Ari Berman on Voter Suppression in Florida: 'It's No Coincidence What the Republicans Are Doing' - Rolling Stone
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Ari Berman on Voter Suppression in Florida: ‘It’s No Coincidence What the Republicans Are Doing’

Ari Berman on Florida's Voter Suppression: 'It's No Coincidence What the Republicans Are Doing'

Despite a warning from the Department of Justice, Florida has indicated that it will continue to purge its voter roll of alleged “non-citizen” voters, which amounts to 182,000 people. In practice, at least 20 percent of those labeled as “non-citizens” in Miami-Dade, for example, were actually eligible to vote, resulting in an yet-unknown number of disenfranchised voters. 

In response, the Justice Department has told Florida the purge might violate the 1965 Voting Rights Act and the 1993 National Voter Registration Act, and gave the state until Wednesday to stop the purge. But a spokesman for the Florida Secretary of State, Chris Cate, indicated they’re going to keep it up. “We have a year-round obligation to make sure the voter rolls are accurate. We are going to continue forward and do everything that we can legally do to make sure that ineligible voters cannot vote,” he said.

In the video below from Sunday’s Up With Chris Hayes, Ari Berman, who wrote here last week about Florida Republicans’ “brazen” voter suppression efforts talked about the Republican effort, in Florida as well as nationwide, to disenfranchise voters who typically vote Democrat. Republican Gov. Rick Scott, who was elected to office in 2010, has so far done three things prior to the latest purge that has suppressed thousands of votes, Berman said, including disenfranchising ex-felons, cutting back on voter registration drives, and cutting back on early voting. “Twice as  many African-Americans and Hispanics registered to vote through voter registration drives in 2008 than white voters. African-Americans accounted for 54 percent of early voters in 2008,” he said.

“It’s no coincidence what the Republicans are doing,” Berman continued. “They looked very carefully at how Obama won, who voted for him and the tactics they used. Voter registration drives, early voting, were key to the Obama victory. So not only did they cut back on those things, but then they put these photo ID laws in effect, which we know, not only 11 percent of Americans don’t have these ids, 25 percent of African-Americans, 20 percent of young voters don’t have that. So they specifically targeted the core of the Obama coalition.”

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