Ask an expert, ask Jeb Bush

In case anyone had any doubts, a Florida newspaper did an analysis of Governor Rick Scott’s voter purge and this is what they found:

Hispanic, Democratic and independent-minded voters are the most likely to be targeted in a state hunt to remove thousands of noncitizens from Florida’s voting rolls, a Miami Herald computer analysis of elections records has found.
Whites and Republicans are disproportionately the least-likely to face the threat of removal, the analysis of a list of more than 2,600 potential noncitizens shows. The list was first compiled by the state and furnished to county election supervisors and then the Herald.
The numbers change by the day. The state’s Division of Elections says it initially identified roughly 180,000 potential noncitizens by performing a search of a computer database that doesn’t have the most-updated information.
About 58 percent of those identified as potential noncitizens are Hispanics, Florida’s largest ethnic immigrant population. They make up just 13 percent of the overall 11.3 million active registered voters.

The DOJ are looking into it, because conservatives have apparently decided they don’t have to comply with any federal election laws they don’t like, including the Voting Rights Act:

Florida Governor Rick Scott (R) denied that his effort to purge voters from the rolls disproportionately targets minorities who support Democratic candidates on Friday morning, even as independent investigations have confirmed that 58 percent “of those flagged as potential noncitizens are Hispanics.” “The Secretary of State’s office is doing the right thing,” Scott told the Miami Herald in defending his effort, before insisting that the administration is “absolutely not” targeting minorities.
Asked if he was planning to heed the Department of Justice’s request that the state abandon its voter-cleansing program, Scott said that the Secretary of State is still reviewing the matter.
“The Secretary of State’s office is going to review what the Department of Justice has said,” he said “And then we’re going to make a decision.”
In a letter released on Thursday, the federal government claimed that Scott’s purge violates the 1965 Voting Rights Act — which requires the state to seek federal approval of its campaign — and the National Voter Registration Act. That measure says that “a State shall complete, not later than 90 days prior to the date of a primary or general election for Federal office, any program the purpose of which is to systematically remove the names of ineligible voters from the official lists of eligible voters.” As a result, Florida should have finished the process by May 16. But while Scott is still considering his options, a growing number of election officials have already rejected his error-ridden voter purge list.

I know I beat this drum a lot, but I think it’s important. We bitch about national media and the national political press constantly, but Rick Scott is the governor of a state, that state is Florida, and Florida newspapers are all over this. Because national media are defending private equity or chasing after Donald Trump doesn’t mean Scott’s actions on this aren’t getting attention. It is never a great thing for the governor of a state, any state, to have to deny that he is targeting minority voters and that’s what Scott’s had to do for days now.

We could use the national political press for one thing, though. They could ask Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio what they think about the this. Do they agree that Scott should continue the purge, even with all this evidence that it is an absolute disaster?

One final thing. I am really, really grateful that conservatives have not succeeded (yet!) in gutting the Voting Rights Act. Conservative governors may be the absolute best argument for why we still need it.

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58 replies
  1. 1
    Redshift says:

    Conservative governors may be the absolute best argument for why we still need it.

    In a sane world, we would be trying to expand it, since we have less defense against conservative governors outside the South.

  2. 2
    Jeff Spender says:

    It’s getting to be just about that time of year in an election cycle that I stop paying attention to the day-to-day histrionics of…well…everyone.

    But this–this is an important issue. Thanks for writing about it, Kay.

  3. 3
    Brachiator says:

    @Kay:

    Very good stuff. Rachel Maddow has also done good analysis on this on recent programs.

    It is also important to emphasize that the tools used to identify supposedly bad voters are deeply flawed and have been fundamentally useless. And yet the GOP persists in using them.

  4. 4
    redshirt says:

    Jeb Bush just crossed Grover by mentioning – possibly! – tax increases to help with the debt. Oh noes!

  5. 5
    MattR says:

    About 58 percent of those identified as potential noncitizens are Hispanics, Florida’s largest ethnic immigrant population. They make up just 13 percent of the overall 11.3 million active registered voters.

    This is an apples to oranges comparison. The meaningful one (which I cannot quickly find online) is what percentage of non-citizens in the United States are Hispanic. If hypothetically, 90% of all non-citizens in Florida were Hispanic, then the fact that 58% of the people on the list are Hispanic is actually lower than expected.

    @Brachiator:

    It is also important to emphasize that the tools used to identify supposedly bad voters are deeply flawed and have been fundamentally useless. And yet the GOP persists in using them.

    IMO this is the bigger issue than the acttual percentages that resulted.

  6. 6
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    Jeb’s out sticking his shrivelled dick in the hornet’s nest of teatard politics, saying that raising a buck in taxes for every ten in spending cuts sounds good to him.

    In a sane world this would be the statement of an amoral money-obsessed greed monster. In Amercia, this will be just cause for calling for a rope party to deal with Jeb’s heresy.

  7. 7
    Kay says:

    @Redshift:

    Connecticut just expanded access to the franchise. Perhaps not coincidentally, Connecticut also revamped their state campaign finance system to lessen the influence of lobbyists like ALEC, so they have some lawmakers who aren’t purchased by moneyed interests.

    I think there’s a direct connection between those two things. A power shift, from lobbyists to voters.

  8. 8
    Kay says:

    @Brachiator:

    It is also important to emphasize that the tools used to identify supposedly bad voters are deeply flawed and have been fundamentally useless.

    That’s true, but I think the important part is that Scott was pressured into doing this. It’s now vital that conservatives push draconian and insane voting laws to satisfy their base, whether they make sense or not. One more area where they’re boxed in, and unable to move.

  9. 9
    Warren Terra says:

    The important thing is that contrary to the story people are not being flagged as “potential noncitizens”; they’re being flagged as “presumptive noncitizens”. There isnt a list of people who need more scrutiny in case it might be necessary to strike them from the rolls, theres a list of people who are probably going to be struck off, unless they respond in a timely fashion and loudly enough and jumping through whatever hoops they need to. The difference is actually incredibly important.

  10. 10
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    I would like to propose that ALEC (yeah right) sponsor an initiative to get laws on the books in every state in the nation that says no Secretary of State or chief voting officer may serve in any official capacity with a presidential campaign while in office.

  11. 11
    Jeff Spender says:

    @Warren Terra:

    The important thing is that contrary to the story people are not being flagged as “potential noncitizens”; they’re being flagged as “presumptive noncitizens”.

    This. It’s an important distinction and it’s good that Rick “Batboy” Scott is getting grilled in the local media for it.

    This probably won’t bode well for Republicans in Florida.

    Also, did you see the Yahoo! article about that new book about Obama? It was fairly interesting to learn about what he was like when he was a young rapscallion. Gives me hope for myself and my own immature and unrefined ways.

    But steer clear of the comments.

  12. 12
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @Kay:

    That’s true, but I think the important part is that Scott was pressured into doing this.

    Doing the purges? You really think an evil dude like Scott wouldn’t jump right in with both feet gleefully?

  13. 13
    Kay says:

    @arguingwithsignposts:

    But that wouldn’t help here. Scott himself insisted on the purge. The secretary of state (the one who has since resigned) opposed the purge. County election officials opposed the purge, both Republicans and Democrats. This is Rick Scott’s purge.

  14. 14
    beltane says:

    Maybe it’s better the national media doesn’t get involved, otherwise we’d get a “both sides do it” narrative about the 2nd Coming of the New & Reformed Black Panthers and how they might have given the stink eye to a teabagger outside a polling place.

    The national media should stick with what it does best, which is wedging its nose up the collective rectum of the 1%.

  15. 15
    Kay says:

    @arguingwithsignposts:

    Pressured in the same way and by the same Tea Party activists as the secretary of state in Arizona, with the embarrassing birther debacle.

  16. 16
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @Kay: I know, but i’m thinking of others, like kathryn harris and ken blackwell and, iirc, that nutjob in arizona.

  17. 17
    Basilisc says:

    The problem is that Rick Scott doesn’t care what the national media says or thinks. He doesn’t care what Jeb Bush says or thinks. He doesn’t even care what Marco Rubio cares or thinks. The point is that, if the economy and the housing market stay shitty, then Rick Scott (or, if he’s considered toxic by too many voters, a Republican very much like Rick Scott) will be (re-)elected governor in 2014. And, if the economy and the housing market stay shitty, Republicans will keep control of the government of Florida. And, if the economy and the housing market stay shitty, Florida will help Mitt Romney be president. Purging the voter roles will help this happen. That’s all that matters.

  18. 18
    trollhattan says:

    In other Florida news, Zimmerman’s bond has been revoked.

  19. 19
    JPL says:

    Linda Greenhouse had a good oped piece about Roberts’ views on the voting rights act. link
    If I can paraphrase, we’re screwed. Dems black or white will have their names purged and there will be no recourse.

  20. 20
    Redshift says:

    We bitch about national media and the national political press constantly…

    And more than a few were bitching right here yesterday that Holder is useless because he hadn’t already responded to the Florida voter purge. Idiots.

  21. 21
    trollhattan says:

    @JPL:

    His balls, their strikes.

  22. 22
    Valdivia says:

    Once again Kay you bring it and bring it lucidly and strongly. Thank you.

    Also, too. I want Rubio to be confronted with this bs right away. I am sure none of those targeted are Cubans because you know Cubans are always republicans! Shoot me now.

  23. 23
    Brachiator says:

    Putting this into context, from the Rachel Maddow blog:

    Bill Internicola, a decorated 91-year-old World War Two vet, received a letter saying he was ineligible to vote, and is required to present identification papers to be reinstated. Voting rights advocates say that thousands of other legitimate voters stand to be similarly removed from the rolls, and may not go through the laborious process of getting reinstated.
    __
    “Based on the initial results, there are potentially 35-40,000 Floridians, eligible voters, who will be tossed from the voter rolls,” Rep. Ted Deutch, a Florida Democrat, told Roberts, adding: “This is the most brazen attempt that I’ve ever seen to suppress the participation in our democracy.”

    So, legitimate voters are being purged, and the mechanism for correcting the error is pointlessly complicated.

  24. 24
    Redshift says:

    @Basilisc: Huh? How will a bad economy or housing market help Scott get reelected? They can try to blame it on the president during a presidential election, but when they’re running, governors want to claim the economy is good. That’s why whenever Romney has a joint appearance with a Republican governor, they end up stepping all over his message that the economy is terrible.

  25. 25
    RalfW says:

    @Basilisc:

    I think you’re correct, Basilisc, but what I just do not get is why they think the want a Florida with a shitty economy for 2.5 more years. What’s the angle? Where do they actually make money out of this, or even gain power.

    Seriously, they seem so deranged right now they’d rather have 90% of the declining wealth of a sinking shithole than the 60% of a profitable America they have had up to now.

  26. 26
    Mattminus says:

    Of course it’s mostly democrats being flagged for removal, they’re the ones who do all the vote fraud.

  27. 27
    Redshift says:

    @Brachiator:

    It is also important to emphasize that the tools used to identify supposedly bad voters are deeply flawed and have been fundamentally useless. And yet the GOP persists in using them.

    If one were the suspicious sort, one might suspect that identifying ineligible voters isn’t the purpose, and they keep doing it because it’s working exactly as intended.

  28. 28
    Feebog says:

    Why would we want to ask Jeb Bush his opinion of the purge? Wasn’t he the Governor during the last purge? You know,when they were all concerned with felons voting and purged thousands of African Americans from the rolls?

  29. 29
    kay says:

    @JPL:

    I thought it was great,too. A little..shriller than her usual, which is good work but very lawyerly and deferential to judges.

    She must feel strongly about the VRA. That comes through.

  30. 30
    Haydnseek says:

    These types of purges are still relatively new, so there will be at least some pushback by the state judiciary. In ten or fifteen years, when the cleansing is complete, what kind of judges do you think are going to be elected? This is only going to get worse, unless the feds step in, and hard.

  31. 31
    gvg says:

    I’m cheered that the DOJ is telling Scott to stop but I’m worried that he won’t actually stop. Ignore the law. After all his company already demonstrated he is a crook.
    IMO if he doesn’t cease & desist, he should be arrested otherwise other nutty gov.s will also disobey.

    I’m anticipating trouble ie speculating which is normally not a good thing, but I actually am concerned. Can anyone tell me what the actual legal recourse is, if he does ignore the injunction? My understanding is Florida election officials of both party affiliations have objected to his actions but I doubt it was universal. What will they do?

    I live in Florida so Scott has been a worry since he was elected. I wish my fellow citizens had been wiser.

  32. 32
    Basilisc says:

    @Redshift: In the US, a bad economy means some people do well, others do badly. And those who do badly become cynical, depressed, apathetic. They simply don’t think the government can help them. So they’re open to demagoguery, demonization of “the other”, and various dogwhistles. The “social issues”, if you will. Those who do well, of course, are terrified of those who are doing badly and willing to elect the meanest, most brutal government they can that promises to keep things that way.

    We also need to remember that a bad housing market is only bad for a specific segment of people, namely those (ages 30-45 or so) who have recently bought homes and are now underwater. Younger people welcome cheap houses so they can get in on the ground floor, older people don’t care because they’re mostly paid off anyway (which is why they deeply resent any hint of relief for underwater homeowners).

    That’s politics in America in the 2010s.

  33. 33
    Ben Cisco says:

    We could use the national political press for one thing, though.

    Tumbrel ballast?

    The NeoConfederates and their FerengiMediaTM allies have gone all in – there is nothing they won’t stoop to (or in the media’s case, ignore) in their quest to remove President Obama from office and finish looting the country. Jake Tapper was still flying the flag for Faux Snooze after they created and aired a straight-up smear ad against POTUS, not on behalf of a candidate but ON THEIR OWN BEHALF AS A NETWORK.

    The last vestiges of normalcy have been ripped away. President is up against the GOP, the media, and others that either don’t know or don’t care that a RomTron3000 Presidency/GOP Congress will effectively finish the United States as a country.

    I said back in ’08 (the morning after Grandpa Walnuts selected Griftzilla) that the election was going to be an IQ test for the country. Looks like 2012 will be the final exam.

  34. 34
    scav says:

    Looking at how they treat type I and type II errors, these people are more worried about the “wrong” people being able to vote than criminals being able to get guns.

  35. 35
    danielx says:

    I have this wonderful mental image of Rick Scott being frogmarched out of his office by a squad of US Marshals…

  36. 36
    kay says:

    @Ben Cisco:

    I think it’s amazing and sad how little attention the Fox News thing got.

    They can create and run an AD on a US news channel and nothing happens. Nothing. It’s like it didn’t happen. They just circle the wagons and carry on.

  37. 37
    slag says:

    When I was refinancing a while ago, my SSN was flagged as belonging to someone else by the company that was hired to check that stuff. Not having a car handy, I walked down to the Social Security Office and waited for over an hour to get a simple slip of paper verifying that my SSN was indeed my SSN. When I asked the woman what the problem was, she said that these things happen “ALL. THE. TIME.”

    From what I could discern of the process, the incentive structure for these companies is all geared toward creating false-positives. If it wouldn’t look utterly ridiculous, they’d probably just flag everybody and place the onus for resolving the problem on the average individual.

    I’m lucky I had the time and means for resolving the problem and that it was in my financial interest to do so. The good folks in Florida and elsewhere are relying on the fact that a lot of people in their states do not have that luxury or motivation.

  38. 38
    Cato says:

    Guess what?

    Just got word a Super PAC is going to be set up by a far-left group that will relentlessly criticize Obambi from the left, but it’s going to be funded by anonymous donations from the Koch Bros. and others.

    I’ve long dreamed of a New Alliance between the honest (anti-Obambi) Left and the Right, and now it is coming to fruition!

    Glenn Greenwald joined with Glen Beck, Jane Hamsher together with Rush Limbaugh, Cenk Uygur united with Herman Cain.

  39. 39

    Remembering that Greg Palast video, Grand Theft Florida. Wish I still had the link..

  40. 40
    gene108 says:

    any federal election laws they don’t like

    And the U.S. Constitution.

    The 15th Amendment pretty much supersedes all the right-wing nut fantasies about states rights.

  41. 41
    Ben Cisco says:

    @kay: Well, of course the Maddow covered it. And Jake defended Fox’ legitimacy. But yeah, everybody else pretty much bravely ran away.

  42. 42
    kay says:

    @Southern Beale:

    This is different politically, though. Scott is sending letters to actual Florida voters who are citizens, telling them they’re nit citizens. It isn’t 2000, where we’re waking up to weird shit in Florida. He’s answering questions on this every day, and it’s June.
    This thing is a legitimate mess. Even Republicans are jumping ship on him. He owns it.

  43. 43
    Ash Can says:

    A little good news from ThinkProgress: Some elections officials on the county level — the people getting the marching orders from the state to send out the letters and do the purging — are refusing to comply. Go you counties!

    And in other news from ThinkProgress, Jonah Goldberg tells everyone younger than him to get off his goddamned lawn, and that they should both figuratively and literally get the socialism beaten out of them by conservatives. Cue the resident tut-tutters to explain to us how he’s just joking, it’s silly to let it bother us, even though he said “literally” he doesn’t really mean it so it’s nothing, it’s beneath us to discuss this, etc., etc.

  44. 44
  45. 45
    West of the Cascades says:

    @Kay:

    County election officials opposed the purge, both Republicans and Democrats.

    This has been an amazing aspect of this story to me — I’ve read reports of at least five Republican county election supervisors who have said they will not be doing the purge based on the names they currently have because the list is suspect. This isn’t to say they wouldn’t later change their tune if the list was “enhanced” but it has been a little shocking to see such immediate pushback from the local GOP county election officials saying publicly “no, I am not going to follow the Secretary of State’s [and Governor’s] directive.”

    Also great to see the Florida newspapers all over this. Underscores the abject worthlessness of our national media.

  46. 46
    Ash Can says:

    @West of the Cascades: How can you tell I didn’t read the thread carefully? If Kay has already covered this, mea culpa.

  47. 47
    Stuck in the Funhouse says:

    The DOJ are looking into it, because conservatives have apparently decided they don’t have to comply with any federal election laws they don’t like, including the Voting Rights Act:

    Well, they need to do something. The electoral map is shaping up to be a horror show for the wingnuts, now, and likely well into the future.

    Former swing states, like mine in NM, and a state like PA, as well as a few others, are no longer viable electoral targets for the republicans.

    Then there is Ohio, NC, and VA, with big labor and influxes of New England pinko commies into the latter 2, as becoming the new swing states. After having been safe havens for goopers since Reagan and before. With more and more dem voting power from increases in the south and southwest of Hispanic voters, for now, firmly inside the dem tent. And even, oh noes, President Davis, do something, in deep southern states.

    All that is left is rebellion from things like the VRA, and passing more and more draconian voter suppression laws, and brown versions of Jim Crow hoops to jump through, if you are anything other than white.

    I am rapidly getting to the point, where I don’t think either the national polling approvals for Obama, or national head to head polls with Romney, are going to mean squat. And unless the absolute bottom falls out of the economy, generally slow job growth numbers won’t save the GOP, at the electoral college level. I think we could even see a sizable popular vote total win by Mittster and Co, but him getting wiped out in the EC for an O reelection. That would make the nutters go critical mass in a flash. IMHO, any and all conventional wisdom should be looked at sideways, as suspect in election politics right now. With the right wing passing more and more patently unconstitutional voting laws at the state level, to compensate for the shift.

    The Firebaggers in threads below on the jobs report, may well be howling at the dark side of the moon, in their wet dreams of Obama losing. The po little dears. The times, they are a changin’

    Welcome to the Funhouse.

  48. 48
    gbear says:

    @Cato:

    I’ve long dreamed of a New Alliance between the honest (anti-Obambi) Left and the Right, and now it is coming to fruition!

    Well, keep a towel handy to clean up the mess.

  49. 49
    West of the Cascades says:

    @Ash Can: correct, I didn’t read the thread carefully re: second point I made. Will try to do better next time. Thanks.

  50. 50
    kay says:

    @West of the Cascades:

    You know, though, it shouldn’t be. I do the election protection lawyer stuff, and county election officials are, on the whole, there to do the job. They really are. They want it to go well and smoothly, because they’re on the front lines and they get all the blowback from voters.

    I’m polite to them, and they’re polite and professional to me. I have yet to encounter a hack.

  51. 51
    Ash Can says:

    @West of the Cascades: I certainly didn’t expect my apology to elicit an apology. :)

  52. 52
    lamh35 says:

    @Brachiator: not for nothing, but Rev Al and urban media and radio have been all over this talking about it a lot longer than Ed and Rachel. I just glad that it’s finally getting to more people.

    Oh and local radio and newspapers have been all over this as well ad kay said. But in terms of media personalities, Rev Al and the other urban media groups have been sounding the drum.

  53. 53
    Brachiator says:

    @lamh35:

    not for nothing, but Rev Al and urban media and radio have been all over this talking about it a lot longer than Ed and Rachel. I just glad that it’s finally getting to more people.

    Very true. Good point.

  54. 54
    Arclite says:

    Keep beating the drum, Kay

  55. 55
    kay says:

    @lamh35:

    I have to tell, I’ve been following this stuff since 2004, and I did not understand the depth of feeling with minority voters and voting rights until I sat in a hearing room with them in Cleveland last month.

    I know the history, but I didn’t really “get it” until I listened to all those Cleveland AA ministers.

    This is very, very important to them. There was so much gravity and deep offense in that room. I don’t think conservatives know how much this resonates among that group of people. I didn’t know.

  56. 56
    Kathleen says:

    I’m delighted that the Rethuglican campaign to sabatoge elections is now mainstream. I remember all too well how people like me who felt Florida was rigged in 200 were considered crazy and paranoid. I recommend “The Best Democracy Money Can Buy” by Greg Palast. He lays out in great detail what happened in Florida in 2000.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T.....ey_Can_Buy

  57. 57
    Tonal Crow says:

    One final thing. I am really, really grateful that conservatives have not succeeded (yet!) in gutting the Voting Rights Act. Conservative governors may be the absolute best argument for why we still need it.

    Yes indeedy. We need it more than ever — and not because of past discrimination, but because Republicans are creating a new wave of discrimination, purely for their own political gain.

  58. 58
    LanceThruster says:

    So many states (like the stereotypical southern burg ruled by a corrupt southern sheriff) are like scary little fiefdoms.

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