Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Politicians manipulating medical marijuana vote? Imagine that

What an interesting vote we have on our hands come November, one that pits old-school rigidity against progressive thought.

No, no, not the governor's race between Republican incumbent Rick Scott and Democratic former governor Charlie Crist. We're talking medical marijuana here.

And the potential for some seriously cynical political manipulation on the way.

Lately I have been imagining these political opportunist types in dark, smoky rooms, figuring out new and heartless ways to manipulate elections in their candidates' favor. (I see this movie villain, muttering and stroking a hairless cat.)

Who, they must be thinking, will show up for this one? And how can I stop them?

Certainly in the November election, we will see voters convinced of marijuana's medicinal value, and also those who believe it our sure path to ruin. And we can expect much interest from young people. You know, college-age.

Which brings us to an early-voting dust-up out of Gainesville, and if you are the cynical sort, the potential for some of the aforementioned manipulating.

The Scott administration has opined that, under new law that expands location options, the University of Florida's student union building cannot be used as an early voting site for an upcoming municipal election in March. And, presumably, the big November election to follow.

The logic: The Reitz Union building is not a government-owned community center or convention center under the law, according to a rather narrow interpretation from Florida's Division of Elections.

It is, however, a super-convenient place for busy students, faculty and staff — you know, the "community" that uses it as a "center" — to vote early.

Now for the cynical part: Early voting tends to help Democrats. Young voters tend to help Democrats. And did I mention that big governor election in November?

And it's not like we haven't already seen some dirty dealings in attempting to control who does and doesn't vote. Remember 2012, after the Legislature reduced early voting from two weeks to eight days and eliminated "Souls to the Polls" Sunday before election day, when black churches get their members out to vote?

That outrage, later adjusted, met back then with who-me fluttering of eyelashes from those who put the plan in place. And it ran counter to everything a lot of us learned in middle school civics class: that everyone gets to vote, even people who don't think like us. And that government's supposed to make it easier, not harder, regardless of which political party it might help or hurt.

Gov. Scott, whose popularity numbers have at times been roughly equal to people's enthusiasm for a root canal on a Monday morning, really, really wants to get re-elected. He's working on his image. He loves teachers! He wants more money for schools! He'll save you a few bucks on your car registration!

But the governor could make a big impact on a small matter in Gainesville, if he so chose. In a small gesture, he could push to open that vote to everyone, whether they would tend to vote for him and his fellow Republicans or not. He could even take a shot at erasing that whole villain with the hairless cat thing.

And maybe make some of us less cynical in the process.

Comments
Mason Ruffner’s career reached ‘Crossroads’ with this memorable tune

Mason Ruffner’s career reached ‘Crossroads’ with this memorable tune

Our '80s historian Kevin Wuench goes to the Deep South today with his music lesson: Like your AOR with a touch of Texas/Louisiana blues swamp? Then you should try some Mason Ruffner with his sweltering Gypsy Blood.Mason Ruffner grew up in Texas ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Alex Corddry won’t be back on Tampa Bay Rays telecasts

Alex Corddry won’t be back on Tampa Bay Rays telecasts

Alex Corddry won't be back on Fox Sports Sun's Tampa Bay Rays telecasts.Corddry completed a one-year contract with Fox, serving as the pre-, post- and in-game reporter.  She also covers college football for ESPN and does freelance work in the Wa...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Live from Disney: Winter meetings update, day 3 – updated with news

Live from Disney: Winter meetings update, day 3 – updated with news

UPDATE, 3:50: The most interesting deal of the day thus far is the Cardinals getting OF Marcell Ozuna from the Marlins, for a package led by prospect RHP Sandy Alcantara. This deal getting done could lead the Cardinals and Rays to get more serious in...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Cabinet improves link in cross-Florida bike trail

Cabinet improves link in cross-Florida bike trail

Gov. Rick Scott and the state Cabinet agreed to spend $1.08 million Wednesday for land that will help link to an ambitious bicycle and pedestrian trail planned to stretch across Central Florida, connecting the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico.The...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Appeals court upholds ruling against Florida education funding challenge

Appeals court upholds ruling against Florida education funding challenge

Florida's First District Court of Appeal has agreed with the trial court against a group of parents who complained the state had violated its constitutional role to fund an "an efficient, safe, secure and uniform high-quality education."The...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Pasco students using school choice might not have to reapply after rezoning

Pasco students using school choice might not have to reapply after rezoning

Pasco County students attending schools outside their neighborhoods through choice will not have to submit new applications to remain after the School Board redraws boundaries for several west-side high schools, if the board approves.Superintendent K...
Updated: 20 minutes ago
Rick Scott issues executive order on sexual harassment reporting for state employees

Rick Scott issues executive order on sexual harassment reporting for state employees

Gov. Rick Scott on Wednesday issued an executive order that he said will standardize the handling of sexual harassment complaints and investigations at executive branch state agencies.Scott said his order takes clear action to protect against workpla...
Updated: 12 minutes ago
Photo of the Day for December 13, 2017

Photo of the Day for December 13, 2017

Today’s Photo of the Day comes from Michael Ganci of Palm Harbor, FL.To download or order reprints of this and other Photo of the Day images, please see our Photo of the Day gallery.Check out the Photo of the Day post for December 12, 2017.Send...
Updated: 7 minutes ago
Warren Sapp on sexual harassment allegations: ‘Ain’t no #MeToo’

Warren Sapp on sexual harassment allegations: ‘Ain’t no #MeToo’

Warren Sapp vehemently denied allegations that he sexually harassed a female employee when he worked at the NFL Network during a radio appearance this afternoon in Miami."Ain’t no #MeToo," the former Buc and Pro Football Hall of Famer said on the And...
Updated: 9 minutes ago

Official urges expulsion of lawmaker accused of assault

Kentucky's Democratic attorney general says the state House of Representatives should take steps to expel a Republican lawmaker accused of sexually assaulting a teenage girl in 2013
Updated: 13 minutes ago