Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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July 16, 2004
By: Kevin Drum

JEB AND THE FELONS....Publius at Legal Fiction has a post from yesterday that so perfectly summarizes my own feelings that I'm just going to draft him into service as a guest poster:


I fear I've become too jaded to get outraged anymore, but if I weren't, I would surely be outraged by this. Billmon has an excellent post on the recent schemings of Jeb Bush's Florida machine. As Billmon explains, Florida refined its list of felons who could not vote (in light of the abuses in 2000), but refused to submit copies of that list to the press. CNN sued and eventually obtained the copies of the list, which lo and behold, had a bunch of African-Americans but almost no Latinos. Here's the article that Billmon links to:

The state had tried to keep the list a secret. It fought a lawsuit aimed at opening the records to the public. A series of errors emerged once a Tallahassee judge rejected the state's arguments and released the records on July 1. The error that proved final and garnered national attention was that Hispanics were largely overlooked because of glitches ["glitches" would be more appropriate] in how the state records information about race and ethnicity. The list was created by cross-checking voter registration and criminal records. Of the more than 47,000 voters on the potential felon list, Hispanics made up one tenth of 1 percent this in a state where nearly 1 in 5 residents is Hispanic. Florida Secretary of State Glenda Hood issued a written statement Saturday saying the exclusion of Hispanics was "unintentional and unforeseen." "We are deeply concerned and disappointed that this has occurred," Hood said. . . . Many Hispanic voters vote Republican.

The Cuban population votes overwhelmingly Republican. And I suspect that's why only 50 yes, 50 Latinos were on a list of 47,000 names.


It's really true, isn't it? Sometimes your outrage meter just redlines and then stalls and then you stare blankly at your computer screen for a while and finally decide to go watch People's Court instead of blogging about anything for a while.

I'm just kidding about that People's Court thing, of course, but I'm glad Legal Fiction prompted me to post about this. I mean, really, think about what happened: we're in Florida, site of the biggest election meltdown in the country's history. An inaccurate list of felons is a big part of the meltdown. The state, headed by the president's brother, promises to do better in 2004. The eyes of the nation are on them. The state produces a new list. But....

It won't show the list to anyone. In fact, it resists showing the list with all the power at its disposal. Finally, when it no longer has any choice due to a lawsuit and a judge's order, it gives up the list. And....

It's wrong again! In a way that just happens to favor Republicans! Again! But it was just a mistake, honest! We are deeply concerned and disappointed! Honest!

Sometimes it's just more than you can stand.

POSTSCRIPT: By the way, if you aren't reading Legal Fiction, you should be. Publius is "a law clerk in the South" and writes consistently good, thought provoking stuff. It deserves a place on your bookmark list.

Kevin Drum 6:47 PM Permalink | Trackbacks

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