Today the Republican Party of Florida sent out a rather shocking press release condemning U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) for speaking up against what many are saying is an egregious attempt to suppress voters in Florida from being able to cast a ballot in the 2012 elections. Nelson has been a vocal opponent
of Gov. Rick Scott's ongoing attempt to purge the state's voting rolls of alleged non-citizens who are registered to vote, and he recently spoke
to the League of United Latin American Citizens and let the organization know that he felt the effort was targeted at Latino voters. The RPOF, apparently, didn't like what he had to say.
Think Progress says hundreds have come forward so far to state that they have received letters from their county elections officials telling them that they are not eligible to vote, even though they are indeed U.S. citizens. Think Progress is documenting the stories of some of the individuals caught in Scott's dragnet, including Bill Internicola
, a 91-year-old veteran from Broward County.
According to the RPOF, this is no biggie – the statement it released today compares this to the collateral damage that takes place when cops perform DUI sweeps over holiday weekends. Sometimes, some innocent people are pulled over for the sake of the greater good. Bill Internicola, Maureen Russo
of Fort Lauderdale and hundreds of others are experiencing "a few moments of inconvenience" by having to go ahead and prove that they are, indeed, the legal citizens they've always claimed to be. They're taking one on the chin for democracy – or, perhaps more accurately, for the right to prevent too many people from partaking in it.
"The idea that thousands of illegally registered voters could be in our electoral system is chilling," the RPOF's statement assures.
Actually, the idea that thousands of legally
registered voters could be prevented from taking part in our electoral system is pretty chilling. I don't think anyone is opposed to making sure our voter rolls are accurate, but people should be opposed to the fact that the state is using a voter list that was known to be inaccurate
and that was known to contain
the names of legally registered voters. Scott's former Secretary of State, Kurt Browning, says he had tried to urge Scott to "err on the voter"
when pursuing a scrubbing of state voter rolls. Browning resigned from his position in January. Apparently Scott wasn't too fond of his advice.
The complete RPOF statement is copied below. Read on. Be chilled.
BILL NELSON DEFENDS VOTING RIGHTS OF DEAD AND NON-CITIZENS
Senator asks public officials to ignore the law while playing a race card
A statement from RPOF Chairman Lenny Curry in response to Senator Bill Nelson's address before League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC):
"This past Memorial Day weekend, law enforcement put up checkpoints to ensure drunk drivers did not threaten the safety of fellow motorists. Undoubtedly, many of the drivers who were met by police were, in fact, not driving drunk. However, we accept the notion that on such a heavily traveled holiday, a few moments of inconvenience to law-abiding drivers is worth it if we can ensure safe highways.
"Similarly, officials in Florida are undertaking a methodical and reasonable effort to maintain the security of Florida's voter rolls. While some who are citizens, and others who are not deceased, may be asked to simply participate in the verification process, thousands of these records do accurately reflect non-citizens and people who have died.
"In 2000, Florida's presidential outcome was determined by 537 votes. The idea that thousands of illegally registered voters could be in our electoral system is chilling. The people of Florida deserve to know that their elected and appointed officials who monitor elections will do everything possible to ensure each vote is legally cast and accurately counted. Anything less would make those officials derelict in their sworn obligation to our laws.
"Senator Nelson not only asks our public servants to ignore the threat to electoral integrity, but he implies those who meet their legal obligation to ensure honest elections are being discriminatory. Nelson's distortions and willingness to pit people against each other based on race demonstrates the worst kind of politics. His calls for officials to stop securing the nation's most fundamental expression of democracy - our elections, demonstrates why he must be defeated this November."