Voting rights activists echo Holder’s warning that Scott Administration may try to rig system

(Orlando, FL) – Senator Darren Soto, Senator Geraldine Thompson, and Carlos Smith, Chair of the Orange County DEC, joined local voting rights advocates today to denounce the Scott Administration’s voter suppression tactics and let the Governor know that efforts to prevent Floridians from voting will not be tolerated.

The speakers echoed Attorney General Eric Holder’s stern warning that the agency will be ‘carefully monitoring’ voter access in the state because Florida has ‘repeatedly added barriers to voting and redistricted access to the polls’.

“Since the founding of our country, voting has been a dear and fundamental American right, but one that was denied, either in law or in practice, to too many Americans for too long,” said Senator Geraldine Thompson. Unfortunately, Rick Scott’s record on voting has been one of obstacle and delay. All voters ought to be outraged by these attacks on one of our most basic rights."

The speakers spoke out against many of these politically motivated tactics, including a 2011 law that cut early voting days in half, which created long lines and delays of up to six hours or more for voters to cast their ballots. According the Orlando Sentinel, the law, since changed, kept more than 200,000 Floridians from voting.

The following year, the Scott Administration announced a voter roll purge of supposed non-citizens. In the end, the purge turned out to be wildly inaccurate, cost taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars, and unfairly targeted Latinos and African-Americans. Over 80 percent of those on the first purge lists were people of color and more than 6 in 10 were Hispanic.

"As Governor, Rick Scott is entrusted with ensuring that everyone’s rights are protected, not just those that agree with him," said Carlos Smith. “He certainly shouldn’t be abusing his power by disenfranchising voters.”

Protestors warned that Scott and his administration have and will continue efforts to create barriers to voting, including an aborted attempt at a second voter purge, a directive from Secretary of State Ken Detzner, limiting drop off locations for absentee ballots, as well as the refusal to allow early voting at University of Florida.

“With voting rights consistently under siege in our state, it is critical for Floridians to stand strong in support of their constitutional right to vote and for reasonable access to the polls, said Senator Darren Soto.”

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