I'm not going to sign a bill that I believe discourages people from voting.
- Gov. Rick Scott
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Well, sir! Here is exactly what will happen to a lot of Floridians if you do sign House Bill 1355.
They will go to vote on the next Election Day.
And they will be stopped.
They will be blocked from casting a regular ballot. They will be told there is a problem. They will be diverted into the "provisional ballot" line. They will be told that there has to be a separate proceeding to decide whether their vote will even count.
They will be aggravated, frustrated, intimidated, confused. Some will just leave.
And why will they deserve this? What suspicious conduct by them will have triggered it?
(1) Moving to a different county.
(2) Changing their name.
(3) Being guilty of (1) or (2), and not properly notifying their local elections office.
For the past four decades, moving or changing a name has not been a big deal. You simply updated your information on Election Day.
Under this bill - no more. You can't cast a regular ballot.
Now, who moves more in our society, do you think?
Do young people move more often than the old? Do renters move more often than homeowners? Is the percentage of renters higher among the poor? Do college students move more often than established families? Do women change their names more often than men?
How about Floridians who have lost their homes in the economy? How about the foreclosed-upon, the dispossessed? Did they lose their homes and say, "Quick! First thing, we're off to the supervisor of elections to update our voting address"?
There are a couple of other obnoxious things about House Bill 1355.
First, the bill cuts back on the days of early voting in Florida. People have really been using it to vote early - well, we can't have that.
Next, the bill cracks down on groups that try to register voters. It chokes them in red tape, sets unrealistic deadlines and Catch-22 rules, and then threatens them with punishments and fines on a per-signature basis.
Here is how bad this bill is, governor:
The League of Women Voters has announced that if you sign it, the league will suspend all voter registration efforts in Florida, for fear of being punished by the government.
And for what reason?
"Voter fraud." It is a Big Lie told so often that too many people believe it.
"Everybody knows" that there is voter fraud in Florida. "Everybody knows" that Mickey Mouse was registered to vote in Florida.
IT ISN'T TRUE.
It isn't true. It isn't true! There is no widespread voter fraud in Florida. There is not even frequent voter fraud. Those anecdotes cited by legislators during debate do not exist. They make it sound like terrorists, commies and ACORN (same thing, I guess) are stuffing the voting rolls with fake names and dead guys willy-nilly. It isn't true.
If you make this our law, all the things that we were once taught about our American democracy will no longer apply in Florida. We'll want fewer people to vote, not more. Signing up voters is not a patriotic duty; it will be a suspicious activity.
Governor, veto this bill.