FL Primary Voting Registration Ends July 16, 2012

With a primary election approaching, here is voter information from the Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections office:

In order to register to vote in Florida, you must:

  • Be a citizen of the United States of America
  • Be a Florida resident
  • Be 18 years old (A person who is otherwise qualified may preregister on or after his/her 16th birthday and may vote in any election on or after his/her 18th birthday.)
  • Not now be adjudicated mentally incapacitated with respect to voting in Florida or any other state
  • Not have been convicted of a felony without your right to vote having been restored
  • Provide your current and valid Florida driver license number or Florida identification card number. You must provide the last four of your Social Security number if you do not have a Florida driver license number or a Florida identification card number. If you have not been issued any of these items, you must write “NONE” in the box indicated on the Voter Registration Application.

How to Apply to Register to Vote

  • Fill in the Voter Registration Application online. If you wish, you can print the application and write your information in with a black ballpoint pen.
  • For the Voter Registration Online Application in Spanish select this link.
  • Print the application out.
  • Verify that all the information on your application is complete. The office where you register, your decision not to register, your Social Security number, Florida driver license number and Florida ID card number will remain confidential and will be used only for voter registration purposes.
  • Sign your application. The application requires an original signature because you are swearing to or affirming an oath.
  • Mail your application to your county supervisor of elections. (Requires first class postage stamp.) You may also hand-deliver the application to any supervisor of elections office in the state, a driver license office, a voter registration agency or armed forces recruitment office, or to the Division of Elections.
  • If your application is complete and you qualify as a voter, the supervisor of elections will mail you a voter information letter as official notification that you are registered to vote. Make sure all of the information in your letter is correct. If you do not receive a confirmation letter within 8 weeks, or if you have any questions, call your supervisor of elections.

NOTE: You must be registered for at least 29 days before you can vote in an election.

If the information on the application is not true, the applicant can be convicted of a felony of the third degree and fined up to $5,000 and/or imprisoned for up to 5 years.

Federal Court: “Irreparable Harm” If Non-Citizens Allowed to Vote

A federal judge rejected a Department of Justice (DOJ) request to issue a temporary restraining order blocking Florida from removing non-citizens from the voter rolls. Additionally the judge rejected DOJ’s argument that the National Voter Registration Act prohibits removal of non-citizens from the voter rolls. The court also said that permitting known non-citizens to vote would result in “irreparable harm” to eligible voters.

Florida Governor Rick Scott was pleased with the decision, which is consistent with his position that Florida has an obligation to remove non-citizens from the voter rolls.

“The court made a common-sense decision consistent with what I’ve been saying all along: that irreparable harm will result if non-citizens are allowed to vote. Today’s ruling puts the burden on the federal government to provide Florida with access to the Department of Homeland Security’s citizenship database. We know from just a small sample that an alarming number of non-citizens are on the voter rolls and many of them have illegally voted in past elections. The federal government has the power to prevent such irreparable harm from continuing, and Florida once again implores them to grant access to the SAVE database.”

Nearly a year ago, the state requested access to a citizenship database, maintained by the Department of Homeland Security, called the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) database, that would allow Florida to more accurately identify non-citizens who are registered to vote. To date, the federal government continues to block access, thereby preventing Florida’s efforts to ensure fair elections.

Eleven Constitutional Amendments on FL Ballot

By Dr. Rich Swier – There are eleven amendments to the Florida Constitution on the November 6, 2012 ballot. Two deal with religious freedom, two address veterans issues, one on public funding of abortions, one on health services, one on the state courts, four dealing with taxes and homestead exemptions and one on the college/university system. All of the amendments were placed on the ballot by the Florida legislature.

The following is a brief description of each of the Florida Constitutional Amendments:

Amendment 1 – Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution to prohibit laws or rules from compelling any person or employer to purchase, obtain, or otherwise provide for health care coverage; permit a person or an employer to purchase lawful health care services directly from a health care provider; permit a health care provider to accept direct payment from a person or an employer for lawful health care services; exempt persons, employers, and health care providers from penalties and taxes for paying directly or accepting direct payment for lawful health care services; and prohibit laws or rules from abolishing the private market for health care coverage of any lawful health care service. Specifies that the amendment does not affect which health care services a health care provider is required to perform or provide; affect which health care services are permitted by law; prohibit care provided pursuant to general law relating to workers’ compensation; affect laws or rules in effect as of March 1, 2010; affect the terms or conditions of any health care system to the extent that those terms and conditions do not have the effect of punishing a person or an employer for paying directly for lawful health care services or a health care provider for accepting direct payment from a person or an employer for lawful health care services; or affect any general law passed by two-thirds vote of the membership of each house of the Legislature, passed after the effective date of the amendment, provided such law states with specificity the public necessity justifying the exceptions from the provisions of the amendment. The amendment expressly provides that it may not be construed to prohibit negotiated provisions in insurance contracts, network agreements, or other provider agreements contractually limiting copayments, coinsurance, deductibles, or other patient charges.

Amendment 2 – Proposing an amendment to Section 6 of Article VII and the creation of Section 32 of Article XII of the State Constitution to expand the availability of the property discount on the homesteads of veterans who became disabled as the result of a combat injury to include those who were not Florida residents when they entered the military and schedule the amendment to take effect January 1, 2013.

Amendment 3 – This proposed amendment to the State Constitution replaces the existing state revenue limitation based on Florida personal income growth with a new state revenue limitation based on inflation and population changes. Under the amendment, state revenues, as defined in the amendment, collected in excess of the revenue limitation must be deposited into the budget stabilization fund until the fund reaches its maximum balance, and thereafter shall be used for the support and maintenance of public schools by reducing the minimum financial effort required from school districts for participation in a state-funded education finance program, or, if the minimum financial effort is no longer required, returned to the taxpayers. The Legislature may increase the state revenue limitation through a bill approved by a super majority vote of each house of the Legislature. The Legislature may also submit a proposed increase in the state revenue limitation to the voters. The Legislature must implement this proposed amendment by general law. The amendment will take effect upon approval by the electors and will first apply to the 2014-2015 state fiscal year.

Amendment 4 – (1) This would amend Florida Constitution Article VII, Section 4 (Taxation; assessments) and Section 6 (Homestead exemptions). It also would amend Article XII, Section 27, and add Sections 32 and 33, relating to the Schedule for the amendments. (2) In certain circumstances, the law requires the assessed value of homestead and specified nonhomestead property to increase when the just value of the property decreases. Therefore, this amendment provides that the Legislature may, by general law, provide that the assessment of homestead and specified nonhomestead property may not increase if the just value of that property is less than the just value of the property on the preceding January 1, subject to any adjustment in the assessed value due to changes, additions, reductions, or improvements to such property which are assessed as provided for by general law. This amendment takes effect upon approval by the voters. If approved at a special election held on the date of the 2012 presidential preference primary, it shall operate retroactively to January 1, 2012, or, if approved at the 2012 general election, shall take effect January 1, 2013. (3) This amendment reduces from 10 percent to 5 percent the limitation on annual changes in assessments of nonhomestead real property. This amendment takes effect upon approval of the voters. If approved at a special election held on the date of the 2012 presidential preference primary, it shall operate retroactively to January 1, 2012, or, if approved at the 2012 general election, takes effect January 1, 2013. (4) This amendment also authorizes general law to provide, subject to conditions specified in such law, an additional homestead exemption to every person who establishes the right to receive the homestead exemption provided in the Florida Constitution within 1 year after purchasing the homestead property and who has not owned property in the previous 3 calendar years to which the Florida homestead exemption applied. The additional homestead exemption shall apply to all levies except school district levies. The additional exemption is an amount equal to 50 percent of the homestead property’s just value on January 1 of the year the homestead is established. The additional homestead exemption may not exceed an amount equal to the median just value of all homestead property within the county where the property at issue is located for the calendar year immediately preceding January 1 of the year the homestead is established. The additional exemption shall apply for the shorter of 5 years or the year of sale of the property. The amount of the additional exemption shall be reduced in each subsequent year by an amount equal to 20 percent of the amount of the additional exemption received in the year the homestead was established or by an amount equal to the difference between the just value of the property and the assessed value of the property determined under Article VII, Section 4(d), whichever is greater. Not more than one such exemption shall be allowed per homestead property at one time. The additional exemption applies to property purchased on or after January 1, 2011, if approved by the voters at a special election held on the date of the 2012 presidential preference primary, or to property purchased on or after January 1, 2012, if approved by the voters at the 2012 general election. The additional exemption is not available in the sixth and subsequent years after it is first received. The amendment shall take effect upon approval by the voters. If approved at a special election held on the date of the 2012 presidential preference primary, it shall operate retroactively to January 1, 2012, or, if approved at the 2012 general election, takes effect January 1, 2013. (5) This amendment also delays until 2023, the repeal, currently scheduled to take effect in 2019, of constitutional amendments adopted in 2008 which limit annual assessment increases for specified nonhomestead real property. This amendment delays until 2022 the submission of an amendment proposing the abrogation of such repeal to the voters.

Amendment 5 – Proposing a revision of Article V of the State Constitution relating to the judiciary. The State Constitution authorizes the Supreme Court to adopt rules for the practice and procedure in all courts. The constitution further provides that a rule of court may be repealed by a general law enacted by a two-thirds vote of the membership of each house of the Legislature. This proposed constitutional revision eliminates the requirement that a general law repealing a court rule pass by a two-thirds vote of each house, thereby providing that the Legislature may repeal a rule of court by a general law approved by a majority vote of each house of the Legislature that expresses the policy behind the repeal. The court could readopt the rule in conformity with the public policy expressed by the Legislature, but if the Legislature determines that a rule has been readopted and repeals the readopted rule, this proposed revision prohibits the court from further readopting the repealed rule without the Legislature’s prior approval. Under current law, rules of the judicial nominating commissions and the Judicial Qualifications Commission may be repealed by general law enacted by a majority vote of the membership of each house of the Legislature. Under this proposed revision, a vote to repeal those rules is changed to repeal by general law enacted by a majority vote of the legislators present. Under current law, the Governor appoints a justice of the Supreme Court from a list of nominees provided by a judicial nominating commission, and appointments by the Governor are not subject to confirmation. This revision requires Senate confirmation of a justice of the Supreme Court before the appointee can take office. If the Senate votes not to confirm the appointment, the judicial nominating commission must reconvene and may not renominate any person whose prior appointment to fill the same vacancy was not confirmed by the Senate. For the purpose of confirmation, the Senate may meet at any time. If the Senate fails to vote on the appointment of a justice within 90 days, the justice will be deemed confirmed and will take office. The Judicial Qualifications Commission is an independent commission created by the State Constitution to investigate and prosecute before the Florida Supreme Court alleged misconduct by a justice or judge. Currently under the constitution, commission proceedings are confidential until formal charges are filed by the investigative panel of the commission. Once formal charges are filed, the formal charges and all further proceedings of the commission are public. Currently, the constitution authorizes the House of Representatives to impeach a justice or judge. Further, the Speaker of the House of Representatives may request, and the Judicial Qualifications Commission must make available, all information in the commission’s possession for use in deciding whether to impeach a justice or judge. This proposed revision requires the commission to make all of its files available to the Speaker of the House of Representatives but provides that such files would remain confidential during any investigation by the House of Representatives and until such information is used in the pursuit of an impeachment of a justice or judge. This revision also removes the power of the Governor to request files of the Judicial Qualifications Commission to conform to a prior constitutional change. This revision also makes technical and clarifying additions and deletions relating to the selection of chief judges of a circuit and relating to the Judicial Qualifications Commission, and makes other nonsubstantive conforming and technical changes in the judicial article of the constitution.

Amendment 6 – This proposed amendment provides that public funds may not be expended for any abortion or for health-benefits coverage that includes coverage of abortion. This prohibition does not apply to an expenditure required by federal law, a case in which a woman suffers from a physical disorder, physical injury, or physical illness that would place her in danger of death unless an abortion is performed, or a case of rape or incest. This proposed amendment provides that the State Constitution may not be interpreted to create broader rights to an abortion than those contained in the United States Constitution. With respect to abortion, this proposed amendment overrules court decisions which conclude that the right of privacy under Article I, Section 23 of the State Constitution is broader in scope than that of the United States Constitution.

Amendment 7 – REMOVED

Amendment 8 – Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution providing that no individual or entity may be denied, on the basis of religious identity or belief, governmental benefits, funding or other support, except as required by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, and deleting the prohibition against using revenues from the public treasury directly or indirectly in aid of any church, sect, or religious denomination or in aid of any sectarian institution.

Amendment 9 – Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution to authorize the Legislature to provide by general law ad valorem homestead property tax relief to the surviving spouse of a military veteran who died from service- connected causes while on active duty or to the surviving spouse of a first responder who died in the line of duty. The amendment authorizes the Legislature to totally exempt or partially exempt such surviving spouse’s homestead property from ad valorem taxation. The amendment defines a first responder as a law enforcement officer, a correctional officer, a firefighter, an emergency medical technician, or a paramedic. This amendment shall take effect January 1, 2013.

Amendment 10 – Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution to: (1) Provide an exemption from ad valorem taxes levied by counties, municipalities, school districts, and other local governments on tangible personal property if the assessed value of an owner’s tangible personal property is greater than $25,000 but less than $50,000. This new exemption, if approved by the voters, will take effect on January 1, 2013, and apply to the 2013 tax roll and subsequent tax rolls. (2) Authorize a county or municipality for the purpose of its respective levy, and as provided by general law, to provide tangible personal property tax exemptions by ordinance. This is in addition to other statewide tangible personal property tax exemptions provided by the Constitution and this amendment.

Amendment 11 – Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution to authorize the Legislature, by general law and subject to conditions set forth in the general law, to allow counties and municipalities to grant an additional homestead tax exemption equal to the assessed value of homestead property if the property has a just value less than $250,000 to an owner who has maintained permanent residency on the property for not less than 25 years, who has attained age 65, and who has a low household income as defined by general law.

Amendment 12 – Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution to replace the president of the Florida Student Association with the chair of the council of state university student body presidents as the student member of the Board of Governors of the State University System and to require that the Board of Governors organize such council of state university student body presidents.

Each Amendment to the Florida Constitution will be sent in a pre-ballot to each registered voter. Voters may review the exact language of each Constitutional amendment.

Of the top 10 U.S. counties Romney must win 2 are in FL

Chris Palko in the April 2012 edition of Campaigns & Elections magazine wrote, “A dozen swing states will determine the outcome of the presidential election. That’s a given. But within these so-called purple states, not all areas are swing. In Ohio, for instance, Cuyahoga County — home to Cleveland — would vote for a Democrat regardless of the candidate, while mostly rural Shelby County will vote Republican no matter what. The formula is simple: win the swing counties, win the swing states and win the presidency. That’s what President Obama did in 2008 and, for that matter, what George W. Bush did in 2004.” [My emphasis]

Palko states, “Now, Mitt Romney will need to be competitive in these areas in order to unseat the president. Here’s a closer look at some of the larger counties where the Romney campaign will be fighting its battles this fall.”

Palko lists the top 10 of 3009 counties in America that Romney must focus on. Two of those counties are in Florida and are ranked #1 and #2 on Palko’s list.

According to Palko:

2. Pinellas County, Fla. Population: 916,542 Largest city: St. Petersburg

The top-two counties are both part of Florida’s I-4 Corridor, which runs through the Daytona Beach, Orlando and Tampa areas. The I-4 Corridor is the most important region in this presidential election. In Pinellas County, St. Petersburg has some neighborhoods that are solidly Democratic, but most of the territory is split 50/50. Every precinct could make the difference between winning and losing.

Past results: Bush was in a virtual tie with Kerry here while Obama bested Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) 54-46.

1. Hillsborough County, Fla. Population: 1,229,226 Largest city: Tampa

The most crucial county this fall is on the other side of Tampa Bay from Pinellas, the runner-up. Hillsborough County, which includes Tampa and its immediate suburbs, is the only county listed with more than one million residents. Still, it’s a fairly accurate small-scale version of America. It has a solidly Democratic central city that includes large African-American and Hispanic populations, and some outlying areas that are heavily Republican. The immediate suburbs are closely split. Whoever wins Hillsborough County in November is most likely the next occupant of the White House.

Past results: Bush won here with 53 percent while Obama finished a point better in 2008.

President Obama in 2008 took Hillsborough and Pinellas counties by a +47,000 votes. Obama took Florida by a margin of 204,577 votes or .02% of all votes cast. The Tampa Bay area accounted for over 20% of the margin of victory. The Tampa Bay area will be where key battles for the Presidency, and the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Democrat Bill Nelson, will be fought.

Chris Palko works as an assistant media analyst at Smart Media Group, a Republican political media buying agency in Alexandria, Va. He is a graduate of American University and George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management.

A version of this post was also published on Smart Media Group’s blog, Smart Blog.

Rubio supports cleansing Florida voter rolls

rubio-afp

Florida Senator Marco Rubio stated unequivocally, “I wouldn’t characterize it as an effort to purge Latinos from the voting rolls.” At a Bloomberg News breakfast today, June 14th, Senator Rubio went on to say, “I would characterize it as twofold. No. 1 is, I think there’s the goal of ensuring that everyone who votes in Florida is qualified to vote. If you’re not a citizen of the United States, you shouldn’t be voting. That’s the law. And, I mean — I mean, what’s the counter to that, that we’re willing to tolerate 100 illegal voters on our rolls? So I do think that — I mean, why — how could anyone argue against a state identifying people who are not rightfully on the voter rolls and removing them from the voter rolls? They shouldn’t be voting.”

The Department of Justice letter to Governor Scott reads:

… Your June 6 response has provided no information that allows us to change our view that the State’s new list maintenance program for verification of citizen is a “program the purpose of which is to systematically remove the names of ineligible voters from the official list of eligible voters,” and that this program is being conducted within the 90-day quiet period established by the (National Voter Registration Act). Likewise, you have provided no information indicating that the program fits within any of the statutory exceptions for programs that may be conducted within that quiet period.

Instead, it appears that Florida has initiated a new program for system voter removal, which may ultimately target more than 180,000 registered voters …

… In these circumstances, continuing with any future mailings on this basis during the 90-day quiet period, or removing persons form the voter registration list for failing to respond to the State’s inquiries to date, violate Section 8 of the NVRA. Please immediately cease this unlawful conduct.

According to John Fund and Quin Hillyer, both Senior Editors at American Spectator, there is no 90-day quiet period in the NVRA for purging illegal voters from the rolls. According to Quin Hillyer, who helps craft Section 8 of the NVRA, it requires Florida to do what it is doing now. Section 8 was put in place to insure voter rolls were maintained in proper order with only legal voters on it.

Senator Rubio noted, “What is the argument in favor of leaving people on the rolls that aren’t qualified to vote in the United States?”

Scott Walker Recall Victory sends ripples across Florida

walker060612

There appears to be a tsunami building and the epicenter of the earthquake that caused it is Madison, Wisconsin. Democrats across Florida are shuttering as it was one of their own, Debbie Wasserman-Schulz (FL CD-20), who said this recall election was a harbinger for November 6, 2012.

On May 27, 2012 Debbie, Chair of the Democrat National Committee, stated, “And so what I think the implications will be is that ultimately I think Tom Barrett will pull this out. But regardless, it has given the Obama for America operation an opportunity to do the dry run that we need of our massive, significant, dynamic grassroots presidential campaign, which can’t really be matched by the Romney campaign or the Republicans because they’ve ignored on-the-ground operations.” [My emphasis]

Greta Van Susteren reports DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz released the following statement on the results of the Wisconsin recall election, “Despite the disappointing outcome of tonight’s election, there is no question that over the past year this recall effort sent a message to Scott Walker that his brand of divisive politics is offensive and wrong. Thousands of Wisconsinites mounted this effort in the face of a flood of out of state, secret and corporate special interest money– amounting to a massive $31 million war chest for Governor Walker to just $4 million on our side.”

The Washington Post reports, “I don’t think that this is anything other than an important election for Wisconsin voters, for Wisconsin working families,” Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz told me in an interview here Tuesday afternoon.”

Can you say backpedaling? I thought “D” meant drive and “R” meant reverse? Maybe D means Debbie drives Democrats off a cliff?

Republican Party of Sarasota County, Florida Chairman Joe Gruters released the following statement regarding Governor Scott Walker’s decisive victory in Wisconsin’s recall election:

“I would like to personally congratulate Governor Scott Walker on his victory in today’s gubernatorial recall election in Wisconsin. After millions of dollars spent and hundreds of thousands of man hours logged by big labor, the National Democratic Party and even the local Sarasota County Democratic Party, Americans headed to the polls tonight and sent an overwhelming message in support of free enterprise and against both big labor and liberal policies.”

“This free enterprise & conservative message was sent loudly in Wisconsin tonight and will be echoed across the country as we approach November. Rather than turning to the government for dependence, Americans are coming together in support of growing the economy and creating jobs while also shrinking the size of government and cutting spending by enacting common-sense, conservative policies. The Wisconsin results will empower Conservative leaders across the country, like our Governor Rick Scott, who are willing to stand up in support of free enterprise and make the tough decisions to ensure that their citizens are living in free country that is of the people, by the people and for the people.”

Florida is a key swing state in November. President Obama in 2008 carried Florida by just over 200,000 votes out of 10 million votes cast, a margin of .02%.

The line in the sand is clear. Bigger government, more national debt and union control or small government, a balanced budget, debt elimination and free markets. It appears the voters in Wisconsin picked the latter.

This victory does not bode well for Democrats in Florida, especially with Debbie Wasserman-Schulz calling the shots for the party.

RELATED COLUMNS:

Wisconsin recall by the numbers

Walker, Republicans win big in Wisconsin recall races

ANALYSIS: Walker win vaults Wisconsin governor into vice presidential discussion

How Voter Fraud went from a Cottage Industry to a Big Business

voter-registration-fraud

Many of my fellow journalists are focused on Governor Rick Scott and his efforts to insure Florida’s voter rolls do not have ineligible voters on them.  The question is how did we get to this point where we have dead people, felons and illegal aliens on the rolls in the first place? Why this did happen and how has voter fraud become a big business is the real story.

Both Republicans and Democrats have by either omission or commission participated in voter fraud or have fallen victims to voter fraud. Voter fraud is not new, what is new is that it has moved from a cottage industry to become a big business. The product is an illegal vote the profit is political power.

John Fund in his book “Stealing Elections: How Voter Fraud Threatens our Democracy” states, “[T]he United States has a haphazard, fraud-prone election system befitting a developing nation rather than the globe’s leading democracy.”

There are three types of voter malfeasance according to John Fund:

• Voter Fraud – someone casting more than one ballot or voting if they were not a U.S. citizen.
• Vote Theft – votes stolen or tampered with.
• Voter Impersonation – a person claims to be someone else when casting a vote.

According to Rasmussen eighty percent of Americans agree these activities are wrong. Voter fraud, theft and impersonation have consequences. They put politicians into office who did not win the vote of the people honestly. Once discovered and rectified via litigation (which may take years) the damage is already done. The most severe and long lasting damage is a loss of faith by the American voter that his or her vote counts.

How did voter malfeasance move from a cottage industry to become a big business?

John Fund and Quin Hillyer, Senior Editor at American Spectator, have studied the growth of voter fraud, theft and impersonation cases in America. Both have concluded it began with the 1993 National Voter Registration Act, commonly known as the “Motor Voter Law”. This legislation was the first priority of newly elected President Bill Clinton and the first law he signed after taking office. According to John Fund, “Perhaps no piece of legislation in the last generation better captures the ‘incentivizing’ of fraud and the clash of conflicting visions about the priorities of our election system than the 1993 National Voter Registration Act…” What are the two conflicting visions of our election system? One vision is that everyone in the United States should be allowed to vote, the second is that only legally eligible voters should vote. Democrats tend to come down on the side of the first vision, with some notable Democrats and most Republicans supporting the second vision.

The Motor Voter Law made it easier for people to register to vote, whether legal or illegal. However, this has not led to more people voting but rather to expansive voter fraud. As this law lowered the standard for voter registration it created an opening for those willing and able to use the system to make money and gain power. As John Fund points out, “Democrats might do better to look for ways to reform the voting system that would actually improve elections, instead of just making sure the laws do not benefit Republicans. The Republicans might wish to join the critical scrutiny of early or absentee voting, for the best evidence suggests that it no longer favors the GOP.”

John Fund in his book notes that, “[A]bsentee voter fraud [is] a growth industry.” When a person can both register to vote and vote by mail no one knows if this is a citizen or criminal. It is a third degree felony to vote illegally punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000. An illegal voter is a felon.

The 1993 National Voter Registration Act opened the voter fraud barn doors and many have tried to close them for nearly two decades. Efforts to clean up voter rolls have met with resistance from groups like the ACLU, League of Women Voters and today the Department of Justice in the case of Florida. On Monday, June 11, 2012 Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner filed a lawsuit in Washington, D.C. district court to get access to the SAVE data base maintained by the Department of Homeland Security.The Hill reports, “For nearly a year, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has failed to meet its legal obligation to provide us the information necessary to identify and remove ineligible voters from Florida’s voter rolls,” Detzner said. “We can’t let the federal government delay our efforts to uphold the integrity of Florida elections any longer. We’ve filed a lawsuit to ensure the law is carried out and we are able to meet our obligation to keep the voter rolls accurate and current.”

Opponents cry racism, accuse those cleaning voter rolls of disenfranchising minority voters and file law suits to stop any effort to take those ineligible off the rolls. What I believe is happening is the practice of both political parties buying voter registrations and the illegal voter industry of casting invalid votes has become too big and too powerful. This has come at the expense of free and fair elections. The examples of voter fraud, theft and impersonation are too numerous and too frequent to believe otherwise. The get out the vote (GOTV) campaigns of both political campaigns have taken on a new meaning. GOTV now have components that lead to voter malfeasance. Voters have become suspicious and cynical. This causes voters to stay at home rather than do their civic duty and go to the polls.

Voting is not a right but rather a duty that has great responsibilities associated with it. The citizen is solely responsible to register and vote legally.  Americans cannot lose sight of the fact that voting is the act of the individual not the collective.

To listen to an interview with Quin Hillyer on this issue please go to this link:

Interview with Quin Hillyer

UPDATE:

I contacted Kathy Dent, Supervisor of Elections for Sarasota County, Florida. I did this after Neil Cavuto interviewed Governor Rick Scott about the voter rolls. During the interview Neil stated that all 67 county supervisors of elections were against him in his efforts. That is not entirely correct. Supervisor Dent said to me in an email, “Legal counsel representing our state association initially advised against proceeding based on the on-going dispute.  But we do our own research here,  and if we have evidence that someone is not a citizen,  he/she will be removed.  I don’t know the consensus now of all the other counties but I do know that Collier County will continue to remove voters. Having a more reliable list using the Department of Homeland Security’s Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements Program (SAVE) database, will help give us the reliability we need.”

Supervisor Dent also noted the actual impact on Sarasota County, “With respect to Sarasota County, we only received 14 names from the state.  We worked the list, removed one, had proof of citizenship for two others, and have not heard back from the last eleven. To date we have received no other names to investigate.  But it is the policy of this office to remove anyone from the rolls that is not a U.S. citizen.” Bay County, Florida is also proceeding with the cleansing of voter rolls.

Florida’s 2012 Wedge Issues

wedges in bucket

As November 6, 2012 approaches, and both political parties begin posturing, their messages are becoming clearer. Every election has wedge issues. Issues will appear that drive voters to pick one candidate over another. Florida is a microcosm of America. Florida is a critical state to carry and I believe will determine the outcome of the Presidential election and which party controls the U.S. Senate.

I see three wedge issues in Florida, which will carry the day on November 6th. They are: the national debt, gay marriage and competence. I also believe two groups will have a major impact on elections in Florida at every level. Please bear with me as I explain.While the economy remains a major issue so does the burgeoning public debt at every level of government. This issue is a concern especially among women with children. The Washington Times reports, “The debate over whether to raise the legal limit on government borrowing has riveted Americans, with a large majority worried about the potential consequences regardless of whether Congress votes to allow the national debt to keep increasing. But when pressed to name their biggest concern, nearly half of respondents say they are alarmed by the prospect that the debt could grow beyond its current limit of $14.3 trillion, according to a new Washington Post-Pew Research Center poll. Only 35 percent say they are more worried about the risk of default and economic destabilization if Congress does not raise the debt limit.” [My emphasis]

View Point Florida  found in a May 2012 poll that, “[W]hen asked whether or not deficit spending was necessary to grow the American economy, 30% of respondents stated that such spending was in fact necessary, while 61% said the economy could be boosted without deficit spending. . . We see similar numbers when voters are asked if raising revenue or cutting spending should be the primary focus of Congress or the Florida Legislature in dealing with budget deficits. Just 26% of respondents said the federal government should focus on raising revenue to balance the budget, to 67% who prefer it focus more on cutting spending. The preference for spending cuts rises to 72% when voters are asked the same question about Florida’s state government, with just 20% of respondents saying Tallahassee should focus more on raising revenue.”

Gays and marriage are a toxic combination in Florida. Used in the same sentence they create a very negative reaction for Floridians. Quinnipiac University did a Florida poll and found: On the issue of same-sex marriage, Florida voters, who have banned such unions in the State Constitution, now say they oppose them 50 – 40 percent. Men oppose same-sex marriage 55 – 35 percent while women are divided 44 – 46 percent. Support is 57 – 33 percent among voters under 35 years old. Opposition is 52 – 38 percent among voters 35 to 54 years old and 55 – 36 percent among voters over 55. When given a three-way choice: 36 percent favor gay marriage; 34 percent back civil unions; and 23 percent oppose all legal recognition.

Competence has become a wedge issue in Florida. Elected officials that pander or are incompetent are frowned upon by Floridians. According to Quinnipiac University, “Romney is viewed as better able to handle the economy, 50 – 40 percent.” Competent clearly trumps likable in Florida. Floridians are less concerned about what Mitt Romney did with his money than what President Obama is doing with taxpayers money. Comparing Bain Capitol investments to federal government spending is a loser here  in the Sunshine State.

Florida is a key swing state and a must carry for President Obama. Floridians are shifting towards traditional positions on the national debt, marriage and electing a competent leader. I believe this reflects the growing influence of two Florida groups: the TEA Party and Evangelicals. While the media wants you to believe the TEA Party is dead may I suggest it is very much alive and kicking people out of office. The TEA Party has matured and is now taking leadership positions in the Republican Party at the local and state levels. I am seeing the TEA Party supporting local candidates at the city, county and school board levels and having an impact on local policy decisions within the Republican Party infrastructure. There are still those old guard Republicans that are pushing back but the TEA Party is winning overall. We are three or four election cycles away from a complete constitutional conservative takeover of the Republican Party.

President Obama has decided to make social issues like gay marriage top of mind. By doing so he has already lost. Pollsters and media outlets are playing the “gay marriage will make no difference at the polls” record over and over. However, I will tell you that a few percentage point shift on social issues like gay marriage, the attack on religious freedom and abortion is energizing the one million Evangelicals who did not vote in the 2008 election in Florida. This group is energized, now more than it ever has been, with Cardinals, Bishops, Priests, Deacons, Ministers, Rabbis and Reverends energized and preaching the values in our Constitution from the pulpit.

The President has created these wedge issues in the hope of energizing those who voted for him in 2008. What he is missing is by creating wedges he has shown himself to be a great divider rather than the great uniter he touted himself to be.

I predict Florida will go deep red in November. What do you think?

RELATED COLUMNS:

USA Today: Real Federal Deficit Last Year – $5 Trillion

MassResistance.org: Two Men are Friends Not Spouces Catholic Chruch Sign