Stupid Letter To The Editor – Vote Early! Vote Often!

Praise the Lord!

A day without posting about the City of Satellite Beach!

(But the day is young and tonight is a City Council Meeting…..)

Yesterday the Florida Today newspaper published a letter to the editor from John Cielukowski of Cocoa Beach concerning the State of Florida’s cleansing of voter rolls prior to the upcoming election. Mr. Cielukowski’s letter is full of partisanship, often lacking in facts, and devoid of logical thinking.

Here is what he had to say:

Scott’s ‘witch-hunt’ voter purge blasted

Gov. Rick Scott is at it again. He is locked in a battle with the U.S. Justice Department regarding his witch-hunt to purge supposedly illegal voters from Florida’s voter lists.

To make matters worse, über conservative U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-West Miami, is marching in step with our governor. The irony here is his complicity in this matter is removing many legally registered Hispanics from the voter lists.

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney must be giddy about the work his Florida henchmen are doing to ensure a victory in our state.

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Orlando, is correct in stating this purge is similar to the 2000 Florida election debacle. I guess our governor is trying to repeat the infamous voter purge by former Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris, taking more than 1,000 eligible voters off the voter rolls weeks before an election that was decided by 537 votes.

Voter fraud is an exaggerated and even nonexistent issue in Florida. The 48-hour turnaround rule to register also is unrealistic and just another big bump in the road for those who are newly registering to vote. Many are middle-class full-time employees who need much more time than 48 hours to fill out and submit their voter registration paperwork.

I believe we would not be revisiting this voter list injustice if the conservative sheep in this state had not elected a shady governor who was involved in Medicare fraud.

Mr. Cielukowski seems to think that ad hominem attacks adds to the credibility of his argument concerning this issue. It does not. It simply shows his partisanship on an issue upon which we all should agree – the desire to have fair elections.

Mr. Cielukowski makes the claim:

Voter fraud is an exaggerated and even nonexistent issue in Florida.

That claim cannot stand scrutiny or the light of facts.

There are an estimated 180,000 voters on voter rolls in the state of Florida that have eligibility questions. While we do not claim all 180,000 voters are illegal, to deny that this is an “exaggerated and even laughable issue” is ridiculous to the point of being absurd.

In April of 2012, the state released a list to County Supervisors of Elections of approximately 2,600 names on the voter rolls who had eligibility issues that needed clearing up. This list is part of the 180,000 name list the state is trying to cull down to insure legal voters are not removed from the voter rolls. Significant in the list of 2600 names are the names of 86 people who are definitely ineligible to vote. (That is roughly 3% of the people on the “questions” list of 2600.) Of those 86, 46 had illegally voted in elections going back to 2006. If one extrapolates the numbers, (3% of 180,000) you are left with 5954 people on the rolls illegally. Using the same percentage of people who had voted (46 of 86) you are left with 3185 people.

Let us repeat the statistics for you – 5954 people illegally on the rolls and 3185 voted previously.

Obviously there is a lot of potential for error in these calculations, but we are not looking to be precise in the numbers. What we have shown is Cielukowski’s assertion the problem is “exaggerated or even non-existent” doesn’t match the facts.

Using Cielukowski’s own number of the 2000 election being decided by 537 voted, how does he blithely and irresponsibly claim the almost 6000 votes are not a problem?

To further illustrate how false the notion voter fraud not being a concern is, in Palm Beach County, a well known convicted felon who spent time in jail, was released and who is ineligible to vote according to the Florida Constitution, received a shiny new voter card in the mail.

At the center of one of the most widely publicized public corruption cases in Palm Beach County history, Kevin McCarty’s name is one that rarely goes unrecognized these days. And yet it failed to ring a single bell in the Palm Beach County Elections Supervisor’s Office recently, when elections workers sent McCarty a brand-new voter registration card – little more than a year after returning home from prison and despite a felon status that makes him constitutionally ineligible to vote.

Is that what Cielukowski believes is an “exaggerated or even non-existent” problem? Felons issued voter cards against Florida law?

“Nothing to see here… move along…” believes Cielukowski.

Is he that much of a ostrich with his head buried in the sand?

Yes, the Department of Justice is suing the State of Florida, but Florida has launched its own suit. At the heart of the issue is the Department of Homeland Security data base – the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) database.

The Federal government inexplicably restricted the State’s access to this database which would have made verifying legal and illegal people on voter roles much easier and more accurate. As it is, without the database – whose use is guaranteed by law to the State of Florida for purposes such as voter rolls – the process of purging voters has taken longer to the point where the State’s purge is now within 90 days of an election. The “Motor Voter Act” prohibits purging voter rolls within that 90 day window.

We believe the lawsuits will center around whether the Federal Government can delay a process by violating one law, and then claiming the State must comply with another law. Frankly, we find the Feds’ position hard to swallow as it violates the idea of “clean hands” where a party to a suit cannot claim someone is doing something wrong if they themselves contributed to that wrong.

Cielukowski, as does Senator Bill Nelson (D), believes this cleansing of the voter rolls is wrong and misguided. Of course they don’t address how it is wrong as both Federal election laws as well as Florida Statutes demand voter rolls be accurate and reflect eligible voters. That is a point that is always lost on those who are against purges such as the one the State undertook.

But there is another thing that needs to be addressed: the so called “disenfranchisement” of voters.

If a voter is not on a voter roll, they are allowed to cast a provisional ballot. That ballot is then checked to make sure the voter is, in fact, eligible to vote. If they are, the vote is recorded and included in the final, certified tally for the election. There is no loss of the right to vote or any disenfranchising of the voter.

However, if a person votes who is not eligible, their vote effectively “cancels out” or “negates” the vote of a legal voter. To illustrate, let’s set up an election between candidates “Smith” and “Jones.” The election is hot and contested. Furthermore, let’s say that eligible, legal voter “A” casts his vote for Smith while illegal voter “B” casts his vote for Jones. The vote count now stands 1 – 1 instead of what it legally should be, 1 – 0. What has happened is the illegal vote has cancelled the impact and effect of the legal vote. Voter “A’s” vote no longer carries the weight or importance it should have.

Voter “A” has been disenfranchised. His vote no longer matters.

The two scenarios show who is truly being denied the right to vote and who is being disenfranchised. If a legal voter is left off or removed from the rolls, they are still eligible to cast a vote – a vote that will count once the eligibility is verified. In the case of the illegal voter, their vote is not challenged and it cancels out the vote of a legal voter.

It is clear to us that those such as Senator Nelson and Mr. Cielukowski do not care to have fair, legal elections and instead are happy when people’s right to vote – and to have that vote given the same weight as other votes – is denied.

The idea that Nelson and Cielukowski are advocates of illegal votes and by extension, illegal elections is appalling and an affront to honest Americans.

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