Columns

Tell Me Again Why We Shouldn't Want Accurate Voter Rolls

By: Nancy Smith | Posted: May 29, 2012 3:55 AM
I Beg to Differ
The headline reads, "Voting rights groups ask Scott to stop noncitizen voter purge." Think about it. Why would any voting rights group in America do a thing like that?

Surely, all good citizens in this democratic republic want only eligible voters casting ballots. How else can we defend the integrity of the election process in the freest nation in the world?

And it's right there in black and white, in Section 8 of the National Voter Registration Act. The NVRA requires that states keep their voter rolls cleaned up. And, most do a decent job.

Florida apparently does not.

Along with Ohio, Indiana and California, the Sunshine State has been identified in a study by a government corruption watchdog as one of the top four egregious slackers when it comes to purging phony voters from its rolls.

According to the Judicial Watch study, called 2012 Election Integrity Project, "there appear to be more individuals on voter registration lists in these states than there are individuals eligible to vote, including individuals who are deceased." (Have a look at the Feb. 12 clean-up-or-else letter Judicial Watch sent to the Florida secretary of state in one of the attachments below.)

In the last three weeks alone, Secretary of State Ken Detzner's office has begun to dump from the state rolls what it identifies as at least 50,000 dead voters and some 7,000 convicted felons. In fact, the Broward Republican Executive Committee has said a sampling of voter registration records found that nearly one-quarter of the people listed on the county's election rolls are dead -- definitely and without question.

But controversy arises over Detzner's determination to remove as many as 182,000 suspected noncitizens from the voter rolls. Groups like Project Vote, Fair Elections Legal Network, Advancement Project, LatinoJustice PRLDEF and LULAC Florida found a way somehow to call authenticating voter rolls "a deeply flawed process." And with the backing of most Democratic members of the Florida Legislature, they are ready to go to court.

They claim the noncitizen purge is just a way to strip minorities -- particularly Hispanics -- of their right to vote. (Read, below attached, one of the letters from this group to the Florida secretary of state.)

But Judicial Watch is likely to fight back. It has unearthed documents showing that, rather than taking action to enforce Section 8 of the NVRA, the Obama Department of Justice is now working with ACORN-front Project Vote, Barack Obama’s former employer, to push for strict enforcement of Section 7 of the NVRA.

Section 7 is the part of the voting act that relates to welfare office voter registration obligations. Says Judicial Watch, "The purpose of this campaign is evidently to use voter registration laws to register greater numbers of low-income voters, widely considered to be an important voting demographic for the Obama presidential campaign."

Said Katherine Culliton-Gonzalez, director of voter protection projects for the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit Advancement Project, “Florida has a very shameful history of purging minority voters based on false information before presidential elections.”

Despite the bickering, on May 7 an entirely right-minded Detzner directed county-level election officials to begin notifying these individuals that they have 30 days to show proof of citizenship or their names would be purged from voter rolls. Ineligible voters who cast ballots are committing a felony, and the warning letters sent out said exactly that.

"The language was a little 'in your face' I think," Marissa Hernandez of Miami told Sunshine State News. "I was hurt. But I am a proud American, I have moved around a lot and remarried, so I know how this happened and I didn't mind faxing my American passport."

Chris Cate, spokesman for Detzner, has said this: “Nobody should be OK with ineligible voters being on the rolls. We're simply trying to address that. And we aren’t more concerned or doing this because this is an election year. This isn’t an election year issue. This is a voting integrity issue, something we worry about all the time.”

Authenticating the voter rolls has long been a priority of Gov. Rick Scott. And why wouldn't it be? The governor, above all, is a detail man. One ineligible voter -- even just one -- casting a ballot would not be OK with him.

Florida is home to 11.3 million voters and leverages 29 electoral votes. That makes us a very big deal, electionally speaking.

In the last 12 years our creaky, mistake-pocked elections process has helped define and, on occasion, shame us. With the rest of the nation watching how we pull our socks up, could we please let the secretary of state's people just concentrate on getting the voter rolls right?



Reach Nancy Smith at nsmith@sunshinestatenews.com or at (850) 727-0859.



Attachments: 

Comments (9)

Frank
11:42PM MAY 31ST 2012
A 2ND BREAKING NEWS ADDENDUM

Perhaps because the Justice Department has now notified the State of Florida to immediately stop the voter-purge because it is in violation of federal law:

(1) The pruge of registered voters is violating Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act

(2) The purge violates the National Voter Registration Act

The state has until June 6th to respond.

It's now becoming clearer every day that this is all about partisan voter suppression after all - that's why we shouldn't be doing these voter purges, Nancy Smith, as some of us have been saying all along.
Frank
7:32PM MAY 31ST 2012
A BREAKING NEWS ADDENDUM -

Perhaps, because like the voter suppression law, this culling may be unconstitutional and illegal.

As I've previously warned, U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle today declared our new Florida election law "harsh and impractical" for requiring groups conducting voter registration drives to turn in registration forms within 48 hours of collecting them and blocked enforcement of the deadline.

He also granted a preliminary injunction and blocked enforcement of other parts of the law putting new restrictions on groups conducting voter registration drives.

A few other statements by the judge in his judgment:

(1) The law and state regulations implementing it "impose burdensome record-keeping and reporting requirements that serve little if any purpose, thus rendering them unconstitutional."

(2) "When a plaintiff loses an opportunity to register a voter, the opportunity is gone forever . . . . And allowing responsible organizations to conduct voter-registration drives — thus making it easier for citizens to register and vote - promotes democracy."

i.e. it's all about the voter suppression after all
Frank
10:14AM MAY 30TH 2012
Perhaps because the current effort and list is clearly flawed, likely illegal, and represents another unfunded mandate by the state on local officials.

Perhaps because the Rick Scott appointed former Secretary of State Kurt Browning when first appraised of this voter culling effort by the Governor, attempted to dissuade him from this effort and err of the side of voters instead, just last week noting that “We were not confident enough about the information for this secretary to hang his hat on it”.

Perhaps because it is forcing a 91 year old WWII bronze star Battle of the Bulge veteran who has voted in Florida for the past 14 years, and a 60 year old Florida woman who has voted for the last four decades, to have to prove their citizenship solely because their names happen to appears on a flawed list that was supposedly vetted for its correctness.

Perhaps because Florida has more reported shark attacks each year than cases of actual voter fraud.

Perhaps because this effort is really all about suppressing voters in one particular party in a state likely to have a close election.
SB
12:56PM MAY 29TH 2012
Now Chris Cate, the spokesman for the Secretary of State, is quoted as stating “…This is a voting integrity issue, something we worry about all the time”; implying that issues related to voter integrity are always of paramount concern to the state. This should unquestionably be the case, but facts reflect that that is not the case in Florida...that is highly troubling. Public corruption by some is underway and, regarding the election process in Florida, in at least one area of the state things are amiss...possibly in ways that most people wouldn't imagine. Though Mr. Cate may not have knowledge of the things addressed in this message, the state of Florida undeniably does possess that knowledge. Having stated that, I find the official state-issued statement “…This is a voting integrity issue, something we worry about all the time” appallingly contradictory. Be you a Republican, Democrat, etc., always remain vigilant. In Ms. Smith’s closing she states “In the last 12 years our creaky, mistake-pocked elections process has helped define and, on occasion, shame us…” It goes without saying that the nation does not want any election drama this year. The election process must be as pure as possible. Ultimately all the voter reform in the world won’t matter one iota in a jurisdiction that has a corrupt cog as a component in its “election machine”. The public, legal professionals, and law-abiding public servants should be aware of the issue touched upon.

See the below message (information was updated on 05/07/2012) for more insight into this matter. The comment was previously posted elsewhere but it is fitting that I share it here.

---------------------------------------------------

Boy did Governor Rick Scott nail it when he, according to the AP article, said “people lie”. I’m glad to see the state cleaning up the voter rolls. However, a bit of research reveals that the consensus amongst many is that instances of voter fraud seem to be relatively few and far between. Conversely, what can’t be denied is that in the current climate gamesmanship and outright cheating run rife amongst those with the most to gain/lose. That being stated, election fraud is a very real threat. That being the case, the charge that I’d really like to see Governor Scott, Secretary of State Ken Detzner, and all the rest of Governor Scott’s immediate cohorts lead is the charge to excise corrupt actors from the election process. Right now in Alachua County there is a proven criminally-corrupt judge—a judge by the name of David P. Kreider—that has been illegally entangled in Florida’s 2012 election process. The state is aware of this undeniable fact yet it has continued to improperly display a multi-dimensional lack of concern. The below message provides some insight into this issue.

----------------------------

Next stop Gainesville, Fla. (i.e. "Gator Country"). “Why specifically?”, you ask.

Because in Alachua County, within recent months, numerous and egregious violations of law have been committed that warrant multiple criminal prosecutions and other severe government sanctions. These crimes have had all types of deleterious effects including, but not limited to, once again placing the integrity of Florida’s election results (for 2012) in jeopardy. A few of the things that are central to this issue are:

1
David P. Kreider [Mr. Kreider, a proven criminal, is a corrupt Alachua County Court judge. This criminally-corrupt judge also happens to be both (a) one of the circuit's former prosecutors and (b) a former Division Chief for the State Attorney's Office.]

2
Robert Roundtree, Chief Judge for Florida’s 8th Judicial Circuit (he recently replaced the embattled Martha Lott who resigned from her chief judge post subsequent to becoming embroiled in this scandal which has started to implode; her resignation was announced on 04/09/2012 and was reported to have gone into effect on 04/05/2012)

3
Spencer Mann, Chief Investigator for the State Attorney’s Office of Florida’s 8th Judicial Circuit

4
William "Bill" Cervone, State Attorney for Florida's 8th Judicial Circuit

5
The conspiracy / scandal related to the "Gibson Case"

6
The two irrefutable reports and extensive corroborating evidence that is in the possession of agencies, including those within Florida’s 8th Judicial Circuit (and the aforementioned Spencer Mann and Chief Judge’s office). The comprehensive reports and evidence span a total of more than 100 pages and in-depthly detail criminal activities carried out under the color of law by criminal/judge David P. Kreider and various other co-conspirators.

complaints -dot- com/2012/march/14/Corrupt_Judge_David_P._Kreider_now_taints_the_ele_264712.htm
[Updated most recently on 05/07/2012. This is the initial url and the complaint at this url will remain online to serve as a referral to the below mandated url.]

complaints -dot- com/2012/may/21/Corrupt_Judge_David_P._Kreider_now_taints_the_ele_266368.htm
[This is where all of the updates following 05/07/2012 will be in the future. As of today (05/29/2012) no post-05/07/2012 information is posted here. See the note at the bottom of this comment.]

This is the gateway to serious corruption and a major cover-up attempt.


Note:

Inexplicably, at this critical time, the ability to update the completely truthful complaint that is displayed at the above listed initial complaints.com url has been blocked (this problem just arose in mid-May 2012). Complaints.com was notified in hopes that the issue would be remedied promptly (especially before the involved co-conspirators made any additional damaging/wrongful maneuvers or inappropriately benefited from the dissemination of any additional misinformation outside of scrutiny). For the most part, as of now (05/29/2012), to the best of my knowledge the report at the initial url is up-to-date and the involved co-conspirators haven't executed any additional illicit maneuvers that haven't already at least been touched upon in that initial complaints.com webpage complaint. On 05/19/2012 complaints.com indicated that it would no longer be possible to update the information at the well-publicized initial webpage/url and essentially that the complaint would have to be duplicated and that all future updates would have to be made at a new complaints.com webpage/url.
LDouglas
7:22AM MAY 29TH 2012
It's riduculous to think it's discriminatory to clean up the voter rolls and ask citizens to prove they're eligible to vote.

It's just another priice we pay for population growth and for allowing illegal immigration to go virtually unchecked for decades. (Like proving citizenship for our driver's license. And if we have to do it for that, why not for something that should be strictly held for American citizens alone, the election of our representatives.)
Frank
9:31AM MAY 29TH 2012
What's discriminatory is attempting to require local election officials to notify 180,000+ of primarily minority and Democratic voters to "prove" they're citizens the summer before a Presidential election. Especially with a 30-day no response and you're dropped provision.

Have you ever tried to get a birth certificate or a passport in the summer, or gone on summer vacation for 3-4 weeks (and missed the mailing)? Perhaps we should just require ALL current voters to prove they're citizens within the next 30 days or you won't be able to vote in November. How many legal Republican voters will be dropped in that effort?

I might have a little sympathy if there was ANY significant history of proven voter fraud in Florida, but instead, what we're known for nationally is voter disenfranchisement, especially of minorities, and, now most recently, of new ways of suppressing voter registration.

And if you don't believe that, you should have tried registrating new Republican voters this past Saturday (Memorial Day weekend) when such an activity would have been illegal and subject to fines under the voter suppression law passed in 2011 in Florida.

Estimates are that the 2011 law requirements' have effectively suppressed new voter registrations by nearly 100,000 in Florida. Can any of you provide legitimate proof that even 10,000 cases of voter fraud occurred in Florida over the past decade? How about 1,000?

Back in March, the joke on national TV was that there were more cases of shark attacks each year (10-15) than cases of voter fraud. Interestingly, PolitiFact checked that out and rated it "Mostly True".

Even most ultra conservatives acknowledge 100,000 is a larger number than 10-15 (except for that segment that comprises the denier crowd - the math deniers).

This is clearly all about partisan voter suppression, not voter fraud.
RepublicanConscience
6:45AM MAY 29TH 2012
This is an important step. Here is how the dead vote. At the close of the polls, the poll watchers are ordered out often by force with some thugs. It takes about an hour to get readmitted with and the stooges running the polls scan in hundreds of the names on the rolls that did not already vote. When you consider 100-200 per precinct in those areas, you cancel out the legitimate votes. How do you think they had 110% of the black vote in some districts? If the names are not on the rolls then they cannot be used in the fraud.

We need the National Guard to monitor the closing of the polls, especially in Broward, Dade, Palm Beach, and Orange County.
Frank
8:51AM MAY 29TH 2012
Paranoid, partisan, scare politics.

1 - Exactly how many cases of dead voting in the 2008 election can you prove happened in Florida?

2 - Exactly how many cases of thugs forcing poll watchers out for an hour, while scanning in hundreds of names that didn't vote, can you prove happened in Florida in the 2008 election.

3 - Exactly how many cases of precincts with 110% vote of registered "black" voters in the 2008 election can you prove happened in Florida? [No racism here!]

I see outrageous claims, yet no proof from reliable, defensible sources (e.g. court convictions, etc.). All I see is empty rhetoric, partisaningly focused on traditionally Democratically voting counties.

Extraordinary claims require at least a bare modicum of proof.
Pat Galbraith
6:35AM MAY 29TH 2012
I wish people would remember, after the Dade, Broward, Palm Beach fiasco in 2000, the margin was less than 600 votes. But then, maybe they do.

I've been called many things, including a racist, because I support positive voter ID AND proof of citizenship when registering to vote. I've voted in eight States and the overseas ballot. I have never been asked to prove citizenship.

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