When you’re busy destroying Florida, by turning it into a third-world tax haven, where developers have free reign, women are all-but strapped to the gurney and forced to give birth, and public schools are reduced to test taking factories manned by one-year teacher temps, there’s only one way to avoid a backlash: stop … people… from … voting.
Howard Troxler makes it plain:
Having solved all other problems, the Florida Legislature now turns to the most dangerous threat of all …
No kidding. The 2011 Legislature is considering, and its committees have approved so far, bills that would:
• Cut Florida’s early-voting period (nearly one out of five ballots were cast early in 2010) from two weeks to one.
• Bar anyone who has moved or changed a name, such as newly married women, from updating their information at the polls on Election Day and receiving a regular ballot. They would have to cast “provisional” ballots instead.
• Crack down on, and expand penalties for, groups that try to register new voters — which used to be considered an all-American activity.
• Make it even harder for citizens to change the Florida Constitution by setting an earlier expiration date for petition signatures.
The line in Tallahassee is that these changes simply “clean up” voting in Florida, make it more “efficient,” and prevent “fraud.”
Yet as a whole, Senate Bill 2086 and House Bill 1355 are astonishing. They reverse a decades-long trend of making it easier to register and vote in America.
My Democratic friends claim it is a Republican plot. I do think that’s part of it.
After all, even though Florida has more registered Democrats, the Legislature itself is two-thirds Republican.
And who is most likely to be barred from casting a regular ballot? Who moves more? College students, young people. Who is most likely to change a name? Women. The stereotype, with justification, is that they lean Democratic.
They will be the ones told on Election Day, sorry, you can’t cast a regular vote — you’ll have to fill out extra forms; you’ll have to cast a “provisional” ballot; you’ll have to wait to find out if your vote even counted.
And yet, I think this goes deeper than Republican-Democrat. The Legislature has grown increasingly hostile to all expressions of citizen democracy, regardless of party label. (Don’t hold your breath waiting for a vote on the bill filed this year to create a recall process.) …
Read the rest here.
And let’s not forget, the legislature is also busy cooking up a scheme to pack the state Supreme Court by literally dividing it in two, and giving Rick “Pass the Oxycodone” Scott three new picks on the court that will just happen to be deciding redistricting. The goal of the Republican Party of Florida, which is sucking in corporate cash both via the party, and soon, through the noxious, revived legalized graft known as “leadership funds,” is one-party government, permanently, no matter how large the non-Republican majority of Florida becomes.
As goes Florida, so goes the country.
Republicans nationwide are playing from the old South African playbook — seeking ways to cement minority rule, and to negate the coming impact of the demographic trends facing them; trends which will mean fewer older, white voters (who tend to vote Republicans,) and more of the kids of voters Republicans don’t like, the young, the brown and the female.
The various assaults, all across the U.S., on unions, on women’s reproductive rights, on Hispanics/immigrants and on the very idea of voting, would if successful, effectively lock in Republican minority rule for at least the next decade, and perhaps longer, because they would paralyze any political opposition financially, organizationally, and even in terms of just plain demoralization.
Republicans rely on low voter turnout — like the kind they get in midterms — which concentrates the electorate among white voters over 50. During presidential years, things get dicier for them in states where Hispanic populations are growing, or where there are lots of young voters. So every presidential cycle, we see the voter suppression begin to kick in. Democracy, in short, is not in the Republican party’s best political interests, so they set it aside whenever and wherever possible (see Citizens United, Michigan’s “Financial Martial Law,” Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, etc., …)
Now, let’s see if the Democrats in Florida, as well as the unions, the ACLU and groups like the League of Women Voters have the stuffing to fight back. The bills pending in the State House and Senate should be the subject of immediate lawsuits, and quick — before Tricky Ricky and his courtiers neuter the Florida Supreme Court, too.