Lawless FL Republicans defy order to stop voter purge


Florida will defy order to stop purging voter list amid calls of ‘suppression:’ Justice department warns that the practice of removing voters is illegal under federal law as Democrats call it discrimination

Florida says it will defy an order from the US justice department to stop purging its voter roll of people the state claims may not be American citizens.

The justice department has warned that the practice, which critics describe as “voter suppression” by Florida’s Republican administration aimed at stripping the ballot from people more likely to support Democrats, is illegal under federal laws.

It has given the state until Wednesday to agree to halt the purge, something officials in Florida say they have no intention of doing.

Federal authorities say that the state is obliged to get justice department approval for changes to its voting laws under the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which was introduced to end practices that prevented African Americans from exercising their democratic right in many southern states.

Republicans will try to win at any cost, even to the point of resurrecting voter suppression tactics first established during the era of racial segregation by southern Democratic Party leaders.

What this sorry story throws into especially harsh relief is that the contemporary Republican Party is increasingly being forced to desperate measures to preserve its grip on power, because it is out of step with the majority of America — not to mention 89 percent of Massachusetts voters.


21 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. Counties to the rescue

    According to ThinkProgress, all 67 counties have suspended their purges, siding with DOJ rather than the Governor.

  2. If any further proof were needed

    that the pre-clearance provisions of the Voting Rights Act were still needed, Florida has helpfully provided it.

    • Yep, the law is the law

      Certainly if FL is not observing the VRA then the DOJ has every right to interfere.

      But what is FL’s claim? Do they believe their voter roll purge falls under the VRA or not? Is it a 90-day thing? Or does the DOJ have other motives?

  3. Two Thoughts on This

    1) The violation of the 90 day provision is so blatant, that I can only conclude that Governor Scott is spoiling for this fight. His defiance is Tea Party red meat because the “evil dictator” pair of Obama/Holder must be trying to ‘steal the election.’ Remember, if it ticks off liberals, Republicans like it no matter what. This is win/win for the Florida GOP.

    2) With the current SCOTUS, I suspect that many of the areas of law and justice that we thought were settled, especially those dealing with civil rights and other “liberal” causes, will be challenged by red states just to see if the electric fence is still plugged in. The conservative dream of returning us legally to pre-1954 is potentially closer than I care to admit.

    • What liberal causes?

      Is allowing non-citizens to vote a liberal cause? Certainly sounds like it.

      BTW, what’s so special about 1954? Was there landmark legislation?

      • Perhaps you've heard of a little court case ...

        … called Brown v. Board of Education. It seems that some people feel that it was significant, for some reason.

  4. Not a new thing in FL

    Just look at all the groups that have been sending Fl’s state GOP to court after their state GOP ignored a ballot initiative passed by their public over gerrymandering…. gerrymandering the districts anyway.

    FL is a mess. Democracy, unfortunately, does not exist there at the state house… and those in control of the state house (perpetually republicans, thanks to gerrymandering) are doing their damned best to make sure they muck up the statewide races, too, by (illegally) limiting the numbers of democrats who can vote.

    The DoJ needs to send a posse of lawyers to FL and have them camp out until numerous Republicans committing these unlawful acts go to jail, and maybe then the Republicans will be forced to stop.

    RyansTake   @   Mon 4 Jun 1:05 AM
    • How does Identifying non-citizens limit democrats?

      Are you saying that most illegal voters vote Democrat?

      Are you saying FL is challenging only illegal voters with a “D” in the party affiliation column?

      Are you claiming FL is simply challenging random “D” registrations with a “you’re not a citizen” letter?

      If you are claiming this, lets see the proof. Please provide links.

      • BTW Ryan, what about MA?

        It’s where the “gerrymander” was invented. Aren’t you being hypocritical complaining about FL when the MA 3rd and 4th Congressional districts blatantly gerrymander?

        All political parties are guilt of gerrymandering.

        Here’s my proposal: let the MIT math department geometrically grid our congressional districts into the most similarly proportioned rectangles possible.

        That can’t be any worse than lumping Worcester with Fall River and Newton with New Bedford.

        • Um... what about it?

          First off, the latest batch of redistricting in this state was eminently fair and smoothed over most of the lingering ‘rough edges’ that have existed for several decades.

          Secondly, even if you are describing the old Massachusetts maps, what’s going on in states like Florida and Texas is on a WHOLE DIFFERENT LEVEL than what’s ever happened in Massachusetts. Whole different level. In Texas, the Republicans in the early 2000s even redrew already gerrymandered maps two years after redistricting and redistricted again, because they gained bigger majorities. That had literally never been done before. Ever.

          All political parties are guilt of gerrymandering.

          Yeah, sure, but here’s the problem with saying that: it creates a false equivalency that fails to account for the fact that Republicans are much, much, much worse when it comes to gerrymandering.

          You know, you could look at a state like Massachusetts and reasonably say that about 1 in 10 registered voters are Republicans and come down to the idea that 1 of our districts ought to be a little more ‘red’ than it currently is now (although, I’d argue the new districts do that for more than one district).

          But look at what Florida and Texas does. Roughly 40-45% of registered voters in Texas are Democrats and only a tiny minority of the seats are capable of being won by Democrats.

          In Florida, there are literally *more* registered democrats, and statewide races are the closest in the nation, but because of gerrymandering, Republicans control the vast majority of state house and congressional seats.

          The Republican Party is almost as dominant in the Texas and Florida legislatures as the Democrats are in Massachusetts, despite the fact that party registration in those states are about even and in Massachusetts, we have about a 5:1 advantage.

          Like I said, the Republicans in GOP states are doing things on a whole different level.

          RyansTake   @   Mon 4 Jun 11:11 PM
      • that's not what they're doing

        they’re purging the voting rolls of actual citizens, shep.

        Nice try at a strawman, though.

        If you are claiming this, lets see the proof. Please provide links.

        Did you miss Bob’s link… you know, the one this entire diary was about? Egads.

        RyansTake   @   Mon 4 Jun 11:00 PM
  5. Continuing GOP racism

    The GOP/Tea Party has been pandering to the racists among us all along. I blogged about it here last December — we saw it in the failed primary campaigns of Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Santorum.

    The Voter ID scam is just another way to disenfranchise minority voters, as is this activity in FL.

    It is no accident that the man left standing for the GOP is as “white” as white can be. I mean “white” as in all the racist stereotypes. Mr. Romney doesn’t need to pound the table or raise his arm in a salute — others in his party will do it for him.

    We see, in this 2012 version of a GOP campaign, the most flagrant appeal to bigotry, racism, and sexism that we’ve seen on the national stage since the civil rights era. I fear it is only beginning — the nauseating primary season was just the warmup.

    Now that the foils of the GOP primary have been set aside, we will see all the racism, bigotry, and misogyny that staggering sums of money can buy aimed squarely at America and the world. “Strange fruits” indeed.

    • You need to get out more

      And be consistent: “bigotry, racism, and sexism” versus “racism, bigotry, and misogyny.”

      Conjoining counties’ and states’ responsibility to have accurate voter rolls with bigotry, racism, sexism, and misogyny is totally unhinged.

      The other side of the coin is that progressives are virulently anti-democratic because they approve of non-citizens voting illegally. You don’t care about MY vote which gets nullified when someone votes illegally.

      Why do you insist on taking a one-sided, totalitarian position? Don’t you think voter rolls be made more accurate WHILE being maintaining fairness and justice?

      • Uh huh

        And the conflict at Selma was about “states rights”.

        Please, crawl back under whatever bridge you live under.

      • Really?

        There has been scant, if any, proof that there are problems with illegal voting. This is a problem that doesn’t exist, except in the minds of those trying to win elections by any means possible. Voter rolls subject to this kind of cleansing remove way more legal voters than those committing fraud. Anytime this has been done, it has not been done with “fairness and justice”. The intent never is “fairness and justice”. It’s all about maintaining power.

        Federal law has supremacy over state law. When state governments start disobeying federal law, it shreds the fabric of our democracy. If Florida has proof that it is actually removing only those ineligible to vote, then it will have no problems with the DOJ.

  6. This sort of thing is frightening me

    For more than just the voter suppression, etc.

    The rule of law, and the courts, and obedience to them, are all that keep us a constitutional Republic.

    If whole institutions (like, a state) decide not to obey statutes (like ACA) and court rulings whenever they feel like it, well, let’s just say that the last time this sort of attitude prevailed, Atlanta was sacked and the union was nearly destroyed.

    It’s a scary, precarious time. We need to pull back from this precipice, and fast.

    • This time will be different

      Washington, DC will be sacked.

      • You

        are disgusting. Are you suggesting armed revolt would be a good thing?

        Please, please, please advocate for secession and the breakup of the United States. That would show you for the anti-American authoritarian conservative you likely are.

  7. What are the remedies?

    What can DOJ do, exactly? Leaving aside for the moment the issue of whether it will.

  8. Which is worse

    Voter suppression or voter fraud? Is it better to deny one citizen their right to vote or assume entire groups of people are non-citizens because they don’t have a driver’s license? Voter suppression of course. Who commits voter fraud anyway – besides James O’Keefe? (and why isn’t he behind bars if this is such an evil thing?) Almost nobody. Yet there are plenty of documented cases of suppression starting with Jim Crow, purging voter rolls, caging and now this – the State demanding of its citizens that they prove they are its citizens! This seems to be of “concern” exclusively to incompetent republican governors, since they don’t really believe in the very thing they govern.
    And who are the affected groups? marginalized folks with little or no voice; the poor, the uneducated, shut-ins.
    Just more thuggish behavior by the party that wants to fundementally transorm America – into a gulag.

  9. Bostonshepherd being especially obtuse on this thread.

    Nobody has ever suggested that we approve of voting by those who should not be. However, it does seem that Florida is targeting on little to no evidence those who it is so easy to assume might be illegal and forcing them to prove otherwise. The state should not be sending letters to voters saying we think you might be illegally voting. Letters should only be sent if they can legitimately say we can PROVE you are illegally voting. Basically the state is saying that for years across all the counties those responsible for registering voters cannot be trusted to have done their jobs correctly. Cleaning the lists periodically is fine, but it should be done in conjunction with the local census and apply the same standards to everyone.

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