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Executive Summary

When it comes to voter suppression and electoral controversy, Florida is perhaps best known
for handing George W. Bush the presidency after the Supreme Court ended a statewide hand
recount of votes during the 2000 election. In the end, Al Gore won the national popular vote
while Bush secured the electoral college and the presidency.1

The historical infamy surrounding its administration of the 2000 election hasnt deterred Florida
political figures--from statewide elected officials and state legislators to county elections
supervisors--from continuing to introduce voter suppression initiatives that have made it
increasingly difficult for minority voters to exercise their rights to vote. For many of these
officials, the motivation behind their efforts has been admittedly partisan and at times tainted
by racially charged commentary.

Florida only recently reinstated an early voting schedule that allows up to fourteen days of early
voting, after an incredibly restrictive election reform bill signed by Governor Rick Scott in 2011
resulted in the disastrous administration of the 2012 election in his state. The 2011 bill, which
drastically slashed early voting days, also made it nearly impossible for voter registration
groups, like the non-partisan League of Women Voters, to register voters in Florida.

The state also has repeatedly attempted to purge the Florida voter rolls of suspected
noncitizens using inaccurate data that targeted minority voters.

While politicians tout rampant voter fraud as the rationale behind such restrictive policies, in
reality there is no evidence of widespread fraudulent voting taking place in Florida or in any
other state. Instead, Floridas status as a competitive swing state in presidential elections is
highly relevant when examining the motives of politicians who advocate for voter suppression
policies. Many Florida officials who advocate for these policies have openly expressed political
motivations for disenfranchising minority voters, who are more likely to vote Democratic.

Regulations to limit voting in Florida are being pushed by prominent statewide elected officials,
like Governor Scott, who have advocated for a range of historically restrictive voting laws. Scott
has been aided in no small part by Secretary of State Ken Detzner, who implemented the
governors requested voter purges and opposed uncontroversial, common-sense laws that
make voting more accessible for voters, like implementing online voter registration.

Voter suppression policies are also shaped by Florida state legislators, who have passed some
of the nations most restrictive voting laws. County elections supervisors also have some
amount of discretion in making elections more accessible to voters in their counties, but all too
often, unfortunately, do the opposite.

This report examines recent voter suppression initiatives in Florida, shedding light on the
players behind these efforts and the problematic partisan motivations that shape their
decisions. Statewide elected officials and several state legislators notable for voter suppression
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actions were investigated, as were several county elections supervisors. Additionally, this report
examines influential voter suppression groups with strong conservative ties and obviously
partisan goals, working in Florida to disenfranchise minority voters. This report aims to provide
an overview of current voter suppression issues in Florida, as well as the political actors behind
them, in order to combat ongoing attacks on voting rights in the Sunshine State.

Voter Suppression in Florida

Voter Restrictions in Florida



Voter Identification Requirements


Florida enforces a photo ID law that requests voters present a photo ID when casting a ballot. If
the photo ID does not have signature on it, voters will be asked to present an additional (nonphoto) ID with a signature on it. If a voter fails to present an accepted photo ID, they can cast a
provisional ballot, which will be counted if the voters signature matches the signature in the
voter registration records.2

A wide range of photo IDs are accepted at the polls in Florida. The state accepts any one of the
following:

Florida Drivers license or Identification Card
U.S. Passport
Debit or Credit Card
Military Identification
Student Identification
Retirement Center Identification
Neighborhood Association Identification
Public Assistance Identification
Veteran Health Identification Card issued by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
License to Carry a Concealed Weapon or Firearm
Employee identification card issued by any branch, department, agency, or entity of the
Federal Government, the state, a county, or a municipality.3

The state has not restricted the type of photo IDs accepted at the polls since 2007, when the
state eliminated employee badges and buyers club IDs from the list of acceptable
identifications. In 2016, Florida added three additional types of IDs to its list of photo IDs
accepted at the polls.4

It should be noted that photo ID laws have been shown to disproportionately affect minority,
elderly, disabled, and low-income voters, who face greater obstacles obtaining identification in
order to vote. A study conducted by political scientists at the University of California at San
Diego analyzed voter turnout between 2008 and 2012 and found substantial drops in turnout
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for minorities under strict voter ID laws. Obtaining a photo ID can be costly and the
bureaucratic process can be especially difficult for low-income and elderly voters who may not
have birth certificates because they were born at home instead of in a hospital.5 In fact, more
than 21 million Americans do not have government-issued photo IDs and a disproportionate
number of them are minority, low-income, and elderly voters.6

Election Administration Issues

Early Voting in Florida

Early voting in Florida was significantly cut by Governor Rick Scott in 2011. But in 2013 a new
law restored early voting to a minimum of sixty-four hours over eight days, and allows counties
to schedule up to 168 hours of early voting over fourteen days. Before being cut in 2011, early
voting was first signed into law by former Governor Jeb Bush in 2004.

Floridas restored early voting also gives county elections supervisors the discretion to schedule
early voting on the Sunday before Election Day, which had been cut before the 2012 election.
The early voting ban on the Sunday before Election Day was widely criticized by voting rights
activists as a way to suppress minority voting by eliminating the souls to the polls tradition of
black churches.

Florida offers no-excuse vote-by-mail (formerly called absentee voting), so any voter may
request a ballot to vote by mail instead of voting in-person. The Florida Democratic Party,
however, recently challenged the states policy of rejecting vote-by-mail ballots if the signature
on the ballot envelope does not match the one the state has on file. The lawsuit, which names
Secretary of State Ken Detzner as the defendant, argues that a voters signature can change
over time and it may be especially difficult for some disabled voterswho would have a
legitimate need to vote by mailto maintain a consistent signature. The lawsuit also argues
that standards for comparing signatures are not uniformly applied by counties, and vote-bymail ballots are rejected at greatly different rates depending on which county evaluates them.7
In October 2016, a federal judge ruled that Floridas ballot rejection policy was
unconstitutional, and that local election officials must give voters who cast ballots by mail the
chance to match their signatures to the ones on file.8

Progress on Online Voter Registration

Governor Scott signed a bill in 2015 that requires Florida to have an online voter registration
system by 2017, although the governor expressed some hesitation about signing the bill. The
approval of online voter registration was praised by voting rights groups and county elections
supervisors as a convenient and cost-effective way to make it easier for Floridians to register to
vote.9

Severe Restrictions on Felon Voting

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Florida has a strict law that bans all convicted felonseven non-violent offendersfrom voting,
even after they complete their sentences. Governor Scotts administration, in 2011, voted to
require that all ex-felons wait five to seven years before petitioning to have their civil rights
restored. Even after completing the time-consuming application process, ex-felons can wait
years before even getting a hearing for a chance to have their voting rights restored. Nonviolent ex-felons lose their right to vote for life, unless their rights are restored by the governor
and state clemency board. Florida is one of only three states in the country where felons
permanently lose their rights to vote under state law.

Voter Suppression from the Top Down


Governor Rick Scott



Governor Scott has been the driving force behind several massive voter suppression efforts in
the state of Florida. He drastically slashed early voting days in violation of the Voting Rights Act
and made it almost impossible for groups to register voters, before his law was overturned by a
federal court. He has repeatedly attempted to purge suspected noncitizens from the voter rolls
in violation of federal law, despite the lack of evidence of any widespread voter fraud in Florida.
Scott also made it more difficult for non-violent felons who have served their time to regain
their right to vote.

HB 1355

Disastrous 2011 Elections Reform Bill

Governor Scott signed HB 1355, a highly controversial elections reform bill, into law in 2011.
The bill heavily cut early voting, limited voter registration drives, and made it harder for voters
who had moved between counties to vote.

HB 1355 cut early voting from fifteen to eight days, and included the elimination of Sunday
voting the weekend before elections. The law also imposed onerous regulations on voter
registration groups, including fines of as much as $1,000 for failing to submit voter registration
forms within forty-eight hours, when they previously had had ten days to submit completed
forms. The new law also changed a longstanding policy that had allowed voters to update their
addresses at the polls, instead requiring voters who had moved between counties without
updating their registrations to cast provisional ballots--a change criticized as likely to affect
college students.10

The changes made to Floridas election processes by HB 1355 were an undisputed failure.
Federal lawsuits by the League of Women Voters and others invalidated parts of the law, and
after a disastrous 2012 election left hundreds of thousands of Floridians unable to vote,
Governor Scott reversed cuts to early voting the following year.

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Voter Suppression Motivations Behind HB 1355


HB 1355 was wildly unpopular and had moved thousands of Floridians to reach out to the
governors office asking Scott to veto the bill. A report from the governors office on the
correspondence noted, Constituents feel these laws need to be made easier, not harder for
the voter. Feel that it restricts voting rights and is anti-democracy.11

The new law was also criticized by county elections supervisors, who administer elections in the
state. The statewide association of elections supervisors released a statement warning Scott
that the changes could cause chaos and confusion at the polls. Even then-Secretary of State
Kurt Browningwho resigned in January 2012 while HB 1355 was being challenged in federal
courtwas silent on whether or not he supported the overhaul of Floridas election law, before
finally voicing support for it after Scott signed it into law.12

Scott claimed that HB 1355 would prevent voter fraud in Florida. He said, I want people to
vote, but I also want to make sure theres no fraud involved in elections. Scott also said, All of
us as individuals that vote want to make sure that our elections are fair and honest."13

However, in Florida and throughout the nation, widespread voter fraud has been shown to be
virtually nonexistent. Although HB 1355 was signed into law in 2011 with the alleged intention
of preventing voter fraud, according to the Florida Department of State, only thirty-one cases of
alleged voter fraud were found between January 2008 and March 2011, and only two cases
resulted in arrests.14

The overhaul of Florida election policy was, instead, a measure that suppressed the votes of
low-income and minority voters, according not only to its critics but also to the officials behind
the law. A series of stories published by the Palm Beach Post in 2012 revealed a damning fact
about the controversial voting law: HB 1355 was designed with the intention of suppressing the
votes of Floridians who would likely vote Democratic, including African-American voters.

Emmett Bucky Mitchell IV, former senior attorney for the Florida Division of Elections, was
representing the Republican Party of Florida while working for a private law firm when he
drafted HB 1355 after meeting with prominent Florida GOP officials. Mitchell testified during a
deposition, Typically, what I do before a (legislative) session begins is, I look at changes that I
think would be beneficial to our clients. Mitchell noted, In this case, thats how this election
bill got started.15

Voting rights groups, including the Florida League of Women Voters and the Florida NAACP,
expressed anger at Mitchells involvement in drafting HB 1355. Dierdre Macnab, president of
the Florida League of Women Voters, stated, Id be deeply concerned to think that members
of a political party who are not elected officials, nor staff to legislators, are drawing up votersuppression laws in back rooms. She added, It should be deeply troubling to the public.16

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Jim Greer, former chairman of the Republican Party of Florida who was ousted from the party,
described the partisan motivations behind cutting early voting and other voter suppression
policies, which he heard described at GOP meetings starting in 2009. He said, The Republican
Party, the strategists, the consultants, they firmly believe that early voting is bad for Republican
Party candidates. Greer added, Its done for one reason and one reason only. Greer said he
was told by Republican staffers and consultants, Weve got to cut down on early voting
because early voting is not good for us [Republicans]. Greer said he never heard any of them
mention that there was a problem with voter fraud, and described the focus on voter fraud as
a marketing ploy.17

One Republican campaign consultant, Wayne Bertsch, also said that targeting Democratic
voters was the goal of cutting early voting. He said, In the races I was involved in in 2008, when
we started seeing the increase of turnout and the turnout operations that the Democrats were
doing in early voting, it certainly sent a chill down our spines.18

Another Republican consultant, who, fearing retribution from the GOP asked to remain
anonymous, disclosed that cutting early voting and Sunday voting was a way for Republicans to
specifically target African American voter turnout. He said, I know that the cutting out of the
Sunday before Election Day was one of their targets only because thats a big day when the
black churches organize themselves.19 In 2008, African Americans had turned out in record
numbers to vote for President Obama.

Legal Defeat of Onerous Regulations on Voter Registration Groups

Several voter registration groupsthe League of Women Voters, Rock The Vote, and Florida
Public Interest Research Group Education Fundfiled a lawsuit challenging HB 1355 in 2011.
Both the League of Women Voters and Rock The Vote had suspended their voter registration
efforts in response to Governor Scott signing the bill, out of fear that they would accumulate
high fines if their volunteers were unable to comply with the states strict deadlines for
submitting voter registration forms.20 HB 1355 required voter registration groups to submit
completed registration forms within forty-eight hours or face fines of up to $1,000.

The League of Women Voters and others argued that the new restrictions for voter registration
efforts were overly burdensome and violated the Voting Rights Act. Deidre Macnab, president
of the League of Women Voters of Florida, stated that, Florida's anti-voter law created
impassable roadblocks for our volunteers, who are simply trying to bring fellow citizens into our
democratic process.21

A federal judge agreed, stating that the harsh and impractical 48-hour deadline effectively
prohibited voter registration groups from mailing in completed registration forms, which they
have the right to do under federal law. The judge also blocked a new provision that required
voter registration groups to notify the state within ten days if any volunteer or employee
stopped working for their organization. The judge ruled that the regulations impose

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burdensome record-keeping and reporting requirements that serve little if any purpose, thus
rendering them unconstitutional.22

The groups resumed their voter registration efforts before the 2012 election, but had lost
valuable time having temporarily suspended their registrations due to the legal battle.

Department of Justice Challenge to Early Voting Schedule

The new early voting schedule signed into law by Governor Scott was challenged by the U.S.
Department of Justice. At the time, five Florida countiesCollier, Hardee, Hendry, Hillsborough,
and Monroewere required, under a provision of the Voting Rights Act, to have any changes to
voting laws pre-cleared (that is, approved in advance) by the federal government, due to their
histories of racial discrimination.23

A three-judge federal court panel ruled that the cuts to early voting in the five counties violated
the Voting Rights Act. The ruling compared the cuts to early voting to closing polling places in
disproportionately African-American precincts and stated that Florida failed to satisfy its
burden of proving that those changes will not have a retrogressive effect on minority votes.24

Governor Scott ended up compromising with elections supervisors in the five disputed
counties, requiring eight, 12-hour voting daysninety-six hours totalfor early voting. In the
original law signed by Scott, elections supervisors had the discretion to schedule between fortyeight and ninety-six hours of voting in the eight scheduled early voting days in their counties.
Although the Monroe County elections supervisor pushed for a longer period, arguing that the
cuts to early voting days would negatively affect workers, ultimately all five counties agreed to
the new early voting schedule.25

The Justice Department granted preclearance to the changes in September 2012, after Scott
slightly modified the early voting schedule that federal judges had ruled violated the Voting
Rights Act. It was a agreed that Floridas five disputed counties would offer a full ninety-six
hours of early voting in the mandated eight-day period.26

Chaos and Confusion - Effects of HB 1355 on the 2012 Election

Floridas elections supervisors predicted chaos and confusion at the polls after Governor
Scott signed HB 1355 into law, cutting early voting and making it more difficult for voters to cast
ballots at the polls.

That prediction turned out to be largely accurate, with Floridians facing hours-long lines to vote
on Election Day in 2012. In Miami-Dade County, the states largest county, voters faced lines
over two hours long on the morning of Election Day. Cedric McMinn, executive director of the
local Democratic Party, noted that he had never seen lines this long at my precinct.27

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Lee Countys last precinct didnt close until 2:54 a.m. Wednesday due to the extraordinarily
long lines. One Lee County voter described waiting in line for eight hours and not casting a
ballot until 11.20 p.m. Another said, of her five-hour wait to vote, I must have seen fifteen
people, at least, just give up and leave off the line. I was absolutely livid. People [in line] were
saying it was some sort of conspiracy.28

Over 200,000 Florida voters are estimated not to have cast ballots in the 2012 election due to
long lines in the wake of Scotts changes to election policy. An analysis conducted by Ohio State
University professor Theodore Allen, based on data compiled by the Orlando Sentinel,
estimated that at least 201,000 voters did not vote on Election Day because they were deterred
by long lines at the polls. Allen hypothesized that the actual number was even higher: My gut
is telling me that the real number [of voters] deterred is likely higher. He added, You make
people wait longer, they are less likely to vote.29

Both the Florida League of Women Voters and the Florida Democratic Party urged Governor
Scott to extend early voting due to the long lines that voters faced even before Election Day
itself. In Miami-Dade County, for example, voters casting their ballots on early voting days
experienced lines over six hours long at some polling locations.30

Scott, however, refused to extend voting hours, standing by his decision even after some voters
faced lines over eight hours long. Im very comfortable that the right thing happened, Scott
told reporters after Election Day. We had 4.4 million people vote. Former Florida Governor
Charlie Crist accused Scott of voter suppression for refusing to extend voting hours.31

The 2012 election was so problematic that Scott signed a new election bill into law in 2013,
undoing some of the bad election policies he had signed into law only two years earlier. He
distanced himself from the disastrous 2011 elections reform bill that he had previously praised,
telling Floridas legislative black caucus in 2013 that he was not involved with passing the bill. In
a statement endorsing the new elections law, Scott said, the ultimate goal must be to restore
Floridians confidence in our election system. Scott also said, I want to ensure we do
whatever possible to improve our election system from the statewide level.32

The new bill restored early voting to a minimum sixty-four hours over eight days and allowed
counties to schedule up to 168 hours of early voting over fourteen days. The law also gave
supervisors the discretion to schedule early voting on the Sunday before Election Day, which
made it possible for African American churches to organize souls to the polls events before
the election. The bill also restricted the length of constitutional amendments on the ballots,
which had contributed to the chaos during the 2012 election because of unnecessarily lengthy
ballots and their long reading times.

Controversial Plans to Purge Florida Voter Rolls

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Also prior to the 2012 presidential election, Governor Scott faced another voter suppression
controversyand another Justice Department fightafter his administration began a
controversial effort to purge Floridas voter rolls of suspected noncitizens.

At Scotts request, the Florida Department of State began looking into whether noncitizens
were voting in Florida elections. The Florida Department of State and the Florida Department of
Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles created a database that compared voter registration
information with drivers license data. Because the state allows noncitizens to obtain drivers
licenses, the state compared the lists to see if any noncitizen drivers had registered to vote. The
state hoped to compare its list of potential non-citizens to a federal database that tracks nonU.S. citizens, the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements Program (SAVE). However, the
Department of Homeland Security denied Florida access to the database.33

The original list compiled by the state included 182,000 suspected noncitizen voters. However,
the data was quickly found to be out-of-date and included many errors. One issue was that
drivers license data was not updated when residents became citizens, so a newly-naturalized
citizen, who had registered to vote but who had not recently renewed their drivers license,
would be flagged as an illegal voter.34

The Department of State narrowed down the list to nearly 2,700 voters flagged as suspected
noncitizensmany in Miami-Dade County, which has a high Hispanic population. The list of
flagged voters disproportionately targeted minorities, who made up 87 percent of the list, with
nearly 60 percent of the flagged voters being Hispanic.35

The list was sent to county elections supervisors in May 2012, with instructions to review it, and
begin the process of challenging and removing the voter registrations. Even though it had been
narrowed down from the original list of 182,000 suspected noncitizen voters, the list sent to
elections supervisors still contained the names of many eligible voters who were born in the
United States or were naturalized citizens.

By the end of May, for example, at least 359 Florida voters had provided Miami-Dade County
with proof of citizenship and another twenty-six were identified by the county as U.S. citizens.36
In Broward County, a World War II veteran received a notice that said that the county
supervisor of elections has received information from the state of Florida that you are not a
United States citizen; however you are registered to vote. The 91-year-old Democrat said he
was amazed and a little insulted when he received the notice, which gave him thirty days to
prove his citizenship or be removed from the voter rolls.37

The Scott administration sued the Department of Homeland Security for access to their SAVE
database in June 2012 and reached an agreement in August. After comparing their list of nearly
2,700 names to the federal SAVE database, they sent a new list of suspected noncitizens to
counties in September 2012which by then had dwindled to only 198 voters.38

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The plan to purge the voter rolls faced intense backlash from many county elections
supervisors, both Democrats and Republicans, who voiced concern about the accuracy of the
data and the fact that the list disproportionately targeted minority voters. Vicki Davis, Martin
County Supervisor of Elections, who was then president of the Florida State Association of
Supervisors of Elections, said, Supervisors have not been comfortable from Day One with the
effort to purge the voter rolls.39

Scott argued that purging the voter rolls was necessary in order to combat voter fraud and
denied that the list of suspected noncitizens targeted minority voters. The Secretary of States
office is doing the right thing, he said. We want everyone to register to vote. We want people
to vote. But we want fair elections. We want people who have the right to vote go out there
and vote.40

Scott also defended the suspicious timing of the voter purge, which began after the deadline for
election maintenance before the August 14, 2012, Florida primary. We were waiting on the
[U.S. Department of] Homeland Security database. So it just kept getting delayed. Im
responsible for the state, but my understanding is they just kept delaying it, Scott said. There
is no perfect time for doing any of these things. We just want fair elections. Thats what all of us
want. This is not a partisan issue. Scotts statement came days after the U.S. Department of
Justice sent a letter asking the state to halt its voter purge, and only hours before legal counsel
for the Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections recommended that all counties halt
any further action on the process.41

Challenge to Voter Purge Effort by the Justice Department and Voting Rights Groups

Less than a month after the secretary of state announced the plan to purge the states voter
rolls, the U.S. Department of Justice sent a letter warning that Florida had not notified the
federal government of the voter roll purge, a move that violated the Voting Rights Act, as five
counties in Florida specifically were covered by the Act. The letter also noted that removing
voters from the rolls less than ninety days ahead of an electionFloridas primary was August
14also appeared to violate federal law.42

Governor Scott continued to defend the voter purge even after the Justice Department
requested that Florida halt the process. At a Tea Party Express event several days after the
Justice Department sent its letter, Scott touted his plan to purge Floridas voter rolls. He told
the conservative crowd, Okay so the latest is who should get to vote in our state and in our
country. People that are citizens of our country. Its very simple, right? Who comes up with the
idea that you get to vote if youre not a citizen?43

Separate lawsuits were filed against the state of Florida challenging the voter purge: by the U.S.
Department of Justice, as well as by a group of civil rights organizations on behalf of two
naturalized citizens living in Miami-Dade County whose names were included on the original list
of suspected noncitizen voters sent to county elections supervisors. An additional lawsuit was
brought by the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, with the Lawyers Committee for Civil
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Rights Under Law. The ACLUs case was dismissed in 2013 after the U.S. Supreme Court
overturned a key provision of the Voting Rights Act.44

A federal court ruled in 2014 that the Scott administration violated federal law by attempting to
purge suspected noncitizens from the voters rolls too close to the 2012 election. Florida spent
more than $90,000 in legal fees to defend the case.45

Another Failed Attempt to Purge Voter Rolls

Governor Scott was so intent on purging the voter rolls that, even after his failed attempt
before the 2012 elections, he announced a second plan to purge the rolls.

Just weeks after the Supreme Court struck down the section of the Voting Rights Act that
required preclearance for removing voters from the voter rolls in Collier, Hardee, Hendry,
Hillsborough, and Monroe counties, Scott announced a new effort to purge noncitizens from
the voter rolls. Of the ruling, which was widely criticized by voting rights advocates, he
declared, The Supreme Court has allowed our secretary of state to start working with our
supervisors of elections to make sure our sacred right to vote is not diluted.46

Scotts new plan, dubbed Project Integrity by Secretary of State Ken Detzner, was abandoned
ahead of the 2014 elections after it faced massive opposition from county elections supervisors,
who were concerned about the accuracy of the data and were suspicious about the timing of
the voter purge ahead of the election.47

Stripping Voting Rights from Ex-Felons

Governor Scott was responsible for reversing a policy, enacted by former Governor Charlie
Crist, that automatically put non-violent felons in line to have their rights restored after they
completed their sentences. In 2011, Scotts administration voted to require all ex-felonseven
non-violent offendersto wait five to seven years before petitioning to have their civil rights
restored. Even after completing the time-consuming application process, ex-felons can wait
years before even getting a hearing for a chance to have their voting rights restored. Nonviolent ex-felons lose their rights to vote for life, unless their rights are restored by the governor
and state clemency board. Florida is one of only three states in the country where felons
permanently lose their rights to vote under state law.48

This strict policy has resulted in a large percentage of ineligible voters in Florida. More than 1.6
million Floridiansor 9 percent of the states population, compared to an average of below 2
percent in other statescannot vote. The law has a disproportionate effect on black voters;
although only 17 percent of the states voters are black, one in four black adults are
disenfranchised in Florida.49

Scott was widely criticized by civil rights advocates and the media for restricting access to
voting for non-violent ex-felons. Editorials in the Tampa Bay Times slammed Scotts decision,
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one stating, Floridas shameful distinction as the nations leader in barring felons from voting
does not serve public safety or the economy of the state. This outsized problem was highlighted
again this fall as a national advocacy group called attention to how felons across the country
were being excluded from the 2014 midterm elections, silencing a huge population from the
political process and creating a void in communities as a result.50

Another Tampa Bay Times editorial noted, The governor claimed the rules are in part
responsible for Florida's low crime rate. But that assertion is in stark contrast to a 2011 Florida
Parole Commission report that studied thirty-one thousand cases over 2009 and 2010 and
found that recidivism for felons who had their rights restored was about 11 percent, while the
overall reoffense rate in the state is more than 33 percent. This suggests that felons who have
their rights restored are better reintegrating into society.51

Secretary of State Ken Detzner

Secretary of State Ken Detzner has aided Governor Scott every step of the way to implement
voter suppression policies in Florida. He even has gone a step further than Scott by actively
opposing a bipartisan plan to implement online voter registration in Florida, which led to
intense criticism from voting rights advocates, media outlets across the state, and both
Republican and Democratic state legislators.

Implementing Rick Scotts Failed Voter Purge

When Scott first discussed his idea to purge Floridas voter rolls of noncitizens, Kurt Browning
was serving as secretary of state. At Scotts request, Browning investigated the data available
for such a massive project. Because the Department of Homeland Security had denied the state
of Florida access to their SAVE database, Browning had to rely on comparing voter registration
data with information from the states Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles in
order to create a list of potential noncitizen voters.

The data appeared to have problems with its accuracy, so Browning chose not to release the list
of names to county elections officials. Browning explained, I consciously decided not to get
them in the loop. He added, I didnt feel comfortable rolling this initiative out. Something was
telling me this isnt going to fly. We didnt have our Is dotted and Ts crossed when I was
there.52

Enter Secretary of State Detzner, who replaced Browning after he resigned as Florida secretary
of state in early 2012. As Brownings replacement, Detzner willingly implemented Scotts plan
to purge Floridas voter rolls, regardless of the dubious accuracy of the available data.

He culled the same data that Browning had deemed too inaccurate and sent a list of 2,600
suspected noncitizen voters to county elections supervisors. The list contained the names of
many voters who were eligible to vote and disproportionally targeted minority voters. As the

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head of the Florida Department of State, Detzner implemented Scotts discriminatory voter
purge plan and was involved in the many legal challenges it faced.

Despite the failure of the first plan to purge Floridas voter rolls, Detzner agreed to implement
Scotts second attempt to strike suspected noncitizens from the voter rolls before the 2014
elections. This time dubbed, Project Integrity, the purge plan faced so much opposition that it
was abandoned.

Defending Discriminatory 2011 Elections Law

Secretary of State Detzner also defended the controversial elections reform bill, signed into law
by Governor Scott in 2011, when it was challenged by the U.S. Department of Justice. The DOJ
argued that Florida did not prove that the law protected minority voters from discrimination in
the five counties covered by the Voting Rights Act. A spokesperson for Detzners office stated,
We continue to feel that the other three sections are non-discriminatory. The spokesman
added, Thats why were in federal court, to prove that, and we feel we will.53

Later that year, a three-judge federal court panel ruled that the cuts to early voting in the five
counties covered by the Voting Rights Act violated the Act. The ruling compared the cuts in
early voting to closing polling places in disproportionately African-American precincts and
stated that Florida failed to satisfy its burden of proving that those changes will not have a
retrogressive effect on minority votes.54

Opposing Bipartisan Online Voter Registration Plan

Secretary of State Detzner faced extensive criticism for opposing a bipartisan bill that would
create an online voter registration system in Florida. The bill was supported by county elections
supervisors, voting rights advocates, and Republican and Democratic state legislators alike, as a
convenient and cost-effective way to make registration easier for voters across the state. Even
Governor Scott, who cited some concerns about the law, signed the online voter registration
bill into law in May 2015.

Detzner told Florida state senators that the plan to develop online voter registration was very
high risk and a distraction from the upcoming 2016 presidential election. He also mentioned
that forces of evil might disrupt elections in the state. Its always high risk, whenever youre
dealing with anything in Florida relating to change, Detzner said.55

County elections supervisors, who supported online voter registration, criticized Detzner for his
opposition to the plan. Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Deborah Clark said of him,
When you use specious arguments to oppose something that would benefit the people you
work for, you lose all credibility.56

At the 2015 Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections conference, several county
elections supervisors angrily questioned Detzner about his opposition to the online voter
SOMETHINGS ROTTEN | ALLIED PROGRESS | 13


registration bill. Brian Corley, Pasco Countys supervisor of elections and the new president of
the association, noted that Detzner had supported online voter registration in meetings and
told the elections supervisors that he would speak to Governor Scott about it; later he told
reporters he had never broached the subject with Scott. You told us in that meeting you had to
talk to the governor, and then you told the media multiple times you hadn't spoken to the
governor, Corley said to Detzner. So which is it, respectfully sir? Duval County Supervisor of
Elections Jerry Holland told Detzner, bluntly, You owe us an apology.57

An editorial in the Tampa Tribune blasted Detzners opposition to the bill. It suggested that
given his track record, maybe it was to be expected that Detzner would say it would be too
complicated to adopt online registration in two years, though the system has been adopted
without incident in 20 other states and is strongly supported by Florida's supervisors of
elections. . . . Online registration has proven popular with voters of all parties. But Detzner has
consistently taken stands making it more difficult for citizens to vote. He tried to stop counties
from allowing voters to drop off absentee ballots at libraries and other remote sites. He headed
a flawed effort to purge voting rolls that turned into an embarrassing debacle. And in this case,
were talking about online registration, not voting, for crying out loud.58

An independent audit of Floridas voter registration database, released several months after
the voter registration bill was signed by Governor Scott, shed light on Detzners opposition to
online voter registration: the secretary of states voter registration system was a mess. An
editorial in the Tampa Bay Times harshly rebuked Detzners management of his department,
noting that, Many drivers keep better maintenance records on their cars than the state has
been keeping on its voter registration computer system, and expressing serious concerns
about the states lackadaisical approach to security. The editorial argued that Floridas
election system needs new leadership at the top before next years presidential election to
help avoid another national embarrassment.59

The Florida Senate refused to confirm Detzner as secretary of state in the 2015 legislative
session, partly as a result of his opposition to the popular, bipartisan voter registration bill.
Governor Scott had to reappoint him instead.60

Voter Suppression Advocates in the Florida State Legislature


The Florida State Legislature has led the way introducing voter suppression policies. Advocates
for voter suppression policies in the legislature pushed for Floridas disastrous 2011 election
reform bill, HB 1355, which was signed by Governor Scott. Several Florida legislators,
highlighted in this report, have advocated for controversial policies in the state, including
making it harder for many Floridians to vote.

State Representative Dennis Baxley

SOMETHINGS ROTTEN | ALLIED PROGRESS | 14


State Representative Dennis Baxley was the chief sponsor of HB 1355, the disastrous election
reform bill signed into law in 2011 by Governor Scott. Baxley called the bill a substantive
cleanup of Floridas election code, noting that it was very, very important that we get this
right, while it was still in the legislature.61 The law was substantially undone after only two
years.

In addition to his voter suppression efforts, Baxley has pushed other controversial legislation as
well. He was the chief sponsor of the controversial stand your ground law that many blamed
for the death of Trayvon Martin, a young, unarmed black man who was fatally shot in Florida in
2012. Baxley has proudly discussed how the bill has become a model for other states, through
his involvement with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a corporate-funded
organization that has inspired and aided the push for strict photo ID laws in states across the
country. Baxley has been a frequent attendee of ALEC conferences, which he described as a
great place to share model legislation and a great place to learn what's going on in other parts
of the country.62

He has come under fire a number of times for his controversial, and at times, racially charged
positions. Baxley was the only legislator who opposed dropping Floridas official state song,
The Old Folks at Home, which refers to African Americans as darkies longing for the old
plantation in the original version. He said, Our roots are Deep South. The state song is about
home that is about slaves working [sic]. They built Florida's economy.63

State Representative Eric Eisnaugle

State Representative Eric Eisnaugle was an outspoken supporter of the disastrous election
reform bill, HB 1355, which was signed into law by Governor Scott. While the bill was being
debated in the Florida legislature, Eisnaugle said that he supported it out of concern about
voter fraud. This is about the right to vote, Eisnaugle claimed, but every time fraud is
allowed, your right and my right to vote is eroded.64

Widespread voter fraud, both in Florida and throughout the nation, actually has been proven to
be largely nonexistent. According to the Florida Department of State, only thirty-one cases of
alleged voter fraud were found between January 2008 and March 2011, with only two cases
resulting in arrests.65

Eisnaugle, however, made several outlandish claims about the prevalence of voter fraud in
Florida, all of which were later proven to be false. During a debate of the bill on the House
floor, Eisnaugle claimed, (We have seen) falsifying of hundreds of registrations, including the
registration of an actor who was already deceased at the time. In another case, Mickey Mouse
was registered to vote. Eisnaugle also said, In yet another case, hundreds or thousands . . . of
students were registered to vote without their knowledge after they simply signed a petition,
having no idea that their information was then going to be turned around and used to register
their names on the voter rolls here in Florida.

SOMETHINGS ROTTEN | ALLIED PROGRESS | 15


PolitiFact rated all three of Eisnaugles claims as False. Of his most memorable claim--that
Mickey Mouse was registered to votePolitiFact explained that Eisnaugle got it wrong when he
said Mickey was registered to vote. According to PolitiFact, Mickey never got that far.
Someone filled out an application for him, but the application included so many inaccuracies
that--even if mice were allowed to vote in FloridaDisneys animated superstar would have had
problems. To us, the application looks more like a dumb prank than attempted voter fraud. And
it was rightly rejected by the elections supervisor. We rate this claim False.66

State Senator Miguel Daz de la Portilla

State Senator Miguel Daz de la Portilla supported HB 1355, the disastrous election reform bill
signed into law by Governor Scott in 2011. After the bill was widely criticized as a voter
suppression tool designed by Florida Republicans for political gain, Daz de la Portilla described
a similar bill in the Florida Senate as voter-friendly, noting that the bill, among its more
damning provisions, made it easier for voters to request absentee ballots.67

Daz de la Portilla was responsible for introducing the cuts to early voting days into the
elections reform bill in the Florida Senate, arguably the most problematic provision in the 2011
bill. He claimed that he was influenced to reduce Floridas early voting schedule after
discussions with his local elections supervisor, Lester Sola, who supervised elections in MiamiDade County at the time. However Sola, in sworn testimony in a lawsuit brought against the
law, claimed he never advocated for reducing early voting to Daz de la Portilla or anyone else.
Sola stated, of himself and other Miami-Dade officials, Our position has always been to expand
the availability of early voting. He added, We believe that it was a good service to provide to
our voters and it made our elections easier.68

To explain his rationale for drastically cutting early voting in his state, Daz de la Portilla
provided only anecdotal evidence from his home county that ended up turning out to be way
off-base. Generally, early voting in Miami-Dade County has not been very efficient, he said.
What you see more often than not is that there is a trickle of two or three people a day at a
very high cost to keep those public libraries and polls open. We felt it was an efficiency
measure.69 This was hardly the case after Daz de la Portillas proposed cuts to early voting
were implemented during the 2012 presidential election: voters casting their ballots on early
voting days in Miami-Dade County experienced lines over six hours long at some polling
locations.70

Sen. Daz de la Portilla also proposed a bill that would have given Governor Scott broader
power to remove county elections supervisors or put them on probation. The bill, which was
proposed after the disastrous 2012 election, was characterized by critics as an attempt to
scapegoat supervisors for long lines caused mainly by legislators, such as Daz de la Portilla
himself.71

Ohios County Elections Supervisors

SOMETHINGS ROTTEN | ALLIED PROGRESS | 16


On The Front Lines of Voter Suppression
(and Racially Charged Commentary)

Each county in Florida has a supervisor of elections responsible for registering voters and
administering elections in their county. Although they are largely bound by state-level policies,
as demonstrated by the tensions and disagreements that have arisen between the supervisors
and Governor Scotts administration regarding voter suppression actions, county elections
supervisors do have a limited amount of power to make elections more accessible to voters.

In some cases, however, elections supervisors have made voting more difficult, such as by
cutting polling locations and limiting early voting hours. There are even several instances of
sharing partisan, controversial, and even racially charged views that cast doubt on the ability to
objectively administer elections.

Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Deborah Clark

Deborah Clark has served as the Pinellas County supervisor of elections since 2000, when she
was appointed by former Governor Jeb Bush.

Clark was criticized for cutting back on early voting in 2008, saying that early voting does not
increase voter turnout, just election costs. Clarks office controversially closed all but three
of Pinellas Countys early voting locations in 2008, instead promoting the use of mail-in ballots,
which Clark argued was a more cost-effective alternative. 72

The Tampa Bay Times editorial board slammed Clark for limiting early voting, writing: The
Florida Legislature performed a public service when it required county elections supervisors to
open early voting polling places, even if it later foolishly limited their use. But Pinellas County
Supervisor of Elections Deborah Clark doesn't like early voting or its cost, and her stubborn
crusade to instead direct Pinellas voters toward mail balloting is wrongheaded. She should be
making it as easy to vote as possible, not limiting options. Pinellas has only three early voting
sites, all of them elections offices south of Clearwater. Compare that number of sites to Duval
County, which has a smaller population but 15 early voting sites. Or Hillsborough County with
13 sites, or Orange County with 10, or Pasco County with seven. It adds up to Pinellas voters
being shortchanged.73

Clarks office had faced criticism four years earlier, when Pinellas County made several election
administration mistakes during the 2004 election, including miscalculating thousands of votes
on a slot machine ballot initiative and misplacing 280 absentee ballots until it was too late to
count them. The Tampa Bay Times, which also noted miscounted ballots and misplaced ballots
in 2000 and 2001 elections, described the errors as the latest in a series of gaffes made since
Clark took over the office four years ago.74

SOMETHINGS ROTTEN | ALLIED PROGRESS | 17


Duval County Supervisor of Elections Mike Hogan

Mike Hogan currently serves as the Duval County Supervisor of Elections, his most recent role in
his long political career in Florida.

Hogan, a former Republican state representative, has served as a member of the Jacksonville
City Council, as the Duval County Tax Collector, and on the Florida Taxation and Budget Reform
Commission. He was also appointed by Governor Scott as chairman of the Public Employees
Relations Commission in 2011, after a failed mayoral bid in Jacksonville, until he resigned in
2015 to run for Duval County elections supervisor.75

Before appointing him to a nearly $100,000-a-year position in Tallahassee, Governor Scott
endorsed Hogan during his run for mayor of Jacksonville, which he lost to his Democratic
opponent despite the citys conservative leanings. Some political analysts connected Scotts
endorsement to Hogans defeat in the race, citing Scotts unpopularity in Duval County.76

Hogan was endorsed by the First Coast Tea Party, the local Jacksonville Tea Party group when
he ran for mayor and was featured in an online video released by the group when he ran for
elections supervisor. Speaking at a Tea Party town hall during his mayoral run in 2011, Hogan
described himself as a God fearing, freedom loving, American Patriot. He added, I am a
states rights advocate, a strict Constitutionalist and believe the best government is less
government.77

He discussed voter fraud and the need to purge the voter rolls in an interview with the First
Coast Tea Party during his campaign for Duval County Supervisor of Elections. Hogan advocated
for sharing voter registration data between states, claiming, One of the things we found in
2000 when I was in the House is that a lot of folks from up north were voting up north and then
coming to their winter home in Florida and also voting in Florida. Hogan also advocated for
purging the voter rolls by using a variety of available data in the state of Florida, claiming Its a
responsibility that you must be very diligent about, because if you dont then the rolls become
polluted and you have folks voting fraudulently. Seems that there are 12.9 million voters in
Florida and the estimate is about 9 percent of those records are inaccurate.78

Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Kathy Dent

Kathy Dent has served as the Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections since 2000 and is stepping
down from the position after the 2016 election. Over the course of her tenure as elections
supervisor, she has implemented problematic policy in Sarasota County and has faced repeated
accusations of voter suppression.

Dent came under fire from civil rights groups in 2012 after proposing a plan to cut nearly 40
percent of the voting precincts in Sarasota County. Dents plan, which chopped the number of
precincts in the county from 156 to ninety-eight, was roundly criticized by local civil rights
leaders as a way to suppress minority voters. Opponents of the plan specifically pointed to the
SOMETHINGS ROTTEN | ALLIED PROGRESS | 18


majority-black Newtown neighborhood, which had its precincts cut from six down to just one
under Dents plan, and argued that the cuts to precincts would make it more difficult for elderly
voters to cast their ballots.79

At a meeting of the Sarasota County commissioners, which approved Dents plan, Ed James,
chairman of the local Coalition of African American Leadership, said that there was no effort
for community input on the plan. Trevor D. Harvey, president of the local NAACP chapter,
called it a case of voter suppression whether intended or not.80

Dent also cut early voting hours in 2014. Although in 2012 Dent had pledged to schedule
ninety-six hours of early voting, the maximum allowed by state law, in 2014 Dent scheduled
only the state minimum requirement of sixty-four hours. Sarasota County was the only large
county in Florida that offered only the minimum number of early voting hours in 2014.81 82
Hardee County Supervisor of Elections Chet Huddleston

Chet Huddleston was appointed by Governor Scott in 2015 to be the Hardee County supervisor
of elections, filling a vacancy created by the resignation of the previous elections supervisor. His
appointment by Scott is troubling as Huddleston has shared extremist and racially-charged
views on social media.

According to his LinkedIn page, Huddleston has been involved in both the county- and statelevel Republican Party.83 He also has posted far-right conspiracy theories on social media. He
appears to believe that the Sandy Hook massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, may have been a
hoax by the government, sharing an article from the far-right website TruthAndAction.org,
headlined FBI Publishes Report Stating Nobody Died at Sandy Hook. Huddleston also shared a
photo on Facebook that identified potential actors from the Sandy Hook massacre. He wrote,
as much as I don't want to believe it, it's hard not to think it is AT LEAST a possibility that the
whole thing was sham made up by the government.84

Huddleston also has posted racially charged comments on social media. He shared a video of a
black toddler misbehaving at an arcade, writing that, If his actions are not changed very soon
this kid will end up in jail. One of Huddlestons Facebook friends commented on the video,
writing, I'm gonna say it, here's a future Trayvon Martin. . . . With no discipline kids like this
(it's kids of all colors before I hear any racist crap) will always go against the rules & laws. Then
we have to support the children they make & run out on, plus we support them through
welfare & while theyre in jail. Huddleston liked the comment.85

He also posted a graphic with a quote allegedly attributed to Russian President Vladimir Putin,
which read, If minorities prefer Sharia Law, then we advise them to go to those places where
thats the state law. Russia does not need minorities. Minorities need Russia, and we will not
grant them special privileges, or try to change our laws to fit their desires no matter how loud
they yell discrimination.86

SOMETHINGS ROTTEN | ALLIED PROGRESS | 19


Huddleston has posted offensive, far-right graphics attacking President Obama and suggesting
that Republicans need guns to protect themselves from Democrats. One graphic described
President Obama as a foreign-born socialist who doesnt have a birth certificate, while
another compared Obama to Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong, Kim Jong-il, and others
because of his stance on gun rights.87 Huddleston also shared a graphic that said, Yes! I need a
30 round magazine. 1 round to take a deer and 29 to prevent the Democrats from taking it from
me.88

Voter Suppression Groups in Florida



True the Vote & Tampa Fair Vote


True the Vote, a Houston-based organization that advocates for voter suppression policies and
engages in fear-mongering about virtually nonexistent election fraud, has worked to
disenfranchise voters across the nation, as well as in Florida specifically.

Founded by Tea Party activist Catherine Engelbrecht, True the Vote has been extremely
successful in promoting voter suppression policies around the country and its work has
bolstered legislative efforts in at least thirty-seven states to require voter ID at the polls.89 The
organization has been criticized for intimidating minority voters at polling places where their
trained poll watchers aimed to leave no polling place unmanned to guard against supposed
election fraud. True the Vote also has advocated for a range of voter suppression policies,
including large-scale voter purges.90

Challenging Florida Elections and Voter Registrations

True the Vote partnered with a local Tea Party Leader, Pamela Wohlschlegel, former head of
the Palm Beach County Tea Party, to sue a county elections supervisor after Democrat Patrick
Murphy narrowly defeated Republican Allen West in a 2012 congressional race. The
organization filed a federal lawsuit against St. Lucie County Elections Supervisor Gertrude
Walker, claiming that her office was denying them access to public records. True the Vote
planned to review over 118,000 ballots, voter registration forms, and other election documents
pertaining to the congressional election. An attorney for the group said the question it hoped to
answer was, Were people voting in the congressional election that weren't allowed to vote?91

Walker denied True the Votes charge of blocking access to public documents. In response to
their complaint, the elections supervisor responded, At any time subsequent to January 28, up
to and including the present, Plaintiffs could have completed the document inspection by
scheduling a visit via email, or telephone, or simply appearing, even announced, at Defendants
office. . . . Plaintiffs instead filed the instant complaint. True the Vote reached a settlement
with the county elections supervisor, officially gaining access to the records it wanted.92

SOMETHINGS ROTTEN | ALLIED PROGRESS | 20


True the Vote has also repeatedly targeted Florida to purge its voter rolls of alleged ineligible
voters, which the group has pushed to do in states across the countryespecially in states that
are competitive in federal elections.

In July 2016, True the Vote published a press release announcing the results of an investigation
of Florida voter rolls. The group claimed that there were likely over 220 cases of double-voting
in Floridas largest counties and announced that the group had submitted over thirty-six
thousand voter registrations in sixteen counties to county elections supervisors, alleging
suspected problems with all the registrations.93 In 2012, True the Vote claimed that it had
uncovered thirty thousand dead people on the voter rolls in Florida.94

Tampa Vote Fair

True the Vote helped start a local voter suppression group, Tampa Vote Fair, before the 2012
election. The Tampa-based organization was a Tea Party-linked group founded by right-wing
activist Kimberley Kelley, who was also a member of the Hillsborough County Republican Party
Executive Committee.95 True the Vote provided the support to Tampa Vote Fair to challenge
voter registrations in an effort to purge the voter rolls before the 2012 election, and trained
poll workers to monitor polling places in Hillsborough County for potential voter fraud.96

Tampa Vote Fair challenged the voting status of almost eighty voters in Hillsborough County
shortly before the 2012 election. Kelley, who filed the challenges, claimed that most of the
registered voters were felons who were ineligible to vote. Earlier that year, she had filed a list
of 1,375 suspected ineligible voters that had revealed no improperly-registered voters after
investigation by the state. Kelleys second challenge included an under-oath declaration from
Tampa Vote Fair that the people named in the list should not be allowed to vote, with The
Nation calling the move perhaps the most extreme steps a True the Voteaffiliated group has
taken to strip voters of election rights. An analysis of Kelleys list revealed that 40 percent of
the challenged voters were black, compared to 15 percent of Floridas electorate.97

Kelleys group also announced that it would station forty poll watchers at the largest precincts
in Hillsborough County.98 True the Vote, which helped start Tampa Vote Fair, has been criticized
nationally for the aggressive tactics of its trained poll watchers, including for sending white poll
watchers to majority African American neighborhoods. Voting rights groups have noted that
white poll watchers in minority neighborhoods can have a disenfranchising effect on voters
even if there is no direct interaction.99

Tampa Vote Fair is not registered with the Florida Secretary of State, does not maintain an
active Internet presence, and no longer appears to be an active organization.

True the Vote: Hardly Nonpartisan

True the Vote claims that it is focused only on ensuring fair elections and is not partisan. The
groups founder, Catherine Engelbrecht, has said, This has never been and never will be about
SOMETHINGS ROTTEN | ALLIED PROGRESS | 21


politics. . . . This is not a partisan effort.100 However, the partisan motivations behind the rightwing group are clear.

Claims of impartiality notwithstanding, True the Vote has been criticized on a national level for
focusing its poll watchers and voter registration challenges on minority communities that
traditionally vote Democratic. Even Engelbrecht acknowledges the motivations behind her
groups effort to fight alleged election fraud: You dont need a whole lot of election fraud; you
just need a little bit in the right places to swing an election.101


Conclusion

Officials at all levels of Floridas government have engaged in what amounts to a long-term
assault on voting rights. Voter suppression policiescuts to early and weekend voting, highly
problematic voter roll purges, and other policies that make voting less accessible
disproportionately affect minority voters who should be encouraged to turn out and exercise
their constitutional rights to vote.

Despite what some Florida officials have expressed, voting is a right, not a privilege. These
officials are failing all Florida voters when they engage in partisan and sometimes racially
charged rhetoric while serving in roles intended to impartially administer elections and protect
voting rights. These policies do not simply make it more difficult for Floridians to vote--they also
suppress the constitutional rights of largely minority voters, all for the purpose of partisan,
political gain.

SOMETHINGS ROTTEN | ALLIED PROGRESS | 22

End Notes
1

Wade Payson-Denney, So, Who Really Won? What the Bush v. Gore Studies Showed, CNN, October 31, 2015,
http://www.cnn.com/2015/10/31/politics/bush-gore-2000-election-results-studies/.
2
Voter Identification Requirements, National Conference of State Legislatures website, last modified July 27, 2016, accessed
August 18, 2016, http://www.ncsl.org/research/elections-and-campaigns/voter-id.aspx.
3
Election Day Voting, Florida Division of Elections website, accessed August 18, 2016,
http://dos.myflorida.com/elections/for-voters/voting/election-day-voting/.
4
Florida History: Voter ID at the Polls, Florida Division of Elections website, July 2016, accessed August 18, 2016,
https://soe.dos.state.fl.us/pdf/DE_Guide_0006-Florida_History-Voter_ID_at_the_polls.pdf.
5
Sari Horwitz, Getting a Photo ID So You Can Vote Is Easy. Unless Youre Poor, Black, Latino or Elderly, Washington Post, May
23, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/getting-a-photo-id-so-you-can-vote-is-easy-unless-yourepoor-black-latino-or-elderly/2016/05/23/8d5474ec-20f0-11e6-8690-f14ca9de2972_story.html.
6
Oppose Voter ID Legislation Fact Sheet, American Civil Liberties Union website, accessed August 24, 2016,
https://www.aclu.org/oppose-voter-id-legislation-fact-sheet.
7
Vote-by-Mail (formerly Absentee Voting), Florida Department of State, accessed October 5, 2016,
http://dos.myflorida.com/elections/for-voters/voting/absentee-voting/; Matt Dixon, Democrats sue Florida over vote-by-mail
verification, Politico, October 3, 2014, http://www.politico.com/states/florida/story/2016/10/democrats-sue-florida-overvote-by-mail-verification-106031.
8
Gray Rohrer, Give Florida voters chance to fix vote-by-mail ballot, judge rules, Orlando (FL) Sentinel, October 16, 2016,
http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/florida/sfl-voter-signature-ruling-story.html.
9
Steve Bousquet, Gov. Rick Scott with Some Hesitation Signs Online Voter Registration Law, Tampa Bay (FL) Times, May 15,
2015, http://www.tampabay.com/news/politics/stateroundup/gov-rick-scott-with-some-hesitation-signs-online-voterregistration-law/2229827.
10
Steve Bousquet, Gov. Rick Scott Signs Controversial Election Bill into Law, Tampa Bay (FL) Times, May 19, 2011,
http://www.tampabay.com/news/politics/stateroundup/gov-rick-scott-signs-controversial-election-bill-into-law/1170547.
11
Janet Zink, E-mails, Phone Calls Flood into Governor's Office on Elections Bill, SunRail, Tampa Bay (FL) Times, May 17, 2011,
http://www.tampabay.com/blogs/the-buzz-florida-politics/content/e-mails-phone-calls-flood-governors-office-elections-billsunrail/2037677.
12
Steve Bousquet, Scott Signs Controversial Bill,
13
Ibid.
14
Kathleen Haughney, Florida Senate to Vote on Elections Law Thursday, Orlando (FL) Sentinel, May 4, 2011,
http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2011-05-04/news/fl-election-bill-in-senate-20110504_1_early-voting-voter-fraud-electionfraud.
15
Dara Kam and John Lantigua, Architect of Felon Voter Purge Behind Floridas New Limits, Palm Beach (FL) Post, October 28,
2012, http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/news/state-regional-govt-politics/architect-of-felon-voter-purge-behind-floridasnew/nSp9t/.
16
Ibid.
17
Dara Kam and John Lantigua, Former Florida GOP Leaders Say Voter Suppression Was Reason They Pushed New Election
Law, Palm Beach (FL) Post, November 25, 2012, http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/news/state-regional-govtpolitics/early-voting-curbs-called-power-play/nTFDy/.
18
Ibid.
19
Ibid.
20
League of Women Voters of Florida Press Release, Accessed September 22, 2016,
http://thefloridavoter.org/files/download/736
21
Jane Sutton, Judge Blocks Part of Harsh Florida Voting Law, Reuters, May 31, 2012, http://www.reuters.com/article/ususa-voting-florida-idUSBRE84U1GU20120531.
22
Sutton, Judge Blocks Part of Law.
23
Lizette Alvarez, Court Approves Schedule for Florida Early Voting, New York Times, September 13, 2012,
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/14/us/politics/court-approves-early-voting-schedule-in-florida.html.
24
Ibid.
25
Amy Sherman, Eric Holder Signed Off on Floridas 2011 Early Voting Law, Rick Scott Says, PolitiFact Florida, August 4, 2014,
http://www.politifact.com/florida/statements/2014/aug/04/rick-scott/eric-holder-signed-floridas-2011-early-voting-law-/; and
Alvarez, Court Approves Schedule.
26
Alvarez, Court Approves Schedule.

SOMETHINGS ROTTEN | ALLIED PROGRESS | 23

27

Bob King, Confusion Reigns Among Fla. Voters, Politico, November 6, 2012, http://www.politico.com/story/2012/11/calmin-fla-at-start-of-election-day-083401.
28
Scott Powers and David Damron, Analysis: 201,000 in Florida Didn't Vote Because of Long Lines, Orlando (FL) Sentinel,
January 29, 2013, http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2013-01-29/business/os-voter-lines-statewide-20130118_1_long-linessentinel-analysis-state-ken-detzner.
29
Ibid.
30
Early Voting Plagued by Long Lines, CBS Miami, November 1, 2012, http://miami.cbslocal.com/2012/11/01/early-votingplagued-by-long-lines/.
31
Patricia Mazzei and Steve Bousquet, Gov. Rick Scott Not Likely to Extend Early Voting Hours, Miami (FL) Herald, November
1, 2012, http://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics-government/article1944192.html; and Luke Johnson, Rick Scott On
Decision Not To Extend Early Voting: The Right Thing Happened, Huffington Post, November 9, 2012,
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/09/rick-scott-early-voting_n_2101566.html.
32
Lizette Alvarez, Florida Governor Backs Voting Changes, New York Times, January 17, 2013,
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/18/us/politics/florida-governor-backs-changes-in-election-law.html.
33
Rachel Weiner, Floridas Voter Purge Explained, Washington Post, June 18, 2012,
https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/post/floridas-voter-purge-explained/2012/06/18/gJQAhvcNlV_blog.html.
34
Amy Sherman, MoveOn Says Gov. Rick Scott Tried to Kick 180,000 People off the Voter Rolls, PolitiFact Florida, July 10,
2012, http://www.politifact.com/florida/statements/2012/jul/10/moveon/moveon-says-gov-rick-scott-tried-kick-180000peopl/.
35
Marc Caputo, Gov. Rick Scott Looks Ready to Fight DOJ over Voter Purge, Miami (FL) Herald, June 5, 2012,
http://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics-government/article1940392.html; and Marc Caputo, Rick Scott: State Is
Absolutely Not Targeting Minorities in Noncitizen Voter Purge, Naked Politics (blog), Miami (FL) Herald, June 1, 2012,
http://miamiherald.typepad.com/nakedpolitics/2012/06/rick-scott-state-is-absolutely-not-targeting-minorities-in-noncitizenvoter-purge.html.
36
Ryan J. Reilly, Rick Scott Purging Eligible Voters From Floridas Rolls, Talking Points Memo, May 30, 2012,
http://talkingpointsmemo.com/muckraker/rick-scott-purging-eligible-voters-from-florida-s-rolls.
37
Brittany Wallman and Kathleen Haughney, Scott Blasted as Vets Right to Vote Doubted, Broward (FL) Sun-Sentinel, May 30,
2012, http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2012-05-30/news/fl-voter-purge-war-hero-20120529_1_voter-purge-disenfranchiseearly-voting-periods.
38
Marc Caputo, Patricia Mazzei, and Anna Edgerton, Florida Sends Election Departments List of 198 Potential Noncitizens:
Some M ay Have Illegally Voted, Miami (FL) Herald, September 26, 2012, http://www.miamiherald.com/news/politicsgovernment/article1943086.html.
39
Brittany Wallman, Scott Powers, and John Maines, Scott's Voter Purge on Hold, Broward (FL) Sun-Sentinel, June 2, 2012.
40
Marc Caputo, Rick Scott: Absolutely Not.
41
Nick Wing, Rick Scott Defends Voter Purge As Necessary To Have Fair Elections, Huffington Post, June 4, 2012,
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/04/rick-scott-voter-purge-florida_n_1568783.html.
42
Gary Fineout, Feds Order Florida to Halt Voter Purge, Sarasota (FL) Herald-Tribune, June 1, 2012,
http://politics.heraldtribune.com/2012/06/01/feds-order-florida-to-halt-voter-purge/.
43
Rachel Maddow, Rick Scott Vows to Keep His Voter Purge Going, Rachel Maddow Show Blog, MSNBC, June 11, 2012,Ap
http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/rick-scott-vows-keep-his-voter-purge.
44
Maya Rhodan, Why the Next Florida Voter Purge Will Be Different From the Last, Time online, August 9, 2013,
http://swampland.time.com/2013/08/09/why-the-next-florida-voter-purge-will-be-different-than-the-last/.
45
Steve Bousquet, Florida Gov. Rick Scott's 2012 Voter Purge Violated Federal Law, Court Rules, Tampa Bay (FL) Times, April
1, 2014, http://www.tampabay.com/news/politics/stateroundup/appeals-court-rules-florida-voter-purge-violated-federallaw/2173054.
46
Lizette Alvarez, Ruling Revives Florida Review of Voting Rolls, New York Times, August 7, 2013,
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/08/us/ruling-revives-florida-review-of-voting-rolls.html.
47
Steve Bousquet and Amy Sherman, Florida Halts Purge of Noncitizens from Voter Rolls, Tampa Bay (FL) Times, March 27,
2014, http://www.tampabay.com/news/politics/elections/florida-halts-purge-of-noncitizens-from-voter-rolls/2172206.
48
Peter Wallsten, Fla. Republicans Make It Harder for Ex-Felons to Vote, Washington Post, March 9, 2011,
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/03/08/AR2011030806672.html; and Felon Voting Rights,
National Conference of State Legislatures website, April 25, 2016, accessed August 18, 2016,
http://www.ncsl.org/research/elections-and-campaigns/felon-voting-rights.aspx.
49
Dan Sweeney, et al., Florida Among Nation's Toughest Places to Have Voting Rights Restored, Orlando (FL) Sun-Sentinel,
January 25, 2015, http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/florida/sfl-felon-voting-rights-20150121-htmlstory.html.
50
Editorial Board, Florida's Rights Restoration Slowdown, Tampa Bay (FL) Times, November 21, 2014,
http://www.tampabay.com/opinion/editorials/editorial-floridas-rights-restoration-slowdown/2207467.

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51

Editorial Board, Felons Should Have Civil Rights Automatically Restored, Tampa Bay (FL) Times, January 20, 2013,
http://www.tampabay.com/opinion/editorials/felons-should-have-civil-rights-automatically-restored/1271267.
52
Marc Caputo, How Rick Scotts Noncitizen Voter Purge Started Small and Then Blew Up, Miami (FL) Herald, June 12, 2012,
http://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics-government/article1940542.html.
53
Steve Bousquet, U.S.: Florida Fails Burden of Proof on Vote Law Changes, Naked Politics (blog), Miami (FL) Herald), March
23, 2012, http://miamiherald.typepad.com/nakedpolitics/2012/03/us-florida-fails-burden-of-proof-on-vote-law-changes.html.
54
Alvarez, Court Approves Schedule.
55
Steve Bousquet, Florida Legislators Tell Secretary of State Ken Detzner to Get the Drift and Implement Online Voting
Options, Bradenton (FL) Herald, April 16, 2015, http://www.bradenton.com/news/politics-government/statepolitics/article34877676.html.
56
Bousquet, 'Some Hesitation.'
57
Adam C. Smith, Elections Supervisors Call Out Secretary of State Ken Detzner, Tampa Bay (FL) Times, June 10, 2015,
http://www.tampabay.com/blogs/the-buzz-florida-politics/elections-supervisors-call-out-secretary-of-state-kendetzner/2233116.
58
Editorial Board, Worry About Voters, Not Bureaucrats, Tampa (FL) Tribune, April 11, 2015, http://www.tbo.com/list/newsopinion-editorials/editorial-worry-about-voters-not-bureaucrats-20150411/.
59
Editorial Board, Florida Needs New Elections Leader, Tampa Bay (FL) Times, July 28, 2015,
http://www.tampabay.com/opinion/editorials/editorial-florida-needs-new-elections-leader/2239070.
60
Steve Bousquet, Senate Snub Prompts Gov. Rick Scott to Reappoint Sixteen Agency Heads, Tampa Bay (FL) Times, May 4,
2015, http://www.tampabay.com/news/politics/stateroundup/senate-snub-prompts-gov-rick-scott-to-reappoint-16-agencyheads/2228269.
61
Steve Bousquet, GOP Bill Revises Rules on Voting, Tampa Bay (FL) Times, April 2, 2011.
62
Steve Bousquet and Janet Zink, Dozens of Florida Republicans at ALEC Legislative Conference Courtesy of Taxpayers,
Lobbyists, Bradenton (FL) Herald, August 4, 2011, http://www.bradenton.com/news/article34518603.html.
63
Joe Follick, State Rep. Baxley Goes His Own Way, Sarasota (FL) Herald-Tribune, March 11, 2007,
http://www.heraldtribune.com/news/20070311/state-rep-baxley-goes-his-own-way.
64
John Kennedy, House GOP Says Election Laws Overhaul Targets Fraud; Dems Say It Targets Them April 21, 2011, Palm
Beach (FL) Post, http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/news/state-regional/house-gop-says-election-laws-overhaul-targetsfrau/nLrpc/.
65
Haughney, Florida Senate to Vote.
66
Aaron Sharockman, Mickey Mouse Was Registered to Vote in Florida, Republican House Member Claims, PolitiFact Florida,
April 26, 2011, http://www.politifact.com/florida/statements/2011/apr/26/eric-eisnaugle/mickey-mouse-was-registered-voteflorida-republica/.
67
Steve Bousquet, Florida Republicans Push to Cut Early Voting, Miami (FL) Herald, April 15, 2011.
68
Dara Kam and John Lantigua, Miami-Dade Lawmaker First Proposed Cuts in Early Voting Days, Palm Beach (FL) Post,
December 12, 2012, http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/news/state-regional-govt-politics/miami-dade-lawmaker-firstproposed-cuts-in-early-v/nTTCn/.
69
Steve Bousquet, Florida Republicans Push.
70
Early Voting Plagued By Long Lines, CBS Miami, November 1, 2012, http://miami.cbslocal.com/2012/11/01/early-votingplagued-by-long-lines/.
71
Dara Kam, GOP Proposal: Give Gov. Scott Power to Remove County Election Supervisors If Problems Arise, Palm Beach (FL)
Post, February 5, 2013.
72
Aaron Sharockman, Flexibility in Early Voting Means Possibly Less Hours to Vote, PolitiFact Florida, May 23, 2011,
http://www.politifact.com/florida/statements/2011/may/23/kurt-browning/flexibility-early-voting-means-possibly-less-hours/.
73
Editorial Board, Pinellas Wrongly Limits Early Voting, Tampa Bay (FL) Times, September 20, 2008,
http://www.tampabay.com/opinion/editorials/pinellas-wrongly-limits-early-voting/818771.
74
Michael Sandler, Election Errors Lead to Changes, Tampa Bay (FL) Times, December 7, 2004,
http://www.sptimes.com/2004/12/07/Tampabay/Election_errors_lead_.shtml.
75
Katie Sanders, Gov. Rick Scott Appoints Defeated Jacksonville Mayoral Candidate Mike Hogan to State Commission, Tampa
Bay (FL) Times, July 27, 2011, http://www.tampabay.com/blogs/the-buzz-florida-politics/content/gov-rick-scott-appointsdefeated-jacksonville-mayoral-candidate-mike-hogan-state-commission.
76
Abel Harding, Rick Scott May Have Proven Toxic for Mike Hogan's Mayoral Campaign, Florida (Jacksonville) Times-Union,
May 19, 2011, http://jacksonville.com/opinion/blog/403455/abel-harding/2011-05-19/rick-scott-may-have-proven-toxic-mikehogans-mayoral.
77
Rachel Leitao, First Coast Tea Party Backs Mike Hogan for Mayor of Jacksonville, First Coast (Jacksonville, FL) News, March
3, 2011, http://jacksonvillenorthestates.firstcoastnews.com/news/politics/first-coast-tea-party-backs-mike-hogan-mayorjacksonville/51278.

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78

First Coast Tea Party YouTube channel, 2015 First Coast Tea Party Candidate Interview: Duval County Supervisor of Elections
- Mike Hogan, YouTube video, 4:38, posted March 3, 2015, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mBvrcspgUqo.
79
Carrie Wells, Critics Rip Plan to Close Dozens of Polling Places, Sarasota (FL) Herald-Tribune, May 22, 2012,
http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20120522/ARTICLE/120529891.
80
Ibid.; Carol Sakowitz, "Dent Rocked by Comments against New Precincts." North Port (FL) Sun, May 23, 2012.
81
Carrie Wells, Elections Supervisor Kathy Dent Taking Precinct Criticisms to Heart, Sarasota (FL) Herald-Tribune, May 27,
2012, http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20120527/ARTICLE/120529616/2055/.
82
Steven Bousquet, Early voting and souls to the polls schedules will vary widely. Tampa Bay Times, October 6, 2014,
http://www.tampabay.com/blogs/the-buzz-florida-politics/early-voting-and-souls-to-the-polls-schedules-will-varywidely/2200886
83
Chet Huddleston LinkedIn page, accessed August 24, 2016, https://www.linkedin.com/in/chet-huddleston-9b006b38.
84
Chet Huddleston Facebook page, status of January 3, 2015 (10:37 p.m.), accessed August 24, 2016,
https://www.facebook.com/ChetHuddleston/posts/10203578466559385; Chet Huddleston Facebook page, status of December
15, 2013 (1:10 a.m.), accessed August 24, 2016, https://www.facebook.com/ChetHuddleston/posts/10201329065445763.
85
Chet Huddleston Facebook page, status of August 12, 2014 (10:52 p.m.), accessed August 24, 2016,
https://www.facebook.com/ChetHuddleston/posts/10202704418708735.
86
Chet Huddleston Facebook page, status of October 24, 2013 (9:35 a.m.), accessed August 24, 2016,
https://www.facebook.com/ChetHuddleston/posts/10200986188474053.
87
Chet Huddleston Facebook page, status of October 23, 2014 (8:53 p.m.), accessed August 24, 2016,
https://www.facebook.com/ChetHuddleston/posts/10200983961298375; Chet Huddleston Facebook page, status of February
18, 2014 (12:36 p.m.), accessed August 24, 2016, https://www.facebook.com/ChetHuddleston/posts/10201709087986089.
88
Chet Huddleston Facebook page, status of November 1, 2013 (10:34 a.m.), accessed August 24, 2016,
https://www.facebook.com/ChetHuddleston/posts/10201034757568250.
89
Jane Mayer, The Voter-Fraud Myth: The Man Who Has Stoked Fear About Impostors at the Polls, The New Yorker, October
29, 2012, http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2012/10/29/the-voter-fraud-myth.
90
AJ Vicens and Natasha Khan, Voters Feel Intimidated by Election Observers, Tucson (AZ) Sentinel, August 20, 2012,
http://www.tucsonsentinel.com/nationworld/report/082012_voting_observers/voters-feel-intimidated-by-election-observers/.
91
George Bennett, Revisiting Murphy-West Battleground, Conservative Group to Examine St. Lucie County Ballots, Palm
Beach (FL) Post, May 10, 2013, http://www.mypalmbeachpost.com/news/news/local-govt-politics/revisiting-murphy-westbattleground-conservative-g/nXnbs/.
92
Ibid.; and Jonathan Mattise, Gertrude Walker, St. Lucie County Elections Supervisor, Responds to Voter Group's Lawsuit,
WPTV West Palm Beach (FL), February 22, 2013, http://www.wptv.com/news/region-st-lucie-county/gertrude-walker-st-luciecounty-elections-supervisor-responds-to-voter-groups-lawsuit.
93
True the Vote, Study: 36K FL Voter Registrations Flagged Duplicate, Dead, and Illegal Addresses, news release, July 6, 2016,
https://truethevote.org/study-36k-fl-voter-registrations-flagged-duplicate-dead-and-illegal-addresses.
94
Ledyard King, Lawmakers Gear Up for Ballot Access Fight, Fort Myers (FL) News-Press, December 5, 2013.
95
William March, Some wary of Hillsborough poll-watching group with tea party ties, Tampa Bay Times, April 10, 2012,
http://www.tbo.com/news/politics/some-wary-of-hillsborough-poll-watching-group-with-tea-party-ties-390346.
96

Ibid.; and Brentin Mock and Voting Rights Watch, Tea Party Group Blocks Florida Voters, Stops Water Handouts at Polls,
The Nation, November 5, 2012, https://www.thenation.com/article/tea-party-group-blocks-florida-voters-stops-waterhandouts-polls/.
97
Brentin Mock and Voting Rights Watch, Tea Party Group Blocks Florida Voters, Stops Water Handouts at Polls, The Nation,
November 5, 2012, https://www.thenation.com/article/tea-party-group-blocks-florida-voters-stops-water-handouts-polls/.
98
Michael Van Sickler, As Election Day Nears, Groups Brace for a Showdown at the Polls, Bradenton (FL) Herald, November 1,
2012, http://www.bradenton.com/news/politics-government/article34565928.html.
99
Mariah Blake, The Ballot Cops, The Atlantic, September 19, 2012; and AJ Vicens and Natasha Khan, Election Observers
Proliferate at Polls, Washington Post, August 24, 2012, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/election-observersproliferate-at-polls/2012/08/24/1452c3ba-ed4f-11e1-a80b-9f898562d010_story.html.
100
Barry Horstman, Group to Sue for Purge of the Rolls, Cincinnati (OH) Enquirer, August, 27, 2012.
101
Matthew Boyle, Chris McDaniel Rushes to Review Ballots from Tuesdays Election, Breitbart, June 27, 2014,
http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2014/06/27/mcdaniel-rushes-to-review-ballots-from-tuesday-s-election/.

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