Blocking Gov. Rick Scott’s vote block
Despite its attempts to defend its position on voter purge, court of appeals calls action unconstitutional
Published: April 9, 2014
JUST THE STATS
INITIAL NUMBER OF FLORIDA VOTERS TARGETED BY GOV. RICK SCOTT’S VOTER PURGE VOLLEY, PROJECT INTEGRITY, IN 2012
ESTIMATED NUMBER OF ACTUAL VOTERS WHO WERE REMOVED FROM THE VOTER ROLLS IN 2013 AS THE PURGE INITIATIVE DWINDLED IN SCOPE. THE INITIAL LIST WAS PARED DOWN TO 2,600 AND THEN 198 BEFORE SETTLING ON JUST 85 VOTERS.
AMOUNT SCOTT’S ADMINISTRATION HAS SPENT DEFENDING ITS POSITION IN COURT IN ARCIA V. (SECRETARY OF STATE) DETZNER SINCE 2012.
Block the vote block
First off, we’ll admit that we’ve been driven to distraction by the calamities besieging Gov. Rick Scott’s re-election campaign of awesome: the bob-and-weave around important questions about Medicaid expansion, the accusations that campaign staffers were talking in fake Mexican accents while driving around in campaign vans, the latest Democratic attacks that paint Scott as a sort of Darwinist who only hired cute white people when he was in the medical business. None of it really comes as a surprise, of course, but it’s been something of a throbbing dark cloud over Scott’s abysmal polling numbers and his attempts to paint himself as the man who made the word “jobs” happen. Is it working? No.
But beyond the dusty kerfluffle of race-warring and Democratic jig-dancing, there was something last week that actually should concern voters as this election year trundles along toward its November cliff. Only a week after Scott’s Secretary of State Ken Detzner called off the revived attempt at purging foreigners – or people with foreign-sounding names – from the state’s voter rolls, as elected supervisors of elections rolled their eyes and failed to comply, the Scott administration had its ass handed to it on a plate by 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta. Are you ready? Let’s laugh together.
The track back on all of this purge nonsense reads like a series of unfortunate events for the administration. To begin with, the initial attempts to purge funny-named voters (because nonexistent fraud) from the state’s informed-people inventory was ill-fated. It clearly violated the “Motor Voter Act” from 1993, which stated that the state could not do this purge less than 90 days out from the election. When Detzner and Scott made their unseemly push to keep Hispanics from voting (damn Democrats!) in 2012, they did it at 55 days out, in spite of federal law. Oh, and when they pulled their red markers out to execute the initiative, they aimed high, picking out a whopping 180,000 people via a drivers license database; the final number of people removed was a scant 85. Two people, who eventually were able to vote but only after being inconvenienced into proving their eligibility, joined a lawsuit with various organizations against the state challenging the program. Detzner, ever the charmer, asserted via PowerPoint (!) that Florida’s purge was above the law because “Eligibility records maintenance is an ongoing requirement of federal and state law and is not subject to the 90-day moratorium preceding a federal election (in contrast to address list maintenance, which is).”
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