I'm very disappointed by this tally. I was aiming for a solid million.
Florida's Long Lines On Election Day Discouraged 49,000 People From Voting: Report
Florida took center stage in the 2012 elections, when voters around the state had to wait in line at the polls for up to nine hours. Gov. Rick Scott (R) initially denied that there was any problem, saying it was "very good" that people were getting out to vote.
But a new study shows that tens of thousands of people were actually discouraged from voting because of the long lines.
According to an analysis by Theodore Allen, an associate professor of industrial engineering at Ohio State University, as many as 49,000 individuals in Central Florida did not vote because of the problems at the polls.
About 19,000 of those people would have backed former GOP nominee Mitt Romney, while the rest would have gone for President Barack Obama, according to Allen.
The Orlando Sentinel, which published the results of Allen's research, notes that those findings suggest "that Obama's margin over Romney in Florida could have been roughly 11,000 votes higher than it was, based just on Central Florida results. Obama carried the state by 74,309 votes out of more than 8.4 million cast."
Since the elections, Scott has admitted that his state still has its share of electoral problems. In a December interview with CNN, Scott said "we've got to restore confidence in our elections," pointing to three issues: the length of ballots, size of polling places and the number of days for early voting.
Indeed, Allen's research also found that the long ballots that confronted many Florida voters led to longer lines, which resulted in suppressing turnout. Black and Hispanic voters were disproportionately disenfranchised.
The GOP-controlled legislature reduced the number of days available for early voting from 14 to eight for the 2012 elections, meaning voters were trying to cast their ballots in a shorter window, which resulted in longer lines.
Scott refused to extend early voting hours even as problems at the polls gained more attention. Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, who was a Republican while in office but is now a Democrat,- called his position "indefensible."
Democratic state lawmakers in Florida have introduced legislation to address the long lines and expand early voting hours. There have also been several efforts at the federal level, and Obama has said it is imperative to "fix" problems at the polls.
Saturday, December 29, 2012
Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Look, peasants. I wasn't trying to purge any republicans. I was only trying to get rid of blacks and hispanics. If you happen to be a black or hispanic republican, I also wasn't trying to purge you, even though you're genetically inferior to me.
Voter Purge Over Citizen Status Sours Floridians on Republicans Michael C. Bender, ©2012 Bloomberg News
Oct. 2 (Bloomberg) -- Florida residents erroneously subjected to a Republican-led effort to purge noncitizens from voter rolls said they’re furious, and several promised to vote against the party’s presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, as a result.
In interviews with 35 of the 2,625 people the state moved to prevent from voting, all but two said they’re U.S. citizens, with about a third identifying themselves as Republicans and another third as Democrats. They included a Cuba-born physician, a U.S. Army soldier who served in Afghanistan, an entomologist originally from Canada and a taxi driver from Haiti.
The attempt to remove potential noncitizens, led by Republican Governor Rick Scott, may hurt his party in the November presidential election by alienating voters being courted heavily by Romney and President Barack Obama, a Democrat. Three of the past five presidential elections in Florida have been decided by less than 3 percentage points. The state has the most electoral votes of those viewed as competitive by both campaigns.
Among those targeted was Rolando Baster, 60, of Miami, an ear, nose and throat doctor originally from Cuba who said he has been a U.S. citizen for a decade and has always supported Republican candidates. This year, he said, he plans to vote for Obama because of the “trouble” he was caused by Scott’s administration.
“If this is what Rick Scott believes, and this is what the Republican Party believes, then maybe this is what Mitt Romney believes, too,” said Baster, who runs an assisted-living facility.
Scott has said he is seeking to battle voter fraud, and some of those interviewed applauded the effort. Groups opposing Scott questioned the data used by the state. After a legal complaint by civil rights groups and others, Florida last month said those erroneously removed would be reinstated, and U.S. citizens threatened with removal would be notified that they’ll remain on the rolls.
Chris Cate, a spokesman for the Florida State Department, declined to say how many voters have been wrongly removed. On Sept. 26, the state said it had identified only 198 residents who may be illegally registered, down from the original 2,625. The state released names of those on the lists in response to a public-records request.
Of the 35 interviewed, four said that as a result of being targeted, they would vote for Obama or were likely to. Twenty said they were upset by the state’s questioning. “This is incredibly untimely for Republicans,” said Paul George, a professor who teaches Cuban-American history and politics at Miami-Dade College in Miami. “This makes things even more daunting for Romney, because he’s been trying to woo the Hispanic vote. Every vote counts in Florida.”
Alejandra Ares, 50, who was born in Venezuela and lives near Miami, said she “felt like a cockroach” after receiving a letter questioning whether she was illegally registered to vote.
Ares, a real-estate agent, and others interviewed said they grew concerned their citizenship was invalid or that their identity was stolen. Stephane Salnave, a soldier who served four tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, said he felt “disrespected.” The Haiti native is registered as a Democrat and said he votes for candidates from both parties.
Leaning Toward Obama
Salnave, 30, said he is leaning toward Obama, partly because of a letter he received from county election officials saying he could lose his voting rights unless he proved he is an American citizen. “There should be an apology for me and everyone else this has happened to,” Salnave said.
Murat Limage, 44, who was born in Haiti and became a U.S. citizen in 2010, said he hadn’t been planning to vote this year -- until receiving a letter from election officials questioning his citizenship.
Posted by Governor Skeletor at 6:23 PM
Saturday, June 30, 2012
LOL! You think that just because something is a federal law that I'm going to allow it to hamper my schemes? Have you peasants learned nothing since the time I became king?
Gov. Rick Scott: Florida won't comply with health care law
By Gary Fineout, The Associated Press
TALLAHASSEE, Florida — Florida Gov. Rick Scott now says Florida will do nothing to comply with President Barack Obama's health care overhaul and will not expand its Medicaid program. The announcement is a marked changed after the governor recently said he would follow the law if it were upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.
"Florida is not going to implement Obamacare. We are not going to expand Medicaid and we're not going to implement exchanges," Scott's spokesman Lane Wright told The Associated Press on Saturday. Wright stressed that the governor would work to make sure the law is repealed.
Scott told Fox News the Medicaid expansion would cost Florida taxpayers $1.9 billion a year, but it's unclear how he arrived at that figure.
Scott said the state will not expand the Medicaid program in order to lower the number of uninsured residents, nor will Florida set up a state-run health exchange, a marketplace where people who need insurance policies could shop for them.
"We care about having a health care safety net for the vulnerable Floridians, but this is an expansion that just doesn't make any sense," he told Fox host Greta Van Susteren on Friday.
Scott has gone back and forth on the issue after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday that Congress cannot withhold federal Medicaid funding from states that opt out of a requirement in the overhaul to expand coverage to those just above the poverty line.
On the day of the ruling Scott was cautious about the expansion, saying he wanted to read the ruling first. Then during an interview Friday morning on a Jacksonville radio station, Scott said it was unlikely he would go along with the expansion because of the potential cost to the state.
But the governor told the Tampa Bay Times later in the day that he was still evaluating the ruling and would come up with a plan within a few weeks.
Scott was vague when asked in the Fox News interview whether he's been in talks with other Republican governors about how to respond going forward.
"Everyone I've spoken to is doing the same thing," Scott said, but when pressed for specific names, he only referenced what the governors of Louisiana, Texas and Wisconsin have said in the past. His spokesman told AP he could not confirm what conversations Scott has had with other governors on the issue.
Scott, the former CEO of a hospital chain, has been a vocal critic of the health care overhaul from the start. He made his first foray into politics by forming a group called Conservatives for Patients' Rights that ran television ads criticizing the proposal before it was adopted by Congress.
Scott has also complained about the growing cost of Medicaid, the $21 billion safety net program that primarily aids the poor but also picks up nursing home bills for senior citizens. The governor backed a push by the Republican-controlled Legislature to shift Medicaid patients into managed care programs, a move that is still awaiting federal approval.
Scott has rejected federal money in the past, most notably $2.4 billion for high speed rail. His administration has also said no to some money attached to the Affordable Care Act.
But Scott has said yes to money associated with the federal stimulus program and he has changed some of the positions he advocated during his run for governor. Scott also must weigh the politics of saying no to Medicaid because of tight budgets, while it is likely he will continue to push for substantial tax cuts between now and his re-election campaign in 2014.
According to Census data released last year, Florida had the nation's third-highest rate of residents without health insurance during the past three years.
President Obama's health care law called for states in 2014 to expand Medicaid eligibility to those making up to 133 percent of the poverty level, or $29,326 for a family of four. While estimates vary, the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration has concluded that as many as 1.95 million more people would join Medicaid and other state-subsidized health insurance programs over the next five years.
Most of the cost, running into the billions, would be absorbed by the federal government. The Medicaid expansion would not cost the state anything until 2017 — although AHCA estimates that changes to other state-subsidized programs would require state money starting in 2014. AHCA estimates that the overall cost to the state would be $2.4 billion between 2013 and 2018 with the federal government picking up nearly $26 billion.
But other groups analyzing the potential changes contend that state officials have "hyper-inflated" the potential costs because they assume too many people will enroll.
The ultimate choice, however, won't be Scott's alone. It will also be decided by the Legislature.
Posted by Governor Skeletor at 5:00 PM
Thursday, June 28, 2012
Remember when I'd said Florida would comply with the Supreme Court's decision? That was before I knew they'd uphold they law. Listen to how shocked Evil-Lyn is.
Gov. Rick Scott unsure of next move on health care
TALLAHASSEE — Stung by an unexpected U.S. Supreme Court decision, Florida leaders who led the charge to overturn President Barack Obama's health care overhaul must now decide how to live with it.
Florida was the lead among 26 states that sued to block the health care overhaul and top Republicans repeatedly predicted its demise once it reached the nation's highest court. The state refused to accept millions of dollars tied to the Affordable Care Act and had only recently begun to take steps to prepare for the law.
But the court's decision to uphold most of the provisions appeared to flummox Gov. Rick Scott and other top state officials.
“Were we expecting this ruling? No, of course not,” said Attorney General Pam Bondi, who had pushed to hire the attorneys used by the state to argue the case before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Scott said the overhaul would devastate the economy and he said he hoped it would be eventually be repealed. Just last week Scott had said he would comply with the health care law it was upheld. But Scott on Wednesday was unprepared to say how — and when — the state would implement some of the law's requirements.
“I want to look at what the decision was and how it applies to the state and what are options are,” said Scott, a former hospital chain CEO who, before he ran for governor, put together a group that ran television ads in opposition to the health care overhaul.
Scott said the health care overhaul would be unaffordable for taxpayers but he would not say if he would support or oppose expanding Medicaid, the current state-federal safety net health care program that primarily aids the poor. Florida had the nation's third-highest rate of residents without health insurance during the past three years, according to Census data released last year.
The court's ruling says Congress cannot withhold federal Medicaid funding from states that opt out of the requirement to expand Medicaid coverage.
The cost of the expansion will largely be paid by the federal government, but eventually the state will have to pick up some of the share. Florida's Agency for Health Care Administration has estimated the expansion could add nearly 2 million people to the state's Medicaid rolls and cost the state nearly $2.4 billion over the next five years. Florida's Medicaid budget is currently $21.2 billion a year, with the federal government contributing $11.6 billion of that amount and state taxpayers $9.6 billion.
Incoming Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, was also non-committal about whether the state would go along with the Medicaid expansion as well.
He said state legislators will have to evaluate whether they should accept the temporary federal spending even though the state's financial obligation would increase in later years.
It was former Attorney General Bill McCollum who initially pushed to have Florida take the lead in suing to overturn the health care overhaul. The lawsuit was continued under his successor Bondi. Much of the cost to sue the federal government was shared between the National Federation of Independent Business and the states. Florida's share for the litigation wound up being just under $78,000, according to Bondi's office.
Another key decision that Florida must now decide: Whether to set up a health care market, or health exchange, where people can shop for insurance policies or leave that to the federal government.
Florida, at the urging of then-House Speaker Marco Rubio, authorized the creation of Florida Health Choices as a marketplace for small businesses to buy insurance. The program is scheduled to start running later this year and could be tweaked in order to fulfill the health exchange requirement. Rubio, now a U.S. senator, is a vocal critic of the health care overhaul.
The state also this year set aside more than $30 million to create a new internet-based system that help's people enroll in Medicaid. They can also compare insurance benefits and premiums offered under Medicaid or a health exchange.
Thursday's ruling does clear the way for 1.25 million customers in Florida to receive nearly $124 million in health insurance rebates required under the health care overhaul. The average rebate will run between $94 and $240 depending on the type of insurance coverage. The carriers paying out the largest amount of rebates are Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida, United HealthCare and Golden Rule.
Posted by Governor Skeletor at 4:43 PM
Thursday, June 14, 2012
The next peasant to be purged will be you, Stewart!
|The Daily Show with Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
Posted by Governor Skeletor at 3:39 PM
Sunday, May 27, 2012
Of course I'm going to purge minority voters! I don't think any peasant should be able to vote! What do you think this is, a democracy???
Voter Purge, Minority Voting Rights Flashpoints Of New Showdown In Florida
Florida officials made it clear Friday that the state will continue to purge as many as 182,000 suspected noncitizens from the state’s voter rolls -- despite a coalition's call to stop the process or prepare for court.
In the last three weeks alone, the Florida secretary of state's office has identified and started to purge what it says are at least 50,000 dead voters from the state's rolls and stripped out about 7,000 convicted felons. Officials at the same time are defending a more controversial plan to remove as many as 182,000 suspected noncitizens from the state's voter rolls.
“Florida has a very shameful history of purging minority voters based on false information before presidential elections,” said Katherine Culliton-Gonzalez, director of voter protection projects for the Advancement Project, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that works to protect voter rights.
The Advancement Project is one of the five organizations in the coalition that warned Florida last week to discontinue plans to purge alleged noncitizens from the state’s voter rolls. It also called on the Department of Justice to temporarily halt the purge and investigate the state’s actions.
“What’s happening now, is not only illegal but it’s inaccurate, Culliton-Gonzalez said. “There are actual citizens on these lists. So, what’s happening is completely counter to the fundamental principles of our democracy.”
Florida often grabs national attention because the state is home to 11.3 million voters and wields 29 electoral votes, but the apparent showdown in the state is part of a broader battle over voting rights and participation leading up to the 2012 presidential election. Since last year, nearly three dozen Republican-controlled state legislatures have considered or passed laws creating new photo ID requirements for voters. Some also shortened early-voting periods, restricted early voting sites in churches and other locations where many minority voters typically cast ballots, and curtailed organizations that register voters. While some of the changes have gone into effect, many remain on hold pending court decisions.
Early this year, Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner’s staff worked with the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles to identify nearly 3,000 alleged noncitizens who also are registered to vote, said Chris Cate, Detzner's spokesman. The voters in question were not citizens at the time they applied for a Florida driver's license.
However, many people become citizens between scheduled license renewals, voting-rights advocates say.
Still, on May 7, Detzner directed county-level election officials to begin notifying these individuals that they would be purged from voter rolls unless they provided proof of citizenship within 30 days. The state’s warning letters described the individuals as potentially ineligible voters and advised recipients that casting a ballot is a felony.
The letters are consistent with state law, Cate said.
“Nobody should be OK with ineligible voters being on the rolls,” he said. “We're simply trying to address that. And we aren’t more concerned or doing this because this is election year. This isn’t an election year issue. This is a voting integrity issue, something we worry about all the time.”
In the weeks since the first letters hit Florida mailboxes, several newspapers reported on citizens who received a letter. And in mid May, one county election official who is also a Republican, tweeted a picture of himself with a letter recipient and the man’s U.S. passport.
Detzner could not be reached for comment Friday. But in a statement released earlier this month, he said the presence of just one ineligible voter on the state’s voting rolls represents a real threat to the integrity of the voting process.
A Republican appointed in January by Florida Gov. Rick Scott, Detzner did not initiate the purge. In 2011, Scott, also a Republican, asked Dentzer’s predecessor, former Secretary of State Kurt Browning, to determine if noncitizens were voting in Florida. Browning’s efforts uncovered the 182,000 possible names.
But Browning, a Republican, was unconvinced of the list’s accuracy and was concerned that asking voters to prove their citizenship interfered with the voting process, the Miami Herald reported. In Florida, like most other states, individuals essentially swear to their citizenship and can face perjury and felony voter fraud charges if it is later discovered that an individual lied, Browning said he told the governor. Scott wanted to move ahead.
In September, Florida began an ongoing quest to access a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) database that includes information about individuals who have become naturalized U.S. citizens. The DHS refused to give the state access, Cate said. The Secretary of State's office will instead pay the agency that grants Florida driver’s licenses, which has access to the DHS database, at least $90,000 to run all 182,000 names, Cate said.
“Believe me, if we had this information a year ago, or two years ago we would have acted on it then,” he said.
Timing matters. The National Voter Registration Act requires states to make every effort to monitor and maintain clean and accurate voter rolls, said Sarah Massey, media director of Project Vote, part of the coalition and a Washington, D.C.-based national nonprofit that works to empower, educate and mobilize low income and other marginalized and under represented voters.
But the same law also says efforts must take place 90 days or more before a federal election begins, Massey said. Florida voters are set to vote in a primary Aug. 14 that includes candidates seeking congressional seats -- meaning the state has missed the three-month deadline.
Beyond the timing of the purge, in an initial list of nearly 3,000 voters, black and Latino immigrants were disproportionately represented, the coalition of advocacy groups said in a statement Thursday. A Miami Herald analysis found nearly 60 percent of the people on the list to be Latino. Hispanic voters constitute just 13 percent of the state's electorate, according to federal data.
The situation has some voting rights advocates talking about the role voter purges have played in previous presidential contests.
“In 2000, thousands were purged [from the rolls] in Florida and thousands couldn’t vote,” said Massey, a spokesperson for Project Vote about the election that pitted former President George W. Bush against then-Vice President Al Gore. “We had an election that was ultimately called by the Supreme Court and that just can’t happen again.”
Posted by Governor Skeletor at 4:55 PM