Wednesday, Aug 27, 2014
Editorials

Purging voting rolls sounds good, but what's happening is dirty politics

Published:

Everyone wants fraud-free elections. The thought of non-citizens helping to decide our elected officials and ballot measures makes any honest person angry. That said, voter fraud is almost non-existent, but that hasn't stopped many Southern states to fall all over themselves to pass laws to keep our elections pristine. Of course, what they're really trying to do is suppress votes of mostly Democratic citizens. It's disgusting.

Florida legislators and the governor were obvious about their intentions when they passed a half-baked push to purge voter rolls of non-citizens. It didn't work, and instead, a few thousand Florida citizens - mainly black and poor - were singled out.

On top of this, lawmakers and the governor pushed to shorten early voting in many areas, and it was obvious what they were trying to do. As a result, Florida's vote came in a week later than the rest of the nation - long after it was evident President Obama had won re-election. Obama carried Florida. With egg on their faces, the governor and the Republican-led Legislature relented, saying that won't happen again.

The bottom line in Florida, and other Southern states, is that the GOP hates that demographics are changing. They want to gain an edge through redistricting, limiting voting hours and requiring photo IDs, which many poor, older people don't have.

We support the requirement for photo IDs for all voters. Either a driver's license or some other kind of photo ID should be required. Everyone who is legal to vote should be given the opportunity, but they should also be responsible enough to supply documentation to prove they are legal residents. There's nothing wrong with that, as long as everyone knows well ahead of time that such an ID is required.

Florida is back at it again trying to purge voter rolls. Supervisors of elections in many Florida counties, who are the only ones who can actually purge rolls, are angry with another attempt at this. They know that voter fraud is not an issue and they work hard to keep the rolls clean and elections fair.

We can all agree that our elections should be operated with restrictions to make sure voters are actually legal voters. We should also agree that we want everyone to vote, regardless of the outcome or which party wins, to make it a true representative government.

Lame attempts to suppress votes should enrage voters and encourage them to send the politicians pulling these dirty tricks packing. We hope that's exactly what happens.

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