Florida’s brand new voter suppression bill is moving quickly:
Tallahassee, FL — A new 151-page version of the Florida House of Representatives’ elections bill HB 1355 surfaced late last night, making a bad elections bill even worse. The League of Women Voters of Florida, along with other voter groups, is still digesting this massive effort to increase regulations and obstacles for voters, Supervisors of Elections and third-party voter registration groups like the League.
When I reached this section of the linked article, I went to the text of the bill because I honestly did not believe it (pdf):
A new provision added last night would now require voters whose legitimacy is challenged by poll watchers to cast provisional ballots with no opportunity at the polls to defend themselves and cast a regular ballot.
Yup. It’s in there.
The clerk or inspector shall immediately deliver to the challenged person a copy of the oath of the person entering the challenge, and the challenged voter shall be allowed to cast a provisional ballot.
Alternatively, a challenge in accordance with this section may be filed in advance with the supervisor of elections no sooner than 30 days before an election. The supervisor shall promptly provide the election board in the challenged voter’s precinct with a copy of the oath of the person entering the challenge. The challenged voter shall be allowed to cast a provisional ballot.
A simple sworn statement that the voter is not eligible is enough to force any voter to accept a second-class ballot. Wow.
Conservatives in Ohio (like Florida) instituted a strict voter ID regimen based on conservative and media claims of voter fraud. A lot of us said at the time that voter ID laws wouldn’t solve the voter impersonation fraud problem because there was no voter impersonation fraud problem. As predicted, the voter ID laws in Ohio and Florida have had no effect at all, the unsupported claims continue, and are now being used to justify still more draconian measures. This is not at all surprising, because it was never about fraud.
Conservatives and media invented a problem: voter impersonation fraud. They then solved the imaginary problem with strict ID regimes. We’re now moving to enact further laws based on the original, unsupported claim of “voter fraud”, although the “solutions” to the original accusation (ID laws) were put in place. Sound familiar?
Facts don’t matter in this one-sided debate, because it was never about voter fraud, just like the birth certificate “controversy” conservatives and media invented was never about official state records of birth.
With that, I’d suggest that voters should start protecting their own right to vote. If you’re a registered voter and are handed a second-class ballot, start with the presumption that you hold a right that is being summarily denied without a hearing.
Voting is a right (conservatives and media are wrong on the facts, law and history here: a trifecta of wrong) and any person who hands a voter a second-class ballot should have to defend that decision. I’d suggest that voters themselves “flip the script” when denied a first-class ballot and ask the poll worker questions that start with the presumption that the targeted voter is not guilty of fraud. If you’re handed a second-class ballot ask to see the specific rule that guided that decision and then ask if there’s any way under the rule(s) that you may cast a first-class ballot in that election.
That’s the way to approach the process because, despite conservative and media claims to the contrary, voting is not like cashing a check or using a debit card. Those are commercial transactions. Voting is not like driving because driving is a privilege. Voting is a right, and whether you own property or hold accounts or are state licensed to drive an automobile has no bearing whatever on that right.
You’re not at the counter at the DMV, bickering over your car registration. People died for this right, and the liberal position that one valid vote denied is one too many is an absolutely crucial counter to the conservative and media position that denying one or many eligible voters the franchise is no big deal.
Ignore Justice Scalia and his personal opinions, because he’s wrong. Don’t get over it.