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It is the theatre of the absurd to watch the Republicans in the legislature and the Governor try to affix blame for Florida’s election fiasco on someone other than themselves. Today they went after election supervisors who they claim didn’t provide enough capacity to process voters. Let’s be clear, while election supervisors might have done more to accommodate voters, they were without authority to prevent the voter suppression that was purposefully and willfully committed by the Republican Legislature and Governor Scott. The facts and run up to the 2012 election prove that point convincingly…
Prior to the 2008 election, the Republican legislature tried to limit early voting to 96 hours over a 14 day period, and to only city halls and libraries. Democrats hollered that the limitations on hours each day (8) and locations would cause long lines but the Republicans defeated all amendments trying to enlarge the time and places for early voting.
The result: lines were so long during the 2008 election that in the middle of early voting Governor Crist issued an executive order expanding early voting to 12 hours each day (for a total of 120 hours). If you remember, even with Crist’s expansion there were still long lines, some around the block in many communities.
The Legislature knew exactly who the early voters were because it had commissioned a study after the election. http://www.flsenate.gov/Committees/InterimReports/2011/2011-118ee.pdf . The Legislature’s study showed that 52% of the early voters in 2008 were Democrats and only 30% were Republicans.
So armed with the knowledge that more Democrats voted early, and knowing full well that 120 hours was insufficient, the Republican Legislature and the Governor again limited early voting in advance of the 2012 election, this time to 48-96 hours over 8 days. They limited locations to only city halls and libraries and forbid early voting the last Sunday before the election (a popular voting day for African American churches). Again Democrats hollered that the limitations would cause long lines, but Republicans defeated amendments to the election bill that would have expanded hours and days and allowed more locations for early voting.
The sponsors of the bill claimed it was necessary because of “fraud” in early voting. Of course there is no evidence of even insignificant fraud in early voting and the claim was an outright lie. Yes, a lie.
The legislature also put on the ballot 11 constitutional amendments, many of which had multiple parts. Rather than use short descriptions of the amendments, the legislature made the summaries as long as possible (some up to 600 words) ensuring that any conscientious voter would have to spend inordinate time to actually vote.
So, the resulting voting delays were not simply predictable, they were intended by a legislature and governor who had all the facts necessary to know precisely what there law would do. There is no blaming anyone else. This was done for the singular purpose of making it harder to vote for people who the Republican legislature believed tended to vote for Democrats. Case closed.
Special Message from Dan Gelber's "Little Brother"- Travis Thomas
Web Video: Bio Piece on Dan Gelber
Sen. Gelber debates against two amendments to HB 1143 that took aim at a woman's right to privacy
Final Video Message from Tallahassee: 2010 Legislative Session was guided by ideological frolics and a politically driven agenda
Jan 16, 2012
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