Saturday, December 16, 2017
Editorials

Editorial: Driving a stake into voter suppression

It's probably just a happy coincidence. Last week, Gov. Rick Scott's administration announced it was giving up on plans to purge the voter rolls before the November election, citing federal computer issues. This week, a federal appeals court ruled the governor's badly flawed 2012 purge effort violated federal law, and it sent a clear signal it did not want to see that happen again. The court ruling should prevent the governor from reconsidering the decision to abandon the purge, and it is a victory for Florida voters.

Scott's dogged pursuit of a sweeping purge of the voter rolls reflected Republican efforts nationwide to make it harder for low-income and minority voters to participate in elections. No one endorses allowing noncitizens to vote, and county elections supervisors have a duty to maintain accurate voter rolls. But there was no evidence of sweeping voter fraud involving noncitizens in Florida. Demanding a statewide purge of the rolls did not even address issues involving mail ballots, which have been used in fraud cases.

A three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta called the governor's 2012 effort "far from perfect" and found it violated federal law by occurring too close to the election. State elections officials used error-filled lists of suspect voters using driver's license records that included 180,000 or so names that disproportionately included Hispanics and other minorities. Then the list was cut to 2,600. Then 198. The state turned to a federal database normally used for other functions and local elections officials revolted. About 85 voters ultimately were removed from the rolls, yet Scott was trying again this year until the state decided changes to the federal database would make it too difficult. This week's appeals court opinion should be the final word, and Florida should focus on voter turnout rather than voter suppression.

Comments

Editorial: Warren’s smart approach on guns, domestic violence

Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren would make it safer for victims and police alike with his plan to remove firearms from defendants charged with domestic violence. These cases are toxic enough, and having guns at the ready only adds to a dang...
Published: 12/15/17
Editorial: St. Petersburg council right to reject Bayfront deal

Editorial: St. Petersburg council right to reject Bayfront deal

The St. Petersburg City Council made the difficult but correct decision this week to reject the proposed sale of a local nonprofit’s minority stake in Bayfront hospital. Despite months of negotiations, there were too many questions, a few suspicions ...
Published: 12/15/17
Editorial: Congress should fix flood insurance, children’s health insurance before Christmas

Editorial: Congress should fix flood insurance, children’s health insurance before Christmas

Here’s a snapshot of misplaced priorities in Washington. Last week, the Federal Communications Commission foolishly rushed to scrap net neutrality rules and allow internet service providers to treat different content differently despite overwhelming ...
Published: 12/14/17
Updated: 12/15/17
Editorial: Scott’s smart changes to sexual harassment policy

Editorial: Scott’s smart changes to sexual harassment policy

With misconduct allegations rippling through all levels of government, Gov. Rick Scott has taken the prudent step of ordering uniform sexual harassment policies throughout state agencies. The executive order strengthens protections for victims, which...
Published: 12/14/17
Updated: 12/15/17
Editorial: MOSI faces a clean slate and should give everyone a piece of chalk

Editorial: MOSI faces a clean slate and should give everyone a piece of chalk

For three years, the only news about finances at Tampa’s Museum of Science and Industry was bad news: "Struggling MOSI asks Hillsborough County for $400,000 loan," one headline read, "Audit sees MOSI finances slipping," read another, and "MOSI donor ...
Published: 12/14/17
Updated: 12/15/17
Editorial: Rubio should make good his threat to oppose tax cuts without changes

Editorial: Rubio should make good his threat to oppose tax cuts without changes

For once, it would be nice to see Sen. Marco Rubio stand up as the independent leader he aspires to become. For once, the Florida Republican should hold his position rather than bow to pragmatic politics. Rubio can stick with his threat Thursday to v...
Published: 12/14/17

Another voice: A shameful anniversary

Josephine "Joey" Gay should have celebrated her 12th birthday this week. She should have been surrounded by friends and family in a place festooned with purple, her favorite color.Chase Kowalski should have been working toward a Boy Scout merit badge...
Published: 12/13/17
Updated: 12/14/17
Editorial: Congress should block efforts to expand offshore drilling

Editorial: Congress should block efforts to expand offshore drilling

Timing is everything, and Sen. Bill Nelson seized the right moment this week to call on his colleagues to pass legislation he filed earlier this year that would block the Trump administration from opening additional areas to offshore drilling. With t...
Published: 12/13/17

Another voice: Alabama picks an honorable man

THANK YOU, Alabama.In Tuesday’s special election, the state by a narrow margin chose to spare the nation the indignity of seating an accused child molester in the U.S. Senate. Though the stain of electing Republican Roy Moore would have sullied Alaba...
Published: 12/12/17
Updated: 12/13/17
Editorial: Tax cuts aren’t worth harm to Tampa Bay

Editorial: Tax cuts aren’t worth harm to Tampa Bay

As congressional negotiators hammer out the details on an enormous, unnecessary tax cut, the potential negative impact on Tampa Bay and Florida is becoming clearer. The harmful consequences stretch far beyond adding more than $1.4 trillion to the fed...
Published: 12/12/17