Thursday, May 31, 2012

Florida's election officials are purging voters off the rolls

Dear Friend,
Here we go again. They did it for George W. Bush in 2000, and now the Republicans are working to steal the 2012 Presidential election for Mitt Romney in Florida. It's straight out of Katherine Harris' playbook. Florida Governor Rick Scott is currently deploying a massive and systematic effort to purge up to 182,000 Floridians who are likely Democratic voters from the state's voting rolls.1
In 2000, Republicans purged the Florida voter rolls of people they said might be felons. Fast forward to 2012, and Florida's election officials are purging voters off the rolls that they claim are undocumented immigrants. The problem is that just like in 2000, Florida is poised to kick thousands of eligible voters off the rolls!
Florida has been mailing "ominous and legalistic" letters to thousands of potentially eligible voters as "non-U.S. citizens."2 Unless Governor Scott immediately orders the suspension of these purging efforts targeting "Hispanic, Democratic and independent-minded voters"3 by June 9, thousands of eligible voters in Florida could be disenfranchised before this year's Presidential elections.3 We need Attorney General Eric Holder at the Department of Justice to intervene right away to suspend the ongoing voter purging in Florida and deploy the agency's Civil Rights Division to launch an investigation into Governor Scott's actions.
Changes to rules, policies and practices governing qualifications and eligibility to vote in Florida are subject to preclearance procedures under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. Therefore, the Civil Rights Division DOJ has the power to call on Florida to immediately suspend the voter purging efforts and launch an investigation.
As reported by Think Progress:
[I]n Miami-Dade county alone, 1638 people were flagged by the state as "non-citizens." Already, 359 people on the list have provided the county with proof of citizenship and 26 people were identified as U.S. citizens directly by the county. The remaining 1200 have simply not responded to the letter informing them of their purported ineligibility. Similar problems have been identified in Polk County and Broward County.5
It is worth nothing that Gov. Scott's voter purging effort was considered so "flawed" that his Republican Secretary of State Kurt Browning resigned in February rather than participate in the suppression of voters.6
We need as many Americans as possible to protest Gov. Scott's scheme to disenfranchise voters and call into question the integrity of Florida's elections. Voting rights groups have already called on the DOJ to temporarily halt the purge and investigate the state's actions.7 Speaking up in large numbers now will be helpful in building public pressure and moving the DOJ to take action against Scott's voter purging efforts in Florida.
Governor Scott's voter purging tactic is reminiscent of the one deployed by former Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris. The notorious Republican provided the winning margin for Bush in the 2000 Presidential election, by helping to "wrongfully" remove 7,000 Floridians — the overwhelming majority of whom were African Americans — from the voting rolls prior to the 2000 election.8
We can't let that nightmare play out again. Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama are locked in a tight election race which could very well be decided by Florida's 29 electoral votes. Click below to automatically sign our petition.
Thank you for all you do to protect the integrity of our Democracy.
Murshed Zaheed, Deputy Political Director
CREDO Action from Working Assets
1. Judd Legum, "How Florida Governor Rick Scott Could Steal The Election For Mitt Romney,", May 28, 2012.
2. Id.
3. Mark Caputo and Patricia Mazzei, "Hispanics, Democrats biggest groups on Florida's list of potential noncitizen voters, analysis shows," The Miami Herald, May 13, 2012.
4. Judd Legum and Ian Millhiser, "EXCLUSIVE: Florida Congressman Demands Gov. Rick Scott 'Immediately Suspend' Voter Purge,", May 23, 2012.
5. Legum, How Florida Governor Rick Scott Could Steal The Election For Mitt Romney," May 28, 2012.
6. Judd Legum, "Florida Supervisor of Elections: Gov. Scott's Voter Purge Will Remove Eligible Voters From Rolls,", May 26, 2012.
7. Janell Ross, "Voter Purge, Minority Voting Rights Flashpoints Of New Showdown In Florida,", May 27, 2012.
8. Legum and Millhiser, "EXCLUSIVE: Florida Congressman Demands Gov. Rick Scott 'Immediately Suspend' Voter Purge," May 23, 2012.

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