From Katie Hickox:
Dear Ms. Maddow,
I was disappointed tonight that you neglected to let viewers on your new show know that voter purges in 20 states, including Florida, are taking place. You spent nearly 10 minutes interviewing Debbie Wasserman Schultz, A Florida congresswoman. Both of you made comments about how many new registered Democrats there were--and neither of you even mentioned the ongoing voter purges in that state.
Why this silence? It's as if someone over you has told you not to mention anything about such purges, or the many problems with the electronic voting machines (reported in a recent GAO report), or any of the countless other GOP tactics being used to disenfranchise new and current voters.
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From: Mark Crispin Miller
Monday, October 6, 2008 7:04:44 AM
Subject: Knocking voters off the rolls in Florida
That is--as usual--Democratic voters.
Note how carefully the reporter casts the story here as a tale of partisan obstruction "on all sides." That "balanced" view is the basic point of the article's first several paragraphs, with that comfy notion hammered home by Adam Skaggs, a lawyer with the Brennan Center.
Maybe Skaggs is right, and "all sides" are obstructing votes in Florida--but there's not a shred of evidence for that claim in this article, which goes on to report that it's the GOP that's doing all the blocking of the vote down there, just as in 2000 and 2004.
No doubt the article is biased thus because The Ledger, a Tallahassee paper, is owned and edited by partisan Republicans. In any case, the vote suppression and election fraud in Florida are vital tactics for the GOP, and have been for a good long time: because there's too damn many Democratic voters in South Florida, what with the numerous Jews and blacks who live down there (and the inexorable mellowing of the Cuban bloc). Since
the people down there represent a very large percentage of that state's population, it is quite necessary to neutralize their votes, by any means necessary.
So it is not happening "on all sides" down there, and never was. And it is happening not only there, of course, but nationwide, because there's too damn many people who are sick to death of the Republicans, who therefore have to do an awful lot of work to "win" this contest for McCain, you betcha!
Pre-Election Fight Brings in Lawyers, Accusations
Hottest battle in Fla. centers on state's "no match, no vote" law.
Published: Sunday, October 5, 2008 at 10:40 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, October 5, 2008 at 10:54 p.m.
TALLAHASSEE | Voting used to seem pretty simple. Citizens showed up on Election Day. Candidates and political parties focused on their campaign messages. State officials urged folks to vote and tabulated the results quietly.
But all that has changed since 2000's historic election. Now the weeks preceding an election have become critical battles with the deployment of lawyers and angry accusations of bureaucratic chicanery aimed at keeping voters away.
"In the past, the Election Day process wasn't considered to be as crucial as the campaign that led up to that," said Republican Party of Florida Chairman Jim Greer. "Now we see that the Election Day process is equally as important, or more so."
Groups portray their pre-election battles as a quest for fair elections.
But the evidence points to suspicions on all sides that their opponents are trying to twist laws and rules into an unfair advantage.
"People on both sides are doing everything they can not only to get their message out, but to tip the margins in their favor, unfortunately in many cases by creating obstacles to the other side's voters getting to the polls," said Adam Skaggs, an election law lawyer with the Brennan Center for Justice who sued Florida over a new voter ID law.
'No match, no vote'
The hottest pre-election battle in Florida centers on the "voter registration verification law," better known as the "no match, no vote" law.
The law means that for voters who registered after Sept. 8, the information on the photo identification presented when they vote must match the driver license or Social Security numbers in state databases.
If the numbers do not match, the voter will file a provisional ballot and would have to return to the elections office to provide proof that they were legally registered to vote.
Groups have argued that the law will disenfranchise Floridians who are legally allowed to vote but are victimized by faulty databases or mistakes made when entering the information.
With record numbers of newly registered voters being generated largely by Democrats this year, some left-leaning groups say the "no match" law will cause thousands of votes to be incorrectly dismissed.
"This is a recipe for disaster," said Andy Ford, president of the Florida Education Association, the state's largest teachers union. "This could result in large numbers of legal voters' being denied their right to vote because of a simple mistake like a typo."
The FEA and other groups have asked the state to suspend the law for this election as the flood of new voter registrations bogs down state and county elections offices.
But Florida Secretary of State Kurt Browning said the law will not keep any voter from their legal right. In a conference call with reporters last week, he said the groups spreading fear about the law are doing more harm than good. "The ironic thing about this is that the very people that are creating the rumors or perpetuating the rumors are the very ones that are scaring away their voters from going to the polls to vote," he said last week.
The law is designed to limit voting fraud. But Leon County Supervisor of Elections Ion Sancho said such fraud is almost nonexistent.
"Why do we attempt to make legal voters do additional work to make sure their vote counts just because it benefits a party or a candidate? I'm tired of it," he said.
Lawyers to prowl polls
In another pre-election skirmish, the Obama campaign has publicly asked for thousands of lawyers to come to Florida and monitor polls for irregularities or problems. Greer this week said Democrats were intending to use the lawyers to guide or advise voters before they entered the polls, an action that would be illegal.
"We're going to be watching the process carefully," Greer said.
State law bars campaigns from pressuring voters entering the poll. But each party registers lawyers or other "poll watchers" to be in the voting location to keep an eye on any problems.
Ron Meyer, a longtime Democratic lawyer, said he has instructed poll watchers to notify lawyers outside a voting location whether a voter has been asked to cast a provisional ballot and then to offer assistance in making sure their vote is eventually validated.
Meyer said Republicans have as many lawyers on hand for elections as Democrats, and said "Mr. Greer's own party has plans to do what they can do to slow down the process" by challenging voters or "causing a disruption at the polls so that workers have to address these kinds of issues instead of just letting people come in and cast their ballots."
Greer said Republican poll watchers will obey the law and join with Democrats in ensuring a fair election.
Longtime election observers say the pre-election shenanigans have increased since 2000's razor-thin election in Florida.
But Florida is not alone. Last week in Ohio, the McCain campaign successfully won a lawsuit after the state's secretary of state, a Democrat, had ruled that requests for absentee ballots would be disallowed because a box had not been checked.
And in a case similar to Florida's "no match" controversy, Wisconsin's Republican attorney general is suing to force the use of a database to confirm voters' identification.
While pre-election intimidation has a long history in the nation, Sancho said the 2000 election ratcheted up the legal scrutiny.
"What we're seeing is a greater hyper-partisanship," he said.
Browning said Florida's election system is among the nation's most reliable and open.
"Florida is still in the shadows of 2000, which just disgusts me. People out there believe Florida is not going to get it right. And I vehemently disagree with them."