Jumping thru hoops to vote shows grit and determination

Republicans must be feeling some pre-election jitters because they’re rolling out the zany rule changes:

Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s (R) chief election official issued new rules Monday night that could hamper absentee voting, just months before Floridians in the state’s 13th Congressional district take part in a special election to replace the late Rep. C.W. Bill Young (R). The seat was held by Republicans for decades, but is now considered a tossup.
Under the new rule, Floridians will be prohibited from dropping off their absentee ballots at “libraries, tax collectors’ branch offices and other places” and will only be allowed to mail-in their selections or deposit them at local election offices.
Detzner claims that the rule change clarifies established statutory language and establishes “uniformity,” but some supervisors fear that it could have the effect of suppressing voter turnout.
“I was surprised, to say the least,” Ann McFall, Volusia’s Supervisor of Elections told ThinkProgress. “I just have one office and no ‘drop boxes.” Under the new rules, “people who like to save postage and drop it off at an early voting site” could no longer do so. “Why create a problem when none currently exists?” she asked.
Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Deborah Clark had a similar reaction. She told The Tampa Bay Times, “I’m very worried about this. I’m just stunned.” Pinellas county “has used dropoff sites since 2008 and used 14 in the 2012 general election,” when 42 percent of the county’s absentee ballot total were left at dropoff sites.

Now one of the county election administrators says she’s defying the order and she plans to retain her drop-off sites and a lot of her fellow county election chiefs are backing her up. Florida Senator Bill Nelson has also weighed in:

Nelson said he’s concerned that the new rule is an attempt at voter suppression.
“This is so obvious that it’s making it harder to vote for the average folks, whether Republican or Democrat,” he said.
Some elections supervisors agree.
Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections Craig Latimer said he has 15 sites where voters can drop off their ballots prior to election day. If he were to follow the new directive, 13 of them would be closed.
“I think it’s ridiculous,” Latimer said. “I was flabbergasted when this memo came out.”

Conservatives have been pulling the last minute election rule change trick for a long time, and this isn’t the first time that local Florida election administrators have rebelled:

Detzner has a history of limiting voters’ access, however. In 2012, the state created a voter purge list full of suspected non-citizens, which was mainly comprised of Latino, African and Asian Americans. The list was full of mistakes, targeting U.S. citizens because of a misspelled name or outdated address. County election supervisors refused to go along with the purge, and the Justice Department sued over possible racial discrimination. Detzner eventually apologized for the effort.

It’s good to remember that free and fair elections can be subverted in a lot of ways. Small rule changes that make it more difficult for certain people to vote can do a lot of damage. It’s just completely unnecessary to make this process so difficult and confusing. Competent, consistent election administration is really important and local officials can be the last line of defense for voters. Of course, local officials are also the people who will hear all the complaints if ballot drop-off locations are closed, just as local officials took all the heat when Florida conservatives recklessly purged thousands of legit voters prior to the 2012 election.

66 replies
  1. 1
    c u n d gulag says:

    Look on the plus side – the Republicans didn’t demand that all of the ballots be sent to Gov. Scott’s office directly, for a really super-“accurate” tally of the votes.

    Stalin reportedly once said, “It’s not who votes that counts. It’s who counts the votes.”

  2. 2
    Bostondreams says:

    It IS good to see that many of these election supervisors opposing the rule changes are Republicans who take their job seriously.

  3. 3
    japa21 says:

    One minor change to the rule that would make sense is that all absentee ballots be accompanied with pre-paid envelopes for sending them in. Otherwise, keep everything the way it has been.

  4. 4
    Elizabelle says:

    PBO speaking now. C-Span 1. Speaking on economic and societal inequality. Taking Congress to task.

  5. 5
    Persia says:

    Don’t most of The Olds the Republicans want voting in FL vote absentee? This seems like aiming squarely at the foot and pulling the trigger.

  6. 6
    YellowJournalism says:

    @Elizabelle: He quoted Pope Francis. Conservatives must be fuming.

  7. 7
    Elizabelle says:


    I tuned in late for that.

    But way to go.

  8. 8

    @Persia: One hopes that’s what really ends up happening.

  9. 9
    Yatsuno says:

    Or you could make ALL your ballots absentee, like we do up here in civilisation.

  10. 10
    scav says:

    Developing a M.O. of stupid tricks, esp. stupid tricks that fail to work might not be the best move FL Repubs keep choosing to make. Although, maybe they’re trying to lull the nation into a coma of “there they go again” before they pull their single really clever trick out of the magic hat and sneak it past? Or is this deliberate rebranding as they felt the lockstep competence appealed only to the olds and zany self-harming madcap is more twitter-hep?

  11. 11
    David Hunt says:


    He quoted Pope Francis. Conservatives must be fuming.

    Nah. Francis has shown that he’s not the real Pope by showing concern for poor people and not having an obsessive focus on hating gay and sluts. The real Pope in Benedict. Francis is the spare. /wingut.

  12. 12

    Well, yeah. Cuz when people vote, Republicans lose. Can’t have that. Duh.

  13. 13
    scav says:

    @David Hunt: Zackly, this current papist interloper was also born in Kenya and is a short-form baptism Marxist, destroying the free-market beating heart of Catholicism, the “Institute for the Works of Religion” the money-smuggling plus Vatican Bank. /winger

  14. 14
    Baud says:

    By 2016, voters won’t be allowed to vote unless they can calculate the air speed of an unladen sparrow.

  15. 15
    Rudi says:

    The Republicans are also worried about a marijuana initiative on the Florida ballot. A law partner of Crist is pushing the vote. Rumor has it that the Republican Legislature is going to pull a last minute trick to remove the Mary Jane from the ballot.

  16. 16
    MikeJ says:

    @Baud: And if you know too much about African swallows (IYKWIMAITYD) you’ll be automatically disqualified.

  17. 17
    scav says:

    @Baud: Little bit theoretical and un’merkan green that, as they’ll have outlawed moocher sparrows by then. Calculate the optimum weight for fully-laden productive sparrow though, with minimum feeding regime, they’ll go for that.

  18. 18
    feebog says:

    I always vote absentee and I either mail it back or drop it off at my election site on election day. This really does not make any sense because absentee voters are usually older, whiter folks, just the kind you want voting in an off year special election.

  19. 19
    srv says:

    When was the last time any of you have been to a public library? Filled with Black Panther types threatening to the oppressed white folk.

  20. 20
    wenchacha says:

    When does the bullshit stop? I grew up horrified by the stories of people who were denied the right to vote because of the color of their skin. I was proud (foolishly, I suppose) that we had put a stop to such blatant discriminatory vote suppression. We sent representatives to other countries to monitor their voting, to be sure it was fair and democratic. God, we need that now.

  21. 21
    Kay says:

    @Southern Beale:

    Well, yeah. Cuz when people vote, Republicans lose. Can’t have that. Duh

    I think it’s more than that. They’re bringing up a whole group of people who don’t believe voting is a right. That influences the approach to process. It’s almost cavalier; “oh, well, if they miss out they miss out!”
    They’ve flipped the whole focus off ordinary voters (who are really just looking for a somewhat orderly and reasonably convenient way to vote) and onto what’s really an abstract, national narrative on “preventing voter fraud”. They’ve lost the thread, forgotten what the point of this exercise is – it’s voters.
    They’ve so larded it up with conspiracy theories and pandering to their base that they can’t even get the mechanism, the recording process, to work.

  22. 22


    By 2016, voters won’t be allowed to vote unless they can calculate the air speed of an unladen sparrow.

    I hope you realize this isn’t just a Monty Python joke. “Literacy” tests that included impossible to answer or completely subjective questions were a standard way of denying the vote to African Americans under Jim Crow. They’d ask that kind of question to people they wanted to deny the vote and easy questions like two plus two of people who they wanted to enable. They only wanted European sparrows voters, not those nasty African ones.

  23. 23
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Persia: Ha ha, depends which olds in which county! Some olds are solid D voters.

  24. 24
    Zifnab25 says:

    Remind me again. Why is *any* law that alters the procedure for voting legal if it takes less than two years to come into effect?

  25. 25
    Tommy says:

    WTF. My mom runs elections in her district. And to be honest we got voting down to a science (I live across the state from her — but we vote the same way). I like to joke I can vote faster then I can order a Big Mac. And my mom is very proud of that. Heck she calls me after every election and bitches that more folks don’t vote. That it is easy.

    In 2008 and 2012 I sent her pics of folks waiting in lines to vote and she called me in tears. She was like how can that be. That is wrong. I was like yeah wrong on many levels.

  26. 26
    Betty Cracker says:

    Bill Nelson says they’re trying to swing the results of a specific election (upcoming special to replace Bill Young, who died in office). I think it’s more likely they’re gearing up to protect Governor Voldemort.

  27. 27
    shelly says:

    During the 2012 campaign, I heard one RW radiohead trying to defend restricted voting. Said that expanding voting days ‘hurt the dignity of Election Day.’ Still don’t know what the hell he thought he was talking about.

  28. 28
    negative 1 says:

    @Zifnab25: Because ‘those people’ still insist on voting, duh.

  29. 29
    negative 1 says:

    @Zifnab25: Because ‘those people’ still insist on voting, silly.

  30. 30
    Kay says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    I think you’re probably right. Kasich is a little panicky, too:

    Libertarians and other minor political parties say they will be kicked off the ballot under a bill that passed a divided Ohio Senate yesterday.
    Sen. Bill Seitz, R-Cincinnati, said Senate Bill 196 would legalize ballot access and set clear rules for everyone to follow. But the Libertarian Party is calling it the “John Kasich Re-Election Protection Act.” The presumption is that a Libertarian candidate would “steal” more votes from GOP incumbent Kasich than the Democratic candidate in 2014.

  31. 31
    Yatsuno says:

    @Betty Cracker: I don’t see that as an either/or proposition. But it would be the only way Lex could win at this point, since anthrax is more popular than he is right now.

  32. 32
    scav says:

    I bet nowhere in the constitution does it say you have to know what’s printed on the ballot before the final results are tallied! Original Intent Revealed! Right? FL Butterflies didn’t go far enough!

  33. 33
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    As if we didn’t need more proof that being a Republican is a mental illness. Just because you can’t elect anyone to national office and you can’t even win local elections without gerrymandering and arcane rules changes does not mean that you should in any way reexamine what you stand for.

    The increasingly militant stupidity of the GOP makes me glad that I’ve already lived most of my allotted years.

  34. 34


    Still don’t know what the hell he thought he was talking about.

    Colorless green ideas sleep furiously. He was saying something that was grammatically correct but so nonsensical that it’s hard to know where to start in challenging him. He sounds as if he’s justifying the decision, it’s hard to call him on it because the statement is so far from our reality, and he doesn’t have to come out and say that the real goal is to keep Those People from voting.

  35. 35
    Kay says:


    I heard one RW radiohead trying to defend restricted voting. Said that expanding voting days ‘hurt the dignity of Election Day.’

    That illustrates exactly what I’m talking about. Dignity of days are getting bruised, states have hurt feelings (according to Justice Roberts), the “integrity of elections” is being impugned.

    They’re bringing up a whole group of people who have just lost all practical sense of what they’re supposed to be doing. We’re talking about ballot drop off in the library. This isn’t a theoretical roundtable debate on the state of the Conservative Soul. Enough about feelings already. Run the election properly.

  36. 36
    Tommy says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate: It is just sad. As I just said my mom runs elections in her district. It is safe to say she isn’t a liberal, but yet she still thinks folks should be able to vote. It should be simple. It should be easy. If they vote for people she doesn’t support so be it.

  37. 37
    West of the Cascades says:

    The local Florida county officials’ push-back to the 2012 state-level-directed voter purge was a real eye-opener, in that both Republican and Democratic county election officials refused to go along with the state’s voter suppression tactics. The supervisor of elections mentioned in this article who is “defying” the Scott memo and refusing to close her county’s drop-off locations – Deborah Clark, in Pinellas County — is a Republican (http://www.votepinellas.com/index.php?id=1785).

    As evil as the top levels of elected Republicans have been in many places in trying to restrict access to voting, it’s good to see that some of the Republicans at the local level that actually are in charge of administering elections have sufficient integrity to push back on “zany rule changes.”

  38. 38
    Patricia Kayden says:

    Thanks Kay (and other BJ Frontpagers) for exposing these types of shenanigans time and time again. It appears that even with all these voter suppression attempts, President Obama was able to squeak out a win in 2012. Shameful that people who claim to promote freedom and liberty are so hellbent on stopping their fellow citizens from voting.

  39. 39
    Tommy says:

    @West of the Cascades: In 2012 I walked out of where I vote and heard this man on his phone, stunned that there were honest people running elections. He was an African American, my town is not liberal and 98.7% white. Wearing an Obama shirt. He had gone to the wrong polling place, across town. Didn’t have a car. Somebody at said place offered to drive him to the right place. He was telling the person on the phone how stunned he was.

  40. 40
    Pogonip says:

    I’m not fond of sleazy politicians, but I don’t understand the difference between dropping your early ballot into a drop box and dropping it into a mailbox. Are they worried about the chain of custody, is that it?

  41. 41
    Mike G says:


    I heard one RW radiohead trying to defend restricted voting. Said that expanding voting days ‘hurt the dignity of Election Day.’

    It’s the teabaggers’ endless refrain, “I hate it, I just haven’t invented a decent excuse as to why.”

    They can’t just come out and admit, “Because I hate who they vote for.”

  42. 42
    NotMax says:

    Need it be pointed out that they’re trying to excise or privatize the postal service as well?

  43. 43
    Villago Delenda Est says:


    Pope Francis is a Marxist/Lennonist.

  44. 44
    Villago Delenda Est says:


    ZOMG, all those near people think they have a right to vote? What’s the matter with them, do they think the Union won the War Between the States or something?

  45. 45
    Kyle says:


    That’s the Rethugs’ dream — when they can put in a call to one of their executive cronies at Postal Corporation and have them “lose” tubloads of ballots from heavily-Dem areas.

  46. 46
    Kay says:


    Are they worried about the chain of custody, is that it?

    Probably. That IS important in election administration. The county officials say they have election workers who transport the ballots, which they would have to do.

    We had a screw-up where a well-meaning activist picked up absentee ballots at the jail and took them to the bd of elections. She can’t do that. All 19 ballots were disqualified.
    Election process is incredibly nitpicky. It’s all details.

  47. 47
    Botsplainer says:

    OT – Here is a Reasonoid on the Pope.


    Pope Francis doesn’t have to thank capitalism, a system that has done far more to alleviate poverty, his pet crusade, than the institution he leads. But he should at least stop demonizing it—not least because it enables the very activity that he cherishes most: charity.

    Capitalism puts more discretionary income in the pockets of people to devote to charitable pursuits. It is hardly a co-incidence that America donates over $300 billion annually toward charitable causes at home and abroad, the highest of any country on a per capita basis.

    The church itself is a big beneficiary of this capitalist largesse with its U.S. wing alone contributing 60 percent to its overall global wealth. Some of this money comes from donations, but a big chunk comes, actually, from directly partaking in capitalism: The church is reportedly the largest landowner in Manhattan, the financial center of the global capitalism system, whose income puts undisclosed sums into its coffers.

    So the new Pope needs to be careful not to bite the hand that feeds his institution and its work. Otherwise, neither he nor the poor in whose name he is speaking will have much to be thankful for.



  48. 48
    scav says:

    @Mike G: But Daahlink, if one wishes to host a dignified event, one doesn’t invite the gaahdner or the help, let alone open one’s doors to those with insufficient leisure or the wrong kind of same. Behgars simply aren’t white tie, it’s nothing pehrsonal, it just simply won’t do for the all-important dignity.

  49. 49
    Villago Delenda Est says:


    Election process is incredibly nitpicky. It’s all details.

    Mind you, this is without the help of guys like Lex Luthor and Fox Commentator John Kaisch.

  50. 50
    Baud says:


    Hell hath no fury like an economic philosophy scorned.

  51. 51
    Villago Delenda Est says:


    “Reason” is a true oxymoron as applied to that vile glibertarian rag.

  52. 52
    the Conster says:


    Shorter Reason: That’s some nice property you’ve got there, Popey, it would be a shame if anything happened to it.

  53. 53
    Villago Delenda Est says:


    That guy is another dipshit who hasn’t read The Wealth of Nations, let alone comprehended it.

  54. 54
    bemused says:


    Texas warned prosecution of international group of election monitors if they came to any Texas polling places 2012.

  55. 55
    Kay says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    I once called the local newspaper because they wrote one of those cheery “how to vote!” pieces where they told people to sign their early voting ballot. Ballots themselves have to be anonymous. They meant “sign the envelope.”

    It drives me crazy. They’re not applying any thought to this. They all vote. Have they ever signed a ballot?

    All one has to do is think thru the steps of “voter impersonation fraud” to know it’s a fairly outlandish and improbable crime, yet they swallowed that whole for a decade.

  56. 56
    Baud says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    I love how he treats capitalism as a single consciousness that is capable of exercising will.

    What’s next? An article on capitalism’s five year plan?

  57. 57
    Botsplainer says:


    OT, but Kay, pay some attention to weather today. It looks like there’s going to be a snow dump from Southeast Missouri through Southern Ohio Friday. They’re predicting 9-12 inches locally.

  58. 58


    I love how he treats capitalism as a single consciousness that is capable of exercising will.

    Most gods are like that, and Reasonoids definitely treat capitalism as if it’s a god. I think the ancient Hebrews called that god Mammon, and they definitely didn’t like its worshipers.

  59. 59
    Baud says:

    BTW Kay, did you catch Chris Hayes the other night talking about education policy?

  60. 60
    rikyrah says:


    I was waiting for you to publish something on the voter suppression bills that they’re trying to pass in Ohio, messing with Absentee Voting and lowering the number of voting machines.

  61. 61

    This is actually kind of surprising: don’t absentee votes skew Republican?

  62. 62
    Kay says:


    Yay! I love snow. I hope it gets up here, to northern Ohio. I bought my 11 year old what I believe will be a really fast sled but he doesn’t know yet and I’m waiting to spring it on him. It’s thin, you could roll it into a tube, made out of some space age material that I am not familiar with but I bet it flies. It’s relentlessly flat here so the town had to make a sledding hill with a bulldozer :)

  63. 63
    ET says:

    What I find amazing is that Scott and his henchmen seem to think this is only going to adversely affect those on the other side of the political aisle. I wonder why they think that some Republican voters might get caught up by the new rules.

    I know Republicans tend to thing smart+ ethical=Republican and imbecile+corrupt=Democratic but all those rules are confusing to everyone and lack of ethics is not something limited to a particular group.

  64. 64
    Howlin Wolfe says:

    @Baud: Sort of like “Science tells us . . . .” Who is this guy or gal, “Science”? And how did he/she get so smart?

  65. 65
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    Small rule changes that make it more difficult for certain people to vote can do a lot of damage. It’s just completely unnecessary to make this process so difficult and confusing.


  66. 66
    Pogonip says:

    @Kay: Thanks!

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