Thursday, October 30, 2008

Vote Early In Florida

Gov. Charlie Crist extended the hours of the early voting in Florida as an overwhelming number of voters took advantage of early voting. As of yesterday, the turn-out was estimated at ten percent of the voting populace according to a Miami Herald newspaper report. Crist's emergency order yesterday extended early voting to 12 hours a day and included 12 hours on the weekend.

To find your early voting location, go to this link:

A NY Times report noted that one of the most beneficial effects of early voting is to remove barriers to voting and the "dirty tricks" of past elections.

But the truth is that early voting actually makes it harder for the forces of disenfranchisement to stop eligible voters from casting ballots. If election officials try to require voters to present ID when it is not required by law, early voting gives voters a chance to simply return the next day. Dirty tricks are also harder to pull off. If political operatives want to jam get-out-the-vote telephone lines, as they did on Election Day in New Hampshire in 2002, it would be harder to do if people voted over two weeks.

In the 2000 and 2004 elections, thousands of minorities, mostly African Americans, were disenfranchised during Florida voting. Historically, African American citizens have voted the Democratic ticket.

Improprieties in the voting process - everything from discarded or "lost" ballots to Diebold voting machine hacking and malfunctioning, have all been documented by individual researchers, entities, and organizations such as the US Commission on Civil Rights.

One of the results of the 2000 election was a landmark settlement to a class action suit brought by the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and other civil rights organizations, which required the State of Florida to "take concrete steps to improve the voting process."

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