Voter Suppression Denied

08.30.12

Florida Is Going Democratic

I thought that headline might get your attention. It looks like a judge has tossed out for good Gov. Rick Scott's voter-registration suppression law. So groups can now get cracking.

But the law may already have accomplished its goals. Did you catch this report from the (Jacksonville) Florida Times-Union the other day? Check out these voter registration numbers from the last three presidential-election years:

2004: Republicans, 111,586; Democrats, 158,957.

2008: Republicans, 95,525; Democrats, 259,894.

2012: Repubilcans, 128,039; Democrats, 11,365.

That's not a typo. From more than a quarter million to 11,000. Obviously state Republicans looked at that 2008 number and thought "if they do something like that again, we're dead meat."

At this point, a normal, fair-minded human being would think, "Well, by jove, we've got to get out there and equal them." But that isn't how Republicans play this game. Why?

Because they know the numbers. They know that they can't register a quarter million new people. Mathematically impossible for them. They know exactly, down to the census tract, how many potential unregistered Republicans exist in their state, and it probably ain't anything close to a quarter million.

And so they go the other route: If you can't beat 'em fair and square, change the rules. Democracy!

There is still time for registration drives (actually, they've been taking place over the summer since the same judge ordered an earlier stay), and the Democrats still hold a voter-reg advantage over Republicans in the state of nearly a half million.

Obviously I don't who's winning Florida, but at least it's good to see this sort of hideous thing stopped. As of today, Nate Silver has it as a 53.2 percent chance of an Obama win, and even though Obama doesn't need Florida under multiple scenarios, I'd love to see him get it because it would be really painful to the other side, which is counting on the state in a huge way.