Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s (R) pre-election voter purge hasn’t had much success lately, but that didn’t stop him from going to a Tea Party Express event yesterday, urging far-right activists to help rally support for his scheme.
Wearing khakis, a blue button-down shirt with the sleeves rolled up and his signature custom-made cowboy boots, Scott defended the purge and enlisted their aid getting President Obama’s administration to cooperate by granting access to a federal immigration database.
“Okay so the latest is who should get to vote in our state and in our country. People that are citizens of our country. It’s very simple, right? Who comes up with the idea that you get to vote if you’re not a citizen?” Scott asked near the end of a 15-minute speech at the Tallahassee Antique Car Museum.
As straw-men arguments go, Scott’s is a doozy. “Who comes up with the idea that you get to vote if you’re not a citizen?” Well, no one; the governor is attacking a line that no one is defending. Rather, the problem is Scott’s plan, though ostensibly about purging non-citizens from the voter rolls, has ended up unjustly targeting tens of thousands of eligible citizens, making this more of a voter-suppression plan than anything else.
Indeed, given that 87% of Scott’s purge list is made up of minorities, minority voters tend to support Democrats, and the scheme is being executed five months before Election Day, the partisan motivations behind the governor’s agenda is rather transparent.
Nevertheless, Scott vowed yesterday that he would not back down from his suppression tactics, and was reportedly emboldened by last week’s recall election in Wisconsin. In an unintentionally-hilarious twist, Scott was introduced yesterday by Tea Party Express co-founder Amy Kremer, who told the crowd, without a hint of irony, that the voter purge is necessary because, “If the Democrats cannot win it fair and square, they will steal it.”
The next question, of course, is what will happen among those who have the most control over this process: the county elections supervisors.
As Rachel explained last week, Scott can send purge lists to the counties, but it’s up to the county officials “to actually do the purging … and lately the county officials in Florida are not much in a mood for what the state is telling them to do.” Indeed, as of Friday, these 67 county election chiefs said they would not move forward with Scott’s purge plan because they lack confidence in the integrity of the governor’s list.
One county elections supervisor said, “We’re just not going to do this. I’ve talked to many of the other supervisors and they agree. The list is bad. And this is illegal.”
However, Maddow Blog commenter Luckton noted this morning that the scheme “is still being carried out by a few of the county supervisors,” who are buckling to pressure from the governor.
Also keep an eye on Scott’s next move, which may include filing suit against the Obama administration for not helping him purge more voters from the state’s rolls.