Commentary: Let’s Not Repeat 2000’s Election Results in 2012

Florida Gov. Rick Scott is unrelenting in his effort to purge eligible voters from the state's voting roster.

Posted: 05/31/2012 01:56 PM EDT

Florida Republican Gov. Rick Scott is apparently up to his state’s old tricks of using political power to stifle potential voters. Last year Scott ordered his Secretary of State Kurt Browning  “to identify and remove non-U.S. citizens from the voter polls.”

Despite the fact that the odds of a non-U.S. citizen participating in this upcoming election were slim to none, according to a study conducted by the Brennan Center for Justice and protest from Browning, Scott insisted on pushing forward with his controversial efforts.

Scott’s political crusade initially resulted in finding 180,000 potential non-U.S. citizens on the books. But after a cursory review of the list by Florida county election supervisors the figure was cut down to a total of 2,600 people. That’s a relatively small number considering the fact that Florida has more than 11 million registered voters. In a tight presidential race, a small number of voters can mean the big difference between who wins and who looses.

Keep in mind that 2000’s presidential race between George Bush and Al Gore was decided by a mere 537 votes. If that’s not enough to raise eyebrows then consider that according to the Miami Herald the majority of people counted within those numbers were Hispanics, Democrats and independents — the people who would most likely vote for Barack Obama. It is also interesting to note that between 1999 and 2000, the state of Florida under the then-leadership of Gov. Jeb Bush undertook a similar voter purge that eliminated thousands of Blacks and Hispanics from the voting roster, and we all know the outcome of the 2000 presidential election.

Scott’s voter purge has drawn heavy criticism from Democrats such as Florida Rep. Alcee Hasting and Rep. Ted Deutch, who have declared Scott’s efforts “misguided.”  But if recent history is any indication of intent, then Scott’s efforts are anything but misguided. It is a deliberate, albeit futile, partisan effort on the GOP’s part to thwart President Obama’s chance at a second term.

Once again the Florida GOP has proven its willingness to do anything to win, even if it means unjustly scrubbing thousands of eligible U.S. citizens from the voting list. This type of undemocratic behavior must be stopped, and all legitimate U.S. citizens must be allowed to vote in a free and fair election.

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(Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)