Republican Voter Suppression Partially Succeeded In Florida

1105-Florida-voters-lines.jpg_full_600Although the point was moot by the time the final counts came in, Florida’s voting was very close (as always). President Barack Obama won the popular vote in Florida by 74,309 votes, but that was out of a total of 8.4 million, which means he won by less than one percent. Republicans in Florida attempted to suppress the Democratic vote, and in retrospect, they were partially successful. A law that was signed by Republican Governor Rick Scott (it was later overturned in court, but the damage was done) cut early voting times, which resulted in nearly 50 thousand people not voting in central Florida alone. Not all of those votes would have gone to Obama, but the majority would have — an Ohio State University study shows that Obama would likely have received 30 thousand of the 49 thousand, an 11 thousand-vote margin.

Voting lines in this area in Florida were six hours long, resulting in many voters giving up and going home before placing their ballots. The Orlando Sentinel reports,

…as many as 49,000 people across Central Florida were discouraged from voting because of long lines on Election Day, according to a researcher at Ohio State University who analyzed election data compiled by the Orlando Sentinel.

His analysis of Central Florida results compared precinct closing times, Election Day turnout and results in the presidential race — which attracted the highest vote totals of any race on the ballot — for all Lake, Orange, Osceola and Seminole county precincts.

His review indicated that for every additional hour that a precinct stayed open past 7 p.m. — a good indicator of line length throughout the day — turnout dropped by as much as 4.8 percent. The precincts with the longest lines, he found, had some of the lowest turnouts, a fact he attributed mostly to a record-long ballot that, in Orange County, ran to six pages.

Florida has become infamous for their problems surrounding presidential elections, especially with the controversy surrounding the Bush elections.

There comes a time when, as an elected official in the United States, you must realize that your duty lies with your electorate and not just your agenda. True, you are elected based on an agenda — but if you have to attempt to suppress voters in your area in order to assure victory for your agenda, you have lost sight of the meaning of democracy, and you have no place in government. Shameful behavior.

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