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GOP ready to rewrite elections law

by John Kennedy | April 20th, 2011

After three hours of debate late into Wednesday night, the House tentatively approved a massive elections bill pushed by ruling Republicans but fiercely opposed by Democrats.

The legislation (CS/HB 1355) would put tight restrictions on groups that register voters – making the League of Women Voters, unions, the NAACP and others submit lists of prospective new voters to elections supervisors within 48 hours, or face $1,000 fines.

“I’m not ready to talk about anyone particularly,” said Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, the sponsor of the measure, refuting demands from Democrats to show where organizations have caused problems for elections supervisors.

“I’m just trying to build a better system,” he added.

A final House vote is expected Thursday.

The registration requirements, deadlines and even heavier financial penalties against so-called third-party registration organizations were approved by the GOP-led legislature in 2006.

But the measures were thrown out by a court, because they were considered overly punitive. The  latest version modifies the penalties, and supporters think it will withstand any challenge.

In another controversial provision, the bill also would create new standards that critics warn could endanger ballots cast by voters away from their home counties – a move some see as designed to blunt the participation of Democratic-leaning college students in next year’s presidential contest.

Republican leaders beat back some 40 amendments pushed by Democrats aimed at allowing university facilities to be designated early voting sites, limiting the amount of money flowing to shadowy political committees, and even an attempt to move the presidential primary to the first week of March, away from the current, Jan. 31 date.

Democrats forced Republicans to cast recorded votes — not voice votes — on most of the amendments. The move is clearly designed by Democrats to cast Republicans as seeking to blunt voter-access to the ballot next year.

“I presented several common-sense amendments that would protect voting rights in our state,” Rep. Scott Randolph, D-Orlando, said after the floor action. “The Republican majority outright rejected these amendments, and in doing so, continue to open the gates for voter suppression.”


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9 Responses to “GOP ready to rewrite elections law”

  1. PFM Says:

    A typical GOP move to repress voting by people that oppose their bad ideas!

  2. Ralph Easley Says:

    A typical DEM move to dilute legitimate registered voters who oppose their progressive/socialists ideas.

  3. Oh Please Says:

    The only facilities that should accept voter registrations, are the supervisor of elections offices. Get off your lazy butts. Third party registration cause many, many problems, particularly when they don’t deliver the registrations to the proper authorities. During the 2008 elections, I personally had to provide provisional ballots to dozens of people swearing they registered at a rally for Obama. The forms were never turned in and a lot of first time votes didn’t count. PATHETIC.

  4. T 4 2, 2 4 T Says:

    GOP ready to make it harder for students to vote, for seniors to vote, for poor to vote, even for soldiers to vote. It is not in their best interests to have a democracy which truly represents the people.

  5. Ralph Easley Says:

    Harder for people to vote? Students can make it to the musical concerts and to the mall, seniors make it to bingo and other social events. Our military survives as they fight our battles around the world yet they cannot handle the difficulty of voter registration. Be Real!

  6. SR Says:

    Democrats don’t want integrity in the voting system. They want illegal immigrants, convicted felons, the dead and even people with brain injuries (so that their union caretakers can vote for them) to vote- and vote often.
    This Republican legislation only seeks to ensure that people that have the right to vote, vote where they’re supposed to and vote only once.
    That apparently really scares Democrats.

  7. Big Johnson Says:

    @Raplh Easley – You are either very young or have an extremely short memory. Redrawing district boundaries to their advantage and complicating voter registration are recurring republican tactics that come up before each national election.

    @SR – You speak of integrity in the voting system, how about the CEO of a major electronic voting machine company publically announcing he will do whatever is necessary to make sure a specific candidate is elected, and he was (GW).

    Every republican legislative body seeks to ensure that only the people who will vote for them have the right and ability to vote. Thousands of legal voters were purged from the rolls during the Jeb Bush years. Making sure that a broad spectrum of voters with different opinions has been properly registered and has the opportunity to vote scares republicans. By the way, I have been a registered and actively voting republican for 40+ years.

  8. Ralph Easley Says:

    @Big – I am neither young 1942 as for a short memory I am not sure if you are qualified to make that assessment. I do know that one of Alinsky’s rules is to try and win an argument by attacking the other party or the politics of personal destruction. I hope you were not implying that redrawing district boundaries to their advantage is only used by the Republican party. Florida democratic governors were in office from 1877 to 1967. Do you think there was any restructuring during that 90 year period?

  9. Ralph Easley Says:

    @Big – As for my memory, I know it was some time back, but if my memory serves me right, didn’t Florida gain two congressional seats in November 2010? Wouldn’t that require some type of redistricting even if it was not a census decade?

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