The following is cross-posted with permission from Martha Jackovics’s blog, Beach Peanuts.
If you can’t read, or see your ballot, that’s not Jack Latvala’s problem!
Also, voters of college age. But that’s another bill Republicans are working on to block the vote in Florida.
Right now, awaiting a final vote in the Senate is HB 7013, which will make it harder for those who can’t read English, are disabled, blind, or elderly to gain assistance when they attempt to cast their votes at the polls. In other words, if you thought the lines were long in 2012 and “election reform” was going to change that, than you are one of the pitifully optimistic. How quaint!
Yesterday, voting advocacy groups came out to once again cry foul, and rightfully so:
Under the change, sponsored by Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, a person seeking to assist a voter at the polls must already know the person, and no one may assist more than 10 voters in an election.
“These restrictions on assistors will make it harder to vote, particularly for many of Florida’s Latino and Hispanic residents,” the groups said in advance of a conference call with Florida reporters.
The organizations included Florida New Majority, the Advancement Project, Service Employees International Union Local 1199, Florida Immigrant Coalition and Florida Conference of the NAACP. They said the Senate bill would disenfranchise voters who can’t read English. Advocates cited Section 208 of the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965, which provides that a person who needs assistance as a result of blindness, disability, or the inability to read or write can receive assistance “from the person of his or her choice,” provided it’s not an agent or officer of the voter’s employer or union.
Latvala, echoing the cries over the non-existent problem of voter fraud for last year’s changes that created some of the longest lines in the country, now says that assistance at the polls for these individuals are political tools ripe for abuse.
That sounds more like projection from Republicans who naturally think of voter intimidation since they spend the majority of their time coming up with solutions to problems that don’t exist, and figuring out ways to keep people who loathe them from voting for the other team.
They completely overlook facts, like not having enough people to assist those same voters last year, which added to the long lines. Naturally this year’s solution: Cut back on the number of middle-assistance-men further and make those lines longer. Better yet, with any luck for Republicans, make sure those people just won’t bother to show up at the polls at all.