To the editor:
I sincerely hope your readers, and readers in all of Lee County, understand that long lines caused in this past election were the result of voter suppression legislation that took away six days of early voting and required voter ID.
Lee County Supervisor of Elections Sharon Harrington was in no way responsible for what an irresponsible State Legislature did, due to its lack of good judgment and Gov. Rick Scott's callous disregard for the voters of Florida. He signed this bill into law.
Harrington is, however, responsible for getting adequate machines and additional locations for early voting. The voter needs to urge her to make this happen.
But it was the goal of the Legislature to suppress voters in Florida. Instead lawmakers succeeded in getting voters very angry. More early voting days would have reduced the numbers at the precinct polling places on Nov. 6.
The state GOP wanted to shrink the electorate by suppression of certain select demographic voting blocs (likely to vote for President Obama). Much to their chagrin, that just didn't happen.
Still, to correct this situation, we need to rescind every single provision that inhibits American citizens from exercising their right to vote-and make sure lawmakers don't come up with another evil suppression scheme.
As a woman who is subject to many of the laws taking away personal and private rights that have been passed in Florida since the 2010 election, I can only hope our lawmakers don't try to get in the way of women's right to vote. It is a fact that President Obama's margin among female voters was substantial. Who will the GOP Tea Party attack next? If we vote the Tea Party out of office, will these abuses stop? 2014 will answer that question. If we all vote the abusers to the doghouse, where they belong, the GOP of Florida should remain there until it repents and repeals suppression laws. These laws caused so many undue hardships to those whose only desire was to vote. For instance:
- Six-and-a-half hour lines to vote after 7 p.m. on Election Day
- One woman I saw went through three canisters of oxygen while waiting to vote
- Working people could not stay longer because they had to get to work, and therefore had to give up their right to vote
We also were unduly delayed by an eight-page ballot. Whose fault is that? The Legislature, again, which added three and a half pages of amendments to the ballot length. These items should not have been constitutional amendments they should have been legislated as part of the usual business of the state.
So pointing fingers of blame does nothing to solve our problem but recognizing that this was a deliberate attempt to suppress voting by our own elected officials will go a long way toward a solution if we contact Florida House and Senate members as well as Gov. Scott to tell them that we, the voters, object to their manipulation and disregard of citizens' rights.
Please contact Gov. Scott (1-850-488-4441); Rep. Matt Caldwell (matt.caldwell@MyFloridaHouse.gov); Sen. Liz Benacquisto (benacquisto.lizbeth.web@FLSenate.gov; and Sen. Garrett Richter (richter.garrett.web@FLSenate.gov) to make yourself heard.