A divided U.S. Commission on Civil Rights will not convene hearings on Florida’s new election law, despite a request from the state’s six Democratic members of Congress, who charged that the measure intentionally limited access to the polls by blacks and many other Florida voters. But four members of the deadlocked commission – all Democrats – are independently requesting a U.S. Justice Department probe into the origins of the law, HB 1355, passed last year by the state’s Republican-controlled legislature and signed by GOP Gov. Rick Scott. And U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Miramar, said Thursday that after four newly-elected Democratic congressmen are sworn in next month, bringing the state’s Democratic delegation to 10, he also hopes to take the issue directly to the Justice Department with their backing. “I’m going to try to get all 10 to sign on and we’ll see what the Justice Department does,” Hastings said. “After all, we have a smoking gun here.”
Florida: Congressman demands immediate investigation of voter registration ‘scandal’ | Sun-Sentinel.com
U.S.Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton, on Monday demanded “immediate” creation of a bipartisan group to investigate the “growing voter fraud scandal” surrounding a company hired by the Florida Republican Party. When staffers began to input the data, Bucher said they noticed “discrepancies or questionable signatures that looked similar.” Bucher said she turned over copies of 106 voter registration applications on Sept. 24. Later in the week elections officials in eight other Florida counties reported potential problems with the voter registration applications collected by the same firm, Strategic Allied Consulting. On Monday, Deutch – who represents southwestern Palm Beach County and northern Broward – said Scott needs to act.
It is November 7, the day after the 2012 presidential election, and Barack Obama has narrowly lost his bid for reelection. What clinched it: a photo-finish defeat in Florida — a few thousand votes in a state of more than 11 million voters. And then the reports start to trickle in from Floridians who say they were disenfranchised. Shortly before the election, they got an official letter telling them they couldn’t vote, even though they’re U.S. citizens. Most of them are Hispanic and say they would have voted Democratic. This is the nightmare scenario envisioned by Florida Democrats: The Republican voter purge has cost them the election. But could it really happen? Could Republican Governor Rick Scott’s push to cleanse the voter rolls of noncitizens — viewed by Democrats as a suspiciously timed, partisan attempt to suppress Hispanic voter turnout — end up swinging the presidential race to the GOP? Scott, in a recent interview, insisted that was the furthest thing from his mind. “I never think about that,” the governor told me. “I just think about what my job is, which is to make sure we enforce the laws of my state. Non-U.S. citizens do not have the right to vote in my state.”
Bill Internicola is a 91-year-old, Brooklyn-born, World War II veteran. He fought in the Battle of the Buldge and received the Bronze Star for bravery. He’s voted in Florida for 14 years and never had a problem. Three weeks ago, Bill received a letter from Broward County Florida stating “[Y]ou are not a U.S. Citizen” and therefore, ineligible to vote. He was given the option of requesting “a hearing with the Supervisor of Elections, for the purpose of providing proof that you are a United States citizens” or forfeit his right to vote. This decorated World War II veteran is just one of hundreds of fully eligible U.S. citizens being targeted by Governor Scott’s massive voter purge just prior to this year’s election, according to data obtained from Florida election officials by ThinkProgress.
A coalition of voting rights groups is asking Gov. Rick Scott to stop a statewide effort to purge thousands of potential non-citzens from the voting rolls, and U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton, also plans to ask the governor to stop the scrub. Lawyers for the groups said in a letter to Secretary of StateKen Detzner that the voting purge is in violation of the National Voting Rights Act which prohibits systematic purging of the voter rolls 90 days prior to a general election. The purge effort falls within that 90-day prohibition because of Florida’s Aug. 14 primary. Last month, Detzner sent a list of more than 2,600 potentially ineligible voters to the state’s 67 elections supervisors flagged as potentially ineligible by matching driver’s license and voting records. But the list was riddled with errors and included some voters who were born in the U.S. and others who had become citizens since getting their driver’s licenses or state-issued ID cards. Detzner’s office then went to work on scrubbing a list of up to 180,000 flagged voters whose citizenship is in question.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Florida Rep. Ted Deutch introduced aconstitutional amendmentin December to overturnCitizens United, one of five decisions since 2006 by which a closely divided Supreme Court vastly increased the amount of corrupting corporate money in elections. In an opinion piece critical of the decision in Citizens United, Senator Sanders wrote:
When the Supreme Court says that for purposes of the First Amendment, corporations are people, that writing checks from the company’s bank account is constitutionally-protected speech and that attempts by the federal government and states to impose reasonable restrictions on campaign ads are unconstitutional, when that occurs, our democracy is in grave danger.
The joint Sanders-Deutch Resolution proposes an amendment to the constitution “to expressly exclude for-profit corporations from the rights given to natural persons.”