In 2011, Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) signed into law a measure that imposed more than 75 restrictions on Florida voters, ostensibly to combat voter fraud. These included requirements that make it more difficult for third-party organizations to register voters, limits on early voting and a plan to purge voter rolls of non-citizens. As with many of the voter limitations imposed by Republican state governments since they won election in 2010, these measures are likely to favor Republican candidates — and Florida is the ultimate swing state. Thankfully, a federal judge in Florida has issued a preliminary injunction against the law, which would interfere with the ability of organizations like the League of Women Voters to register voters in time for the election.
That’s good for now, but any attempt to discourage participation at the polls should be struck down for good.Florida’s promise to ban non-citizens from voting sounds benign, but the method behind its purges causes serious concern. In a preliminary drafting of a list, Florida’s secretary of state, Ken Detzner, came up with some 2,600 possible names. When the list was shown to county election officials, a number of citizens were discovered on it, including war veterans and longtime voters. To correct these mistakes, state officials plan to use more comprehensive data from the Department of Homeland Security, but even so, some citizens may be denied the right to vote. It’s good to see that pending lawsuits will challenge the dubious necessity of this measure.