12), the Democrats have the better position, as they believe in personal freedom.

(D) GUNS: Neither party is doing much to control hand guns in cities. Romney signed an assault weapons ban when he was Gov. in Massachusetts, but now he says he is pro-gun (12-15-11). The Republicans offer little hope to control firearm violence.

(D) RELIGION: Romney served overseas in France as a missionary for the Mormon Church. (12-10-11). He said he would seek guidance and providence in making critical decisions (1-26-12). He thinks Obama is somehow attacking religious freedom. (2-22-12). I have no idea what Romney is talking about.

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05/01/2012

Recall Vote: Right to Time Off Work

Regarding the Tues. May 8, 2012 Wisconsin Primary, employers should be reminded that their employees have a legal right to take time off to vote.

Wis. Statute 6.76 (1) provides: “Any person entitled to vote at an election is entitled to be absent from work while the polls are open for a period not to exceed 3 successive hours to vote. The elector shall notify the affected employer before Election Day of the intended absence. The employer may designate the time of day for the absence.

(2) No penalty, other than a deduction for time lost, may be imposed upon an elector by his or her employer by reason of the absence authorized by this section.

Employers should also be reminded, under Wisconsin law that it is illegal to attempt to influence how their employees cast their votes.

“No person shall, by threatening to discharge a person from his or her employment, or threatening to reduce wages of a person, or by promising to give employment at higher wages to a person, attempt to influence a qualified voter, to give, or withhold the voter’s vote at an election.” See Wisconsin Statute 103.18.

04/08/2012

Give Washington DC Congressional Vote

Although Congress gave the residents of Washington DC the right to vote in Presidential Primaries in 1955, and the 23rd Amendment, ratified in 1961, allows them to vote for President, the problem now is they still have no Senator, or voting member in the House, and do not enjoy the same degree of U.S. Citizenship available to other Americans in the 50 states.

Washington DC came into being, because Art I, Sec. 8 (17) of the Constitution delegated to Congress the power to create a seat for the federal government, which was to be no more than 10 square miles. Virginia and Maryland each donated land for the federal city in 1791, but Virginia took their 31 square miles back in 1847, and what remains is the part that came from Maryland.

One solution is to simply deed the District of Columbia back to Maryland, so those living in the capital can participate in state politics, be represented by U.S. Senators, and be able to select House members, whose standing would be no different than any other.

Another approach is for the District to remain a federal enclave, but to amend the Constitution by granting to the occupants of Washington DC the right to fully participate in Maryland politics, as if the seat of the government was still a part of Maryland.

There is really no good reason for continuing to deny the residents of the District of Columbia the right to vote for U.S. Senators and House members and it is time to make them full and complete U.S. Citizens.

01/19/2012

Republican Debate: S. Carolina (1-16-12)

DEFENSE SPENDING: When Ron Paul was asked if his policies would eliminate military jobs in South Carolina, he said he wants to cut spending overseas. Spending 1 billion on an embassy in Iraq, he said, is not defense, it is waste. He would follow Eisenhower’s admonition about the military-industrial complex, as he said, we don’t need 900 bases in 130 countries. Romney wants a military so strong no one would test it. He apparently believes our navy is now smaller than it was in 1917, and our air force is smaller than it was in 1947. (Does he really think this?)

FOREIGN POLICY: We should declare war before getting into one, Paul lectured. We no longer declare war. We now use the doctrine of “pre-emptive war” to start them. We don’ t even have enemies. We bomb countries and then wonder why they get upset with us. Paul was booed as he said we wouldn’t like it if other countries did to us, what we do to them. Paul was also booed when he said we should follow the Golden Rule in foreign policy.

AFGHAN: Paul wants to bring our troops home. His support is from military personnel, sick and tired of war. We are not leaving Afghanistan, even though 80% of America wants out. When Paul was in the Air Force (1962-68), he served in the Afghan-Pakistan region, and remembers the Taliban were our allies, when we opposed the Russian intervention. He warned us not to mix the Taliban, who oppose foreign intervention, with al Qaeda, who seek to kill us. Romney would not negotiate with the Taliban, because he thinks they declared war on us. He said Obama’s announcement of a withdrawal, weakened our ability to negotiate.

IRAQ: Paul said we are still in Iraq. Romney believes incorrectly we “had to” go to war “in the case of Iraq.”

IRAN: Paul said regarding Iran, they are building up for another war we don’t need.

PAKISTAN: Paul believes we have a flawed Pakistan policy.

SYRIA: Santorum said Syria is a threat to Israel. He wants to bring about the removal of Assad, but opposes U.S. intervention.

TURKEY: Perry, who lived in Turkey while in the Air Force in the 1970s, made the ridiculous and stupid argument they have been taken over by Islamic terrorists. He said their membership in NATO should be re-evaluated, and their foreign aid should go to zero. He lumped Turkey in the same category with Iran and Syria, even though these countries are vastly different.

RULE OF LAW: Paul denied he opposed the operation that killed Osama bin Laden. He in fact voted for the authority to go after him, following 911. He asked: What is so bad about capturing people? We captured Saddam Hussein, tried him, and hung him. Adolf Eichmann was also captured, given a trial, and executed. Why didn’t we try to get information from bin Laden? Gingrich said we need to just kill America’s enemies, not capture them. Romney also said the right thing for Osama bin Laden was a bullet in the head. He said we have a right to detain al Qaeda in prison, as enemy combatants, and deny them due process of law. Paul said the Patriot Act eliminated the 4th Amendment. The Defense Appropriation Act allows us to take citizens under suspicion, and hold them indefinitely, without a lawyer, or the right of habeas corpus. 260 al Qaeda have been tried and convicted Paul said, and we don’t need to give up on the judicial system. Perry said terrorists who cut off heads and hang contractors from bridges, commit despicable acts, not the Marines who urinated on corpses.

IMMIGRATION: Romney opposes favoritism or special routes to citizenship. We have to stop the flood of illegal immigration, he said. Perry would secure the borders.

JOBS: Gingrich claims he and Reagan created 16 million jobs and he and Bill Clinton added another 11 million. He wants to find ways to help the poor learn how to get a job and someday own it.

UNEMPLOYMENT: Santorum thinks it’s wrong for the federal government to uproot state unemployment programs by extending benefits. Gingrich would connect UC to job training.

LABOR: Santorum admitted voting against a right-to-work law, saying he is from a non-right-to-work state. Perry claimed the NLRB is telling South Carolina, a right to work state, what to do.

FINANCE: Perry advocates repealing the Dodd-Frank financial regulations. Romney vowed if Europe has a financial crisis, he won’t give a blank check or go over there to save their banks.

VULTURE CAPITALISM: Gingrich asked Romney to respond to questions about taking money out of companies, walking off with profits, and letting them go bankrupt. Bain invested in over 100 companies, Romney said. Four created 120,000 jobs, while others lost jobs. He said Staples, Bright Horizons, the Sports Authority and a steel company in Indiana added 120,000 jobs. He was asked about American Pad and Paper, which after being purchased for 5 million, borrowed money, took 100 million in profit, and then went bankrupt. Romney said people who lost jobs were offered new ones in other plants. Perry accused Romney of picking a company apart in Georgetown, SC and causing people to lose jobs. Romney said the SC steel mill closed down, because of dumping from abroad.

ENERGY: Romney would take advantage of our natural resources and would use oil, coal, gas, and nuclear.

HOUSING: Perry thinks the federal government via Freddie and Fannie should get out of the housing market.

SOCIAL SECURITY: Romney would make no changes for those 55 or older, but he would add a year or two to the retirement age. Gingrich said Chile has a system that yields 2 to 3 times the government payment. He would make all Americans investors.

HEALTH: Romney wants a premium support program for Medicare. He would send Medicaid back to the states. He would repeal Obamacare.

BUDGET: Romney claimed to have balanced the Mass. budget every year. Perry wants a Balanced Budget Amendment.

TAXES: Romney claimed to have reduced taxes 19 times in Mass. He said tax rates are too high. He would reduce the top rate from 35% to 25% and eliminate taxes on interest, dividends and capital gains. When asked if he would release his tax returns, he said he had not planned on it, but maybe in April, if he becomes the nominee. Perry said the highest federal income tax rate should be 7%. He would have a flat tax of 20%, but would allow home mortgage, local taxes, and charitable deductions. He would get rid of capital gains taxes. Santorum wants just a 10% and a 28% rate. He would cut corporate taxes from 35% to 17.5%. Manufacturing would be treated differently, because they are in competition with the rest of the world. Gingrich wants a flat tax rate of 15%. Paul would reduce income taxes to zero.

DISCRIMINATION IN LEGAL SYSTEM: Paul said blacks are imprisoned at a rate four times greater than whites for victimless drug-related offenses.

VOTING RIGHTS: Santorum asked Romney if X-felons who have done their time should be allowed to vote. When Romney said he didn’t think former felons should be allowed to vote, Santorum reminded him that Mass allowed even those who still on probation or parole to vote, and asked Romeny why he did not try to change that law. Perry said South Carolina is at war with the federal government over their voter ID law.

CAMPAIGN ADS: Romney hoped super-PACs would run accurate ads. He favors getting rid of campaign finance laws. He wants campaigns to run their own ads, and take responsibility for them. He said he could not talk to Super-PACs running his ads.

EDUCATION: Gingrich said No Child Left Behind is a failure, as teachers teach to the test. He would eliminate Dept. of Education

ENTITLEMENTS: Romney thinks Obama is making the U.S. an entitlement society, another European social welfare state.

POVERTY/FOOD STAMPS: Santorum believes three things are need to avoid poverty: a job, high school diploma, and marriage before having children. He claims Obama no longer promotes marriage as a way of avoiding poverty. Gingrich claims 185 different federal bureaucracies deal with low income Americans. He thinks Obama wants to maximize dependency. He called him “the best food stamp president in American history.” When he was asked if it was insulting to suggest black kids should work as school janitors, and blacks should demand jobs, not food stamps, he said no, to wild applause from a white audience of prejudiced South Carolina Republicans. He believes NY pays their janitors an absurd amount of money. The crowd booed Juan Williams as he asked Gingrich if he was belittling racial minorities about a lack of a work ethic, and by saying Obama was a food stamp president. Gingrich said more people than ever went on food stamps during the past three years of the Obama administration.

RELIGION: Perry thinks Obama is at war against organized religion. He claimed the Catholic Church cannot receive federal funds, because of their position on abortion.

GAYS: Romney said he supports equal rights regardless of sexual orientation, but he has always opposed gay marriage.

GUNS: Gingrich accused Romney of signing a ban on assault weapons and of increasing fees on gun owners by 400%.  Romney said the Mass law was supported by both sides. Santorum said his support for trigger locks and background checks was backed by the NRA. He banned lawsuits against gun manufacturers, where injuries were sustained despite proper use of a firearm. Paul said we should not have national tort law, since these issues should be dealt with by the states. Santorum said lawsuits would have gone forward in liberal states, if there was not a national ban.

ABORTION: Gingrich opposes abortion and China’s one-child policy.

09/29/2011

Election Off By 14,000 Votes Is Troubling

Although the failure of a election clerk to report 14,000 votes during the initial tabulation of the ballots for a recent Wisconsin Supreme Court race was likely caused by loading a blank template into a reporting database, instead of the one that actually contained the votes, it is nevertheless very troubling, and it should give us pause to ask if many more checks and balances are needed to insure the reliability of modern computerized elections.

The Government Accountability Board was correct as they found: “Your failure to post election returns…has significantly undermined public confidence in the conduct of elections in Wisconsin and Waukesha County.” That is an understatement.

While right-wingers may try to solve voter fraud problems that do not exist, or address harmless errors that at best involve only a handful of ballots which would not swing the outcome of an election, our focus should instead be on the sort of template problem reported by the Wisconsin State Journal on Sept. 21, 2011, that led to the 14,000 vote controversy. Such a large number of votes can and would actually change election results.

The first step is for everyone to agree that no system is infallible. Never let a voting machine salesperson ever get away with the pitch that their system was tested over and over and is incapable of error. Systems can and do fail. Let’s agree nothing is fail safe.

Secondly, checks and cross-checks must be implemented. Prior election turnouts in terms of number and percentage should be matched against current returns. Any large deviation from the norm should raise flags and should trigger further checking.

The possibility of a 14,000 vote computer error is far more troubling than some college kid who forgot to bring his photo ID to the polling place. Let’s focus on the things that really matter.

08/30/2011

Wisconsin Redistricting: Gerrymandered

The courts should reject the new Congressional lines drawn by the Republican-controlled Wisconsin House and Senate, because they are the result of gerrymandering and violate the U.S. Constitution.

Every 10 years, an updated census is conducted and the states are then free to draw new Congressional lines to reflect any shifts in population that may have occurred during the previous decade.

Upon receiving data from the 2010 Census, the Republicans at the state capital in Madison, redrew the U.S. House seats for Wisconsin in a way designed to help the GOP hold or gain seats.

One target is the Wisconsin 7th Congressional District in the north, which Democrat David Obey represented for 41 years, from 1969 through his retirement in 2010. Since Obey was replaced by a Republican, the GOP now wants to hold that seat in 2012, so they drew the new lines to help their freshman friend get re-elected.

They did this by removing Democrats from the 7th and replacing them with Republicans from the 3rd. They reassigned Democratic leaning cities like Wisconsin Rapids and Stevens Point from the 7th to the 3rd, and moved rural towns from the 3rd to the 7th.

They accomplished their gerrymandering scheme by manipulating the line of the 3rd Congressional District into a non-contiguous U-shaped area, with the city of Eau Claire on the left wing of it, and the cities of Wisconsin Rapids and Stevens Point, on the right side of it. Rural areas between the two prongs were assigned to the 7th.

Now, the only practical way to drive from the new 3rd District cities of Wisconsin Rapids and Stevens Point, on the right side of the U, to the rest of the 3rd District, on the left side of the U, is to travel through part of the new 7th District, in the center of the U.

Since Congressional Districts are supposed to be contiguous, there is no lawful explanation for the U-shaped formation, other than Republican Party politics. The new Republican map is an obvious case of gerrymandering, a violation of the U.S. Constitution, and it should be challenged and thrown out in court.

06/22/2011

Redistricting Must Be Done Fairly

Congressional redistricting in Florida is big business, since it will divide 18,801,310 Floridians into 27 districts of roughly 696,345 each. Depending on how the Republican majorities in the state government draw the lines, the GOP could win 24 of 27, even though the number of voters supporting each party was evenly divided in the last presidential and gubernatorial elections.

If theoretically the Republicans could herd 696,345 Democrats into each of three districts from Jacksonville to Orlando, Tampa to St. Pete, and in Miami, they could quarantine off a total of 2,089,035, leaving only 7,311,620 to face 9,400,655 Republicans in the state’s remaining 24 districts.

They could then determine the number of Democrats in the other 24 districts by dividing the remaining 7,311,620 by 24, which comes to 304,650, and could apportion the Republicans per district by dividing 9,400,655 by 24, which comes to 391,693.

Since 391,693 Republicans per district would represent 56% of the vote, and 304,650 Democrats per district would be only 44% of the vote, the Republicans could win 24 districts this way, while losing only three, despite equal statewide votes for each party.

The process of manipulating districts to engineer an outcome is called gerrymandering. To be sure, Republicans will certainly engage in it, while simultaneously denying any intent to do so. Frankly, I would be shocked if each of the Congressional Districts were drawn to have 348,172 Democrats and 348,172 Republicans.

With the help of the U.S. Supreme Court in Easley v Cromartie (2001), the herding of blacks in North Carolina into one oddly-shaped gerrymandered district was approved in a 5-4 vote. Now, blacks do not object to these heavily concentrated districts, as they help their candidates score easy victories.

What they may not realize is they are being used by Karl Rove Republicans to create disproportionately more Republican seats, as explained above. The loss of Democrats in the House also affects state-wide races, like the recent U.S. Senate contest, because it reduces the number of candidates qualified to run for statewide office. In the last race, Democrat Kendrick Meek of Miami, a black man, was beaten badly in a statewide contest. The Democrats could have won that race with a stronger candidate, but their bench was weak due to gerrymandering.

When I moved to the Tampa-Bay area, I was shocked to see the extent of gerrymandering used to create a Democratic district. The blacks of St Petersburg, in Pinellas County, were combined with the non-whites of Tampa, in Hillsborough County, located clear across the Tampa Bay (body of water). This certainly explains why Republicans won most seats in the urban Tampa Bay area. Hopefully, the media will expose gerrymandering this time, and contiguous districts will be fairly drawn.

05/11/2011

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.