Rick Scott’s Little List

By Mike Appleton, Guest Blogger

         If someday it should happen that a victim must be found

          I’ve got a little list, I’ve got a little list

          of society offenders who might well be underground,

          who never would be missed, who never would be missed.

     W.S. Gilbert, The Mikado

The current legal battle between Florida governor Rick Scott and the Justice Department over the purging of voter rolls is only one of many examples of efforts undertaken in recent years to tighten registration requirements and restrict voting eligibility.  The 2011 Florida legislative session produced no fewer than 80 amendments to election laws, including mandatory photo identification, the reduction of early voting from two weeks to one and a 48 hour deadline for submission of completed forms by voter registration groups.  Gov. Scott also reversed his Republican predecessor’s efforts to simplify restoration of civil rights for persons convicted of non-violent felonies by imposing an arbitrary five year waiting period following completion of a convict’s sentence.

The professed purpose of these efforts is to protect the sanctity of the voting booth.  A U.S. Senate Republican Policy Committee report published in 2005 warned that “voter fraud continues to plague our nation’s federal elections, diluting and cancelling out the lawful votes of the vast majority of Americans.”  The report cited no studies or statistical evidence to support such a terrifying conclusion, but no matter.  Gov. Scott insists that his motives are pure, that he is driven solely by a desire to preserve the integrity of the electoral process.  And what fair-minded person can argue with that?

But no political leader has ever acknowledged less than noble objectives.  Therefore, it is always necessary to go behind the public statements. How serious a problem is voter fraud?  What are the opinions of rank and file members of the constituencies pushing for new laws?  When the governor’s actions are examined under these lenses, the conclusion is inescapable that the overriding concern is not electoral, but political.

Of course, the claim of massive voter fraud has already been thoroughly debunked.  During the Bush administration, then Atty. Gen. Alberto Gonzales announced that the Justice Department had made the prosecution of election fraud a “top priority.”  Yet there were only 24 federal convictions or guilty pleas involving illegal voting between 2002 and 2005.  When Indiana enacted one of the nation’s first voter ID laws in 2005, it was revealed that there had not been a single instance of voter impersonation in the entire history of the state.  The Brennan Center for Justice has conducted a number of studies, but finds that voter fraud is “more rare than death by lightning.”  And in The Politics of Voter Fraud, a study published by Project Vote, Prof. Lorraine Minnite concluded that the rare instances of alleged fraud cited by state governments frequently involve nothing more than simple mistakes or voter confusion.

But if actual voter fraud seldom occurs, the impetus for the flood of legislation must have another source.  A sampling of public statements by lower level office holders and Republican activists is particularly enlightening.  During the debate over the proposed revisions to the Florida election code, for example, the president pro tem of the senate, Michael Bennett, stated that voting “is a hard fought privilege.  This is something people died for.  Why should we make it easier?”  Since voting is in fact a right, perhaps Sen. Bennett was confusing voter registration with obtaining a driver’s license.

Jordan Phillips, president of the Tea Party Nation, would likely disagree with the view that a willingness to die for one’s country confers sufficient standing to merit the right to vote.  “If you’re not a property owner,” he says, “I’m sorry but property owners have a little more of a vested interest in the community than non-property owners.”  Mr. Phillips resides in Tennessee, the “monkey bill” state.  He may well propose at some point that evolutionists be barred from voting.

The Republican mayor of Arlington, Tennessee, Russell Wiseman, agrees with Mr. Phillips.  “Our forefathers had it written in the original Constitution that only property owners could vote.  If it had stayed there, things would be different . . .  .”  Mayor Wiseman must have consulted a no longer extant draft of the Constitution.  The version actually adopted does not address the right to vote at all.  In fairness, many of the Founders held quite narrow views on suffrage.  John Adams, for example, firmly believed that only men of financial substance possessed the necessary independence to wisely conduct the affairs of government.  But he was reflecting the attitudes of his time, over two hundred years and a number of constitutional amendments ago.

Rep. William O’Brien, the Republican speaker of the New Hampshire House, unsuccessfully pushed a bill last year that would have prevented same-day registration and forbidden college students from using their school addresses.  His objective was to stop “kids coming out of the schools and basically doing what I did when I was a kid, which is voting as a liberal.”  His slap at the Twenty-Sixth Amendment has been followed in South Carolina, Texas and Tennessee, whose laws (inspired by ALEC model legislation) prohibit students from using college-issued photo IDs for voting purposes.

When she was seeking Justice Department approval of Georgia’s voter ID law in 2005, state Rep. Sue Burmeister responded to charges that the law would disenfranchise blacks disproportionately by claiming that that effect would actually promote the aims of the law because fewer black voters would reduce the opportunities for fraud and vote buying.

Conservative columnist Matthew Vadum is equally blunt in his assessment of the need to limit voting by certain social groups, which he labels the “nonproductive segments of the population.” “Encouraging those who burden society to participate in elections isn’t about helping the poor.  It’s about helping the poor to help themselves to others’ money.”

And as for that argument that those who have paid in full the debt exacted by society for the commission of crimes should be re-admitted to the body politic, the response comes from Marty Connors, who as chairman of the Alabama Republican Party in 2003, opposed legislation that would have facilitated restoration of civil rights to ex-convicts because “felons don’t tend to vote Republican.”

And there you have it.  Like Sarah Palin’s “death panels” and Michele Bachmann’s “reeducation camps,’ the phrase “voter fraud” is a not-so-secret code.  It is a euphemism for excluding students, blacks, the poor and ex-felons from the voting booth.  And judging from the verified results of his purging efforts to date, Gov. Scott’s “list” appears to be nothing more than a ham-handed effort to extend the euphemism to include Hispanics.

 

22 thoughts on “Rick Scott’s Little List”

  1. “It has become a farce.”

    This is the point. When small acts of corruption against small people are “talked away” using code words and the ubiquitous screw-you-kiss-off, and where obvious attempts to put an end to all democratic processes — on small scales at first of course — are allowed to “fly beneath radar,” and where it costs a million dollars to mount the slightest campaign to straighten out the worst mess, where sham proceedings are the order of the day, you have

    THE ROAD TO FARCE.

    It is not paved with good intentions. It is paved with the impotent rage of the trodden-upon who have little energy left to scream about it loud enough to be able to come to public attention.

    I have so much scorn for all our institutions that this may be seen as a “prejudice” but I earned every bit of it honestly. Rick Scott has the right idea: DO TO WHOMEVER you want to do to, in ways you want to do to them in, and keep doing it, and keep doing it, because ultimately, nobody here has the real energy and wherewithall to stop you. Whatever.

    People will write novels about someone like the “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” being able to overcome all the bullying and lying and official corruption and crime, but those are entertainment; they won’t happen to you.

  2. On Wednesday November 7th 2012,if President Barack Obama is still president the words of the Daily News will finally come true,being outspent,voter suppression and voter intimidation which I’m quite sure will also come into play.Coming through this gauntlet will be a real test for the American people.For some reason when ever I hear this subject come up, I think it was a State Of The Union speech that George Bush gave and he had some Iraqs in attendance with their “Purple Thumbs”after they had their elections and they were so proud and our soldiers payed with their blood to make that happen.Only In America I guess.

    That line from the Daily News on Wednesday November 5th 2008:

    “Nation changes forever with historic victory”

  3. Me:

    I’ve actually done quite a bit of research on these issues, but a blog comment is not a treatise. If you are seriously interested in understanding a bit of history, I suggest two outstanding books: “The Right to Vote: The Contested History of Democracy in the United States” by Alexander Keyssar; and “The Myth of Voter Fraud” by Lorraine Minnite. Check Amazon.

    I can’t respond to all of your points. You need to do some work yourself. But I will note the following:

    1. The reduction of early voting by one week included a little tag at the end insertion prohibiting voting on the Sunday preceding an election. This just coincidentally is a preferred early voting date for tens of thousands of blacks. In fact, in 2008 more than 50% of black voters in Florida voted early.

    2. I made absolutely no mention of race in connection with restoration of civil rights. That’s your conclusion, but it is probably a factor. The point of early restoration of civil rights is reintegrating convicts into society, which most people used to think was a pretty good idea. But if you believe that punishment shouldn’t end with completion of a prison term, that’s your prerogative.

    3. The absurd 48 hour deadline has already been preliminarily stricken by a federal judge, but it had its intended effect, and new voter registration is down substantially because the League of Women Voters and similar groups eliminated voter registration efforts due to penalties in the law for late submission of registration forms. And although I didn’t mention race on this point either, it is another remarkable coincidence that Hispanic and black voters in Florida are registered through voter registration drives at almost twice the rate of caucasians.

    4. The fact that you violated election laws doesn’t make you representative of a population; it merely makes you a lawbreaker.

    Finally, here’s a couple of points I edited out of my comment. The first is that the Republican National Committee remains under a federal consent decree issued in 1981 in response to vote caging. Second, the evidence I have gathered is aptly summarized in a statement made by Carl Golden while serving as a spokesman for Christine Todd Whitman in her successful campaign for the New Jersey governorship in 1993: “Sometimes vote suppression is as important in this business as vote-getting.”

    I invite challenges to my conclusions, but if you wish to engage me on the facts, you need to bring some of your own to the debate.

  4. Me, “This is my motive: let’s have fair elections. Whoever wins..wins, but the idea that using reasonable attempts to prevent fraud has some type of racist, bigoted or prejudicial motive is wrong.”

    I agree with your first two statements. I agree with your third, sort of. The motive appears to be racist, bigoted AND prejudicial. However, I believe the real motive is political. “We” need to win and the best way to insure our win is to make it more difficult for those who support “them” to vote. The campaign to making voting harder is a Republican campaign. Who tends to vote for Democrats in the greatest numbers? Blacks and blue collar workers and liberals. The easiest group to limit are the poor because they don’t have the resources or the clout to fight back. The face of the poor tends to be Black. Although the greater number of non-violent felons is white, the face of the non-violent felon is Black. The laws that are being enacted place the most severe restrictions on the poor and the non-white members of our society. That’s why they appear to be racist, bigoted and prejudicial. There is undoubtedly, imo plenty of racist, bigoted and prejudicial motive but it is first and foremost a political motive.

    When I go to vote I have to sign in next to the signature I made when I registered. If the person with the book doesn’t know me she compares the signatures. I think that’s a much more user friendly approach than requiring people to spend (sometimes a lot of) money to get an id.

    It’s interesting that you admit to deliberately breaking the law, more than once, too. Are you offering yourself up for prosecution to help make the point?

  5. Me, when I lived in NYC I did not drive and had no identification. If you are disabled, live in rural area as example it is not such a simple thing to get out quickly or find out where to get photo id. Already a ww vet was excluded from voting because they didnt like the non photo id he presented.
    When I vote I have to sign in. Even though they know me, they check the signature to see if it matches the last time I voted.
    It is clearly meant to exclude dem voters.http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0612/77811.html
    “Voter ID, which is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania, done,” Turzai said at Saturday’s Republican State Committee meeting, according to PoliticsPA.com.”

    Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0612/77811.html#ixzz1zTfsr9RB

    This was from a message board at Reddit – not so easy to get this “easily” gotten ID: “Yes… PennDOT license centers. I’ve been trying to get to my local one for a new ID for months (snapped in half due to wallet accident). It is opened only two days a week. Tuesday and Friday, for a window of four hours. The next nearest one is forty miles away. It was freaking easier to get a replacement social security card than it is to get this driver’s license replaced.”

  6. Some good news about this.

    1. The Justice Department is suing b/c scrubbing the lists is to occur some number of days before a vote and this is happening after that deadline.

    2. The Governor doesn’t have the final say on this, the individual county administrators of the databases do. Many of them found the lists to be so full of errors that they have refused to do the scrubbing.

    This is the gist, sorry I don’t remember the details

    I’m more concerned about voter disenfranchisement by

    1. Computer machines that overheat and mark ballots with a second vote, thereby making them invalid

    2. Computer machines that are completely in the hands of private companies.

    3. Computer machines that can be easily hacked to give whatever results the hacker wants.

    4. Minority neighborhoods that have so few voting sites and each site with so few voting machines that the lines are hours long. At the same time, more affluent white neighborhoods have plenty of sites, each with enough machines that there is no wait.

    5. The voter id requirement.

    I’m surprised at the actual spoken elitism referenced in the article. The elitism has always been with us but now they’re really coming out of the closet.

  7. I voted for my father once. He was busy working. Later that day I voted for my brother. He couldn’t make it either.

    No one at any time I have ever voted has asked to see identification.

    “When a stated motive is proven to be bogus, the actual motive becomes a fair question although ignorance can be a causal factor.”

    The motive of this blog is clearly to label conservatives as monster fascists out to begin their euthanizing of society by preventing certain people from voting. No subtlety here. So let’s break this down.

    “mandatory photo identification” – this is a no-brainer. I’m not sure how reasonable people can even debate this. You should in some way have to prove you are who you say you are. We require IDs to buy alcohol but not vote? Come on now.

    “the reduction of early voting from two weeks to one and a 48 hour deadline” – reasonable people can debate this…but racist??? Get a grip.

    “simplify restoration of civil rights for persons convicted of non-violent felonies” – how is this racist? I’m assuming that YOU are assuming that most of these people are black or hispinic or greek, but you don’t put in any stats. I think its racist to assume that most of these people are some minority race class.

    Same day registration- reasonable people can debate this, but please dont call me a racist monster because I can somehow see how rushing voter registration can lead to fraudulent behavior, and you can’t.

    “Yet there were only 24 federal convictions or guilty pleas involving illegal voting between 2002 and 2005. When Indiana enacted one of the nation’s first voter ID laws in 2005, it was revealed that there had not been a single instance of voter impersonation in the entire history of the state” – Forgive me, but this proves nothing. But even if it did…can you not even imagine the possibility that people can/do vote multiple times? Should we not take simple steps (ID please) to deter the possibility of fraud? I know from personal experience how easy it is. I’m a fairly normal person (it’s true, we conservatives are not ignorant monsters…in fact for every moron you quote I can quote two moronic liberal..where does that leave us?) and I do beleive there are conservative idiots that ARE trying to prevent people from voting. I also know there are liberal idiots who are ballot stuffing (and yes, there are probably conservative ballot stuffers too).

    This is my motive: let’s have fair elections. Whoever wins..wins, but the idea that using reasonable attempts to prevent fraud has some type of racist, bigoted or prejudicial motive is wrong.

  8. The republicans yelled UnAmerican, Unpatriotic at McCain rallies when Obama’s name mentioned. Talk about projection. This is a perfect example of the AntiAmericanism of the right and i forget who said it in a comment but where is the media? They are more concerned with Tom Cruise and the wife or Kate Middleton.

  9. “Like Sarah Palin’s “death panels” and Michele Bachmann’s “reeducation camps,’ the phrase “voter fraud” is a not-so-secret code. It is a euphemism for excluding students, blacks, the poor and ex-felons from the voting booth.”

    Important article by Mike and the section above cuts through the obfuscation used as a cover for this movement to disenfranchise voters deemed likely to vote for Democrats. More importantly though, this to me is part of the effort to turn our country into a Feudal State, where wealth rules in the stead of hereditary nobility. Even some people, in thrall to class structured propaganda, will recover long enough to realize they could be voting themselves into serfdom. What added resonance to Mike’s article were statements like:

    “Conservative columnist Matthew Vadum is equally blunt in his assessment of the need to limit voting by certain social groups, which he labels the “nonproductive segments of the population.”

    One couldn’t make a clearer statement of the agenda short of paraphrasing
    Orwell: “Some citizens are more equal than others”. Mike and I bear another similarity besides our first names and that is we are unfortunate enough to both live in a State where this loathsome man is governor.

  10. Great job Mike. Gov. Scott and hs fellow comrades like Gov. Walker in Wisconsin claim that voter fraud must be stopped at all costs. Even if that “cost” is thousands losing the right to vote. Scott is bought and paid for by corporate interests whose only goal is complete corporate control of the government. It is a true revolution against the Constitution.

  11. The Florida Republican Party is infected with the bully virus, so they wield great power against the weakest in Florida society.

    It has a venue which is far wider than Florida, in terms of voter suppression, and it even includes the whole planet, in terms of the warmonger ideology within the bully religion.

  12. Rubio better be careful….. He may not get to vote…… Excellent post Mike with an A…….

  13. These laws have something in common with the laws being passed to limit abortion: in many instances the politicians make statements that indicate the true motives of their actions and those motives are, by a series of otherwise legal maneuvers and newly written laws, to prohibit the citizenry from exercising a constitutional right. What prohibits a judge from tossing a law based on its spirit and intent even though the letter of it may otherwise be lawful?

    To have a state take away a right for political or religious reasons (specious reasons) using legally mandated and written laws and regulations is an undue burden on the citizenry. Why can’t the law be challenged and undone on arguments that rely solely on their spirit and intent? With abortion laws it is even more blatant with sponsoring politicians invoking doG’s will and the bible in their arguments. How can these laws not be struck down on the spirit and intent, and with the abortion restrictions and clinic regulations on a clear violation of the establishment clause?

    The intent of some states to abolish the already argued and recently upheld/implemented constitutional rights of citizens and I just no longer understand how the law itself cannot reverse this trend. It has become a farce.

  14. Excellent job, Mike A., with an undeniable conclusion. When a stated motive is proven to be bogus, the actual motive becomes a fair question although ignorance can be a causal factor. Especially with pols. However, I was just saying elsewhere, ignorance of the law is not an excuse for violating the law and that applies to pols acting ignorantly in seeking the suppress or usurp the voting rights (or other Constitutional civil rights) of those who might oppose them.

  15. I wonder what we can do to encourage a better outcome?
    Can we protest to O. or H. or W? Shall we picket the WH?
    But, mainly the question is, what are Holder and Co. doing? Anything?

  16. 24 federal convictions or guilty pleas involving illegal voting between 2002 and 2005

    The number of Martians that illegally voted between 2002 and 2005 is only 24 less than the number of people that illegally voted in the same time frame. I strongly urge Rick Scott to immediately respond to this nationwide threat. Perhaps on election day he can get cape Canaveral to launch rocket ships and create an umbrella of protection to keep these incredible number of martians from voting, (at Floridas taxpayer expense)

    The silence of the press speaks volumes to the huge wasteland of public good it has become. Every pronouncement by these voter fraud Yahoos should be accompanied by voter fraud statistics. There’s a reason Floriduh ends in DUH…. maybe the soggy mash potato backbones of DUH Press has something to do with the absurd anti logic statements that so many politicians make…..and get away with.

  17. Romans 3:10;9What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin;

    10As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:

    11There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.

    12They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

    13Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips:

    14Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:

    15Their feet are swift to shed blood:

    16Destruction and misery are in their ways:

    17And the way of peace have they not known:

    18There is no fear of God before their eyes. When humans fear God in they will love all like Jesus loves freeing humans not holding them in bondage. .When humans fear God now the light of God will not be feared when it shines not looking like hell to them KJV, 1 Thessalonians 4:11; And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you.
    Philippians 2:3;Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Legal system does not do this proving that they are ungodly therefore being demonic.

Comments are closed.