Feds to Monitor Florida Election Changes; Rick Scott Pushes Back

By: Jim Turner News Service of Florida | Posted: August 4, 2014 3:55 AM
Eric Holder

Eric Holder

Gov. Rick Scott's office and campaign are attacking as "blatantly political" a letter from U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announcing that the Justice Department is monitoring changes to Florida's election laws.

Holder wrote to Scott on July 21 expressing concerns about elections laws and procedures that "have restricted voter participation and limited access."

Holder added he was "deeply disturbed" at the "barriers to voting" that have been added during Scott's tenure and urged the governor to "re-evaluate laws and procedures that make it harder for citizens to register and to vote."

John Tupps, a spokesman for Scott, said in an email Friday that "this is a blatantly political letter."

Tupps directed media inquiries to Scott's gubernatorial campaign for additional comment.

In the letter, Holder described as "troubling" a 2013 directive from Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner that absentee ballots could only be collected at supervisors' offices. Also, the letter pointed to Detzner's rejection this year of a request to use the University of Florida's student union as an early voting location, and a policy outlined in April by an assistant county attorney in Miami-Dade County that voters couldn't use restrooms at polling sites in the South Florida county.

"Whether or not these changes would ultimately be found to violate specific federal laws, they represent a troubling series of efforts to limit citizens' ability to exercise the franchise," Holder wrote.

Holder also pointed to a controversial attempt to "purge" noncitizens from the voter rolls before the 2012 elections and to a 2011 law that reduced the length of the early-voting period. That law, which has since been altered, was blamed for helping create long lines at some polling places in 2012.

The Orlando Sentinel determined the law kept at least 201,000 Floridians from casting votes.

"I am pleased that last year you signed legislation that restored early voting days," Holder wrote. "However, I have grave concerns that there remains a troubling pattern in your state of measures that make it more difficult, not easier, for Floridians to vote."

A spokeswoman for Detzner deferred comment to Scott, noting the letter was addressed to him.

Scott's campaign manager, Melissa Sellers, in a statement Friday, said the White House is trying to bolster the efforts of Democratic challenger Charlie Crist.

"Attorney General Eric Holder’s letter is just more politics from President Obama -- as the White House desperately tries to prop up the sagging campaign of their candidate, Charlie Crist," Sellers said in her statement. "It isn’t surprising that the same president who used the IRS to persecute his political opponents is now using his attorney general to try the same tactic."

Sellers pointed in her statement toward Holder's Justice Department pre-clearing the voting changes in 2011 and to the 2013 law that corrected "inefficiencies" in the 2011 law.

"The new 2013 law added more early voting locations, more early voting days and shortened the length of the ballot," Sellers said. "Perhaps the attorney general is against these reforms and he wants to turn back the clock to the days of less early voting time and less early voting locations in a bizarre attempt to help Charlie Crist. But, Gov. Scott has worked to make Florida elections more efficient, convenient and accessible to all voters."


Tags: News, Politics

Comments (27)

bill terrell
5:57PM AUG 5TH 2014
11:48PM AUG 5TH 2014
Clearly well on the way to becoming a big boy . . . almost the mentality of a 6 year-old. . . .

Pathetic . . . .
1:39PM AUG 4TH 2014
Gov Scott should tell Holder to stick it up where the sun doesn't shine.
6:02PM AUG 4TH 2014
Mature, adult GOP-speak . . . .

Pathetic . . . .
1:38PM AUG 4TH 2014
Via The Hill:

Holder remains indifferent to conservative protests that he is an ‘activist’ looking for trouble by digging into what he calls “policies [with] disproportionate impact on communities of color.”

“If you want to call me an activist attorney general, I will proudly accept that label,” he said. “Any attorney general who is not an activist is not doing his or her job. The responsibility of the attorney general is to change things [and] bring us closer to the ideals expressed in our founding documents.”

Later, he defiantly added that critics who say his department includes an “activist civil rights division and this is an activist attorney general — I’d say I agree with you 1000 percent and [I am] proud of it.”
12:48PM AUG 4TH 2014
Disparate impact? None.

If people can't adequately supply their votes to their government, how are they adequately providing their census data or tax returns?

Bottom line: Big Brother hasn't gotten what he's wanted in Florida, even after the rules were changed. So now, he has to pressure the state to changes its rules, until Big Brother gets what he wants.

1:01PM AUG 4TH 2014
Still in denial, aren't you . . . . how did that work out for you about that denying gerrymandered districts . . . . . oh well, maybe you can just ask those Legislators who have to return to Tallahassee Thursday . . . . rightwing denial about voter suppression . . . . absolutely . . .

Pathetic . . . .
12:35PM AUG 4TH 2014
Yes, yes, to listen to Nancy Smith & Rick Scott there is no voter suppression in Florida . . . . . not like multiple court cases stated otherwise . . . . nor that a Ohio State University study discovered that as many as 200,000+ voters simply gave up in frustration during the 2012 election and ended up not voting due to the long lines brought about because of GOP voter suppression laws passed the previous year . .

Yes, GOP denial tactics are simply ignoring the facts . . . . and proving themselves once again to be demonstrably . . . . .

Pathetic . . . .
12:57AM AUG 5TH 2014
I'm getting so sick of hearing of voter suppression in FL. Who and why are they not allowed to vote. Funny you mention the Ohio study...wasn't that one of the states that several counties had 110% votes for Obama and none for Romney? The voting process is so corrupt, it's a joke. Why is it in just the past several years voting has become such a problem? I think we should go back to registering at the Supervisor of Elections, voting on election day, and use paper ballots. We give people weeks to vote, register at corrupt orgainzations and they submit the info to elections office. People vote in multiple states with absentee ballots and records are not checked between states. Also if the low information voters would fill out their sample ballot they are sent previous to elections, they wouldn't tie up the lines, and also limit the number of ammendments they can have in any election. That should cut down on wait time.

Eric Holder is the last person who should get involved telling states how to run anything. He can't even handle his job in DC.
Laurie Snyder
2:17PM AUG 8TH 2014
The only thing you forget was there are several states in the 2012 election that had thousands of dead people voting. People that had been dead for years. But that was pretty much how I feel about it too....Florida's election is coming up and I won't be voting for this clown that's for sure corrupt Christ no way jose
11:01AM AUG 6TH 2014
Solid, irrefutable facts. Who? Ex-felons. Where? The entire state of Florida. Despite the US Constitution granting the right to EVERY CITIZEN to vote, the state of Florida will SUPPRESS the votes of about a million Floridians. WHY? All about power. And most conservatives seem to support this violation of the Constitution because it benefits them and their party. As Frank would say "pathetic"!
3:37PM AUG 5TH 2014
Of course you're tired of hearing about voter suppression in Florida . . . 200,000+ suppressed voters mean nothing to you . . . nor multiple court cases with legal findings about voter suppression . . . . yes, facts mean little, don't they . . . .

The Ohio State study was a study of Florida voter suppression . . . . I challenge you to PROVE that outrageous claim of yours that Ohio was "one of the states that several counties had 110% votes for Obama and none for Romney" . . . . either you're totally ignorant of reality or simply delusional . . . .

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence . . . I have mine on Florida voter suppression (including court findings), where's yours . . . or are you simply lying and playing more GOP politics of the "Big Lie" . . . . . in either case, your claims and comments are simply . .

Pathetic . . . .
Gene Ralno
12:08PM AUG 4TH 2014
Holder's right about one thing. He's deeply disturbed.
George Blumel
12:07PM AUG 4TH 2014
Holder has been held in contempt of congress; he's refused to cooperate on his failed effort to get more gun control by giving guns to cartels; refuses to prosecute "his people" the Black Panthers in Phila. for obstructing the vote; and many other blatant violations of the DOJ office. He's manifestly a racist doing purely political work on behalf of Obama. A totally reprehensible person in every respect. The emblem of this corrupt regime.
Florida Cracker
9:26AM AUG 4TH 2014
8:49AM AUG 4TH 2014
It's time for a convention of states to take powers away from DC. This is the most corrupt DOJ in history.
12:51PM AUG 4TH 2014
Correct. The key lies in pressuring our pols to refuse D.C. money, which has the puppet strings attached.
Florida Cracker
9:27AM AUG 4TH 2014
Debbie, you are correct on many levels!!
8:19AM AUG 4TH 2014
Don't worry Scott, you can always plead the fifth amendment, you know from experience.
Marilyn Z
10:58AM AUG 4TH 2014
Now that is funny...esp. considering how much it is used in DC of late.
11:24AM AUG 4TH 2014
Big difference between the State of Florida and the Washington D.C. crowd.
7:42AM AUG 4TH 2014
Florida will also continue to supress the votes of about a Million ex-felons. All of whom are expected to live by the rules, yet have no say in them, or the people who will fail to represent them.
1:37PM AUG 4TH 2014
How about NOT committing felonies so you can vote no problem?
2:24PM AUG 4TH 2014
I am disgusted with conservatives selective application of the Constitution. Conservatives fight for their own rights, yet are perfectly willing to deny others theirs. Where in the Constitution does it say felons lose their rights? It is the height of hypocrisy to be selective. I even see it on Facebook where No on 2 and other anti-Medical Marijuana folks are blocking pro-Medical people from refuting their lies, half-truths and propaganda, in total violation of Freedom of Truth. The most important rights to fight for are those we dis-like. Because if we fail to protect theirs, they will not protect ours. Then there is the equal treatment. Some states restore automatically, others after a time, Florida never. My brother has been clean for over 20 years and still can not vote. Where is the support of the Constitution? Where is the return to society? How an a lifetime denial of rights be justified? TELL ME, what Constitutional basis for denying rights? REMEMBER, our country was founded by traitors who commited felonies by rebelling.
7:00AM AUG 4TH 2014
No surprise here, on both sides of the coin. Scott's people will call it a political attack, while most Floridians call it as being very late! Late, in that so many people have complained to the Feds regarding gerrymandering, vote tampering in many counties, the switching of early voting dates, and so much more.
Unfortunately, under the rule of Mr. Scott, voters' rights have seemingly been tossed out the window to favor one political party. Blatently obvious, it truly is about time the Feds get deep into this state's political shenanigans!
Marilyn Z
10:59AM AUG 4TH 2014
This happens in nearly all the states by both parties. Everyone cries foul whether they have a leg to stand on or not. Business as usual.
10:22PM AUG 5TH 2014
I have 2000000 legs to stand on. While laws allow the suppression of exfelons votes, nowhere in the US Constitution does it allow it. If goverment can take away the right to vote from a class of citizens, Be Warned. The right to own a firearm is just as at risk. While Florida does hae a right to deny things like a contractors liscense. The right to vote, set on a jury, run for office and yea, own a gun are rights.under the US Constitution and should never be denied. Those who dis-agree. Quote were, in the US Constitution is says those rights may be denied?

Leave a Comment on This Story

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.