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Voter fraud? Voter suppression? Nah. Numbers show winning FL's all about ground game

If anyone wondered why the GOP-led Legislature reduced the number of in-person early-voting days in Florida, Saturday told you everything you needed to know.

Democrats turned out in force, casting about 49 percent of the roughly 300,000 votes in just 12 hours across the state. Republicans cast 35 percent of the in-person ballots.

Republicans prefer to vote by absentee ballots, which are typically mailed in. The GOP led Democrats by a whopping 66,000 ballots cast on Saturday. Democratic early voting cut that lead by 60 percent in a single day.

All told, 1.6 million Floridians had voted by Sunday morning.

And by Monday morning, when the previous day’s vote tallies are released, that number will grow by the hundreds of thousands. And there’s a chance Democrats could surpass Republicans in pre-Election Day ballots cast.

Sunday was a big day to get out the Democratic base — the black vote — as part of a “Souls to the Polls” rally. This was the only day available for after-church weekend voting because the Legislature eliminated early voting on the Sunday before Election Day.

“They’ve cut back the time, but they can’t cut back the line,” said the Rev. Al Sharpton, an MSNBC host and founder of the National Action Network, who stumped in South Florida this weekend.

“The lines are longer,” Sharpton said. “And they may be stronger.”

But the evidence of the longer, stronger lines also conflicts with a talking point from liberals: That the Legislature engaged in “voter suppression” by reducing the number of early-voting days from 14 to eight.

Before 2002, there was no early in-person voting at all. Since then, the Legislature has also expanded chances to cast absentee ballots in Florida. Absentee-ballot voting has gone on for almost a month. It’s easy to request and get one. Almost too easy.

So there’s plenty of time for anyone to cast a ballot (unless you’re a felon, which is a separate issue).

Meantime, conservatives are doing their own share of spinning.

The reduction of early voting hours was made in a package of legislative reforms designed to crack down on voter fraud. But the law didn’t touch absentee-ballot voting, which is the easiest way to commit voter fraud (and it’s not that easy to cast fake ballots, either, especially on a significant scale).

The GOP dominates absentee-ballot voting in Florida. So the GOP Legislature saw little reason to harm their vote-by-mail program. And when The Miami Herald began reporting about fraud issues related to absentee ballots in August, Republicans started complaining that the news media were trying to suppress the GOP vote.

Now that in-person and mail-in ballot voting is underway, there’s a wealth of new data for each side to complain and boast about.

More here

Comments

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BlogWood

You're trying to make a distinction between ground game and suppression but they are linked too closely to distinguish - the legislative efforts to suppress Dem votes are a key part of the GOP ground game.

See for example PA GOP Leader Turzai on PA voter ID and how it will allow Romney to win PA: http://youtu.be/EuOT1bRYdK8

And though your (falsely equivalent) headline implies that in-person voter fraud is a tactic employed by Dems just as voter suppression is employed by the GOP, you cite absolutely no evidence that in-person voter fraud actually exists, much less that it is employed as a tactic by Florida Dems.

joe arrigo

The author if this article is in undeniable denial. This has been a concerted effort of many GOP led states to suppress the vote. If it became any more blatant it would bite you in the ass.

Jon Husted in Ohio expanding voting hours in GOP counties and contracting hours in Democratic counties...thankfully he was stopped. And in Pennsylvannia when house leader Mike Turzai announced in his infamous video stating, "Voter ID laws which will allow Mitt Romner to win Pannsylvannia." These are two of the most egregious and blatant examples.

The only reason the Democrats in Florida are coming out in droves is in spite of your effort to restrict voting. There is absolutely no valid reason to cut the number of early voting days there...none.

But there is one nefarious reason to do so.

John Chmura

I don't care who you Vote for,but it is everyones Constitional Right to be given the chance to Vote and everything possible should be done to assure that the right to Vote is made acessible

Robert Hyde

BOYCOTT ADVERTISERS THAT PLACE ADS IN THIS "NEWS"PAPER!

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