The week where we watched more stealth attacks from Republicans on voter rights, worried about the children (our future, Whitney) and their rising college tuition and then looked around for government bullets meant to take us out. Crazy train, anyone?
Published: May 31, 2012
Hey, wait! Is that just the barometric pressure drop of a long, hot Florida summer we're feeling, or is it the vise-like grip of social injustice squeezing our sensibilities until all we feel are pangs of anger? Well, for this week – and last week, and the week before, and so on – we're going to go with the latter. You may have heard the rumbling over the plan to scrub Florida's voter rolls of 180,000 alleged non-citizens just in time for the state's Aug. 14 primary. Awesome, no? No.
Gov. Rick Scott and his cronies, like Secretary of State Ken Detzner, who would rather do anything than allow democracy to play out, have seen to it that thousands of Floridians have received letters informing them that they are not citizens and are therefore not eligible to vote. Only problem is, as some media outlets are pointing out, the database the state is using to ferret out the alleged non-citizens is full of errors. So hundreds of people who have received the letters are citizens and do have a right to vote. Hello, voter disenfranchisement!
Fortunately – and predictably – there is a considerable backlash to this latest move. On one hand, you have a battle brewing between state and federal elections officials, reports the Palm Beach Post, because the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles has to go all national with the vetting of the state's non-citizenship claims. On the other hand, a huge coalition of voting-rights and Hispanic rights groups are lawyering up, calling the boneheaded scrubble-trouble a violation of the National Voter Registration Act, which forbids such actions within 90 days of a federal election (you know, like the Aug. 14 primary). Also, because this effort is mostly targeting Hispanics, there's an element of racial profiling involved.
“This year's deeply flawed process disproportionately targets Latino voters and is discriminatory, unfair and antithetical to the values of our nation,” one of the groups said in a press release.
The secretary of state's office balked at the notion of impropriety, with the “obligated by law to do it” sort of noise, even trying to deny the fact that there is a primary in August; there is, even if it isn't of the presidential variety. This is Florida, the land of pretending nothing is happening when it really is.
You know what else is happening?Public universities are about to become exclusive club boxes for the rich – or petri dishes of lifelong debt and regret, depending on how you look at it. On May 24, the University of Central Florida's board of trustees reluctantly agreed to a 15 percent tuition hike, prompting even good ol' boy Republican and school trustee Rich Crotty to grumble out loud, according to the Orlando Business Journal, that things were getting really bad.
“[The state legislature] keep[s] slashing and burning the state university system,” he said.
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