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”.