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Ear to the Ground

Florida Harks Back to 2000 Election With Latest Voter Purge

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Posted on Jun 1, 2012
Gage Skidmore

Florida Gov. Rick Scott has defended the voter purge that is going on in his state.

Florida is no stranger to voting controversies. Remember Bush v. Gore in 2000? That’s why it is both puzzling and troublesome that the state would once again attempt to undermine the voting process—and in effect democracy itself—in a rather nefarious fashion.

The state is undergoing a massive effort to purge its voter rolls, not unlike the one that happened 12 years ago.

Rolling Stone:

Back in 2000, 12,000 eligible voters – a number twenty-two times larger than George W. Bush’s 537 vote triumph over Al Gore – were wrongly identified as convicted felons and purged from the voting rolls in Florida, according to the Brennan Center for Justice. African Americans, who favored Gore over Bush by 86 points, accounted for 11 percent of the state’s electorate but 41 percent of those purged. Jeb Bush attempted a repeat performance in 2004 to help his brother win reelection but was forced to back off in the face of a public outcry. Yet with another close election looming, Florida Republicans have returned to their voter-scrubbing ways.

The latest purge comes on the heels of a trio of new voting restrictions passed by Florida Republicans last year, disenfranchising 100,000 previously eligible ex-felons who’d been granted the right to vote under GOP Governor Charlie Crist in 2008; shutting down non-partisan voter registration drives; and cutting back on early voting. The measures, the effect of which will be to depress Democratic turnout in November, are similar to voting curbs passed by Republicans in more than a dozen states, on the bogus pretext of combating “voter fraud” but with the very deliberate goal of shaping the electorate to the GOP’s advantage before a single vote has been cast.

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But like in 2000, whether those voters are actually able to cast their ballot legally or illegally seems to be besides the point. In fact, as Think Progress noted, many eligible voters have already been taken off the rolls. —TEB

Think Progress:

The voters purged from the list, election officials tell ThinkProgress, will inevitably include fully eligible Florida voters.

In short, an excess of 20 percent of the voters flagged as “non-citizens” in Miami-Dade are, in fact, citizens. And the actual number may be much higher.

An analysis of the state-wide list by the Miami Herald found that “Hispanic, Democratic and independent-minded voters are the most likely to be targeted” as ineligible by the list. Conversely, “whites and Republicans are disproportionately the least-likely to face the threat of removal.”

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