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seafan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-02-12 11:06 PM
Original message
Florida voter purge gets pushback from elections supervisors, U.S. Justice
Source: Palm Beach Post

TALLAHASSEE Florida elections supervisors said Friday they will discontinue a state-directed effort to remove names from county voter rolls because they believe the state data is flawed and because the U.S. Department of Justice has said the process violates federal voting laws.

Late Thursday, the Department of Justice sent Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner a letter telling him that an effort launched by Republican Gov. Rick Scott's administration last year to remove the names of people believed to be non-citizens from voter rolls appears to violate at least two federal voting laws. The federal agency gave Detzner until Wednesday to respond.

The Justice Department letter and mistakes that the 67 county elections supervisors have found in the state list make the scrub undoable, said Martin County Elections Supervisor Vicki Davis, president of the Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections.


In 2000, thousands of eligible voters were not allowed to vote because of an error-riddled felon voter list created under Gov. Jeb Bush's administration. State officials abandoned another problematic felon voter list four years later.

Read more:

We damn well haven't forgotten that Jeb Bush pulled this stunt too. Twice.

So now, all of Florida's 67 county elections supervisors have refused to continue Rick Scott's purge.

Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner has until Wednesday to respond to the DOJ. Meanwhile he signaled his intent to push ahead with the purge.

According to this article, what both Detzner and the Republican Party of Florida Chairman Lenny Curry want is access to the Department of Homeland Security's Systematic Alien Verification of Eligibility database. Curry is urging supporters to contact the White House to demand that DHS give Detzner access to that data.

Fat chance, you thieves.

Just so this is properly documented, Rick Scott started his crusade to purge voters not long after he seized the governorship.

Fla. Gov. started push to remove voters from rolls

By Gary Fineout
May 22, 2012

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Florida's quest to identify and remove non-U.S. citizens from the voter rolls was started at the direct urging of Gov. Rick Scott, the state's former top elections official said.

Ex-Secretary of State Kurt Browning, who resigned this year, told The Associated Press that Scott asked him whether or not non-U.S. citizens were registered and if those people were voting. Browning explained to the governor during a face-to-face meeting last year that people who register and falsely claim they are citizens can be charged with a crime.

"He says to me - well, people lie," Browning recalled this week. "Yes, people do. But we have always had to err on the side of the voter."

Browning said the conversation prompted state election officials to begin working to identify non-U.S. citizens. The state's initial list - compiled by comparing driver's licenses with voter registration data - showed that as many as 182,000 registered voters were eligible to be in the country but ineligible to vote.

But Browning said he decided against telling local election supervisors right away because he wanted to make sure the information was accurate in order to avoid a "firestorm of press" and criticism. Florida then spent months trying to get access to a federal database that tracks non-U.S. citizens in the country, but the U.S. Department of Homeland Security would not allow it.


Another bright idea Rick Scott had was to "rate" all 67 country elections supervisors based on a flawed "survey".

Steve Bousquet wrote at Tampa Bay's The Buzz blog:

April 26, 2012

Election supervisors angry over Scott's rating system

Florida supervisors of elections are incensed with Gov. Rick Scott and his chief elections official over what they say is a flawed and inaccurate survey that ranks them in eight areas. Elections officials went public with their frustrations on Thursday in hopes of keeping the governor's office from posting survey results online that they say are inaccurate.

"The process was flawed from the start," said Pinellas Supervisor of Elections Deb Clark. "Questions and procedures were unclear, obviously written by people who can cite statutes, but have no understanding of what is required to conduct an election."


The supervisors had a contentious 90-minute conference call on Wednesday with Secretary of State Ken Detzner. During that conference call, the elections officials cited inaccuracies in the survey and asked the state to delay posting the results online. "Our request was denied," Clark said in an email to Pinellas legislators. "So they are posting information they know is incorrect."

The survey rated elections officials in areas such as how quickly they posted their first election night results; when they mailed absentee ballots; and when they notified the public of early voting sites. Supervisors also received extra credit if they mailed in the survey results ahead of the deadline, which Pasco Supervisor of Elections Brian Corley called "silly."

"This is completely devoid of any statutory validity," Corley said. "I'm almost embarrassed ... it's sad."

The governor's office and Detzner's office have no immediate reaction to the criticism. Worth noting: One of the lowest-rated supervisors of election in the state is a Scott appointee, Thomas Hardee of Madison County, who was appointed by the governor last year when his predecessor was charged with elections fraud.

More details from another article:

Gov. Rick Scott's plan to 'rank' county election bosses infuriates supervisors

By Steve Bousquet
April 27, 2012


Scott directed former Secretary of State Kurt Browning to collect eight kinds of data from the Jan. 31 primary, such as whether the first returns were online by 7:30 p.m., the dates absentee ballots were mailed to overseas voters and when voters were told that early-voting sites would open.

Elections supervisors say they had no idea the governor's office would use it to rank them and pit them against each other. In a 90-minute conference call Wednesday, they blistered Scott's top elections official, Secretary of State Ken Detzner.

"It was insane and unnecessary," Pinellas Supervisor of Elections Deborah Clark said Thursday.


She called the exercise an example of unwarranted interference by the governor's office in what should be nonpartisan oversight of elections.

Detzner, a former lobbyist, was Scott's choice to replace Browning in mid-February.

Some elections supervisors say they were told by Detzner's staff that Scott wants to grade sheriffs, too. Like elections supervisors, they are independently elected constitutional officers, and in most Florida counties, a lot more powerful.


Gov. Rick Scott backs off publishing ratings of elections supervisors

By Steve Bousquet
May 5, 2012


Stafford said a sense of uneasiness persists between elections officials and the governor. "There's still an underlying concern with a ranking system."

Scott's office did not respond to requests for comment.

Election supervisors criticized Scott for offering extra credit if they responded to the survey a day early.

"It's a good decision not to move forward," said Pasco County Supervisor of Elections Brian Corley. "It was inappropriate for the governor to rank other elected officials. I applaud their decision."

In addition to Scott's election supervisor intimidation and his voter purging going on in defiance of the DOJ warning, there is this:

In Sarasota County:

Critics rip plan to close dozens of polling places

By Carrie Wells
May 22, 2012

Local civil rights and civic leaders say plans to eliminate dozens of precincts in Sarasota County will amount to voter suppression and wreak havoc in a crucial election year.

They point to the majority-black Newtown neighborhood, which will go from six precincts down to one, and say shaking up the voting places will also hurt turnout from the elderly, who have voted in the same place for decades and may have limited mobility.
"It appears to us that this was not thought out; there was no effort for community input," said Ed James, chairman of the local Coalition of African American Leadership.


The concern over the changes comes as the state tries to purge thousands of "illegal voters" from its rolls, something election supervisors across Florida are skeptical about. ..... "We should be encouraging participation and making it easy for a minority community to vote," Ferrandino said. "It's making it more difficult in communities like Newtown, where most of the people walk to their precincts."


Trevor D. Harvey, president of the Sarasota branch of the NAACP, said the state's efforts, combined with the precinct cuts, drew his suspicion.

"It's calculated," Harvey said. "This is too big of an election year to have these kinds of changes."

Damn right this is all calculated.

Rick Scott wants to "rank" these elected officials in his latest cockamamie scheme. He knows absolutely nothing about elections except how to buy them and how to steal them.

When do we get the chance to rank you, Mr. Scott? I don't think it will be as far into the future as 2014.

It is time to arrest Rick Scott for stealing people's constitutional right to vote.

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seafan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-04-12 10:13 AM
Response to Original message
1. Rick Scott's beer lobbyist appointment as Secretary of State in charge of elections: EPIC FAILURE
But, then again, maybe it is epic success at stealing more elections in Florida....

Beer lobbyist knows little about voting

By Fred Grimm
May 2, 2012


Ken Detzner, best known as a beer-industry lobbyist before Gov. Rick Scott picked him to take over as secretary of state in February, admitted Thursday that his offices ability to validate a persons legal status as up-to-date was limited. ..... Detzners office also forgot about the states obligations under the 1965 Voting Rights Act and the 1993 National Voter Registration Act, before going ahead willy-nilly with his voter purge, particularly a voter purge based on a list that was 58 percent Hispanic.


.... on the very same day that the letter from the Justice Department showed up in Tallahassee, a federal judge across town issued an injunction against another bit of state meddling with the voter rolls. He said aspects of the states controversial 2011 law aimed at voter-registration groups were harsh and impractical.

U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkles order said the provision of the law (among other restrictions) that requires registration groups to turn in new voter registration forms within 48 hours of getting them or face up to $1,000 in fines amounted to a virtually impossible burden.


During the hearing, the judge heard a telling statement from one of the sponsors of the new voting legislation. I want the people in the state of Florida to want to vote as badly as that person in Africa who is willing to walk 200 miles for that opportunity hes never had before in his life. This should not be easy, Sen. Michael Bennett, a Republican from Bradenton, had said during the 2011 legislative session.

Judge Hinkle responded that Florida doesnt have an interest in making it hard to vote. Thats not a permissible goal.


Michael Bennett, Republican from Bradenton.... Now, where have we heard THAT name before..... oh, that's right. He was the 'family values' Republican caught viewing pornography on his Legislative floor computer.

This is what the Republican conspiracy to steal voting rights looked like last year, as it was crafted in the Republican-dominated legislature:

Update: Eleventh lawmaker subpoenaed in Florida election law controversy, November 29, 2011

Not so fast, boys.

With a voter purge based on outdated data, with the U.S. Justice Department intervening to stop Florida from flouting voter-rights laws, with a federal judge knocking down segments of a law that seemed designed, as he put it, to discourage voter-registration drives and thus also to make it harder for new voters to register, theres plenty of material to bolster talk of a voter-suppression conspiracy in Florida.


And it has been going on since Jeb Bush and Katherine Harris trotted out their "felon lists" in 2000, that had the deliberate effect of purging tens of thousands of non-felons with similar names off the voting rolls. Jeb Bush pulled this stunt again in 2002, and yet again in 2004:

St. Petersburg Times (now Tampa Bay Times), July 11, 2004:

Nine days after making the names of more than 47,000 potential felon voters public, state officials have scrapped the entire list, saying it was too flawed to be trusted.


The state had tried to keep the list a secret. It fought a lawsuit aimed at opening the records to the public. A series of errors emerged once a Tallahassee judge rejected the state's arguments and released the records on July 1.

The error that proved final - and garnered national attention - was that Hispanics were largely overlooked because of glitches in how the state records information about race and ethnicity.


Many Hispanic voters vote Republican. That they were largely omitted from a list disproportionately weighted with Democratic-leaning blacks has fueled theories that voter rolls were being manipulated for political motives. State officials said it was data errors, not politics, that excluded Hispanics from the list.

"Not including Hispanic felons that may be voters on the list . . . was an oversight and a mistake. . . . And we accept responsibility and that's why we're pulling it back," said Gov. Jeb Bush, who was in Fort Lauderdale on Saturday at an "African-Americans for Bush" rally in support of his brother's re-election as president.


Florida List for Purge of Voters Proves Flawed, July 10, 2004, NYTimes:


Of nearly 48,000 Florida residents on the felon list, only 61 are Hispanic. By contrast, more than 22,000 are African-American.

About 8 percent of Florida voters describe themselves as Hispanic, and about 11 percent as black.

In a presidential-election battleground state that decided the 2000 race by giving George W. Bush a margin of only 537 votes, the effect could be significant: black voters are overwhelmingly Democratic, while Hispanics in Florida tend to vote Republican.

Elections officials of Florida's Republican administration denied any partisan motive in use of the method they adopted, and noted that it had been approved as part of a settlement of a civil rights lawsuit.

"This was absolutely unintentional," said Nicole de Lara, spokeswoman for the Florida secretary of state, Glenda E. Hood, an appointee of Gov. Jeb Bush, the president's brother. "The matching criteria were approved by several interested parties in the lawsuit, and the court. I don't know how it got by all those people without anyone noticing."

(bold type added)

Oh, WE KNOW how it all "got by" in 2000, 2002 and 2004.

Jeb Bush

All we ever need to know about Jeb Bush came freely from his own mouth in 1994, when he lost the governor's race against Governor Lawton Chiles:

During the campaign Bush was asked by reporters what his administration might do for Black Floridians. He made a tactical blunder. He gave an honest answer.

He said, "Probably nothing."

And this is merely the latest Florida Republican version of stolen elections, 2012:

Rick Scott (Getty Images)

Florida is due for a complete housecleaning in November, and with continuous vigilance.

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