The Austin Chronicle

The Hightower Report

Florida official can't seem to get the hang of running elections

By Jim Hightower, April 25, 2014, News

It's our civic duty to vote, right? Well that depends on who you are. The disgusting reality is that many of the power elites don't want certain people to vote, so they go to extremes to discourage and even harass those people to prevent them from exercising their civic right.

In 2012, Florida's highest officials disgraced their offices by engaging in this thuggish electoral thievery. Repub­lic­an Gov. Rick Scott and his party's legislative henchmen officially rammed voter suppression into law, targeting Latino, African-American, student, elderly, and other likely-Democratic voters. From purging such people from voting rolls to making them use broken-down voting machines, voters in Democratic-leaning precincts faced procedural chaos and up to six-hour waits – deterring at least 200,000 Floridians from casting their ballots.

But now comes an added discouragement in Miami, where a ruling by a Demo­crat­ic election official will literally leave voters p.o.'d. Advocates for people with disabilities had asked whether restrooms in Miami-area polling places would be accessible to voters in wheelchairs or with other physical needs. They expected to get "yes" for an answer, as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act, but instead they got this jaw-dropping shocker: "In order to ensure that individuals with disabilities are not treated unfairly, the use of restrooms by the voters is not allowed on election day."

Yes, in a perverted twist of logic, "fairness" to people with special needs will be assured by treating everyone unfairly. Thus, the political right to vote will be trumped by the biological need to pee – especially if the wait in line is six hours!

It seems to me that what Florida needs is a couple of good kindergarten teachers to take over their election system – and just keep it simple.

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