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June 01, 2012 12:53 PM Nobody Here But Us Anti-Fraud Crusaders

By Ed Kilgore

The feigned puzzlement emanating from Rick Scott’s full-time professional franchise-reducers in Florida to a Justice Department letter demanding the opportunity to review its latest voter-roll “purge” as a potential violation of the Voting Rights Act is pretty hilarious.

In a statement, [Florida Secretary of State spokesman] Chris Cate said the decision to remove names from the list was essential to preventing non-citizens from casting ballots illegally.
“The Department of State has a duty under both state and federal laws to ensure that Florida’s voter registration rolls are current and accurate. Therefore, identifying ineligible voters is something we are always doing,” Cate wrote.
He added that the action was not meant to prevent minority voters from voting.
“The political party and race of the potential non-citizens is not a factor at all in our process,” Cate wrote. “We are only concerned about identifying ineligible voters and making sure they can’t cast a ballot.”

Yeah, right: Florida has nothing to hide or explain. That’s why the State joined other Republican-governed jurisdictions in seeking to strike down the Voting Rights Act provision requiring federal oversight of changes in voting procedures in places where Jim Crow used to reign.

This is one of those topics where it would be nice for the news media to act a little less stupidly. Republicans undertake multiple efforts to make voting harder for the very people the Voting Rights Act was intended to protect, citing a “voter fraud” threat they have never been able to document. Then they cry foul when called to account for it, even as they seek to undermine or eliminate the laws keeping them from doing whatever they want to harass inconvenient voters. Yet much of the coverage falls right into the “he said she said” groove that treats unambiguous anti-voting actions and imaginary fraud threats as equally credible.

But at a minimum, we should demand a little more incredulity at the spectacle of Republicans in Florida, of all places, expressing shock that anyone would question their motives in conducting an election-year purge of the voting rolls. 2000 really wasn’t that long ago.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

Comments

  • Burr Deming on June 01, 2012 1:08 PM:

    Republicans are about eliminating election fraud, except where they're not.

  • 2Manchu on June 01, 2012 1:18 PM:

    Aren't these the same Florida GOP geniuses that wanted welfare recipients to take drug tests, and then found out that the VAST MAJORITY of those recipients were drug-free?

    Maybe it's that brain-eating bacteria that they have in the lakes down there.

  • Celui on June 01, 2012 1:28 PM:

    Aw, gee, guys. Let's just call it for what it really is: blatant racism. End of story, except that the MSM can't/won't take up the story in that vein because they're part of the story themselves. And, yes, I do remember quite well 2000.

  • SecularAnimist on June 01, 2012 1:39 PM:

    Ed Kilgore wrote: "This is one of those topics where it would be nice for the news media to act a little less stupidly."

    This is one of those topics where it would be nice for sensible liberal bloggers to act a little less stupidly, and acknowledge that the corporate media is actively aiding and abetting yet another theft of a presidential election by the Republicans through voter disenfranchisement.

  • ckelly on June 01, 2012 1:45 PM:

    This is one of those topics where it would be nice for the news media to act a little less stupidly.

    Don't hold your breath.

    Oh, and what Secular said.

  • gus on June 01, 2012 2:18 PM:

    Then, yeah, call it what it is:
    If the media isn’t actively or pro-actively explaining this years-long trend of voter disenfranchisement. Then guess what? The media is part of the problem.

    Now, before you think: Duh, of course, you idiot!

    What good is a media that does not accurately inform people about how their rights are being stepped upon?

    Rule 5 of the Civil Rights Act is there for a reason; there’s a history in those states of screwing people over. If the media can’t simply explain the Whys and What is going on then it should be accused in being complicit in allowing what seems to be institutionalized racist actions to occur.

    I don’t care how corporate owned media might think it does not have the responsibility to call this state trend a throwback to Jim Crow. If it wants to allow something like it to occur then the media is allowing racism to occur. As an institution, you’d think the media wouldn’t want to be complicit in getting stained with an anti-rights label.

    But, I guess the problem is there are on Federal government offices in charge of checking crap like voter purges. Obviously, to the media, especially political journalists, that means less than if the NRA is involved. If the NRA was involved then somehow it would truly be a big story. But, it is only about Civil Rights. There’s no reason to pay attention to that unless it involves an anniversary and MLK.

    Editorial boards and heads of broadcast news bureaus would be best to get their heads out of the sand on this issue and actually reporting on these events. Unless there is a correction in coverage, this is not a problem that history will look back on and be kind to journalism. It is about the basics of Democracy. And, the problem (political through and through) isn’t difficult to explain.

  • bluestatedon on June 01, 2012 2:28 PM:

    "Editorial boards and heads of broadcast news bureaus would be best to get their heads out of their asses on this issue..."

    FIFY.

    The abysmal coverage of this issue by "professional journalists" is a perfect example of the overwhelmingly rotten state of corporate/mainstream journalism in this country. It's nothing more than stenography, and totally useless as a result. I put NPR in with the rest of the losers; any network that regularly highlights the smug, arrogant posturings and blatherings of Beltway clowns like David Brooks and Cokie Roberts is not worth listening to.

  • T2 on June 01, 2012 2:30 PM:

    the people yelling Voter Fraud the loudest are the people engaged in voter fraud/disenfranchisement. Classic Conservative/Rove misdirection. The fact that it is so transparent indicates that the Media is also as aware of it as we are, which in turn indicates their owners choose to look away. They Choose to ignore it.

  • bluestatedon on June 01, 2012 2:50 PM:

    "Republicans are about eliminating election fraud, except where they're not."

    Don't forget the wonderful story of Thaddeus McCotter's extravagantly bogus petition signatures: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/05/29/1095632/-MI-11-MI-POTUS-BREAKING-Obama-up-McCotter-has-some-splainin-to-do-

  • sick-n-effn-tired. on June 01, 2012 3:07 PM:

    Most of the non internet non blogger types I talked to (here in Florida) went Huh? If they don't see that 30 second clip on their nightly or local Nooze they don't know about it (forget newspapers) If we could only attach a missing blond or a tweeted picture of somebody's penis to the news maybe it would get some attention by the MSM.

    Quick -over there shiny object!, shiny object!

  • biggerbox on June 01, 2012 4:23 PM:

    “The political party and race of the potential non-citizens is not a factor at all in our process,”

    Right. I'm sure that there are plenty of Irish surnames on the list that you sent to counties, to catch illegals from all over the world. Yup. I bet.

    How do they say these things without cracking up?

  • pjcamp on June 02, 2012 1:28 AM:

    It's long past time that federal elections were run by the federal government and not the goddamn states. None of this should be up to states. It isn't right that one person could or could not have the franchise depending on where they live.