Florida Governor Rick Scott claims to be protecting his state from voter fraud in the upcoming November elections by purging all suspected “non-citizens” from the voting rolls. Under this disguise, both Scott and Secretary of State Ken Detzner are leading the charge to enact what seems to be another attempt to suppress the vote in November.
Scott’s purge of the voting rolls not only follows patterns of voter suppression, but is also highly suspect; the Tampa Bay Times reports that this list was calculated using inaccurate and out of date information. Using this flawed data Scott targeted over 180,000 Florida residents as suspected “non-citizens”. Already, 20% of those listed have been identified as actual citizens and the number is anticipated to increase. Suspected “non-citizens” received a letter sent out by the state and have 30 days to respond and prove citizenship or they will be removed from the voter rolls.
Scott’s purge follows other restrictive voting legislation passed since 2011. Numerous states including Georgia, Virginia, Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee have enacted new voter suppression laws that would require voters to present a government-issued ID.
These attempts by Scott have significant implications of potentially disenfranchising Hispanic, African American, young and elderly voters. An analysis of Scott’s list by the Miami Herald shows that fifty-eight percent of suspected “non-citizens” are Hispanic.
With Scott’s purging of the voter rolls and other voter suppression laws, approximately 21 million people are expected to be disenfranchised. These laws are equivalent to poll taxes placed on African Americans voters in the Jim Crow south. Twenty-five percent of African Americans and 18 percent of young adults lack the required ID and would have to purchase the proper ID in order to vote.
In spite of these voter suppression attempts, it is incredibly important to combat this blatant intimidation by voting. Students, especially those in Florida, can get involved with our Get Out Her Vote Campaign to educate and ensure student voters are on the voter rolls and have the proper ID.