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More Good 'Obamacare' News for Terrified Dems
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GNR Special Coverage: The UN Inter- governmental Panel on Climate Change Report on Mitigation: costs, risks, and opportunities. Is it too late avoid climate catastrophe?...
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GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

Criminal GOP Voter Registration Fraud Probe Expanding in VA
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Arrest in VA: GOP Voter Reg Scandal Widens
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ALL TOGETHER: ROVE, SPROUL, KOCHS, RNC
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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


Manatee County closes polling places in minority districts...
By Brad Friedman on 2/11/2014 12:39pm PT  

On the heels of Florida's Republican Sec. of State Ken Detzner blocking the usage of the student union at the University of Florida in Gainesville as an early voting site for the upcoming March special election, local Republican election officials elsewhere in the state are also working to reduce access to the voting booth this year (for certain voters).

From Josh Israel at Think Progress...

On a party-line vote, a Florida county's Republican majority Board of County Commissioners voted Tuesday to eliminate almost one-third of Manatee County's voting sites. The board accepted a proposal by Supervisor of Elections Mike Bennett (R) by a 6-1 vote to trim the number of precincts, despite unanimous public testimony against the move - and complaints by the lone Democratic Commissioner that it would eliminate half of the polling places in his heavily minority District 2.
...
In the public comment section of the meeting, all ten speeches strongly opposed the move. Representatives of the local NAACP and Southern Christian Leadership Council warned that the cuts would decrease voter turnout because voters would have to travel further to a polling place, especially among the elderly and people without cars, and noted that the cuts disproportionately affected minority-heavy precincts.
...
Bennett assured the commission that if lines are longer in 2014 as a result of these changes, he would ask them to revisit the decision in 2015, before the 2016 elections.

Manatee's Supervisor of Elections Bennett, as Israel points out, is no stranger to voter suppression. In fact, he seems to rather love it. While serving as a State Senator in 2011, he endorsed a Republican bill to limit early voting during the 2012 Presidential election by explaining: "I wouldn't have any problem making it harder. I would want them to vote as badly as I want to vote. I want the people of the state of Florida to want to vote as bad as that person in Africa who's willing to walk 200 miles...This should not be easy."

Hmmm..."That person in Africa". Just a common turn of phrase, apparently.

That 2011 bill was eventually passed, signed by Florida's Republican Gov. Rick Scott and successfully created hours-long lines for (certain) voters in the Sunshine State in 2012.

As we noted in our coverage last week of SoS Detzner's recent refusal to allow thousands of UF students to vote early at their own student union --- forcing the many car-less students to try and vote at a polling location five miles away instead --- both Scott and his hand-picked Sec. of State "had once pretended to be embarrassed about the long lines they caused (and refused to correct) at the polls during the 2012 election".

Those days of pretending to give a damn about voting rights must be over for some Florida Republicans, however, particularly with Scott up for re-election this year and his polling numbers looking fairly bleak against his likely challenger, former Republican Governor turned Democratic candidate Charlie Crist.

* * *
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By Brad Friedman on 2/7/2014 1:10pm PT  

Ian Millhiser notes today that Florida Gov. Rick Scott's hand-picked Sec. of State Ken Detzner is still working hard to keep certain voters there from voting in the upcoming special election in March.

While both Scott and Detzner had once pretended to be embarrassed about the long lines they caused (and refused to correct) at the polls during the 2012 election, it turns out, even with Scott facing re-election this year, the pair are still working hard to suppress the vote in the Sunshine State...

Gainesville, Florida, in an attempt to avoid the six-hour lines that characterized last Election Day, sought approval to use the University of Florida's student union as an early voting site. Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner denied the request, sparking outrage.

Detzner justified the decision by claiming that the Reitz student union does not fit the list of eligible early voting sites, which was expanded last year to reduce lines. Now, municipalities can use fairgrounds, government-owned community centers, convention centers, stadiums, courthouses, civic centers, and county commission buildings. "The terms 'convention center' and 'government-owned community center' cannot be construed so broadly as to include the Reitz Union," the state's Division of Elections argued.

Local officials contend that the Reitz Union qualifies as a government-owned community center, as it is part of a public university.

"I'm very upset about this," Polk County Supervisor of Elections Lori Edwards told the Tampa Bay Times. "I just can't understand why they feel the need to be so restrictive about where people are allowed to vote...This is strategic. They're worried about young people voting."

Instead, UF students will have to travel more than five miles off campus in order to cast their vote in the March special election --- a difficult trip for a mostly car-less population.

The Tampa Bay Times reports that the Reitz student union is "used as a regular voting precinct in county, state and national elections. About 50,000 students attend UF, and the city said the request to use the Reitz Union for early voting came from a group of students."

Deirdre Macnab, president of the League of Women Voters, called the decision "jaw dropping".

The Times quotes Senate Ethics & Elections Chairman Jack Latvala (R), described as the sponsor of SB 600, "the 2013 law that expanded early voting sites", claiming that "we really did not specifically allow for [early voting sites] to be on campus."

However, HB 7013 (the companion bill in the FL House to SB 600, the one that was actually passed and signed into law) says nothing about disallowing early voting cites that are on campus. It reads specifically (see page 25 [PDF])...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Gov. Rick Scott and SoS Ken Detzner under fire yet again
'Not worth the paper it's printed on,' one of the defiant officials tells The BRAD BLOG...
By Brad Friedman on 12/4/2013 6:35am PT  

At this point, the slogan for Republican Secretaries of State around the country seems to be: "If it ain't broke, break it!"

That's certainly the case in Florida, where Sec. of State Ken Detzner --- fresh off his and Governor Rick Scott's embarrassing and failed 2012 purge of supposed "non-citizen voters" from the rolls (with another more recent attempt underway since then) --- is at it again. And this time, Detzner seems to be facing a full-blown uprising from county Supervisors of Elections (SOE) refusing to carry out a new directive which would make it more difficult for absentee voters to cast their ballot.

The elected SOEs are claiming that the new directive by Detzner, an appointee of Gov. Rick Scott (R), was neither asked for nor necessary under state law. They Supervisors have also denied Detzner's initial claim that the directive was issued in response to requests by two SOEs.

Last week, Detzner issued a directive [PDF] to county SOEs instructing them that they may no longer allow voters to use secured remote absentee ballot drop-off stations created at locations like public libraries and tax-collectors offices. Suddenly, according to Detzner's new rules, all absentee ballots must either be mailed in, or dropped off at county election offices.

The directive was issued just prior to an upcoming special election to replace the late, long-serving Republican Congressman Bill Young in the 13th Congressional District, and it has led to both suspicion for its motives, and somewhat of a bi-partisan mutiny from election officials, leading one well-known Florida SOE to respond tersely to The BRAD BLOG's request for comment last week this way: "I do have a comment, legally it's not worth the paper it's printed on"...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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10% of voting age population, 23% of African-Americans...
By Brad Friedman on 9/26/2013 6:04pm PT  

If you can't beat 'em...take away their right to vote. [Emphasis added]...

The struggle to protect the fundamental right to vote for people with a felony conviction is nothing new in this country, but has now reached a crisis level.
...
Florida, unsurprisingly, has one of the worst records when it comes to felon re-enfranchisement. While other states revoke the right to vote of a person convicted of a felony most states restore voting rights once a person has completed his or her sentence, and provide a streamlined process for restoration of rights. Florida, in contrast, has erected a convoluted, antiquated and ineffective system which makes it virtually impossible for anyone to get his or her rights restored. The result is that tens of thousands of applications for rights restoration have remained in limbo for years. Election after election passes, with fewer and fewer Florida citizens able to participate.

Earlier this month, the ACLU and other civil rights organizations detailed the crisis of felon disfranchisement and the barriers to rights restoration in a Shadow Report submitted to the UN Committee on Human Rights, explaining U.S. non-compliance with its obligations as a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). The report highlights how, as of 2010, Florida has disfranchised more than 1.5 million citizens due to a felony conviction – amounting to 10.42 percent of the state's voting age population and 23.3 percent of Florida's African-American voting age population.

The arbitrary nature of Florida's rights restoration process is best illustrated by how the change in the state's administration – from Gov. Charlie Crist to Gov. Rick Scott – resulted in a shift from 115,000 grants of rights restoration in 2007 to a shutdown in the process in 2011, with the current governor denying or rendering ineligible the overwhelming majority of applications.

Good thing they don't have close elections in Florida.

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By Ernest A. Canning on 6/17/2013 2:15pm PT  

In a ruling hailed by voting rights advocates today, Arizona's requirement that newly registered voters submit proof of citizenship with their registration has been struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in a 7-2 decision. Justice Antonin Scalia authored the opinion for the majority, while Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito dissented.

The court rejected provisions of Proposition 200, a ballot measure approved by AZ voters in 2004, which mandated that state election officials reject all applications to register to vote that did not include documentary proof of citizenship. Those documents, however, are not currently required by the Federal Form for voter registration, as approved by the Elections Assistance Commission (EAC) pursuant to provisions of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA).

Today's ruling in Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona [PDF], is grounded upon the plenary power given to Congress by the Elections Clause (Art. I §4 of the U.S. Constitution) empowering Congress to preempt state regulations governing the "Times, Places and Manner" of holding federal elections. The court found that the NVRA mandate that states "accept and use" the Federal Form for voter registration takes precedence, and that Prop 200 is invalid because it conflicts with the Congressional intent that the NVRA help ease the ability of citizens to register to vote.

Writing for the majority, Justice Scalia observed that if a state could "demand of Federal Form applicants every additional piece of information the State requires…the Federal Form ceases to perform any meaningful function, and would be a feeble means of 'increas[ing] the number of eligible citizens who register to vote in elections for Federal office.'"

This does not close the door on the issue altogether, however. Justice Scalia noted that, pursuant to the NVRA, any state can ask that "the EAC alter the Federal Form to include information the State deems necessary to determine eligibility." If the EAC then rejects such a request, the state "may challenge the EAC's rejection of that request [in court]"...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Seeks to extend Early Voting he restricted for 2012 election...
By Brad Friedman on 1/17/2013 4:23pm PT  

No irony here at all.

Florida's discredited 'Tea Party' Republican Gov. Rick Scott --- the man who restricted voter registration until blocked by a federal judge; attempted to remove thousands of legal voters from the rolls; presided over 6 hour voting lines after cutting Early Voting days in half and refusing to extend those Early Voting hours despite those completely predictable lines, and even went to federal court to (unsuccessfully) uphold even further restrictions on Early Voting
--- issued a statement today endorsing election reforms in the Sunshine State.

The statement calls for extending Early Voting (back to what it had been before he restricted) and included the straight-faced announcement that "Our ultimate goal must be to restore Floridians’ confidence in our election system."

Yes, the man who destroyed the tenuous confidence that had been restored in Florida's election system by former Republican Gov. Charlie Crist, is now calling for reforms to hasten the restoration of "Floridian's confidence in our election system."

All of this, as luck would have it, comes just in time for both the mid-term elections in 2014 and the incredibly unpopular Governor's own re-election contest that same year.

Lucky him!

Scott's full, embarrassing statement on his recommendations for improving the electoral system that he almost single-handedly screwed up, on purpose, follows below...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Calls GOP's 'massive fraud' assertions 'laughable'...
By Brad Friedman on 11/28/2012 1:27pm PT  

FL's former Republican Gov. Charlie Crist says the GOP's suggestion "that there's some massive fraud going on" by Florida voters is "laughable".

Rachel Maddow's entire intro and interview with Crist last night is very much worth watching, and so we'll post both at the bottom of this article. But one point in particular during the interview with the Republican-turned-independent needs to be highlighted here.

Longtime readers of The BRAD BLOG will recall that it was the progressive Crist who, during his time as Governor in the Sunshine State, among other things, restored voting rights for former felons in the state, expanded early voting hours and even banned all 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting systems for use other than as disabled-accessible voting systems for those who might wish to use them (in order to meet the disability voting requirements in the horrible federal Help America Vote Act of 2002).

The contrast couldn't be more stark from his successor, the reprehensible current Governor Rick Scott, who spent much of this past election year rolling back Crist's improvement to the voting system, in an attempt to keep legal, Democratic-leaning voters from being able to cast their vote at all, as even other Republican officials in the state are now beginning to admit out loud.

In the following, powerful clip from Maddow's full interview last night, she asks Crist, as the former Republican Governor of Florida, about the ridiculously transparent claims by the GOP that restrictions on voter registration, the right to vote by former felons, and the shortening of early voting is "only about voter fraud" and "voting integrity."

"Is it clear to you that is just bunk?," she asks Crist who replies directly in turn: "It's crystal clear to me. You couldn't be more right, in my humble opinion. And, you know, we can say this about all these road bloacks that are put in the way of people exercising their right to vote, and we saw it in a dramatic fashion this last Election Day in Florida"...


Rachel Maddow's full intro to the interview with Charlie Christ, describing how and why he was purged by the party (likely had something to do with his progressive position on democracy!) and the full 11/27/12 interview with the former Republican FL Governor, both follow below...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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So who will head up the CRIMINAL investigation? Karl Rove?...
By Brad Friedman on 11/11/2012 2:10pm PT  

Florida's Republican Governor Rick Scott's announcement yesterday would be somewhat akin to George W. Bush asking then FEMA Chief, Michael "Heckuva Job" Brown to head up a review of how FEMA and the Federal government performed in responding to Hurricane Katrina. Or, perhaps asking Karl Rove or Dick Cheney to get to the bottom of that whole Valerie Plame outing thing.

The only worse, less independent person who could possibly be chosen to head up a "review" of what went wrong in this year's disastrous election in Florida would be Scott himself.

But since his hand-picked Sec. of State Ken Detzner carried out every single one of Scott's horrendous, un-American orders to restrict voting and voter registration and to try and toss eligible voters off the rolls this year, resulting in even active-duty military voters getting purged, all while ignoring actual, massive voter registration fraud carried out by the Republican Party of Florida itself (until it could no longer be ignored), it may as well be Scott himself in charge of this so-called "review" in which Detzner has been assigned to tell us all why it was that, among other things, voters were still in line trying to cast their votes at 2am on Wednesday morning in Miami-Dade, even as the President of the United States was delivering his re-election victory speech in Chicago.

Heckuva job, Scottie!

Scott has already, repeatedly since Election Day, declared that he did "the right thing" by slashing Early Voting from 14 days to just 8 in Florida this year, and then refusing to expand those hours on the weekend before the election --- unlike both of his Republican predecessors Governors Charlie Crist and even Jeb Bush --- once it became clear that voters were standing in line for 6, 7 hours and longer simply trying to cast their vote...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Problem no better in OH...
By Brad Friedman on 11/4/2012 4:13pm PT  

South Florida, this weekend, 2012...

This is just shameful. Embarrassing for the entire nation. Again. How FL Governor Rick Scott and Ken Detzner, both Republicans, sleep at night I cannot imagine. That, even after both of their Republican predecessors, Governors Charlie Crist and Jeb Bush had the decency to extend early voting hours when lines began snaking around the block in previous years (and we've never had much good to say about Jeb Bush's administration of elections!)

Scott cut Early Voting from 14 days in 2008 to just 8 days this year in the Sunshine State because, apparently, there was just too damned much voting and democracy and stuff going on in 2008.

As Scott refuses to budge, despite the hours-long lines to vote --- as much as 6 hours in many places --- Democrats have been forced to go to court to sue for expanded Early Voting hours at the last minute, as Lizette Alvarez details at New York Times. A judge has already granted four additional hours in one county, after Early Voting had to be temporarily stopped there for a number of hours due to a suspicious object, which had to be detonated by the bomb squad, was left at one of the polling place. But, ultimately, the suits will most likely be too little, too late at this point.

This all comes on the heels of Scott severely restricting voter registration drives, attempting to even further restrict Early Voting hours, and falsely attempting to purge legitimate voters over the past year and, as we noted yesterday, even purging active duty military voters from the rolls in the bargain.

Last night, in a special Saturday broadcast, MNSBC's Rachel Maddow detailed this weekend's Florida disgrace...


Be sure to notice the scenes --- documented in photo after photo, at Early Voting polling place after polling place in the video above --- of lines around the block with people trying to do nothing more than simply cast their vote in the Presidential Election in Florida. Imagine how many voters saw those lines and simply decided not to bother, or were too elderly or infirm to be able to stand there for six hours.

Well, at least it's not like Florida is a state with a history of close elections, or one that's expected to be close at all this year. Most importantly, remember: "We are the world's greatest democracy", right?

Oh...and as Ari Berman has been reporting from on the ground, in Ohio, where Republican Sec. of State Jon Husted has similarly attempted to restrict as much Early Voting as possible, the problems at this hour are not much better.

Cuyahoga County, Ohio, this weekend, 2012...

Columbus, Ohio, this weekend, 2012...


[via Michael Finnegan, LA Times]

And here are still more breathtaking photos of Early Voting lines in Ohio. I can't express enough my respect for those folks who are able to endure 6-hour lines to vote. Neither can I even imagine how countless-many simply choose not to.

* * *
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By Brad Friedman on 11/2/2012 1:03pm PT  

Via Laura Conaway at MaddowBlog...

After days of long lines and long waits for early voting, Florida Democrats asked Governor Rick Scott, a Republican, to extend early voting. It now ends on Saturday, because Republicans cut the number of days for early voting in half. Citing heavy turnout, Dems and League of Women Voters asked Governor Scott to restore voting this Sunday, the last day for "Souls to the Polls" drives before the election.

Governor Scott said no. From the Broward/Palm-Beach New Times:

"Early voting will end Saturday night," Scott told reporters in response to the request. "But I want everybody to get out to vote."

Scott's Republican predecessor, Governor Charlie Christ, extended early voting in 2008 because voters were waiting in line for several hours. Then Barack Obama won the state, and Florida Republicans decided fewer days would be better somehow.

The Palm Beach Post also notes:

The attempt to hold down Democratic turnout is obvious. In prior years, more Democrats than Republicans have taken advantage of early voting. Many African-American church congregations organized trips to the polls after Sunday services.

So, this year Republicans allowed only one Sunday of early voting.

And Michael Grunwald from Time's "Swampland" blog described his own experience attempting to Early Vote under the new Republican regime in Florida earlier this week:

I tried to vote early on Saturday, but there were two-hour lines at the only open polling station in South Beach. So I gave up. I tried again Monday, but the wait was still an hour and a half. So I decided to come back Tuesday. It took 45 minutes in line, plus 15 minutes wading through 10 pages of intentionally incomprehensible ballot questions, but I voted. If I didn’t have such a flexible work schedule—and if I didn’t write about public policy for a living—maybe I wouldn’t have.

The fight to simply cast a vote this year in the United States is a disgrace. One which the world, once again, is watching.

* * *

UPDATE 11/4/12: Disgraceful. Voters forced to wait 6 hours to Early Vote in Democratic-leaning county after Democratic-leaning county. Take a look at the pictures in Maddow's coverage Saturday night below...


* * *
Please support The BRAD BLOG's fiercely independent, award-winning coverage of your electoral system, as available from no other media outlet in the nation, with a donation to help us keep going (Snail mail, more options here). If you like, we'll send you some great, award-winning election integrity documentary films in return! Details right here...

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Blistering letter slams Republican Guv's 'shocking and hypocritical' silence, lack of action after 'supposed search for voter fraud'...
By Brad Friedman on 10/1/2012 9:49pm PT  

In a scathing letter to Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R), Congressman Ted Deutch (D-FL19) is demanding the Governor "immediately appoint a bipartisan task force" to investigate and take action on the "the large and apparently growing voter fraud scandal engulfing the Republican Party of Florida."

"Given the explicitly partisan nature of this scandal, assurances must be provided to all Floridians that the investigation into these allegations is thorough and fair," Deutch writes in his letter (posted in full below), before criticizing Scott for his silence, to date, on the matter.

"So far, your inaction in the face of this scandal suggests that you are putting partisanship ahead of the integrity of Florida’s elections," charges the Congressman.

"Allegations surrounding Strategic Allied Consulting alarmingly suggest that Democratic forms were destroyed by its workers and only Republican forms were submitted. Further allegations exist that workers were illegally given quotas of new voters to register, that many forms had similar handwriting with incorrect information, and that even deceased individuals were registered."

"Even more disturbing is the possibility that the fraud discovered in Florida really just scratches the surface of a national strategy executed by Strategic Allied Consulting at the direction of the Republican National Committee and Governor Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign."

Deutch slams Scott in the missive for his "shocking and hypocritical" lack of action since the GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal first surfaced early last week, when we first reported on more than 100 apparently fraudulent registration forms submitted in Palm Beach County, FL, by Strategic Allied Consulting, the firm owned by longtime controversial GOP operative Nathan Sproul. The firm accounted for the Republican Party of Florida's top expenditure so far this year. The FL GOP paid the firm some $1.3 million for voter registration across the state over the past two months.

The FL GOP says they hired the firm --- headed up by Mitt Romney's paid political consultant, whose companies have a long history of allegations against them for destroying Democratic voter registrations in multiple states --- at the request of the Republican National Committee. Like the FL GOP, the RNC, which paid the firm $3 million for voter registration in five key battleground states since July, fired Strategic late last week.

Since then, apparently fraudulent registration forms, many with addresses changed so that voters could be disenfranchised come November 6th, have been discovered in at least 11 FL counties, along with charges of destroyed Democratic registration forms surfacing in Colorado and Nevada. The company was employed in those states as well as North Carolina and Virginia to carry out voter registration. Sproul has said the RNC asked him to create the new company to hide his ownership of it.

Deutch pulls no punches in his criticism of the Florida Governor, who has otherwise pretended to be concerned about voter registration fraud in the Sunshine State, in his letter today:

Your silence and inaction are shocking and hypocritical considering you have spent the last year in an expensive and highly controversial effort to purge legitimate citizens from our rolls in a supposed search to find “voter fraud.” Your efforts to purge 182,000 individuals from our voting rolls continued until we discovered that the list was nakedly partisan and so error-ridden that it contained the names of tens of thousands of legitimate voters, including small business owners and a decorated World War II hero. Now, when an actual voter fraud scheme has apparently been discovered in our state, there is neither room nor time for the partisan allegiances that typically guide your Administration’s actions.

Deutch goes on to list five actions the Congressman says are needed "immediately" to help contain the scandal, restore confidence in the state's electoral process, and help to "prove that you care about voter fraud even if involves the Florida Republican Party, the Republican National Committee, and Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign."

(One gentle note to the good Congressman, since we'd hate to incur his wrath and receive a similarly scathing letter: The concern in the state of Florida right now, and in the other states where the RNC's company was operating, is voter registration fraud, not "voter fraud." There is no evidence of fraud by any voters at this time. They are doing fine and have borne the brunt of more than enough inappropriate accusations already this year. Please leave them alone. Thank you.)

* * *

The complete text of Congressman Ted Deutch's 10/1/12 letter to Gov. Rick Scott, follows in full below...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Top state officials claiming voter purge needed to deter fraud, seemingly disinterested in actual fraud by Romney-tied firm
Susan Bucher offers exclusive new details on disturbing GOP election scheme...
By Brad Friedman on 9/27/2012 5:35am PT  

Given the rampage that state officials in Florida have been on over the past year to purge voter rolls of illegal, supposedly "non-citizen" voter registrations in the state, and the draconian restrictions they've attempted to place on third-party voter registration workers and organizations, in a supposed attempt to curb voter registration fraud, you'd think they'd be all over this week's revelations of at least 100 apparently fraudulent registration forms turned in by a third-party voter registration organization in Palm Beach County.

If you think that, however, you'd be wrong. At least that's the indication that Palm Beach County Supervisor of Election Susan Bucher gave me on Wednesday when I interviewed her on KPFK/Pacifica Radio's BradCast concerning the fraudulent registration applications turned in to her office by a firm hired by the Florida state GOP at the request of the Republican National Committee. [My full interview is posted at the end of this article.]

"I haven't heard from anybody --- the Assistant Secretary [of State] or the Secretary [of State] --- and, ya know, we've had a couple of days and I know they have other things on their plate, but I would think this would be a front-burner issue as well," she told me.

Bucher had informed the office of Ken Detzner, Republican Gov. Rick Scott's hand-picked Secretary of State, about the fraudulent registration forms --- featuring "similarities in the signatures and certain characteristics in the applications that were very disturbing," as she described them to me --- on Monday morning "in an effort to inform them prior to my meeting with the State Attorney."

"I called on Monday morning and left both my office and my cell phone and I've yet to hear from that office," she said during our Wednesday, 6pm ET interview a full three days later.

She explained that there is no longer anyone heading up the State Division of Elections. "We're not real clear [why], but they're not there anymore," she said. "They left right before the Primary election and that position has remained open. But the contact person that we were supposed to have is the Assistant Secretary [of State]. I left him a message on Monday morning and the phone call was never returned. I haven't heard from them yet."

Bucher noted, however, that the state has just given her office 14 more names of "suspected non-citizen" voters that she is supposed to contact with a letter telling them that they must prove their citizenship within 30 days or be removed from the rolls 30 days later.

As The BRAD BLOG covered in great detail earlier this year, Scott and Detzner's initial purported attempt to purge the rolls of thousands of "suspected non-citizens" resulted in no more than 9 who we were able to verify, out of some 11.4 million registered voters in the Sunshine State. None of those 9, we also discovered during our investigation, had actually ever cast a ballot.

"It does not appear that we're going to be able to get to this [new] list and do anything with these voters until after the November 6th election based on the days that we have left," she explained. And yet, the state Republican officials seemed to show little concern about more than 100 cases of demonstrably fraudulent registration forms turned into her office.

Perhaps that's because they were turned in by Strategic Allied Consulting, the shady firm hired by the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF), operating in a number of key battleground states, and owned by Mitt Romney's paid political consultant Nathan Sproul, a man with a long history of allegedly destroying and defrauding Democratic registration forms in election after election, in state after state, year after year, as we explained in our detailed Tuesday morning report describing the latest FL GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal as it first broke...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Brad Friedman on 8/16/2012 10:58pm PT  

Some good-ish news late tonight for Florida voters, and more bad-ish news for Republican Gov. Rick Scott and friends, as reported by AP:

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A federal court says a Florida law that restricts the number of early-voting days could result in a dramatic reduction in participation by blacks.

The Republican-controlled Florida legislature last year cut the number of early-voting days to 8 from 12.

But the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled late Thursday that because of the law's potential impact on minority voters, it would not allow Florida to put the changes in place in five Florida counties covered by federal voting laws.

The 119-page ruling did say there were ways that the state could ultimately come up with a plan to change early voting that would not adversely affect minority voting rights.

Still, the ruling raises the prospect that Florida will have two different types of early voting for this year's crucial presidential election.

To unpack this (without having looked at the actual ruling yet), while this is certainly positive news in general, it only applies to the five counties in Florida covered by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA). Those jurisdictions require pre-clearance from either the U.S. Dept. of Justice or a 3-judge panel from the U.S. District Court in D.C. for new election-related laws, thanks to the long history of racial discrimination in those jurisdictions.

Three of the counties, Hardee, Hendry and Monroe are fairly small, with fewer than 100,000 voters. Collier (home of Naples) has a population of more than 300,000 and the largest of the five, Hillsborough, is home to Tampa, with a population of about 1.2 million voters. It will also be the home of the upcoming Republican National Convention.

As AP notes, that could mean that only those five counties have 12 days of early voting, while the rest of the state (the other 62 counties), are still restricted to 8. Given that Republicans hung a hat on pretending to demand consistent rules across the state for vote counting during the Bush v. Gore fight in 2000, and that the state Supreme Court agreed, I imagine another fight may be in store on this matter, and how the Republican-run state will --- or won't --- enact consistent Early Voting hours across the state.

This case was decided by the U.S. District Court in D.C. because the state of Florida decided to bypass the DoJ, thinking they'd have better luck with the court system. They were wrong.

It's been a tough year for the state of Florida's attempt to game the voting system in their favor this year, so far, under the rule of their Tea Party Governor. Though, lord knows, they've tried.

In May, a federal judge blocked the bulk of their new voter registration restrictions which had forced the League of Women Voters to call off their registration drive in the Sunshine State for the first time in 72 years, rather than face onerous new rules, fines and even jail time. Last month, after almost all of the state's Supervisors of Elections refused to carry out a hugely flawed voter roll purge of "potential non-citizen voters" (almost all of whom were not), Scott and his hand-picked Sec. of State Ken Detzner were forced to halt their purge (subsequently misreported by the corporate mainstream media), even after pretending the federal government was blocking the purge to keep non-citizen voters on the rolls (they weren't, and Florida knew it, as documents we published exclusively proved.)

Oh, and then there was the former state Republican Chair who admitted, under oath, in a 630-page deposition, that party officials "were talking about voter suppression and keeping blacks from voting," during his tenure.

Here's a thought, Florida Republicans: Come up with good ideas that help the citizens of the state by improving their general welfare and domestic tranquility and maybe they'll just vote for you all by themselves without you having to game the system and suppress the vote. Or, you can just keep doing what you're doing.

[Hat-tip @JeffersonObama on the Twitters.]

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Deposition recalls FL Republican whistleblower Clint Curtis' 2004 affidavit on 'reducing black vote' before 2000 election...
By Brad Friedman on 7/27/2012 4:44pm PT  

Well, this sounds familiar, and for good reason...

In a 630-page deposition, released to the press yesterday, former Republican Party Chairman Jim Greer described a systemic effort by Republicans to suppress the black vote. Referring to a 2009 meeting with party officials, Greer said "I was upset because the political consultants and staff were talking about voter suppression and keeping blacks from voting." He also said party officials discussed how "minority outreach programs were not fit for the Republican Party." Florida is currently embroiled in a controversy surrounding Gov. Rick Scott's (R) voter purge program, which disproportionately affects voters of color. Fifty-eight percent of Scott's original list of voters who were supposedly ineligible to voter were Hispanic while Hispanics make up only 13 percent of Florida's eligible voters. Greer and the GOP cut ties in 2010, and he is currently facing felony corruption charges.

The summary above comes from ThinkProgress' Alex Brown who offer a hat-tip to Salon's Alex Seitz-Wald who opens his report this way:

In the debate over new laws meant to curb voter fraud in places like Florida, Democrats always charge that Republicans are trying to suppress the vote of liberal voting blocs like blacks and young people, while Republicans just laugh at such ludicrous and offensive accusations.

The entire matter echoes back to our initial 2004 exclusive on then Republican software programmer turned whistleblower Clint Curtis who had filed a sworn affidavit charging Florida Republican Tom Feeney had asked his company, Yang Enterprises, Inc. (YEI), to create a vote-rigging software prototype in 2000.

At the time of his alleged meetings with Feeney, Curtis says the Congressman --- who had been Jeb Bush's Lt. Governor running mate in 1998 before becoming Speaker of the FL House and one of the most powerful elected officials in the state by 2000 --- discussed methods that he said the Republican Party had in place to "reduce the black vote" in the 2000 Presidential election.

According to the December 6, 2004 affidavit [PDF] filed by Curtis, just days before he would testify to a U.S. House Judiciary Committee panel...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Yet mainstream media misreport easily verifiable facts, continue to fall for FL Governor, Secretary of State's deceptive spin...
By Ernest A. Canning on 7/25/2012 1:22pm PT  

A BRAD BLOG investigation by Ernest A. Canning & Brad Friedman

Florida Governor Rick Scott's attempted purge of "potential non-citizen" voters --- a purge which Scott's Republican predecessor Gov. Charlie Crist described last week as a "shameless," "mean-spirited," "insidious" and "sweeping" effort to gain partisan advantage "under the guise of removing non-U.S. citizens" --- has been an abject failure.

Scott's claims of success in unearthing "non-citizens" said to be registered to vote in the Sunshine State, repeated by his hand-picked Sec. of State Ken Detzner and uncritically echoed by a compliant mainstream corporate media, have amounted to less --- far less --- than meets the eye.

Over the course of our months-long investigation, which included public records requests and interviews with state and county officials, The BRAD BLOG has discovered that the Scott/Detzner claim of having captured some 107 "non-citizens" on the Sunshine State voter rolls as a result of their purge is, at best, a reckless overstatement. Yet, that number (107), which Scott described as "alarming," has been uncritically accepted as fact by corporate mainstream media.

Even if it had been accurate, 107 would amount to an infinitesimal percentage of the original 182,000 who had initially been identified as "potential non-citizens" by Florida officials --- 107 as against Florida's 11.2 million legally registered voters, with an untold number of perfectly legal voters threatened with losing their right to vote as collateral damage of the state's attempted purge.

But the 107 number isn't even close to being accurate. To the contrary, Florida election officials have been unable to confirm that more than ten percent of those whom Scott and Detzner claim their purge captured were in fact non-citizens.

For example, in the two counties, Lee and Collier, where 92 of Scott and Detzner's claimed 107 have been removed, just nine (9) of them have actually been verified, to date, as "non-citizens" named by Scott and Detzner on their list of "potential non-citizens" sent to county election officials for purging earlier this year. The rest have either been removed from the rolls without independent verification of whether or not they are lawfully registered U.S. citizens, or they were removed after their names surfaced on a separate list that had nothing to do with the list compiled by Scott and Detzner. That separate list, as gathered by a local news outlet, similarly, may or may not accurately identify the named registered voters as "non-citizens".

Despite the extraordinary failure to date, Scott and Detzner have repeatedly proclaimed "victory" in their voter purge scheme. Making matters worse for the general populace trying to make sense of what is actually going on, numerous corporate-owned media outlets have compliantly echoed their extraordinarily misleading and deceptive spin...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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