Americans everywhere should be worried about the brazen attempt at voter suppression in Florida, presided over by the Republicans, led by Gov. Rick Scott and Secretary of State Ken Detzner. It is a sad commentary that Bill Internicola, a 91-year old World War II veteran, is being targeted as a potential noncitizen. He was ordered to prove his citizenship or lose the right to vote, NPR reports. You see, Bill Internicola was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, but now lives in Broward county. The fact that a Republican governor is instructing his Secretary of State to engage in voter suppression, which will overwhelmingly affect black and Hispanic voters is eerily reminiscent of the dark ages of overt racism in America. Why is this troublesome? Florida happens to be a battleground state, where the number of voters that could be prevented from casting ballots could exceed the margin of error in the razor-thin election, and could help determine the next U.S. president. You see, this is familiar. We went down this same road in 2000 when the hot mess in Florida, with hanging chads, partial chads, etc., saw the presidency handed to one of this country’s worst presidents — George W. Bush with 537 votes.
Internicola says he was “flabbergasted.” “To me, it’s like an insult,” he says. “They sent me a form to fill out. And I filled out the form and I sent it back to them with a copy of my discharge paper and a copy of my tour of duty in the ETO, which is the European Theater of Operations.” Internicola’s was one of more than 180,000 names Florida’s secretary of state identified from motor vehicle records as possible noncitizens. Several weeks ago, the secretary’s office sent county elections supervisors a first batch of some 2,600 names. County officials, who are also preparing for the state’s August primary, started sending out letters to suspected noncitizens, saying they had 30 days to prove their citizenship or be removed from the voting rolls. Source: NPR
The latest purge in Florida follows new voting restrictions passed by Florida Republicans last year, leading to the disenfranchisement of 100,000 previously eligible ex-felons, whose voting rights had been restored by former GOP governor Charlie Crist in 2008. The state leadership also shut down non-partisan voter registration drives and cutting back on early voting. The end result is that such drastic measures will work against the Democratic voter turnout in November. The Republicans are pushing their voter suppression, which is discriminatory, under the guise of reducing “voter fraud.” You and I know that a lot of bullshit, because it will play to the advantage of the Republicans, or Rethuglicans, as I like to call them. It is pretty damning that after the 2010 election, Gov. Rick Scott instructed then-Secretary of State Ken Browning to compile a massive database of alleged “non-citizen” voters. Browning resigned in February rather than implement Gov. Scott’s plan, saying “we were not confident enough about the information for this secretary to hang his hat on it.” In early May, Scott found a stool pigeon in Browning’s successor, Ken Detzner, who happens to be a former beer-industry lobbyist. Detzner announced a list of 182,000 suspected non-citizens to be removed from the voting rolls, along with 50,000 apparently dead voters in early May. The state mailed out the first batch of 2,600 letters on May 8, informing residents, “you are not a United States citizen; however you are registered to vote.” Um, well, that batch was riddled with inaccuracies. But do you think Rick Scott and his lackeys care? Hell no.
It seems like Gov. Rick Scott and all those Republican leaders across the country who are trying to engage in voter suppression have forgotten the reason why the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson in the first place. The landmark piece of legislation outlawed discriminatory voting practices that were responsible for the widespread disenfranchisement of blacks in the U.S. The law specifically outlaws states from “voting qualification or prerequisite to voting, or standard, practice, or procedure … to deny or abridge the right of any citizen of the United States to vote on account of race or color.” The Republicans in Florida are now using different tactics to engage in brazen discrimination. Back in the 1960s, one requirement was one had to pass a literacy test in order to register to vote. Well, given the history of blacks in the South, reading was not something the white man wanted them to know how to do. It is clear that the voting rolls must be cleaned up across this country, but you can’t disenfranchise people who have the legal right to vote in the process. Gov. Rick Scott should be ashamed of himself to pull this trick out of his hat at this juncture, with the election mere months away. This is discrimination, plain and simple. We all know how badly run government offices are and many people, even though they will have followed the instructions on the letter, won’t get to vote come November. I can’t stress enough to my readers the importance of voting in local elections. An idiot like Rick Scott should never have won the Florida gubernatorial elections. A lot of crazy stuff goes on in Florida, from Casey Anthony being set free for her daughter’s murder, to Miami causeway cannibal Rudy Eugene chewing off the face of homeless man Ronald Poppo. SMH
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