My next category to discuss in this series is voting issues. We all know how Rick Scott stampeded voting rights and accessibility in 2012, and continues to do so to this day, so I won't need to do more than reiterate points from my list after I make a few comments.
Scott's offenses in this category fall into two subcategories. The first is his effort to cut down voting time. I've tried and failed to find an intelligent defense of his actions by his supporters, but the only thing any of them has ever said that I have found is something like: "People have plenty of time and plenty of opportunity to vote. We don't need expanded hours or voting locations."
That of course, ranks as one of the least intelligent answers you can make on this subject.
Voting is the lifeblood of a democratic republic. If there is any political activity for which "overkill" would be a good idea, it would be this one. Yes, it is possible you can have too much; we wouldn't want voting open all year for the November 2014 election, for example. But if Scott's followers want to play this game, they need to put their money where their mouth is.
First of all, they need to consult with experts in areas like crowd management, voting, and so on, and get an objective measure from these experts on just how much time and space is needed for the millions of voting citizens of this state to reasonably cast their vote. Just throwing out your opinion ("I think there's enough time") isn't going to cut it. You aren't millions of people.
I'm no expert (nor a scientist -- ha!). The last post here listed some experts who may be able to weigh in on this. But then again, I think the long lines in 2012 give us some idea what their conclusion would be.
The second thing Scott supporters need to do is live the life of one of these voters to whom they deny enough time, and then tell us the same thing. I don't expect any of them to assume the place of (for example) a single mom with three kids and two jobs any time soon, though.
(By the way, for a look at the extremity of foolishness this sort of thinking from Scott supporters can produce, check this story from Politifact.)
Scott's other great offense in this category has to do with voter purging efforts. His efforts here are so stubborn that he's even pretending that a Supreme Court action against them doesn't exist (see below). It also leads to an obvious question: What alleged problem was it he thought he was solving?
They say it was voter fraud. Obviously, that happens, though as some sources are saying, not as much as is claimed.
To use an example, in one of Ohio's most populous counties (Cuyahoga, where Cleveland is), there were only fifteen prosecuted cases of voter fraud for 2012. That's in a county with a population of 1.2 million (not all of them registered voters, of course).
Is Rick Scott so lacking in confidence that he feels the need to get rid of 15 votes?
Hamilton County (Cincinnati) is a little more serious. There, a population of 800,000 produced 48 cases of voter fraud. Although, only 6 ended up serious enough for prosecution.
So what is Rick Scott thinking he's accomplishing here, anyway?
Scott's supporters are rife with anecdotes about this one guy they knew back in 2008 who voted three times, or some other guy who pretended to be their dead Aunt Hilda. But in terms of voter fraud that could sway an election, you'd be hard pressed to find a case. Large cases of fraud in elections have come as a result of politicians plotting to rig elections, but not citizens plotting to vote fraudulently. And that only makes sense, because it would be kind of hard for any number of citizens to get together and plot to rig an election as part of some sort of conspriacy -- and certainly even harder for them to do so in a way that will change an election's outcome.
Scott's supporters need to prove that voter fraud -- the sort of fraud the purge was (allegedly) aimed at stopping -- is widespread enough to warrant Scott trampling on the civil rights of legitimate voters. I say that knowing they won't prove it, and can't.
To close, here are the elements from my list for this category.
15) Rick Scott hampered voting rights by limiting early voting time.
Some charge Scott with targeting minorities. But whether he did so or not, he compromised the abilities of legitimate voters to exercise their right to vote. It is also notable that he flip-flopped on this issue, at first calling his limits on early voting “the right thing to do,” and later signing a bill to extend early voting. He also should have anticipated the need for more voting time because of the length of ballots for 2012 elections.
Whether or not Scott was targeting minority or Democratic voters, these actions at the very least speak to indifference to voting rights, and to incompetence by Scott.
16) Rick Scott engaged in a useless purge of voting rolls.
Here again, Scott is charged with targeting minorities, but even if he did not have that intention, this project was a waste of state resources, and Scott has admitted as much.
17) Rick Scott promoted a useless ranking system for election supervisors.
Scott ranked the supervisors based on speed, in a field where accuracy is of prime importance.
18) Rick Scott wanted to make it harder to cast absentee ballots.
161) Rick Scott wants to try another “voter purge” using a database that will not always provide accurate information.
He wants to use a database associated with the Department of Homeland Security to purge voter rolls, but it is not reliable for the purpose of determining someone’s citizenship.
162) Rick Scott is blocking early voting on college campuses.
The specific case concerns the University of Florida, but obviously has bearing on any college campus.
196) Rick Scott engaged in an illegal voter purge.
I noted the purge above as a waste of time. Now it has been found illegal.