In 2000, Florida was the deciding factor in the Presidential race. Both candidates were neck and neck with the vote tallies. Complaints of voter intimidation by then Secretary of State, Katherine Harris who purged over 170,000 people as “convicted felons”. The actual number of felons on the list was less than 60,0000. This means that 110,000 innocent people (registered Democrats) lost their vote that day. A number that would have pushed Al Gore over the top.
The same thing is being done in Florida today. However, this time it’s not about felons, it’s about citizenship “eligibility”.
Florida Governor Rick Scott (R) has directed his administration to purge the state’s voting rolls of thousands of registered voters prior to the November election. But his list, which purports to include only “non-citizens,” targets mostly Democrats and Hispanics and, as ThinkProgress hasdocumented, may disenfranchise hundreds of citizens who are eligible to vote.
The story of a sitting governor of a state with a history of presidential election shenanigansknowingly purging his own, eligible constituents from the voter rolls is the definition of major news, and yet remarkably, in the first five months of the year, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and USA Today have published a total of zero articles about Scott’s actions. The New York Times did slightly better, printing one story on page 16 of the Friday, May 18th edition. The article ran under the credulous headline: “Florida Steps Up Effort Against Illegal Voters.”
Florida’s local newspapers, led by The Miami Herald, have been far more diligent in reporting the governor’s effort to disenfranchise eligible voters. While it may be easy to dismiss this as local fare, the implications of Scott’s purge could potentially swing the presidential election come November. Remember, months before anyone had ever heard of hanging chads, Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris (R) conducted a similar cleansing of the voter rolls in 2000, which resulted in thousands of eligible voters being knocked off the rolls in time for the infamous Gore v. Bush election.
- Florida’s voter purge targets 91-year-old decorated WWII vet (dailykos.com)
- Republicans of a Feather: Rick Scott Follows Jeb Bush in Disenfranchising Legal Voters in Florida (news.firedoglake.com)
- Shades of 2000: Is Florida Going to Purge 180,000 Hispanic Voters? (crooksandliars.com)
- How Florida Governor Rick Scott Could Steal The Election For Mitt Romney (thinkprogress.org)
- What This Election Is Really About (crooksandliars.com)
- Bill Nelson to Rick Scott: Your noncitizen “purge” is a “concern” (miamiherald.typepad.com)
- 6 members of Congress ask Fla. to stop voter purge (miamiherald.com)
- EXCLUSIVE: Florida Congressman Demands Gov. Rick Scott ‘Immediately Suspend’ Voter Purge (thinkprogress.org)