Florida's GOP-Initiated Voter Suppression Laws Taking Toll Already
This is bad news from a state where, as we know too well form history, voting can be close and contested. Voter suppression is working:
The state’s new elections law — which requires groups that register voters to turn in completed forms within 48 hours or risk fines, among other things — has led the state’s League of Women Voters to halt its efforts this year. Rock the Vote, a national organization that encourages young people to vote, began an effort last week to register high school students around the nation — but not in Florida, over fears that teachers could face fines. And on college campuses, the once-ubiquitous folding tables piled high with voter registration forms are now a rarer sight.
Florida, which reminded the nation of the importance of every vote in the disputed presidential election in 2000 when it reported that George W. Bush had won by 537 votes, is now seeing a significant drop-off in new voter registrations. In the months since its new law took effect in July, 81,471 fewer Floridians have registered to vote than during the same period before the 2008 presidential election, according to an analysis of registration data by The New York Times. All told, there are 11.3 million voters registered in the state.
And Florida is far from alone. The franchise is shrinking everywhere, and it's a GOP ploy:
Florida’s law — which is being challenged in court by civic groups and, in counties covered by the Voting Rights Act, the Justice Department — is one of more than a dozen that states have passed in recent years that have made it harder to vote by requiring voters to show photo identification at polls, reducing early voting periods or making it more difficult to register.