Floridians must do more than repair election problems
By Roger Caldwell
In the last month and a half, I keep hearing that Florida is moving in the right direction and we should support Governor Scott. Many Floridians are misinformed and they believe that he is changing and moving toward the middle. Two months after the voting debacle Governor Scott has endorsed three major changes proposed by the state’s election supervisors, and he thinks he has done his job.
Recently the governor has distanced himself from the 2011 election law. He told the state’s legislative Black Caucus that the election law was not his and he had nothing to do with passing the bill. Based on his statement there is some confusion, because to make the bill a law he must sign the bill.
There is a fundamental issue with integrity and truth when our governor speaks and the ACLU of Florida has filed or joined 11 lawsuits challenging Governor Scott’s policies. In two years his administration has unleashed unprecedented assaults on Floridians civil and constitutional liberties.
In 2011, after Governor Scott signed a voter suppression law, ACLU executive director Howard Simon said: “The right to participate in a fair election is the backbone of our democracy, and election laws are supposed to protect that right by making our elections fair and transparent.
The current regime in Tallahassee wrongly sees voting as a privilege rather than the fundamental right that it is.”
On the same day that Governor Scott was holding a press conference letting Floridians know that he was going to fix an election system that he had destroyed, a voting report for 2012 was released. Daniel A. Smith, a University of Florida political science professor, who co-authored the report, arrived at some startling and eye-opening conclusions concerning Blacks and Latinos.
Of the more than 1.17 million ballots cast by Black voters, nearly half were during early voting. “They bore disproportionately the long lines that we all witnessed. Absentee ballots cast by Blacks were twice as likely to be rejected as those by whites. Racial and ethnic minorities also cast a disproportionate number of provisional ballots and saw them rejected at higher rates,” said Donald Smith.
There is need for a federal investigation to determine if discrimination and racism was practiced and prevalent in Florida during the election of 2012. In 2012, it is not political correct to identify the denial of civil or constitutional rights to a particular ethnic groups as discrimination. We now call it voter suppression, but the bottom line; it is still racism and discrimination.
It is time for Floridians to challenge the fundamental flaws in Governor Scott’s policies and his administration’s assault on civil and constitutional liberties. He has spent millions of taxpayers’ taxes on private lawyers, filing fees against Floridians voting rights, abortion rights, judicial oversight, proposed drug-testing of public employees, and welfare recipients.
Scott is not on the side with Floridians, and we cannot be fooled when he says, ”I want to ensure we do whatever possible to improve our election process.” Floridians cannot trust Governor Scott, and it is imperative that the federal government do an investigation, and determine if discrimination is at the core of Florida’s broken voter system.