Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Florida makes it easier to kill but harder to vote

Florida makes it easier to kill but harder to vote

 

You already know all about Florida's ridiculous "Stand Your Ground" law. The same geniuses who brought you that piece of legilslation law are also making it much harder for people to vote:

Florida, which is expected to be a vital swing state once again in this year’s presidential election, is enrolling fewer new voters than it did four years ago as prominent civic organizations have suspended registration drives because of what they describe as onerous restrictions imposed last year by Republican state officials.

Here's a particularly jarring example:

While the effects of those changes may not be seen until the fall, the new restrictions on voter registrations are already being felt — as Sabu L. Williams, the president of the Okaloosa County Branch of the N.A.A.C.P., discovered this year when he registered some voters during the Martin Luther King’s Birthday weekend.

Mr. Williams’s group registered two voters on the Sunday of the three-day weekend, and noted the time, as required by the law: 2:15 p.m. and 2:20 p.m. When the local elections office reopened on Tuesday, Jan. 17, the group handed the forms in. They were stamped as received at 3:53 p.m.

This resulted in a warning letter from Secretary of State Kurt S. Browning, who noted that the state can levy fines of $50 for each late application, with an annual cap of $1,000 in fines per group. “In your case, although the supervisor’s office was closed on Monday, Jan. 16, the 48-hour period ended for the two applications on Jan. 17 at 2:15 p.m. and 2:20 p.m.; therefore, the applications were untimely under the law,” Mr. Browning wrote. The letter said that “any future violation of the third-party voter registration law may result in my referral of the matter to the attorney general for an enforcement action.”

I noted the other day that the unrest over the Trayvon Martin case isn't happening in a vacuum. People are angry over the injustice of this one case, but it's also happening against a backdrop of eroding civil rights. The worst part is that Pennsylvania, with its "castle" law and now its voter-ID law, is trrying so, so hard to be just like Florida. We used to believe we were better than that.

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Will Bunch
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