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Florida’s voter purge returns

Secretary of State Ken Detzner tours the state to promise that state will do a better job this time around

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JUST THE STATS

11,779,578

NUMBER OF REGISTERED VOTERS IN THE STATE OF FLORIDA: 40 PERCENT DEMOCRATS, 35 PERCENT REPUBLICANS AND 22 PERCENT WITH NO PARTY AFFILIATION

 

180,000

NUMBER OF REGISTERED VOTERS IN FLORIDA THAT THE STATE INITIALLY SUSPECTED TO BE POTENTIAL NONCITIZENS IN 2012 AFTER COMPARING VOTER REGISTRATION INFORMATION AND DRIVERS LICENSE APPLICATIONS

 

198

NUMBER OF VOTERS THE STATE EVENTUALLY POINTED OUT TO LOCAL SUPERVISORS OF ELECTIONS AS POTENTIAL ILLEGAL VOTERS, AFTER SENDING MORE THAN 2,600 NAMES FOR REVIEW

 

“THROUGH TRANSPARENCY AND THE STATUTORY DUE PROCESS PROTECTION AFFORDED EVERY VOTER, WE CAN ENSURE THE CONTINUED INTEGRITY OF OUR VOTER ROLLS WHILE PROTECTING THE VOTING RIGHTS OF ELIGIBLE VOTERS FROM THOSE WHO MAY CAST AN ILLEGAL VOTE.”
– FLORIDA SECRETARY OF STATE KEN DETZNER
SOURCES: MIAMI HERALD, FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF STATE

REGURGITATING THE PURGE

Here comes that stinking feeling. A couple of months ago, following the U.S. Supreme Court’s backhanded compliment of expanding marriage freedoms for gays while – at the very same time – dismantling the Voting Rights Act (because racism is awesome), we reported the not-so-distant rumblings that this would be a guaranteed green light for Gov. Rick Scott to have another go at purging the voter rolls of people whose last names sound Democratic because they end with “z” or “o.” It worked so well last time! (Uh, no it didn’t).

Anyway, neither the “past is prologue” criticism easily applied to an embarrassingly failed notion nor the mild distraction of a federal government in shutdown and teetering on the brink of a debt crisis would be enough to silence Scott’s ethnic purity crusade – though, perhaps, it would be enough for him to keep his face off it. Last week, Scott sent Secretary of State Ken Detzner to do his racist bidding on the cock-browed “Integrity Tour,” in which supervisors of elections from the state’s 67 counties – the same ones that all but rejected dwindling attempts at a voter purge last year – would be roundtabled into “we’re better this time” compliance. The difference, see, was that even though there had been lawsuits and public failures, the end result was that the state now had access to the federal Systemic Alien Verification for Entitlements database, so the cracks that evil immigrants could slip through just got way tighter, guys.

At an Oct. 3 panhandle stop on his five-city grumble trundle, Detzner did his best to sound redeemable and populist, according to politics-and-policy website the Florida Current. “I have not run across a single Floridian who is eligible to vote who thinks we should keep people on the rolls who are ineligible, to dilute their votes,” Detzner said, adding, “It’s going to start very slowly and it’s going to be deliberative and transparent.”

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