A judge put Rick Scott’s attempts to restrict voter registration on hold, but the damage has already been done. Democrats aren’t registered, and that’s just the outcome he wanted.
My one huge worry this election season has been voter suppression. If we don’t get Dem voters out in huge numbers, we’re in real trouble.
The Florida Times-Union reports that over the 13-months period beginning July 1 of the year before elections in 2004 and 2008, the number of registered Democrats in Florida increased by an average of 209,425 voters. Since July 1, 2011 — the HB 1355 went into effect — that number was just 11,365:
Groups said the new rules made it impossible to comply. As a result, many got out of the registration game until a federal judge ruled in their favor at the end of May, 11 months later.
“It has without a doubt hurt registration numbers,” said Deirdre Macnab, president of the nonpartisan League of Women Voters of Florida. “It really gummed up the works and made it harder for Floridians to get registered.”
Of course, those who were affected were primarily “college campuses, senior centers and low-income communities” who just happen to lean Democratic.
This is ugly and should be illegal. And it’s already hurting us.
As I’ve posted a million times, Republican Voter I.D. laws and efforts to make early registration more difficult for Democratic districts (but not GOP ones) are thinly veiled attempts to restrict Democratic voters and hand elections to the Republicans.
Here is Pennsylvania’s legal stipulation that there is no voter fraud, yet the judge is allowing the law to stay in effect.
You can read a good recap of the voter suppression problem here. Remember: Voter fraud is rarer than getting struck by lightning. And there’s nothing wrong with having a picture I.D…. as long as anyone can get one at no cost, as long as they are easily accessible, and as long as there is no hardship physically or financially, whatsoever, involved in acquiring one, including having to produce documents that may not have ever been available to many citizens.