Monday, June 03, 2013

The Absentee Ballot Problem

I mentioned before how I doubted the sincerity of Republican voter reform after the GOP refused to deal absentee voter problems. The voter ID laws made by Republicans are meant to repressed poor voters. Absentee ballots can be sent in without the same level of proof needed by a voter. Absentee voters tend to lean Republican. Ion Sancho, Leon County Supervisor of Elections, pointed out the problem with pushing more people toward absentee ballots.

“The more people you force to vote by mail,” Mr. Sancho said, “the more invalid ballots you will generate.”

Rep. Joe Garcia (D) fired his chief of Staff, Jeffrey Gracia (no relation) after the latter Garcia was implicated in an absentee voter fraud scam.

Garcia dismissed Jeffrey Garcia, his chief of staff and longtime political adviser, Friday after law enforcement raided the family homes of Sopo and former campaign manager John Estes seeking computers and other electronic equipment. Jeffrey Garcia, who is not related to his boss, admitted to the congressman that he directed the campaign to submit the phantom ballot requests, Joe Garcia said.

“I don’t know why,” he added, saying the operation — which ultimately failed — wasn’t needed. “During this entire election, we were polling. ... We thought we were ahead early on and from the get-go.”

Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernández Rundle said there is no evidence that Rep. Gracia had any knowledge of the attempted absentee voter fraud scam. I don't care if it is a Democrat or Republican involved. Absentee voter fraud is wrong. The so-called voter reform that did take place was aimed at repressing minorities. Former Gov. Charlie Crist and former RPOF chair Jim Greer admitted that Republicans did attempt to suppress minority voters.

Crist said party leaders approached him during his 2007-2011 gubernatorial term about changing early voting, in an effort to suppress Democrat turnout. Crist is now at odds with the GOP, since abandoning the party to run for U.S. Senate as an independent in 2010. He is rumored to be planning another run for governor, as a Democrat.

Crist said in a telephone interview this month that he did not recall conversations about early voting specifically targeting black voters “but it looked to me like that was what was being suggested. And I didn’t want them to go there at all.”

About inhibiting minority voters, Greer said:

“The sad thing about that is yes, there is prejudice and racism in the party but the real prevailing thought is that they don’t think minorities will ever vote Republican,” he said. “It’s not really a broad-based racist issue. It’s simply that the Republican Party gave up a long time ago ever believing that anything they did would get minorities to vote for them.”

But a GOP consultant who asked to remain anonymous out of fear of retribution said black voters were a concern.

“I know that the cutting out of the Sunday before Election Day was one of their targets only because that’s a big day when the black churches organize themselves,” he said.

Republicans aren't going to reform absentee ballots and continue to make voters that show up to the polls jump through hoops.

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