Florida purging voter rolls

Governor Rick Scott moves forward with a plan to disqualify thousands of mostly Hispanic and Democratic voters

Topics: 2012 Elections, Rick Scott, Voter Fraud, Florida, Immigration,

Florida purging voter rollsRick Scott (Credit: Reuters/Brendan McDermid)

Hated Florida Governor Rick Scott has a great idea: A big, massive purge of the state’s voter roll right before a sure-to-be-close presidential election. The governor ordered his secretary of state to compile a list of registered voters who might not be citizens, based on an unreliable and out-of-date state motor vehicle administration database. The secretary of state made a list and then realized the list was not actually very useful or accurate. Then he resigned, and now Scott is just purging away.

Some people (communists) have noted that the timing of this big voter roll purge is a bit suspect and that it’s also weird that the vast majority of people on the list are Hispanics who are registered Democrats or independents. But as hero-senator Marco Rubio said recently of voter ID laws, “What’s the big deal?” Hundreds of the 1,638 people flagged as ineligible in Miami-Dade County have already offered proof of citizenship, so the system works. Let’s assume the 1,200 people who haven’t responded to the letter are all definitely not qualified.

(If I were an illegal immigrant, do you know what I would definitely not ever try to do? Vote! When you’re evading detection by the government, registering to vote and then casting a ballot — and in the process committing a felony — seems like asking for trouble.)

As must always be pointed out when writing about these sorts of things, there is no voter fraud epidemic. At all. Where there is genuinely illegal voting, it tends to be accidental or so small-scale as to present no challenge to the legitimacy of an election. The liberal position on election security is something like, “Better to let a couple of isolated instances of fraudulent or improper voting happen than to preemptively disenfranchise hundreds or even thousands of perfectly legal voters.” The conservative position tends to be, “We mustn’t let the Mexicans steal the election for the nanny state socialists ACORN ACORN BILL AYERS ACORN.”

Here’s the Tampa Bay Times with more on Florida’s war on (certain people) voting:



This is part of a pattern. Republicans actively gin up voter fraud claims to justify turning voting into an obstacle course to dissuade Democratic-leaning constituencies. It’s what happened in Florida last year when the Legislature used voter fraud as an excuse to cut early voting days and make it harder for renters and college students to vote a regular ballot. The most disgraceful part of the law imposes steep penalties and fines on groups conducting voter registration drives that fail to meet burdensome bureaucratic rules and turn forms in within 48 hours, causing the League of Women Voters to cancel its drive.

But if we let renters vote, why would anyone buy a house? Then how would we save the economy?

Don’t worry, though, it will still be very easy for… certain other kinds of people to cast votes:

Meanwhile, there was no attempt by the Florida Legislature to tighten rules for absentee voting, which is probably the easiest way to produce a fraudulent ballot since there is no way of knowing who fills it out. Maybe this lack of interest stemmed from the fact that absentee voters tend to lean Republican, while early voters typically lean Democrat.

Well. Now that I know how easy it is to absentee vote in Florida, I am off to commit some voter fraud with my illegal immigrant friends. Next stop, Sharia!

Alex Pareene

Alex Pareene writes about politics for Salon and is the author of "The Rude Guide to Mitt." Email him at apareene@salon.com and follow him on Twitter @pareene

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