“Thanks in part to these new Republican laws – Democratic voter registration has been absolutely devastated in Florida heading into the 2012 election.”
Republicans have been trying to do everything they can to disenfranchise democratic leaning voters or to put it another way – anyone who isn’t white. Governor Rick Scott (R-FL) has pushed through legislation to limit early voting, require state based ID’s to vote, make it nearly impossible for organizations to register voters and purge eligible voters of their right to vote. The Republican party is once AGAIN trying to steal the election.
And that means Floridians are going to have to pay attention and take it upon themselves to register. Even though organizations can now register voters thanks to this judge’s ruling … Republicans were able to halt registration for a year now. How many people do you think would have registered if the Republican party hadn’t tried to push this unconstitutional law through?
Presently – the Department of Justice is in court suing over Governor Rick Scott’s purge list which has already been found to be 98.4% eligible voters. If you don’t know about that lawsuit – you can read that HERE.
Federal Judge Robert L. Hinkle issued an order HERE:
The plaintiffs and defendants now have moved jointly for entry of a permanent injunction resolving all issues among all parties, that is, for entry of a final judgment. The four individuals who sought leave to intervene have filed nothing in response to the motion; they have not tendered an amicus brief or sought leave to do so. The deadline for taking any such action has passed. The motion for entry of a permanent injunction is unopposed and should be granted, consistently with the analysis set out in the order granting a preliminary injunction.
A district court ordinarily cannot enter a final judgment—even an unopposed final judgment—while the appeal of a preliminary injunction is pending. But a district court can enter an order indicating that it will enter the unopposed final judgment if the Court of Appeals remands for that purpose or the appeal is dismissed.
In other words – Florida Republicans who tried to prevent voter registration didn’t EVEN TRY to fight this final federal case. They simply forced the case to go on for as many days as they could physically force it for political gain.
The original ruling from Judge Hinkle presented a temporary injunction on the Republican Florida block the vote law which you can find HERE; his original comments were pretty brutal:
Even so, the state has little if any legitimate interest in setting the deadline at 48 hours. The short deadline, coupled with substantial penalties for noncompliance, make voter-registration drives a risky business. If the goal is to discourage voter-registration drives and thus also to make it harder for new voters to register, the 48-hour deadline may succeed. But if the goal is to further the state’s legitimate interests without unduly burdening the rights of voters and voter-registration organizations, 48 hours is a bad choice.
This statute and this rule are not well crafted. To the contrary, they are virtually unintelligible,close to the point, if not past the point, at which a statute — especially one that regulates First Amendment rights and is accompanied by substantial penalties — becomes void for vagueness.
If “closed at the end of the 48 - hour period” is what the statute means, it still imposes an onerous, perhaps virtually impossible burden, at least in some instances. If a voter-registration organization collects a voter-registration application at 8:03 a.m. on Saturday and the appropriate voter-registration office is closed for the weekend, reopening at 8:00 a.m. on Monday, must the organization deliver the application to the voter-registration office between 8:00 a.m. and 8:03a.m. on Monday? If the goal is to discourage voter-registration drives and thus also to make it harder for new voters to register, this may work. Otherwise there is little reason for such a requirement.
This has had a real impact – as Samuel Warde points out HERE:
The results are devastating for Democrats in Florida as demonstrated in the chart below, according to a review by The Florida Times-Union, a major daily newspaper in Jacksonville. The core findings of the review are as follows:
During the 13 months beginning July 1 the year before elections in 2004 and 2008, registered Democrats increased by an average of 209,425 voters.
From 2011 to this year, that number was 11,365.
Over that same time, the number of registered Republicans increased by 128,039, topping the average of 103,555 during the past two presidential cycles.
The Brennan Center for Justice responds with joy HERE:
“This order is a decisive victory for Florida voters,” said Lee Rowland, counsel for the Brennan Center’s Democracy Program, one of the attorneys who argued the case for the Plaintiffs. “The Florida legislature has tried repeatedly to stifle access to voter registration opportunities, and once again a federal court has stopped them in their tracks. We are thrilled that voter registration groups can now get back to what they do best — expanding our democracy.”
“Florida’s anti-voter law created impassable roadblocks for our volunteers, who have been bringing fellow Floridians into our democratic process for over 72 years,” explained Deirdre Macnab, President of the League of Women Voters of Florida. “Thanks to today’s ruling, we can finally put these roadblocks behind us and concentrate on getting Floridians registered to vote. We are grateful the court recognized that the Constitution does not tolerate these types of barriers to civic participation and voter registration.”
In addition to Republican attempts to block voter registration in Florida – they have been trying to purge the voter rolls of potentially Democratic leaning voters. The first voter purge list pushed through by Governor Rick Scott found that 98.4% of the people on that list were eligible voters and 57% of those voters were LATINO (source). Latinos tend to vote with the Democrats.
NPR has the story of a conservative Florida lobbyist who is a black man who almost was turned away to vote; he has since changed his mind about the decision to implement Voter ID in his state. Listen to his story below:
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