First I’ll tell you about an important ruling occurring yesterday. Then, I’ll talk about the implications for yet another vote suppression effort by the GOP. Vote suppression in FL and around the country take many forms. And the GOP has used a scatter-shot approach to see how many tactics it can get away with. One such effort was to require new voter registrations collected by groups like the League of Women Voters (LWV), political campaigns, Move-on and others must turn in the forms within 48 hours. Yesterday a FL judge prepared to issue a permanent injunction against such vote suppression efforts.
The case was brought by a group of complainants including the non-partisan LWV, which had argued that the law was so onerous, the LWV would have to quit registering voters after 72 years of doing so. Think about it. Under the FL law, if you collected signatures on Saturday morning would have to be in the registrar’s by Monday morning, when most volunteer organization members are at work. It also means repeated trips to the voter registration office, thus adding considerable extra work.
As just one example of how onerous this requirement could be, a county seat isn’t always nearby. (Mine is 45 minutes from my house.) If a FL voter lived such a distance from county offices, that would be 90 minutes round trip just for travel, not including the time in the registrar’s office.
There are numerous other requirements that states put in place, such as having to notarize the signature of the person collecting the registrations. Each layer of requirements makes assisting voters exercise their Constitutional rights more difficult.
It’s instructive to consider the two major parties approach to voter registration. Democrats and Democratic-leaning groups register all who are legally entitled to do so. That includes Republicans. And we do not engage in efforts to purge lawful voters from the books.
Republicans and Republican-leaning organizations do the opposite. They try to figure how to keep lawful voters from registering. They raise phony claims of wide-scale (but in fact very rare) ineligibility to bolster their pseudo-outrage against US citizens having a say in how they are governed.
If the GOP seeks to subvert the most fundamental tenet of a democratic republic, then they disqualify themselves as guardians of our democracy. And that, is precisely what they have done in their widespread efforts to keep lawfully registered citizens from voting.
It is time that those doing this face legal consequences of their fraudulent activities. The real “voter fraud” is waged by Republicans who, in state after state, purge thousands of lawfully registered voters from the rolls. The GOP wants to disenfranchise everyone it can get away with. It’s criminal. And they should be held to account.