In Florida, 2000-style voter-registration shenanigans yet again

Remember how the controversy over the 2000 election in Florida involved, among other things, the Florida Central Voter File, or “scrub list,” that disenfranchised thousands who happened to have a similar name to a convicted felon? And how minorities and the poor were disproportionately affected by it? W never would have taken the state without that. It would not even have been close. It was all covered in Greg Palast’s documentary film, Unprecedented.

Well, we just don’t learn very fast in this state. Eight years to get it right – but eight years of continuous Republican administration, Jeb Bush followed by Charlie Crist – and this happens:

From The Nation:

I don’t really see the problem here.If their registration doesn’t match the existing database information, they still can, as the article says,

“provide proof of their identity to their local board of elections. If they fail to do so before the election, they will have to vote by provisional ballot (and if they want their ballot to be counted, they’ll still need to provide the board with proof of their identity within 48 hours).”

I don’t think it’s unfair to make people who are registering to vote provide proof that they are who they claim to be.

But… but… but… that’s disenfranchisement! Everyone should be able to vote, regardless of their residency, status as a felon, or citizenship. Not even death should bar a voter from exercising his sacred right!

Seriously, of course, you’re exactly right. I love how the idea that requiring voter registrations match actual people’s names is somehow evil.

This is the law. It’s a reasonable and wise law, and it’s appropriate to enforce it.

Palast made a film for BBC Newsnight on the threats to the 2008 Election.

Part 1

Part 2

You know… it occurs to me how many requests for cites in this subject area lead back to articles by Greg Palast, articles quoting Greg Palast, bloggers infuriated after reading Greg Palast, and videos narrated by Greg Palast.

Clearly, Greg Palast is the world authority on the subject. I wonder if he’s considered training an apprentice so that his unique observational skills will not be lost to the world?

Yes, well, I’ve seen lots of purported “debunkings” of Michael Moore’s documentaries on the SDMB, but Greg Palast, AFAIK, has never been caught in, nor even seriously accused of, any significant error of fact, here or anywhere else.

Wow, what a worthwhile observation.

And I’m sure you’ll agree that your right to vote should not be taken away because some government drone committed a typo whilst entering your name into a database, too, right? Do you agree with that?

Of course, having followed the other “voter fraud” threads, I already know that you are unable to provide any evidence that any of this dreaded “voter fraud” is taking place.

Actually, we already know what the Republican plan is, and it has nothing to do with voter fraud. It’s all about wait times. The more people you can get on some list that you can give to your “poll watchers,” the more people you’ll be able to challenge on election day. The more people you challenge on election day, the more delay there will be in voting. The more delay there is, the longer the lines will be. The longer the lines are, the more people will see a line around the building, say screw it, and drive right past. Employ this strategy in Democratic precincts, and you’ve got yourself a perfectly legal means of voter suppression. One that you can come here the next day with your lawyer bullshit and crow about how it was all perfectly legal. It’s been happening here for years, and sometimes you’re even lucky enough to get Republican clerks to help out by giving fewer voting machines to the Democratic precincts than to the Republican ones, making the the lines even longer. It’s so funny how my wife, an election official who watches the polling place in our precinct like a hawk, has never seen a single person challenged, while downtown there are Republican “poll watchers” challenging almost every single person who walks through the door.

All you’ve done here is given your reprehensible bullshit voter suppression tactics the cover of law. It doesn’t make you a saint, you’re still the same dishonorable shitstain as before.

Well, sure, which is why somebody who’s registration is rejected can:

“provide proof of their identity to their local board of elections. If they fail to do so before the election, they will have to vote by provisional ballot (and if they want their ballot to be counted, they’ll still need to provide the board with proof of their identity within 48 hours).”

And while this was being explained to the person who showed up to vote in the same place he has voted for years, the line outside got a little bit longer, and a few more people who had to get to work had to leave. Which was all this law was intended to do anyway.

Of course, if you can provide a cite of one person who committed voter fraud in such a way that this law would have prevented, I’ll take you a little more seriously.

I think the law would better serve the rights of voters if it were a reasonable match. It’s foolishly optimistic to think that there would be no errors in the myriad databases — believe me, I know, I work in a medical billing office. Errors happen all the time, especially with names that are unfamiliar or that adhere to a different naming custom.

Take a name like Michael Smith — unlikely to be misspelled in the database.

Then take a name like Miguel Gonzalez-Santiago. He might be in there under Miguel Gonsalez, Miguel Gonzales, Miguel Gonzales-Santiago, Miguel Gonsalez-Santiago, Miguel Gonzalezsantiago, Miguel Gonzales Santiago, Miguel Gonzalez Santiago, and so on.

Take any name in Chinese, Japanese, Greek, Russian, or Arabic. They don’t romanize well. In addition, a common name like Phuong Nguyen might be in the computer as Nguyen Phuong, to make it adhere to the given-name-surname order of Western names.

We don’t track race data in our computer system, but as an unofficial eyeball of the naming trends, people with unusual names with more unique spellings (Uneeque, Jakkyb, Mickel, Shaniqua) tend more to be on welfare.

Any kind of “exact match with zero errors” system will favor voters with easy-to-spell names that are fully fluent in English and who have been long-time residents. I understand the desire to make certain that illegitimate votes are not counted, but throwing away 1,000 legitimate votes to catch 1 felon seems contrary to the principle that it is better that 1,000 criminals walk free than to convict 1 innocent man. An “exact match” system just feels like a de facto English literacy requirement.

Well, the person who showed up to vote in the same place he’s voted for years would already be on the voter rolls, so this law wouldn’t apply to him. And if the lines are too long so that people are being forced to leave, then the solution is to open up more polling places and get more voting machines, isn’t it?

All this suppression stuff pisses me off royally, and I’m a staunch Democrat, but I really don’t have much sympathy for people who don’t have valid ID. Not enough lack of sympathy to disenfranchise them, but it’s a very, very basic thing, and pretty damn lame to go around without it. Of course, I also believe it should be free to obtain (so it’s not some de facto poll tax), along with any other vital records pertaining to one’s self.

Just having recently watched the movie Recount, I’m inclined to tell anyone who wants to dismiss this matter as unimportant to go fuck themselves.

Through my work, I end up having to assist folks w/securing valid ID. Since 9-11, the regulations have gotten amazingly horrific. No problem if you had valid ID and never lose it, or get it stolen or destroyed. However - there’s plenty of scenarios where folks need to replace their ID.

So, let’s just say that through no fault of your own, you lose your ID (or it gets stolen/destroyed - fire in your home, car, pick pocket, whatever). First step to get replacement is certified copy of your birth certificate. I don’t have mine - do you have yours? If you don’t, you need to get it. If you live in your birth state, no problem, just go in person to the appropriate office and show your ID - oh wait, you lost it. IF you were born in another state and have to purchase it through mail or on line, once again, IME, you again have to photocopy your ID in order to prove you are allowed to have it.

Let’s say you got over that hurdle. Great!
Next up in my jurisdiction - school records. Great if you’re 17. Not so much if you’re 45. Again, if you don’t have any, just go to the place where you went to school and show your ID… oh yea.

In my jurisdiction, you also have to prove residency - like w/utiitliy bills (not cell phone) or bank records. But, of course, if you’re poor, you’re unlikely to have utilitiy bills in your name and/or a bank account. What I found especially ironic w/the folks I work w/ (former prisoners), the fact they’d been imprisoned in the state for the past x years and were on parole and not allowed to leave the state, and their parole order stipulated an address that a State employee had physically checked out to insure it was ok, wasn’t sufficient proof.

For me, I’ve since kept every expired ID I had and squirreled them away just in case.

Yeah; I guess I should have considered all of that. :o Of course, that sort of thing plays into the “we need a Federal ID” thing, which is a can of worms I don’t even want to take off the shelf. It’s a real sticky wicket.

They’ve never had Republican poll watchers that I know of in my precinct, which is something like 2/3s Democrat, but it’s also suburban, mostly white and middle-class, so why would they? :rolleyes:

Mmm-hmm. And whom do you expect to enact that solution?

My driver’s license still has my old address on it, but my voter registration has my current address. So would this mean I couldn’t vote if I lived in Florida? I mean, I could show them my ID, but it would still have my old address on it…

So with tens of thousands of people being told to cast provisional ballots, is the board of elections set up to handle the number of people stopping by 48 hours after the elections to prove themselves? And, of course, these citizens who have done nothing wrong other than been the victim of a typo have nothing better to do with their Wednesday and Thursday than stand in long lines at the board of elections.

Of course.

But no one has really said how that might happen. If my name doesn’t match, I’m told to cast a provisional ballot – which I happily do. Then I go clear up the error, and voila! My provisional ballot gets counted.


Don’t like the law? Change the law.