Today’s Herald column: will the 2012 election be Rick Scott’s Waterloo (and Charlie Crist’s opportunity)?

Rick Scott cartoon, from

In my Herald column this week, I explore the many ways in which Florida once again screwed up the election — and it (once again) didn’t even matter. But you know who it might matter to?

Rick Scott. Why? A clip:

because while the county debacles were caused by human error and incompetence, the interference with the voting process engineered in Tallahassee was deliberate.

There was the clumsy attempt to purge the voter rolls to prevent nonexistent voter fraud — which was pursued by Secretary of State Ken Detzner on the orders of Gov. Scott. That saw Florida brushed back by the U.S. Justice Department and ultimately cutting a deal with federal immigration authorities, effectively, to scrutinize voters with Hispanic surnames. Detzner’s predecessor Kurt Browning resigned in January, having delayed implementation of the purge because he lacked confidence in the accuracy of the initial list’s 180,000 names.

In the end, Scott’s purge yielded only embarrassment, as a World War II veteran became its most high profile victim.

And the purge’s obvious goal — minimizing the impact of Florida’s growing, and largely Democratic, non-Cuban Hispanic population — didn’t even work. President Obama won a commanding 62 percent of Florida’s Hispanic vote in winning the state.

Scott and his party’s attempts to cleanse the electorate of voters who don’t favor Republicans didn’t start or end there. Before that, they took an axe to early voting, cutting the state’s 14-day period to just eight days.

As if to put an exclamation point on their endeavor, Republicans lopped off the Sunday before Election Day, which traditionally is deemed by black churches nationwide as “souls to the polls” Sunday when in those states that allow early voting, churches prod and bus their congregants to the voting booths.

The result? An epic backlash took place in Florida, as black churches and voting-rights advocates moved the souls to vote a weekend earlier, and early-voting lines stretched around blocks and into the dead of night. …

Read the whole thing here.

Meanwhile, guess who had a really good night on Election Night (besides President Barack Obama)? That would be one Charlie Crist. Not only did he get a presidential phone call thanking him for all his help winning Florida (again), he gained more black supporters while standing in those long lines of voters in Miami-Dade, doing his “Charlie for the people” thing on E-day. Crist is now the standard by which voters measure Rick Scott’s election performance, and that’s bad news for Tricky Ricky.

Crist has joined with Democratic lawmakers to demand specific election reforms in Florida, including returning the early voting period to 14 days (the way it was when Crist was governor.) And that fight will keep Charlie in the limelight as we approach the 2014 governor’s race.

On the other side of the ledger, people are starting to lay blame beyond Rick Scott for Florida’s voting woes, and those politicians (with the exception of David Rivera, who already lost and may be headed to prison…) that could be bad news in their next election.

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2 Responses to Today’s Herald column: will the 2012 election be Rick Scott’s Waterloo (and Charlie Crist’s opportunity)?

  1. Louis Williams says:

    If anyone was more stunned than Mitt Romney by the outcome of this past presidential election, it had to be Rick Scott. When interviewed about the Florida voting debacle, Scott’s dazed response of “We did what was right” was clear evidence that he knew he and the Florida GOP had done everything that was wrong. Rick Scott, the businessman, has been outdone and outsmarted by Charlie Crist, the politician. Crist is poised to return to Florida politics in a blaze of glory and might even have a grateful President Obama visiting Florida as part of the Crist campaign. Oh…won’t it be GRAND!

  2. Flo says:

    The Governor should be tearing his hair out; grate Scott!!!

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