What would an election year be without drama in the State of Florida? Right now, Florida is purging the rolls, trying to keep non-Americans off the ballot.
Congresswoman Corrine Brown joined Roland Martin on the set of Washington Watch to discuss what Gov. Rick Scott is doing to kick alleged non-Americans off of the voter rolls.
MR. MARTIN: Folks, what would there an election year without drama in the State of Florida? We always seem to have this constant drama. Right now, you have a major issue there, where Florida is purging the rolls, trying to keep non-Americans off the ballot [sic]. Joining us to discuss what Gov. Rick Scott is doing is Congresswoman Corrine Brown.
Thank you for joining us.
REP. CORRINE BROWN: Thank you.
MR. MARTIN: Okay. First of all, we’ve seen massive voter suppression bills all across this country – some 36 states – but Florida stands out the most in terms of the most restrictive rules. First, of course, you had the League of Women Voters as well as Rock the Vote choosing not to register voters in the state, primarily because of the new law saying you had to turn the – turn the forms in within 48 hours, or get fines. Now you have this whole deal where they’re purging the rolls, and you had folks like a World War II veteran award winner – medal winner caught up, where they said he wasn’t an American.
What in the world is happening in the Sunshine State?
REP. BROWN: What has happened? 2000, we had coup d’état, and Florida had many issues in place during that time – the same ones: purging ev- — supposed-to-be felons, people who had never had any encounter with the law whatsoever. So, this is the second time around for Florida; and in many, many areas – you know, in my area, for example, in the 2000 eleve- — election, 27,000 people [weren’t] counted. So, now they’re trying to put in place a system that will disenfranchise minority voters.
MR. MARTIN: Now, the secretary of state resigned last month and said, “Look, we need to make sure that we are cool with this, [that] there’re no problems.” There are – there’re election administrators in different counties who’ve said, “Look, this has potential problems in it.” The Department of Justice has already sent a letter saying, “Look, this was not approved by virtue of the Voting Rights Act.”
And so is this clearly Gov. Rick Scott, you know, thumbing his nose at the DOJ, saying he is not going to abide by federal law?
REP. BROWN: No, it’s worse than that. It is Rick Scott[’s] attempt to throw the election – again. If you can’t win on the ideas and the causes, then you’re going to try to win on cheating. I mean I don’t know how – how [else] you can say it.
MR. MARTIN: Supposedly, Gov. Scott – they want to make sure that you have Americans who’re on the rolls, so they’re demanding that folks prove their citizenship.
REP. BROWN: That’s right. You – it’s almost impossible to get a driver’s license in Florida. How do you prove it, if you’re my mother? You’re born in Georgia, where they – you know, they didn’t record –
MR. MARTIN: Right.
REP. BROWN: — your record? How do you prove it – even though you’ve been living in this country all your life and paid taxes? I mean what is it that you bring? What can you use?
MR. MARTIN: All right. Well, Congresswoman Cor- — Corrine Brown, we’ve been covering voter suppression from day one – the show this season – and we’ll certainly keep it up. And, hopefully, folks will keep the pressure on Gov. Rick Scott. And, again, I just believe that if you want people to vote, you do not stop folks from having access to the ballot. You create more ways for people to be able to have an opportunity to vote.
REP. BROWN: But it’s not just the governor; it’s the governor and the legislature. So, it’s not –
MR. MARTIN: Gotcha.
REP. BROWN: — just one person.
MR. MARTIN: Okay. We appreciate it. Thanks a lot.
REP. BROWN: Thank you.
MR. MARTIN: We’ll continue to monitor and report on efforts in Florida and across the country to suppress the vote.