Well, it's been quite a week for elections, scandals, and national attention highlighting Florida as ground zero for voting disasters, and it's only Tuesday!
It's hard to keep up, but here are just a few of the highlights so far:
Former beer lobbyist, and present Secretary of State Ken Detzner just came out with his "recommendations" (wink, wink) to "restore voter confidence." In his report, he listed several things that need to be addressed. Voters will quickly notice that many of those items are basically the very same "potholes" that the Florida legislature and Rick Scott dug in the road to the Florida ballot box last year. In other words, had they not made all those changes intended as voter suppression in the first place, we wouldn't have had all those problems on election day. That was the point, after all.
Sadly, nowhere in those recommendations does it say we should rid ourselves of said governor, SOS, nor the lawmakers in question, which at this point is the best option in the minds of Floridans. But they don't pay attention to what the voters want, so we're stuck with their wasted efforts to investigate themselves, while trying to point the finger elsewhere.
Of all those recommendations, Gov. Rick Scott put out a press release yesterday that apparently means he's ignoring all but three of them:
“This report details three key reforms our state needs to improve our election system and restore voter confidence. It recommends changing current law to shorten the length of the ballot, add more days for early voting – from eight to 14 days, including the option for supervisors of elections to open polls on the Sunday before Election Day, and increase the size of voting locations to better accommodate voters."
Of course, Scott claims he wants to be fair, and that improvements need to be made. Never mind that he was asked to make one of them on election night as people were still waiting in line AFTER the election was called. Thanks for nothing, Sherlock.
To add, he says "I have also asked Sec. Detzner to continue to work with those counties who need additional assistance or support to improve their systems, outside of statewide election law changes."
In regards to those changes, Detzner spoke at a panel in the State Senate today, and pointed the finger not at himself, the legislature, or the Governor, but the local supervisors themselves.
Secretary of State Ken Detzner told a Senate panel Tuesday that in “certain areas” the poor handling of the 2012 election could have led Gov. Rick Scott to consider removing local election officials from office.
“…it came very, very, very close, in my opinion,” said Detzner, who would not name names while speaking while addressing Senate Ethics and Elections subcommittee."
While he was busy pointing the finger at straw elections officials, another change was proposed. Giving Detzner even MORE power to suspend supervisors of elections:
State Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, R-Miami, said he wants to consider giving the secretary of state the power to suspend supervisors of elections.
Detzner, who would not make that decision, said it would give the secretary of state “unprecedented authority.” He released proposed election reforms Monday that largely mirrored those already recommended by state election officials.
Matthew Fox, the panel's top attorney, said that adding that power would be tricky.
"As you know, the suspension power is exclusive within the province of the governor," he said. "We would have to be very careful not to step on the governor’s authority."
Yes, that's just the problem. Detzner should be granted even more power so he can cut to the chase and fire people without all this pesky investigation nonsense the next time voting problems come up. The main concern being not to step on the toes of King Voldemort, who is bound to benefit from said changes in 2014. He would likely lose the election if it were up to the silly voters, and well, he can't have that.
Literally can't have that. The voters don't like him and can't wait to vote him out regardless of his shallow attempts to win them over with empty slogans.
While Scott, Detzner, and the plotting Republicans in the Florida legislature go about their days in self-inflicted denial, their incompetence and attempt to rival the 2000 election debacle has not escaped notice elsewhere in the country.
Today the New York Times has a nice little graphic of voting wait times that occurred on election day. To find the wait time comparison to Florida's, you'll have to scroll, scroll, and scroll some more, all the way down to the bottom to see that Florida went way beyond the national average of 14 minutes. It also shows that those who had the longer waiting periods were, of course, black, Hispanic, Democrat and Independent voters. If you were a Republican, chances are you sailed right through!
You're welcome. Love, the GOP.
Charlie Pierce, over at Esquire.com sums our problems up well when he refers to us as "the World's Greatest Democracy" where "we run out elections on blueprints apparently drawn up by the Marx Brothers." He quotes Republican "Mensa" member, Sen. Chuck Grassley, who recently said that while it's "ridiculous to stand in line for a couple of hours just to vote," he also thinks it's ridiculous to "make a political issue out of it." (Were Grassley from Florida rather than Iowa, he would fit right in perfectly down here, wouldn't he?)
Pierce ends his piece with this:
And it shouldn't be necessary to point out to anyone over the age of four that leaving things up to the states in this regard is a bad idea at the moment, and looks even worse in historical retrospect, especially with conservative lawyers right now gearing up to try and get the Supreme Court to gut the Voting Rights Act. Because, as we know, the country's far beyond all that nasty stuff that happened in the 1960s. That's history, which doesn't count any more.
If only that were true.
With Gov. Run Florida Like A Bidness, Secretary of State Chug-A-Lug, and the Kings of not so transparent anymore Gerrymandering in charge of the next election, let's just say we might have stood a better chance with the Marx Brothers.
But with this crew? Not so much.