Ruling from the bench Judge Robert Hinkle said federal laws are designed to block states from removing eligible voters close to an election. According to the judge, they are not designed to block voters who should never have been allowed to cast ballots in the first place.
Hinkle’s ruling comes as a surprise and disappointment given the text of the law he was asked to address states this:
A State shall complete, not later than 90 days prior to the date of a primary or general election for Federal office, any program the purpose of which is to systematically remove the names of ineligible voters from the official lists of eligible voters.
“We’re disappointed with the judge’s decision,” said Advancement Project Co-Director Penda Hair. “This threatens the voting rights of thousands of U.S. citizens. The right to vote is the fundamental pillar of our democracy and targeting a particular group of voters is simply wrong.”
The ruling defies logic, frankly. The very purpose of the law is to make sure the state does not wrongly flag an eligible voter as someone who cannot vote right before an election and without enough time to fix the error. That is exactly what is happening in Florida and what the law was designed to prevent.
“Florida is imposing a two-tiered system of voting, one for citizens who were born here and one for those who have been naturalized, with thousands of U.S.-born citizens being unfairly caught up in this anti-democratic purge,” said Advancement Project Co-Director Judith Browne-Dianis. “Voting illegally already carries with it a threat of substantial fines, jail sentences, and—in the case of non-citizens—deportation. What Florida is actually doing is trying to disenfranchise American citizens for partisan gain. It is against the basic values of fairness and American democracy, which is why we have filed suit to stop it.”
Unless the order is appealed and reversed Florida may continue the purge and systematically disenfranchise potentially tens of thousands of its citizens.
Pay close attention, folks. This is what life looks like under a Koch-bought state.
Photo from kristin_a via flickr.