Do you remember the Florida debacle in the 2000 presidential race? At the time, news focused on the recount and the spectacle of the infamous “hanging chad.” But when the dust settled, America learned that the real affront to democracy was the flawed purge of eligible voters from the voting rolls in advance of the election.
The state that ultimately decided the election for George W. Bush by a mere 537 votes, hired a firm to purge ex-felons -- who had lost their right to vote according to state law -- from the voter file. But the data match was so sloppy that countless eligiblevoters, mostly African American, were scrubbed from the file and turned away from the polls on Election Day.
Now, under Florida’s Tea Party governor, Rick Scott, it’s happening all over again!
Florida has begun a purge of “non-citizens” from the voting rolls and reports are saying that hundreds of eligible voters have already been struck from the rolls.
This week, other members of Congress from Florida joined Rep. Ted Deutch in calling on Gov. Scott to STOP THE PURGE. Please join the call!
Sign our petition right now to Gov. Rick Scott telling him to stop the purge and stop disenfranchising eligible voters.
Florida has already put out an initial list of more than 2,600 people identified as non-U.S. citizens and has indicated it could aim to purge up to 180,000 supposed non-citizens from the rolls ... but from all the inaccuracies we’ve seen so far, that could mean a staggering number of eligible voters being wrongfully purged and denied their right to vote.
This process is going forward with no oversight, and is all too reminiscent of the scrub orchestrated in 2000 by Secretary of State Katherine Harris under then-Gov. Jeb Bush. Under Gov. Scott, Florida has already erected barriers to voter registration that hurt minority and low-income voters... now, the state’s right-wing leaders seem to be dredging up ugly tactics from the past in what looks like naked, politically motivated voter suppression.
Hundreds of eligible voters have already been scrubbed from the rolls and many more have not replied to a letter that informs them they will lose their right to vote if they don’t reply with proof of citizenship. Despite the clear inaccuracy of the purge, the burden is on registered voters to prove that they are eligible, not on the state to prove that they are not.
This is wrong. You know it, I know it and if we can focus more attention on this disaster in the making, more Americans will know it. And we’ll be able to stop it.
Thank you for standing up for the right to vote and the American Way.
-- Ben Betz, Online Strategy Manager