Florida is facing challenges that just might make surfing the blue wave this fall more difficult than for most states. Fair elections in Florida face a constant barrage of assault by a relentlessly persistent and effective GOP in suppressing voter turnout among Florida’s poor, people of color, and younger voters. Half of the state's counties are even being sued for disenfranchising Hurricane Maria migrants by not providing Spanish ballots (see the story below the fold).
I have always believed that if an election is close, the GOP will find a way to steal it.
In 2016, Paul Ryan (and the GOP caucus) along with Mitch McConnell were fully aware that Donald Trump and his campaign were committing treason by colluding with the Kremlin to steal the US presidential and congressional elections. A political party that is impossible to shame and increasingly despised by the American people, and that controls almost the entirety of power in the United States, is not ever going to stop thinking of ways to hang on to their vice-like grip on this country. FFS, we had GOP senators (no Democrats were invited on this journey) meeting with Kremlin officials on July 4th of this year supposedly telling them lets be friends. Me thinks they were there pleading for Russian interference in the 2018 elections.
Democratic Senator Bill Nelson is the most vulnerable senator in the country in the mid-terms. Rick Scott is popular with the state’s voters. Don’t ask me how this is possible, because I don’t know. Perhaps hurricane Irma recovery had something to do with it, even though it was a complete fuck up and he raked the taxpayers over the coals in order to reward his buddies with lucrative contracts for debris removal.
Thanks to the leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee, we know that the Russians are meddling in the Florida elections. The Naked Politics team at the Miami Herald reports:
Florida election officials said Saturday they are seeking more information to combat any possibility of ongoing hacking efforts on county voting systems, as support mounted over the weekend for Sen. Bill Nelson’s recent claims that Russian operatives have “penetrated” some county voter registration databases in Florida ahead of the 2018 elections.
A U.S. government official familiar with the matter confirmed to McClatchy on Saturday an NBC news report that Nelson was right when he said Russian hackers had “penetrated” some of Florida’s county voting systems. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.
Details of the extent of any election security threat from the Russians’ penetration of Florida counties are classified, and the limited information that has leaked presents a confusing picture.
Paul Lux, the supervisor of elections for Okaloosa County and the president of the state Association of Supervisors of Elections, said county-level election officials have not been informed of concrete steps they should take to inoculate themselves from the specific threat of ongoing Russian hacking attempts that Nelson has alluded to. Florida officials who do have access to classified information regarding the state’s voting systems typically receive briefings from the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI.
Sam Levine writes in the Huffington Post on Puerto Rican disenchantment in his piece titled: Florida Officials Are Breaking The Law By Not Offering Spanish Ballots, Suit Claims.
The lead plaintiff in the suit is Marta Rivera, a woman in her 70s who lived all of her life in Puerto Rico until she moved to Gainsville last year after Hurricane Maria severely damaged the U.S. territory. Rivera is more comfortable with Spanish than English, but her daughter helped her register to vote. The suit says election officials will offer her only an English-language ballot this fall, violating the 1965 Voting Rights Act. A provision of the 1965 law says anyone educated in a public school in the U.S. or territory where the language is not English can’t be blocked from voting based on their English proficiency.
Rivera’s lawyers want the court to let her represent all voters with Puerto Rican education who have limited or no English proficiency living in 32 of Florida’s 67 counties. They estimate there are at least 30,000 voters in the state who meet those conditions. More than 135,000 people moved from Puerto Rico to Florida in the weeks following Hurricane Maria last year, more than to any other state. They could be a potent political force in this year’s midterm elections but have been slow to register so far.
The suit asks that a federal court quickly step in to require election officials to offer Spanish on things such as ballots, candidate guides, registration materials and signs as well as Spanish-language assistance at the polls. Early voting in the state began Thursday for its Aug. 28 primary.
Stuart Naifeh, a lawyer with the think tank Demos, which is representing Rivera and five nonprofit groups that work to mobilize Spanish-speaking voters, said they chose the 32 counties using census data to identify places where there were high concentrations of Puerto Ricans and people who aren’t proficient in English. In April, lawyers started writing letters to 13 of the counties with the largest Puerto Rican populations and decided to take action after officials in all 13 counties brushed off their concerns.
Bill Nelson for Senate
From Cecilia S in the comments..
13 Florida counties are currently required to provide Spanish-language ballots, as I found out by reading more detailed local Florida coverage of this:
The federal government, under the Voting Rights Act, already requires 13 Florida counties to provide ballots and voting materials in English and Spanish because at least 5 percent of the voting age population speaks Spanish.
Those counties include Miami-Dade, Broward, Hillsborough and Pinellas, which is providing bilingual materials in a statewide election for the first time in the Aug. 28 primary. The others are DeSoto, Hardee, Hendry, Lee, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, Polk and Seminole.
The 32 counties named in Thursday's lawsuit include Pasco and Hernando in the Tampa Bay area and Monroe County in the Florida Keys.
The others include Alachua, Bay, Brevard, Charlotte, Citrus, Clay, Columbia, Duval, Escambia, Flagler, Highlands, Indian River, Jackson, Lake, Leon, Levy, Manatee, Marion, Martin, Okaloosa, Okeechobee, Putnam, St. Johns, St. Lucie, Santa Rosa, Sarasota, Sumter, Taylor and Wakulla.
This came up with my Google; I include it because it’s interesting: US map of counties currently required to have non-English ballots by (what’s left of) the Voting Rights Act: