You remember, Florida, right? Land of the hanging chad? A state in which a margin of several hundred votes could determine the outcome of a presidential election — that is, of course, if the U.S. Supreme Court allows the votes to be counted.
ThinkProgress’ Judd Legum today has a disturbing report from the Sunshine State:
According to the Broward County Supervisor of Elections, eligible voters will be removed from the voting rolls as a result of the massive voter purge ordered by Governor Rick Scott. “It will happen,” Mary Cooney, a spokeswoman for the Broward County Supervisor of Elections, told ThinkProgress.
That process produced a massive list of 182,000 names, which [then Secretary of State Kurt] Browning considered unreliable. The Fair Elections Legal Network, which is challenging the purge, noted that database matching is “notoriously unreliable” and “data entry errors, similar-sounding names, and changing information can all produce false matches.” Further, some voters may have naturalized since their driver’s license information was collected.
Legum’s report features a letter sent to one registered voter, Maureen Russo, by the Broward County elections supervisor, alleging that she is not a U.S. citizen. The burden of proof, Legum writes, is on the letter’s recipient. From ThinkProgress:
In Broward County 259 people recieved letters just like the one addressed to Maureen above, according to the Broward County Supervisor of Elections. So far only 7 (including Maureen) have responded to the ominous and legalistic letter. Five of the responses included proof of citizenship.
If the other 252 people don’t respond within 30 of recieving the letter — a deadline that is rapidly approaching — they will be summarily removed from the voting roles.
In state after state, right-wing Republicans are seeking to pare the voter rolls by any means necessary. In high-turnout elections, Republicans tend to fare less well, especially when turnout includes sizable percentages of racial and ethnic minority groups.
Just last month, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down those portions of Arizona’s draconian voter law that would have required proof of citizenship to be produced during the voter registration process, which would have all but ended the sort of voter registration drives undertaken at the grassroots level (often in shopping mall parking lots, urban streets, sporting events and the like). I mean, who walks around with her birth certificate in her pocketbook? (Regrettably, the court upheld the portion of the law that requires voters to produce a state-issued photo ID at the polls.)
So when you hear activists fuming about right-wing efforts, such as those by the American Legislative Exchange Council, to suppress voter turnout, know that they’re not exaggerating. And, if current polls hold up, the 2012 presidential race promises to be a close one. You can call that fact the Hokey Pokey, because that’s what it’s all about.