Florida has a short but sordid history under Republican governors of using technology to keep mostly poor and minority voters from voting. The worst example came under Gov. JEB Bush, whose administration used corrupted computer records to block non-felons as well as ex-felons from voting.
A federal judge Tuesday (12/18/07) blocked enforcement of a Florida law that prevents people from registering to vote if officials cannot match their Social Security or driver license numbers to federal or state data bases.
It took a lawsuit and a ruling from a federal judge to keep a Republican-initiated Florida law from blocking up to 14,000 people from voting in the upcoming presidential primary. After U.S. District Judge Stephan Mickle ruled, it took three days for the state to conform. Initially, the state told elections supervisors to disregard the ruling because it would cause too much confusion before registration ends Monday for the Jan. 29 primary.
Secretary of State Kurt Browning said he would immediately appeal the temporary injunction that U.S. District Judge Stephan Mickle issued against the matching law that's designed to prevent election fraud.
Three civil rights organizations challenged the statute. They argued it violates voting rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and federal laws because the data bases are unreliable and the matching process is prone to human error, computer glitches and other problems.
While Republicans look for ways to limit access to the ballot box, the courts correctly side with unfettered access for legitimate voters, acknowledging that far too often the real fraudulent act is committed in the name of contesting fraud.
Is Katherine Harris Kurt Browning's role model?