Fields: Real Reason For The GOP Election Laws

BY SAM FIELDS

The next time a Florida Republican tells you that the recent restrictive election laws are only about ballot integrity and not minority/Democratic vote suppression, ask him the following question:

Are you an “idiot” or a “liar”?

There is no third possibility.

Even a cursory examination of changes in voting laws makes it unequivocally clear that, while the GOP legislature has curiously reduced requirements for absentee voting, they have toughened the requirements for those who show up at the polls for Early Voting or Election Day.

Why are they going in two directions????

The “why” came home to me this week when my kids and I decided that we would vote absentee.

The last time I looked at voting absentee was at least ten years ago.  Back then you had to request your ballot in writing. You could only file an absentee ballot if you had a disability that prevented you from making it to the polls or you were going to be out of the county on Election Day.  Under penalty of perjury you had to swear one or the other was true.

Finally, your Absentee Ballot (AB) had to be witnessed by two adults—later reduced to one–who signed with a legible signature.

In 2012 a phone call gets Absentee Ballots sent to your home for you and all others registered at that address.  The law allows anyone to call in to make an AB request for anyone.  There is no requirement to identify or record who has made the request.

You don’t need a reason for the AB and you don’t any witnesses when you fill it out.

In other words, the voter who would be denied a ballot at the polls because he couldn’t meet the new ID requirements, could avoid the problem with a simple phone call.  Voting by mail makes an ID completely unnecessary.

Got a household member who has moved to Chicago?  As long as you can do a halfway facsimile of his signature you could vote for him.

It’s a system that makes vote fraud as easy as “dialing the phone”.

You gotta ask yourself: Why would the so-called ballot integrity obsessed Republicans overlook, or more outrageously create a loophole that vote fraudsters could drive a truck through????

The answer is simple: Florida Republicans disproportionately vote absentee.

They are more likely to be snowbirds that don’t make it to town until after Thanksgiving…three weeks after the General Election.

The Broward results of the 2008 Obama/McCain are Exhibit A.

Broward’s 1.1 million voters are 52% Democrats and 23% GOP.

In November 2008 there were 735,079 votes cast.

Obama won 67% to 32%.

Look only at the 597,000 voters who showed up to the polls for Early Voting or Election Day.

Obama won them 70% to 30%.

[ 251,929 early voters  went 82 % to 18% for Obama!  This explains why the GOP legislature passed a law reducing Early Voting to one week.]

Compare these numbers with the 136,417 Absentee voters.

Obama only won by 60% to 40%.

Check anywhere else around Florida and you will see that Republicans always do better with Absentee Ballots than voting at the polls. In most places they win the battle of the absentee voters.  Often it is enough to carry the election.

There can be no doubt that the party in power is rewriting the election laws to play to its strengths and minimize its weaknesses.

That’s politics and it’s the job of the other side to stop it.

As I said at the beginning; anyone who says otherwise is an “idiot” or a “liar”.



16 Responses to “Fields: Real Reason For The GOP Election Laws”

  1. Kevin says:

    I agree 100%.

  2. Norm Price says:

    That is a very idiotic remark from you. I guess Acorn which produced thousands of illegal votes don’t matter because they all voted for Democrats. Why is this an issue as far as asking for I.D. when voting?
    Is asking for I.D. any different then if you are stopped by police what is the first thing asked for? Drivers License and Registration. I see absolutely nothing wrong with the procedure of asking for I.D. and I do not consider that to be a racial profiling at all.Sam you are to say the least very predjudiced with so many of your thoughts

  3. Get on board Norm says:

    Norm – The Democrats do not acknowledge that type of voter fraud. At a candidate forum last week, there was discussion about the investigation into the voting rolls. One of the Democrat candidates for state house said that “voter fraud does not exist” and this is essentially made up by the republicans.

    Also, I have been voting in Broward for 20+ years. Every time I go to my polling place, the SOE volunteers require that I show identification before they let me vote. Suddenly, its racist and discriminatory if they ask a minority to produce ID? Why the double standard?

  4. Lois says:

    You have kids? Really?

  5. GOPapa says:

    Mr. Fields is mostly right, but calling Republicans “idiots” is uncalled for.

  6. Broward News Junkie says:

    I don’t know what’s scarier, your views or the fact that you reproduced?

  7. Bassist231 says:

    Looks more like the GOP makes better use of their time, hence more productive and more successful…you know working to pay for those who don’t or won’t.

  8. SAM FIELDS says:

    Dear GOP Papa,
    You don’t like terms “idiots” or “liars”. Fine

    From the Governor on down GOP officials have denied that all these changes in the election laws having nothing to with politics.

    What would you call them? Certainly not “truthful”.

    I await your answer.

  9. watcher says:

    Righties attack people because on ideas they have little to say….what does acorn have to do with Field’s point? What’s with going after his kids…he made a point..refute the point …if you can

  10. Chaz Stevens, Genius says:

    >> SAM FIELDS says:
    What would you call them? Certainly not “truthful”.

    Is cocksuckers too technical of a term?

  11. News For The Naive says:

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/07/18/1111466/-Brennan-Center-500-000-won-t-be-able-to-get-free-voter-IDs

    The Brennan Center, NYU Law School’s public policy institute that focuses on democracy and justice issues, has a new report detailing the challenges faced by voters in 10 states with new, restrictive voter ID laws. Those laws ultimately mean that as many as 500,000 eligible voters won’t cast ballots because of the insurmountable barriers these laws erect, particularly for rural voters. In other words, yes, these new laws are basically poll taxes.

    The cost of the IDs aside, most of these voters don’t have access to transportation to obtain the ID. To complicate matters more, in many of these states, the offices that are designated to issue IDs are open infrequently for short periods of time.

    Even if someone seeking photo ID manages to travel to an ID-issuing office, there is no guarantee it will be open during regular business hours. In Wisconsin, Alabama, and Mississippi, fewer than half of all ID-issuing offices are open five days a week. None are open on weekends. And some offices maintain truly unusual hours: the office in Woodville, Mississippi is open only on the second Thursday of each month.

    The report also provides an extensive look at the scarcity of ID-issuing offices in areas heavily populated by people of color and those in poverty — the exact population that most lack government-issued photo ID.
    In 11 Alabama counties within the rural “black belt,” there are more than 60,000 eligible black voters but no driver’s license offices open more than two days per week. In Texas, in 32 counties near the Mexico border, there are 80,000 Hispanic eligible voters but only two such ID-issuing offices. Across the voter ID states, many of the offices with limited hours are located in rural areas with high concentrations of minority voters.

    There’s even one office, in Sauk City, Wisconsin, that’s open “only on the fifth Wednesday of any month. That would limit the office to being open just four days this year.” Sure, you can get a free voter ID, if you happen to have one of those four days free, have transportation, and already have the necessary documentation—birth certificate, marriage license, divorce decree—all lined up. [...]

    http://www.brennancenter.org/content/resource/study_500000_americans_could_face_significant_challenges_to_obtain_photo_id/

  12. voter says:

    I need to show ID to cash a check, pick up certified mail, renew my post office box, get into the airport, etc. I recall having to show ID for years when its time to vote. This isn’t new. And in the post-911 age ID seems to be needed for everything.
    get over it.

  13. SAM FIELDS says:

    DEAR VOTER

    YOU HAVE COMPLETELY MISSED THE POINT OF MY PIECE.

    TRY READING IT AGAIN

  14. Want to Remain Namelessss says:

    Sam,

    You should also analyze the severe cutbacks in the early voting days/hours. The Republicans believe it is the Democratic working class who would take advantage of the extend voting days. They successfully passed laws to restrict those too.

  15. ExCompassionate Conservative says:

    A long time ago I was a proud “Compassionate Conservative” until the GOP lost their mind as Charles Barkley said. This is from our former Gov.

    The voter ID mess subverts an American birthright
    By Charlie Crist, Published: July 20
    For better or worse, the central principle behind the unlimited contributions to super PACs that will dominate this election cycle is simple: Money is speech, and we cannot limit speech. Yet many who hold this freedom as an article of faith are all too willing to limit an equally precious form of speech: voting.

    If we don’t speak out against these abuses, we may soon learn the hard way the danger of that double standard. And a dozen years after the 2000 recount that went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, my state of Florida threatens to be ground zero one more time.

    As Florida’s attorney general from 2003 to 2007, I strongly enforced the laws against illegal voting. When swift action was necessary, I took it without hesitation. I did so out of respect for our democracy — voting is a precious right reserved only for U.S. citizens — but I’m concerned that zealots overreacting to contrived threats of voter fraud by significantly narrowing the voting pool are doing so with brazen disrespect and disregard for our greatest traditions.

    As a result of insidious political maneuvers and a lack of respect for voters, we in Florida have been entangled in litigation. The courts and the Justice Department have been required to step in this summer to protect the integrity of the voting process against a sweeping voter purge that the Florida Department of State undertook under the guise of removing non-U.S. citizens from the voter rolls. Among those caught up in this shameless purging and notified that he was not a U.S. citizen eligible to vote: a 91-year-old World War II veteran, Bill Internicola, who fought in the Battle of the Bulge and has proudly exercised his right to vote for many years.

    This is just the most recent example of a mean-spirited and all-too-partisan attempt to restrict access to the rolls and to the polls. A federal court also recently struck down provisions of a law Florida’s legislature passed in 2011, which put heavy burdens on organizations seeking to help voters: burdens that the court described as “harsh and impractical,” serving no purpose other than to make it harder for Americans to participate in the electoral process.

    These machinations make a mockery of the democracy we put on display every Election Day. The right to vote is the key to that democracy, giving value to the freedom of speech and making the freedom of religion and the right to assemble possible. When one takes away another’s right to vote, he is taking dead aim at democracy and undermining the very virtue that makes us the envy of the world.

    Including as many Americans as possible in our electoral process is the spirit of our country. It is why we have expanded rights to women and minorities but never legislated them away, and why we have lowered the voting age but never raised it. Cynical efforts at voter suppression are driven by an un-American desire to exclude as many people and silence as many voices as possible.

    Our country has never solved anything with less democracy, and we’re far better off when more citizens can access the polls — no matter which party mobilizes the most voters to them. As governor of Florida, I extended voting hours and increased the number of days people could vote. I also restored registration rights for felons, years after starting that effort in the state Senate with a member of the opposite party.

    I was a Republican at the time of those decisions, which didn’t make me many friends on my side. But when you do the right thing for the people, a political party’s concerns roll off your back quite easily.

    The right to choose our leaders is at the heart of what it means to be an American. Our history books are full of examples to the contrary. When we send independent observers to monitor for voter fraud in banana republics, we derive authority from our self-regard as the ideal. When we hear of corrupt voting practices in foreign countries, where the ideal of democracy is nothing more than lip service, we feel good about ourselves.

    It’s time to look right under our noses. It’s happening here at home. And it’s our responsibility to honestly assess the root of the problem — which requires doing so with as little partisan bias as we believe belongs in the administration of our elections.

    We can’t be surprised every time it turns out that politics are involved in our politics. But neither can we be silent when our democracy is threatened in its name.

    There are lines that should not be crossed; meddling with voting rights is one of them. It is un-American and it is beneath us.

  16. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:

    Friends:

    Have not contributed to this blog in a while but this subject caught my attention.

    Oregon is the only state in America where citizens can only vote by mail. They consistently generate greater voter turnout on average than other American states and their cost of administering elections is a fraction of what other states traditionally pay.

    Oregon gets more votes for less public cost and that’s a head turner for populists like me who realize that without greater voter turnout, keeping America strong and moving forward will be increasingly difficult to achieve.

    Since 2000, Oregon has recorded over 15 million votes by mail.

    According to public reports issued by Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown, several thousand allegations of voter fraud have been investigated during that time resulting in 9 prosecutions. Each of them resulted in convictions with sentences ranging from jail time, to stiff fines and deportation. Nine times.

    The reason is simple. Fraud by forged signature is not so easy a crime to get away with. If the elections office does their due diligence, as they must do in Oregon, they can detect where a signature is not right or, as is more often the case, not right at all. They follow up and when in doubt keep that vote in the provisional file until it can be authenticated.

    For my perfectionist friends, there is no such thing as a voting system that affordable to taxpayers and 100% impervious to fraud.

    Luckily, aiming for such an outcome is mathematically unnecessary. The notion that campaigns could ever organize systemic, widespread successful efforts of voter fraud by forgery — in person or by mail — is highly unlikely. And, at any rate, statistically speaking, even if no were voter fraud ever identified, same would impact the outcomes of only a tiny fraction of all elections.

    Far from dismissing any prospect of voter fraud, we should not allow that concern to be blown well outside of any sane proportion. Voter fraud is not by any means a huge problem that threatens the integrity of our elections. Gross exaggeration to the contrary, the concern must be contained within the very small risks that it presents. Overblown concern in this area is more likely a politically motivated red herring.

    The real problem in America is not voter fraud. It is getting more people to voting. Making voting more convenient. And making us the taxpayers pay less than we need to for reliable elections.

    That’s the election task we should be tackling. Still, I agree that there are always things we can to to improve voter integrity.

    The Charlotte Observer wrote a solid editorial recently in which they discuss the results of a study conducted by the Pew Research Center:

    “Pew proposes three initiatives [to reduce voter fraud]. First, registration lists should be continually compared to other data sources, including post office information about changes of address and, more controversially, private databases.

    Discrepancies should lead to double-checking. Data-matching techniques and security protocols should be used to ensure the accuracy and security of electronic registration files. And new ways should be found for voters to update their information online (or by telephone).

    The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law also has proposed a “one-stop, automated” registration system under which a variety of government agencies – not just motor vehicle departments – would provide information about voters to a database.

    Technology is not a panacea for increasing turnout or preventing fraud. But the Pew study suggests that the current antiquated registration system is both error-ridden and inconvenient to Americans seeking to exercise the franchise.”

    Doesn’t that make more sense than harassing decorated World War II veterans who are somehow suspected of not being eligible voters?

    Vote by mail is absolutely the way to go and we should do more of it. Not less. Peace.

    Angelo

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