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Rick Scott
Gov. Rick Scott (Andrew Innerarity/Reuters)
The state of Florida is proving to be just as bad as James O'Keefe in determining who is and isn't eligible to vote. The frightening part, though, is that Florida actually has power to take votes away from people. Which is precisely what it is doing under Republican Gov. Rick Scott, who signed some of the most restrictive voter registration and voter ID laws in the nation. Most recently, the state has been purging the voting rolls, using often out-of-date motor vehicle information to target voters they contend might be non-citizens, most of whom are Hispanic, Democratic and independent-minded.

Think Progress profiles one of those voters, Maureen Russo, who was born in Akron, Ohio and has lived—and voted—in Florida for the past 40 years. Earlier this month, she got a letter from the state, telling her that she would have to prove that she was a U.S. citizen in order to keep her voter registration because it had "received information that she was not born in this country." Where this information came from remains a mystery.

She was given an option to request “an administrative hearing to present evidence” disputing the determination of the State of Florida that she was ineligible to vote. Unless Maureen returned a form requesting such a hearing within 30 days, she was told, it would result in “the removal of your name from the voter registration rolls.”
Immediately, Russo requested the hearing by registered letter, sending a copy of her passport with it. She hasn't heard back from the state yet. Her congressman, Ted Deutch (D-FL), has weighed in on her behalf and others he says he's heard from who are in a similar situation and has asked Scott to suspend the purge. There are plenty more stories like Russo's we'll be hearing in the coming months, because Florida's 29 electoral votes are too important for the Republicans to let go to President Obama. We know from history that they'll do anything to keep that from happening.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Fri May 25, 2012 at 01:06 PM PDT.

Also republished by Southern Action and Daily Kos.

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