Voter Suppression and Voter ID

Posted on November 2, 2011 by

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A MUST READ _ no matter what state you live in!!
Florida Voter Suppression and Voter ID
Thu Oct 27, 2011 4:02 PM EDT

A few weeks ago, I decided to renew my Florida driver’s license early.  No one enjoys having to deal with the added cost and long lines, but if you want to drive, you have to take the time and just get it done.  Normally, we hope they get a decent photo, and it is as painless as possible.  In 2011, Florida enforced new Photo ID and Voter ID laws. One DMV worker said that these laws were going to be nationally enforced before 2012.

Getting my driver’s license was a nightmare. It took two trips to the DMV, and three times waiting in long lines.  Renewing my driver’s license took more time than I spent getting my first one.  That is including all the first-time driving tests and waiting in line.  I watched both employees and visitors cope with all the new laws and requirements. It was emotionally uncomfortable for all involved. I was grateful that I did not work at that office, because someone was always upset. I was also grateful that I was not one of those poor souls without a driver’s license, trying to find a way to vote in January. 

FYI: 25 per cent of African American voters said to have no photo ID!!! Let a word to the wise be sufficient!!!

It is clear the Photo ID law will suppress the votes of millions of Americans. The current estimate is five million Americans will not be able to vote, including the elderly, disabled, soldiers, students, minorities, and poor.  This law is extreme, considering that they proved voter fraud was rare even in 2008.  After everything I witnessed, I requested a new replacement Voter ID card be mailed to me.  I finally made it home with my new driver’s license, and I felt safe.  This is where the story gets even stranger and uglier.

Several days later, my replacement Voter ID arrived. I was excited, and checked my card to verify the information was correct.  I noticed my party was assigned NPA (no party affiliation). I started reading the attached document, and I went from excited to confused. I found my old voter card, which stated my party was DEM. If your party is listed NPA it means you are non-partisan and not affiliated with any political party. This is different from Independent party, which is actually a minor party in Florida.  Florida has a primary system of elections. Only voters who are registered members of the two major political parties (DEM & REP) can vote in any primary election.  Voters registered with a minor party or with no party affiliation can vote during the primary elections but only on non-partisan ballots (judicial races, school board offices, some local races, constitutional amendments, municipal races, and referenda).  Minor and non-partisan voters get a different ballot.  I went from confused to shocked.

I told my parents, and they decided to go online and check their voter ID information.  We were all listed as NPA.  Everyone was positive they did not change their voter information, so I called our Supervisor Of Elections. The lady said we all checked NPA and signed a form. She said the state has this information on-line, and if we wanted to drive to their office, she would print it out as proof. The Supervisor also said that NPA voters can not request an absentee ballot, and it has always been that way.  In 2010, we all voted by absentee ballot.

After I told my parents what the Supervisor said, the mood went from shock to anger.  We each printed an online form for a new replacement card.  When we filled out the one page form, we changed our party, and updated our signature that is kept on file by the state.  When you get older, or if your health changes, it is common for your signature to change.  We mailed in our forms, and within a week we received our replacement voter ID cards and all the information returned correct.  We all belong to the DEM party now.  This is a family first.  If I had not requested a replacement card, we would never have known that our vote would not be counted in the Florida 2012 Primary Election.  We thought we were semi-informed voters with different points of view.  We consider voting a freedom, a basic right, and an important duty.  I guess we were not as informed as we thought.  We do not have any proof, but I fear that in changing the state ID laws, voter information was not copied properly by some computer.  

Florida has a law that says you have to change your voter ID information 29 days prior to any election.  I am worried about Florida’s 2012 election.  Voters are going to be angry when they do not get the ballot they expect.   Remember, a photo and signature ID will be required.

If you live in Florida, verifying your voter ID information is important.  Your old card will not matter, and your primary votes will be disqualified by the state if your online party is NPA.  If you live in Florida, you can visit your county website or visit the Florida website below:
http://registration.elections.myflorida.com/

If you live in any state that changed their Photo ID and voter ID laws, please make sure your voter ID information is accurate online.  Visit your county website and check your voter ID status.

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