Governor Scott is back at it. In the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down key provisions of the Voting Rights Act, Governor Scott announced he is taking another shot at purging Florida’s voter rolls of ‘noncitizens.’
Just to be clear, we’re talking about Republican purging efforts botched so badly that Governor Scott himself had to vote by provisional ballot in 2006 because the purge had determined he was dead.
You’d think that would have been a wake-up call that this sort of purging is deeply flawed and unnecessary.
Governor Scott and his Republican Administration claim this is simply an effort to suppress voter fraud, but Floridians know better. This shameful attempt to shrink the electorate was highly controversial in the months leading up to the 2012 presidential election, when the Department of Justice sued the state of Florida for attempting to disqualify thousands of voters less than 90 days before an election.
The ability to cast a vote and have one’s vote counted is central to the functioning of our democracy. But too often, Republicans have systematically turned how ballots are cast into a manufactured issue in swing states across the country. Too often, these Republican-led so-called anti-voter fraud efforts are nothing more than thinly veiled attempts to disqualify voters that reek of politics.
Such is the case in Florida. Of the 180,000 potential noncitizens identified for purging in 2012, less than 0.02% were actually ineligible. Nearly 60 percent of those included in the initial list were Hispanic – meanwhile, Hispanic voters make up only 13 percent of Florida’s electorate.
Unfortunately for Governor Scott and national Republicans, Florida’s voters won’t be fooled again. Attempts like what is now happening in Florida, and what is happening in many states across the country, go against the spirit of our democracy and are exactly why Congress must answer President Obama’s call to restore the Voting Rights Act to its full authority.