As some have no doubt heard, the states of Florida, Texas, Wisconsin and several other states dominated by freshly-minted GOP hard liners have recently undertaken attempts to strike voters from the rolls to stay in office or throw the upcoming November election to folks they want to see in office.
In Florida there were attempts to disenfranchise a couple thousands voters, over eighty percent of which were non-white. One particular instance of attempted disenfranchisement has caught the attention of the regular media. According to a recent editorial by the Miami Herald's Pulitzer-Prize Winning editorialist, Leonard Pitts,Jr:
"Bill Internicola had to show his papers.
"He received a letter last month from the Broward County, Fla., Supervisor of Elections informing him the office had "information from the state of Florida that you are not a United States citizen; however, you are registered to vote." So Internicola had to prove he is an American. He sent the county a copy of his Army discharge papers.
"Internicola is 91. He was born in Brooklyn. He is a veteran of the Second World War. He earned a Bronze Star for his part in the Battle of the Bulge. Yet he was required to prove to a county functionary that he is entitled to vote in a U.S. election.
"We learn from a story in last week's Miami Herald that this is part of a campaign by Florida Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican, to weed non-citizens off the rolls of the state's voters. Initially, Florida claimed 180,000 were possible non-citizens. That number was eventually whittled way down to about 2,600 people. In Miami-Dade County, where the largest number of them live, 385 have been verified as citizens. Ten -- 10! -- have admitted they are ineligible or asked to be removed from the rolls.
So out of 2,600 voters there was 10 voters. This, out of millions registered in the "Sunshine State", who needed to be weeded out. Clearly this was not a major problem in the first place and is more of a scare tactic to suppress ethnic votes that would be unfavorable to the party in power (the Republicans) during a major election. This flies in the face of the spirit of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and shows how desperate some politicos are of the changing demographics of the southern, southwestern and midwest states where these tactics are the most often applied.
Currently the Attorney General's office and parts of our judicial court system have done a pretty good job keeping this sort of disenfranchisement from getting out of hand. But of course that could change starting this November. It's clear with enough money and enough fear of "the other" (mainly Hispanics, it seems) these campaigns are so brazen they will not be stalled without plenty of public interest.
Even this very day, there are attempts at voter intimidation and misinformation going on right now in the Governor Scott Walker recall election in Wisconsin.
These tactics are not new, as African-American voters who are aware of long fight over Jim Crow Laws are aware, with the long history of "poll taxes" and outright violent suppression of voting rights know about, as women who recall the Suffergate Movement are aware, as Hispanic Americans who face being asked for their citizenship papers thanks to draconian laws in Arizona are well aware.
What is new in the modern American political scene is the fervor of it all. White conservatives know the demographics of this nation are changing and not to their betterment. The America of Richard Nixon's white and worried "Silent Majority" and Ronald Reagan's "Morning in America" crowd is seeing their ranks thinning and time marching on. But they will try to keep the clock back, and try all they can to enforce an internal colonization over the new voting blocs that are more open-minded about issues from economic empathy and marriage rights than they ever were.
it's a strong indication that, as Thomas Jefferson said, "the price of liberty is, [indeed], eternal vigilance!"