Monday, May 23, 2011

Voter Suppression 2012: Wisconsin and Florida Editions

hat tips-BlackSista, The Reid Report, 3CHICSPOLITICO:

I've been telling you about the concerted, nationwide attempts at VOTER SUPPRESSION, just in time for the 2012 Election. We will point out what has happened in Wisconsin and Florida.


From The Black Sista:

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You can’t script a scene like that with Senator Fred Risser being cut off by Senate President Ellis (Risser’s one of the longest serving legislators in the country). It looks like a scene from the floor of the Reichstag in the early 1930s. It makes Mr. Smith Goes to Washington look like a fantasy. And it has the whiff again of where’s your papers, boy? that President Obama eventually overcame.

Let’s face it, it’s the poll tax come north. This is voter suppression. And this time, it will disenfranchise not only black Democratic voters, but poor people, the elderly (some of whom–lord help us all–voted these Republican idiots into office), and students who still carry driver’s licenses from out of state but who are resident here in Wisconsin while they attend UW. (The Republicans particularly voice contempt for the Madison campus as though it is the equivalent of UC Berkeley during the Sixties. Both campuses are much quieter these days yall, though the tradition of activism remains here and there. The same contempt is displayed when they talk directly or indirectly (in codes) about Milwaukee, with its large African American community.) Along with Latinos and immigrants and new citizens, all of these groups vote, and many vote consistently Democratic. That’s why Walker, the Fitzgeralds and the rest of their claque were so insistent about instituting this uncalled-for legislation. And it’s not just happening in Wisconsin. It’s happening in all of the 28 states where Republicans control the governor’s chair and the legislature.

Before I go into the story, I just want to say that I have seen nothing yet of a grassroots movement that would counteract the effects of yet another Walker-Fitzgerald-inspired imposition on Wisconsin. A movement that would go into the hinterlands–to the hunters-fishermen-flag-waving areas–as well as the cities–to the hip-hop nation as well as the students–and help educate these groups about what to expect and how to fight it. A movement that would even help and encourage those to get a state ID card ($28.00 at your local DMV) and become legal. People needed to get started yesterday because this will impact the upcoming recalls. And not everyone has a computer in order to get the word. This needs to be a house-to-house, face-to-face movement in all communities and neighborhoods in order to counter misinformation and voter suppression. Since the Republicans cannot sustain a majority in fact, they will try to legislate it (or manufacture it) into existence.

Sen. Lena Taylor on WI Voter Suppression Bill 5.19.11

I keep on telling you that they use the FALSE/NON-EXISTENT PREMISE OF VOTER FRAUD as an excuse for these VOTER SUPPRESSION BILS.

Why do I call it a false premise?

Wisconsin Set To Disenfranchise Likely Democratic Party Voters

A study of the 2008 election conducted by the Wisconsin Justice Department has turned up just two instances of people “double” voting, six people who engaged in voter registration shenanigans and 11 ex-cons who violated the prohibition on felons voting.

In fact, there has been a sum total of 20 people charged with some form of voter fraud out of the millions of Wisconsin residents who voted in the 2008 election. And over half of them are already on voter denial lists as they are convicted felons.

This is hardly what one would call a justification to create a crisis of confidence in Wisconsin’s voting system– particularly when you consider that the program will cost Wisconsin taxpayers millions of dollars at a time when Governor Walker tells us things are so bad he had to end collective bargaining, deny schools the money they need to provide a basic education, and dramatically alter the retirement programs of state employees.

Yet, in response to this problem that is not a problem, the new law would require voters to present one of the following – a valid Wisconsin driver’s license, a passport, a military ID, a tribal identification or a student ID subject to certain limitations.

from Tallahassee City Commissioner Andrew Gillum:

“Not only did Governor Rick Scott just make it harder for Floridians to vote, he did so like a coward, without explanation and in private,” said Gillum. “This is an insult to the very foundation of our democracy and all of the hard working Floridians who make their voice heard through early voting and provisional ballots. Rick Scott just proved himself to be an enemy of open, transparent democracy.”

Key changes enacted by today’s bill signing (as reported by the Times):
1. Early voting is reduced from 15 days to eight days, but the total number of early voting hours will stay at 96; no additional early voting sites.

2. Voters who have moved or changed their name since the last election can only update their status at the polls if they have moved within the same county. All others must cast provisional ballots.

3. Third-party groups that register new voters must submit forms within 48 hours or face fines of up to $1,000.

4. A nine-member panel will choose the date of Florida’s 2012 presidential preference primary to maximize the state’s influence in selecting the Republican nominee.

5. The 2012 primary election will be on Aug. 14, two weeks earlier than usual.


From the Miami Herald:

The bill wipes out a four-decade-old policy in Florida that allowed voters to update their legal address when they vote. Republicans call that an invitation to fraud, so the new law allows only voters who have moved within the same county to update their addresses.

Even Scott’s chief elections expert, Secretary of State Kurt Browning, would not say whether the change was a good idea.

“Not going there,” Browning said.

The legislation also allows Browning to impose written opinions on election supervisors, who are elected constitutional officers, and creates a nine-member panel of political appointees to choose the date of Florida’s next presidential preference primary.

The election legislation generated far more citizen opposition than any other bill of the 2011 session. Some opposition was engineered by the League of Women Voters, which has thousands of members in Florida.

Scott’s office reported 15,443 e-mails, calls and letters through May 12, and a notation by Scott’s staff said: “Majority oppose. Urging Governor to veto these bills because they change our voting laws, making it more difficult for some voters to cast their vote.”

Gainesville resident Joe T. (Tom) McCullough Jr. wrote Scott: “This is the most undemocratic, regressive, anti-voter, partisan proposal I have ever seen in my memory.”

Democrats, labor unions and voter advocacy groups have been up in arms for weeks, calling the bill a form of “voter suppression” designed to stifle turnout in Florida next year, especially among students. Democrats in Congress have asked the U.S. Justice Department to block the bill from taking effect.

While the bill reduces early voting from 15 days to eight, it still allows for up to 96 hours of early voting in all. Early voting was widely credited as a factor in Obama’s Florida victory in 2008.

Under the new law, election supervisors can run early voting sites for up to 12 hours a day. But their pleas for more early voting sites were ignored by the Legislature – and as a result, some supervisors predict longer lines than ever next year.

“(This) could result in crowding and confusion at early voting sites,” the association of election supervisors said in a memorandum to lawmakers.
Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Deborah Clark said the longer early voting days would be more convenient for working people who can vote early before or after work.

Clark also said she would make sure her office would quickly retrieve voter registration forms from third-party groups so they would avoid being fined.

I want you to get the full scope of what they are attempting to do in Florida. What they have done.

The GOP CANNOT win an election, fair and square. They have no intentions of that. They plan to win 2012 THROUGH VOTER SUPPRESSION.

It's up to US whether we let them get away with it.

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