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.
Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Voter Purge Pisses Off FL Voters
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.
Posted by Governor Skeletor at 6:23 PM