90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Here and Now with Robin Young
Public radio's live
midday news program
With sponsorship from
Mathworks - Accelerating the pace of engineering and science
Accelerating the pace
of engineering and science
Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A Battle Over Voter Rights In Florida

Jordan Allen, center, helps student Casey Eirhstaedt, right, register to vote at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, Fla. (AP/John Raoux)

Jordan Allen, center, helps student Casey Eirhstaedt, right, register to vote at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, Fla. (AP/John Raoux)

There are several battles over election rights underway in Florida. Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s effort to purge voter rolls of non-citizens has prompted a lawsuit from the department of justice. Since the last election, Florida has also restricted voter registration drives and shortened early voting.

This, in a state that already asks for photo ID before you can vote. One African American conservative lobbyist’s perspective on the voter ID law has changed when he almost wasn’t able to vote in the Florida primary election earlier this month.

Guest:

  • Michael Dobson, Tallahassee, Fla. based lobbyist

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • Philip Brett

    And what about the people who show up at the polls with their picture id’s and driver licenses but find that they’ve been removed because their names were purged for being “suspected” illegal aliens.  One election has already been stolen in Florida.  Never again.

    • Sonny

      Exact same method (other states figured this out long ago),
      allow the voter to vote, you can then set aside for whatever due diligence.  You can’t later allow someone to vote, so
      just allow them to vote on election day. 
      Elections typically don’t get certified for 30 days, so this is easily
      managed..  This isn’t rocket science,
      just need to take the emotion and partisanship out of the equation.

      • http://twitter.com/deminimis David Lemon

        The voter after using the provisional ballot is then required to report to the board of elections within a certain number of days afterwards to prove that they should have been permitted to vote. If they do not, which most wont be able to, and some don’t even realize they have to, their votes are discarded. 
        It’s not rocket science, but there is definitely plenty of partisanship thinking behind this with the sole purpose of suppressing voters that are more likely to vote for the other guy.

        • Sonny

          I’m not blind to the fact that this whole thing is dominated by partisanship thinking.

          States are allowed to establish their own voting procedures, I was merely suggesting that if ID is required (in my state, it is just based upon signature), this would allow a little more opportunity for voters to meet the requirements.

          Personally, I think we should accept the inevitable of a national ID scheme using biometrics. 

  • Sonny

    My wife could vouch for me.

    That is exactly how it works in Saudi Arabia, although it is the husband vouching for the faceless wife.  I think we can have higher standards.

    What they should have done, and they do this elsewhere, is to allow the vote to be cast, but not counted until the voter fulfills the local requirement (in this case, voter ID)

  • Watches

    Florida steals another election, the whole nation suffers under the wrong president again.  And there’s nothing non-Floridians can do about it. 

    Too bad the US Supreme Court is dominated by GOP  partisans willing to overturn any principle of fairness in order to give power to Republicans.

  • Florida voter

    I dislike these laws, but for what it’s worth, you do not need to bring the voter ID with you to vote in Florida, just a government-issued photo ID.

    • Navarohr

      Hi, I’m a producer for Here & Now. Thanks for your comment. The guest clarified for us that the “voter ID card” he was referring to was his voter
      registration card, which is in fact not required, but he always brings it to the
      polls.

      Thanks,
      Rachel Rohr

  • Linda

    Are you kidding me? Not that anyone would do this (wink) but what if the Mr. Dobson had died and it was the neighbor pretending to be him, outrageous? maybe . . . but is it so hard to get a picture I.D. in this state? If voting is that important to you than have the proper identification. Plan ahead!

    • SD

      I suppose someone could do that. However, there have been, as far as I know, no confirmed cases of this occurring anywhere in the country in the last 10 years. Furthermore, why would you bother? One extra vote is not going to sway an election, even in Florida, not to mention, if you then wanted to vote as yourself, you’d have to wait hours until a new volunteer took over at the booth. It would be the stupidest, least effective way to commit voter fraud, which is why no one does it. Did you think about the situation for more than 10 seconds before typing that?

      And, to be clear, getting an ID is easy for middle class, able bodied people who have transportation, the ability to get off work, and the money for the documents needed to obtain an ID, assuming those documents even exist anymore. DMVs aren’t known for their flexible hours or accommodating staff. If you have to work every day the DMV is open, and you can’t get more than an hour off, how are you supposed to get an ID? If you can’t physically get to a DMV, how easy do you think it is to get an ID? If you were born in the rural south in the 30s, and don’t have a birth certificate or other documentation to verify who you are, getting an ID is also pretty tricky. And if you do have an ID, but the state will charge you 100 dollars to get it, and you don’t have $100 sitting around, how will you get an ID then?

      You are either spectacularly lacking in imagination, or spectacularly lacking in empathy. I’m going to go ahead and guess that it’s both. Only a shockingly, willfully ignorant person would write what you wrote. You should be ashamed of yourself.

    • barbara necker

       Uh, why would “Mr. Dobson’s” neighbor vote in Dobson’s name instead of his own?  Mr. Dobson is not likely to have an illegal alien as a neighbor, is he?  These folks are unlikely to be able to afford to live in the kind of neighborhood a “Dobson” would inhabit. 

Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

August 18 33 Comments

More Americans Are Flocking To The South

A New York Times interpretation of census data finds the South is seeing significant in-migration for the first time.

August 18 10 Comments

As Pot Laws Relax, Restrictions On Research Still Tight

The firing of a University of Arizona doctor highlights the complexity and politics of marijuana research.

August 15 8 Comments

Facing Backlash, SeaWorld Expands Killer Whale Habitats

SeaWorld has faced criticism over its treatment of captive killer whales since the release of the documentary, "Blackfish."

August 15 9 Comments

Training Police To Put Aside Their Biases

Criminologist Lorie Fridell says police officers can and should be trained to recognize their own internal biases.