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Last night Rachel Maddow interviewed Nancy Pelosi about the possibility of the Democrats regaining control of the House of Representatives in November. That interview appears in Nancy Pelosi Explains to Rachel Maddow How Democrats Can Win Back the House. At the end, Rachel asked Leader Pelosi to stay to discuss the following segment about the new voter purge effort in Florida. This diary is about that segment.

The segment begins with Rachel talking about the news that Governor Rick Scott is at it again, just 41 days before the election, and refers to an article in yesterday’s edition of The Miami Herald. She talks about one target of the new purge effort, Yeral Arroliga. He was targeted in the first non-citizen purge effort this summer, proved his citizenship, and now he’s a target all over again. Yes, it is outrageous that a citizen is being targeted this way and twice at that. But, I think I need to add a little balance to Rachel’s reporting because there is an example in the article of a noncitizen who was targeted and actually did vote.

Some of the people on the new list — based on new state access to a federal citizenship database — told The Herald that they are citizens. Others said they aren’t. Some who appeared to have voted, according to records, denied they did.

But Anita Caragan of Panama City Beach, a U.S. resident who is not a citizen, told a Herald reporter that she has been voting “for a long, long time.” Records show the no-party-affiliation noncitizen has cast ballots in 10 Florida elections since 2000.

The 73-year-old Caragan, who moved to the United States in 1970 from the Philippines, said that when she was living in Norfolk, Va., more than 35 years ago, she renewed her driver’s license and registered to vote at the same time, without realizing it was illegal.

Her husband — 82-year-old Emiliano, who also immigrated from the Philippines and served 21 years in the U.S. Navy — is a citizen but said he wasn’t aware his wife isn’t supposed to vote with just a green card. Both are planning to vote in November.

“Of course we’re going to vote,” he said. “We both have voter registration cards.”

Florida sends election departments list of 198 potential non-citizens; some may have illegally voted, The Miami Herald, September 26, 2012

The question here is not whether or not noncitizens are on the voter rolls and have been voting. Why isn’t anybody asking how this happened in the first place? Here in Florida you can register to vote when you get or renew your driver’s license. It says so on the state’s website:
You can apply for voter registration while doing your driver license business! A driver licenses examiner will ask you if you would like to apply for voter registration, change your address or party affiliation and provide you with an application of registration or changes at the time you receive your license. Your voter registration application is then forwarded to your local county supervisor of elections office. Your official registration card will be mailed later from your local supervisor of elections office.

Or, apply for voter registration or change your voter registration address on-line, click here.

Voter Registration Concerns/Problems? - If you have questions, concerns or inquires, please contact your local county supervisor of elections.

Note: You cannot apply for voter registration unless you are a U.S. citizen. A lawful permanent resident, alien non-resident or other non-immigrant is not a U.S. citizen for purposes of voter registration.

Apply for Voter Registration

Yes, it says on the website that you must be a U.S. citizen, but do the driver licenses examiners actually make that clear in person. More to the point, had they been making it clear before this became a hot issue in Florida? Where is the state’s culpability in all this? How can they expect people to follow the rules, if they don't explain the rules to begin with? Mrs. Caragan registered to vote when she renewed her driver's license. The Caragans were not aware that as a noncitizen it was illegal for her to vote.

What about the timing of these purges just before an important election? Have you heard about the actual ballots here in Florida? They are six pages (3 sheets front and back) long in fortunate counties and as large as ten pages (5 sheets front and back) in other counties, and full of dense text for voters to get through. Rachel aired a segment about this on Tuesday showing the ballots. So in addition to reducing early voter hours, the State of Florida has a long and cumbersome ballot for voters to get through. Now we learn that in addition to preparing for such a momentous election, officials are now being given the added burden of purging people from the rolls. The number of people being targeted this time may be small, but as Rachel points out from the American Project report.

In April 2012, Florida initiated an admittedly inaccurate voter purge of alleged noncitizens. At least 82% of those on Florida's April 2012 purge list of 2,600 registered voters are Latino, Black or Asian American. In Miami-Dade County, where most of the targeted voters live, more than 98% of 562 who responded to  notice letters proved that they were indeed eligible U.S. citizens and thus mistakenly placed on the purge list.

Segregating American Citizenship [PDF], The Advancement Project, September 24, 2012

Ninety-eight percent of 562 is 551 citizens who were treated as second class citizens. Their rights as citizens were doubted. There has to be a better way of going about this process without insulting U.S. citizens. How would you feel if you received a letter in the mail saying you can't vote because we think you might not be a citizen? Or if you live in North Carolina, a letter telling you that you can't vote because we think you might be dead?

When asked about all these barriers to voting that Republican controlled states are putting in front of voters, Nancy Pelosi replied, “Don't agonize; organize.” She went on to stress that this is why it is so important to elect Democrats.

Governor Scott is ridiculous beyond words in what he is trying to do to his own people. They're afraid of the people. They're afraid of their votes and they have to suppress them. We have to overcome that because by winning; by winning we can prove them wrong in their tactics.
At the end of the video, Leader Pelosi also expressed her outrage at the Republicans for posing the question Are you better off than you were four years ago?
And many people have their struggles and part of it is still remnants of what happened during the Bush years.

But the fact is, is that four years ago, September 18th, it was just a week ago; just a week ago, in my office, the Speaker's Office, and the presence of the Republican and Democratic leader in the House, leaders in the House and Senate, the chairman, the chairman of the Fed, said to us after Secretary Bernanke described a terrible meltdown of our financial institutions, the chairman of the Fed said if we do not act immediately, we will not have an economy by Monday. This is the place they had taken us to. This is the place that President Obama and House Democrats tried to take us from. This is the place that the Republican majority has blocked any of President Obama's initiatives to do more to help individual families in our country.

This is why it is so important that we don’t give up! If you have the time, get out and help organize. If you have the money, but not the time, donate. If you have neither the time nor money to spare, then stop reading this diary and get the word out through social media and email. There is something you can do! There are plenty of links on these websites to help you get started.

●  Reelect Obama-Biden

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC)

Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC)

● If you have a personal favorite link for helping to GOTV, please share it in the comments.

The video of The Rachel Maddow Show segment and transcript are below the fleur-de-orange.


Those who use iPads or other devices that don't recognize embedded videos, can watch the segment at MSNBC's website.
Check this out. This is new news tonight. This past spring, Florida's Republican Governor Rick Scott started a purge to kick people off the voter rolls in Florida. One of the Floridian voters who was targeted in that purge was a man named Yeral Arroliga. Mr. Arroliga is a U.S. citizen. He immigrated from Nicaragua seventeen years ago, became a citizen, registered to vote, but he got this letter from the State of Florida this spring ordering him to prove his citizenship within 30 days, or lose his right to vote. Mr. Arroliga was very concerned. He sent in his proof of citizenship. He wanted to insure his right to vote. Today, Mr. Arroliga was told by Rick Scott's administration that that's not good enough; he's going to have to prove his citizenship to the State of Florida all over again. They're trying to purge him a second time. He's a citizen.

The Miami Herald is reporting tonight that Governor Rick Scott's election division has sent Florida counties yet another new list of voters it wants purged off the voter rolls now, less than six weeks before the election [See Florida sends election departments list of 198 potential noncitizen; some may have illegally voted, The Miami Herald, September 26, 2012]. His last purge targeted 82% minority voters and in heavily Democratic Miami-Dade County 98% of the people who he tried to purge off the voter rolls as noncitizens; 98% of those that responded actually were citizens [See Segregating American Citizenship [PDF], The Advancement Project, September 24, 2012]. But of course 100% of the people targeted by the purge have now been threatened by the State of Florida about exercising their right to vote this November. And all of the counties who were told by the State today to start another round of purging, well, it's not like they have anything else to do, right, 41 days before they need to get 11 million potential votes cast and counted. Back with us for the interview tonight, is the Democratic Leader of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi.

RM: Thank you, again, for your time tonight.

NP: Thank you, Rachel.

RM: What's happening here in Florida is obviously part of a big increase in purges and changing the voting laws in states where Republicans are in control to make voting and registering to vote harder for this election. Are you confident that Democrats are heading that off well?

NP: Well, here's what I say about that. Don't agonize, organize. We just have to go out there and shine a bright light on this so the public knows the immorality of putting up barriers to voting. It's just plain wrong. But apart from that, okay, we know that's wrong. This is ridiculous what he is doing. But what we have to do is make sure that every person who is eligible to vote, gets the I.D., goes through the motions, is registered to vote, and their vote is counted as cast. As this thing keeps going, counted as cast. That's very important. It's part of what they're doing. Suffocate the airwaves with endless, unidentified special interest money. Suck the air out of the airwaves. Suppress the vote with these regulations and laws that they have passed and the other way they suppress the vote is to tell people it's no use even going. You're not going to be able to vote. It's a turnoff.

And what else is a turnoff is their poisonous campaigning. If you suffocate the airwaves, suppress the vote, poison the debate; people will throw up their hands and say, I just don't even know if I want to participate in this. And when they walk away, right thinking people walk away; the special interests achieve a victory. So we have to keep the campaign positive, about what our President could do, in the case of Elizabeth Warren, in the case of our Democrats, how this could be different and was different when we were in the majority with a Democratic president and a Republican president. So, again, don't agonize, organize. Early voting is a good way to overcome some of the obstacles they are establishing.

Governor Scott is ridiculous beyond words in what he is trying to do to his own people. They're afraid of the people. They're afraid of their votes and they have to suppress them. We have to overcome that because by winning; by winning we can prove them wrong in their tactics. And by winning we can ... I have a dare. Win! The first day we're there, disclose, I'm Nancy Pelosi, I approve this message. We have to have disclosure of where this money's coming from in campaigns. I have to say my name, but these multi-multi-billionaires don't have to say their name on an ad. Amend the constitution to overturn Citizens United. It can be done. The public wants it. We have to take the first step. Reform the system, public financing of campaigns. Get rid of the roll of money, and E.D.A.R.E., elect reformers. I don't care if they're Republicans, Democrats or whatever, who are willing to stand up for our democracy that our founders sacrificed everything for; the government of many, not the government of the money. And this is really important because as long as they think they control the mechanics of elections they have an advantage and we have to offset it but we also have to win so that we can change it.

RM: In terms of the idea of dispiriting people that the campaigns mean anything, poisoning the debate. Making people feel like it doesn't matter if I vote or not. One of the things that I, just as a citizen, feel frustrated is not being addressed in the presidential race that I think is something people care a whole lot about is the war that we are in. We're in the longest war in American history. And you and I have talked in the past and in previous interviews. You once told me that the political dynamics around the war in Afghanistan are not particularly partisan. And this past week the Republican congressman who chairs the Defense Subcommittee on Appropriates, Congressman Bill Young of Florida, he changed his mind on the war, came out against the war. He said, I just think we're killing kids that don't need to die. It's not being discussed in the presidential campaign at all. Mitt Romney doesn't even put it in his nomination speech at the convention. But should ending the war before the President's time table in 2014 be a matter of presidential discussion. Should it be a matter of debate for House candidates right now? Is it a matter for Congress to decide?

NP: Well it is a matter of our national security, and how does this fit into that? The president is on a course to get this done. It doesn't mean it will take all of that time but it will be done by that time, and that is progress from where we had been. You have to remember when President Bush was president, there was no plan. We had been there six and a half years with no plan. We routed the Taliban, we did not defeat them, and then we left and went to Iraq. So President Obama had to put a plan in place and a time table to get it done. So it may not be as fast as we would all like but the fact is the cost of this war in terms of our human treasure, the most important part, our young people; the casualties to their lives and their physical well being and the mental, its all physical whether there's mental or not. So I mean I do think that this is taking us to a place where we should really understand that war as a resolution of conflict is an obsolete idea. And we should take the debate to a bigger playing place; a bigger place. I'll never get over the fact that President Bush took us into war on a false premise that he knew was false; that his administration knew was false for a different agenda and look how long we stayed in Iraq.

RM: Whether or not it ends up becoming an issue in the presidential race is this a matter for Congress to decide in terms of when we leave, before the election or after the election?

NP: Well I think the ...

RM: Or is it the President's call?

NP: Well it's a combination because when we won in '06 the big issue was ending the war in Iraq. And we went to see the president to say okay we're here, how do we end the war? He said, It's not going to happen. And the president, of course, unless you have a two-thirds vote, you're at the mercy of. But let me say that this election because of what we have been through; I want to make this one point. People are saying, you know, the Republicans have the nerve to say, Are you better off than you were four years ago? And many people have their struggles and part of it is still remnants of what happened during the Bush years.

But the fact is, is that four years ago, September 18th, it was just a week ago; just a week ago, in my office, the Speaker's Office, and the presence of the Republican and Democratic leader in the House, leaders in the House and Senate, the chairman, the chairman of the Fed, said to us after Secretary Bernanke described a terrible meltdown of our financial institutions, the chairman of the Fed said if we do not act immediately, we will not have an economy by Monday. This is the place they had taken us to. This is the place that President Obama and House Democrats tried to take us from. This is the place that the Republican majority has blocked any of President Obama's initiatives to do more to help individual families in our country.

But how could they possibly even pose the question Are you better off? when the chairman of the Fed that day four years ago and one week ago, If we don't act immediately we will not have an economy; and economy by Monday. We certainly are better off as a country, and now we have to make sure we elect a Democratic House to work with the President so we can pass the Jobs Bill, that we can pass political reform. You can't separate, Walter Reuther said, you can't separate the bread box and the ballot box. If you want the right policies for working families, we have to get to the polls. So, onward to victory, don't agonize, organize. Drive for 25.

RM: The common wisdom about whether or not it is possible for the Democrats to take the House is shifting with each continued day of very, very blue polls of the presidential race and down ballot. Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi of California, the former Speaker of the House, current Democratic Leader in the House, it's always really nice to have you. Thank you for being here.

PELOSI: Thank you, my pleasure.

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