Florida, Voters and Sharks

A couple of weeks ago, I was watching the news on Comedy Central, as I am in the habit of doing, and The Colbert Report had the latest installment of a series called “People Who Are Destroying America”.   Well, I sat up and paid close attention, because this didn’t sound good at all.  I’ve seen other reports from this series and it hasn’t been pretty.  There have been stories about people who park their pickup trucks on the streets overnight and goats who do landscaping work.  Let me tell you, goats really are four-legged weapons of mass destruction and shouldn’t be trusted.  Those cute little horns, and all of that bleating and jumping around are just diversionary tactics.  They eat things like garbage cans and vinyl siding, and now they’re taking our jobs.

This segment was equally as shocking.  You see, there are some very subversive teachers in Florida who are manipulating the minds of their students in an effort to rise up and change our government.  They are helping these innocent and impressionable young people to register to vote.  Mr. Colbert and his staff of investigative journalists reported a story of one teacher at Pace High School, in Florida’s pan handle, who has been mailing in the students’ registration forms, as a third party registrant, for several years.  This isn’t a single incident, however, as there is also a high school Civics teacher, in New Smyrna Beach, involved in the same type of seditious activity.  This is a growing problem, with who knows how many of these educators working, behind the scenes, to sway these young and naive minds in the State of Florida.  It’s become the high school version of the underground railroad –  like an episode of “Glee” with guest appearances by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Harriet Tubman.

The good news is that the legislators in Florida are seeing to it that these anarchists don’t get away with this.  They are stemming these activities through their new Voter Fraud laws.  Now, voter fraud is a violation that occurs about .0004% of the time, but you don’t want things like this to get out hand.   One legislator, during an interview on The Colbert Report, said that it was designed as a preventative measure.  His reasoning was akin to someone trying to steal things from your car – an action that could be thwarted if you just locked your car doors.  Good enough for me – I think.   The Colbert staff tried to describe this analogy, but they became just as confused as I did.  I wasn’t sure what was supposed to be locked up at the registrar’s office and what was going to be stolen in the voting booth.  Even pictures of masked robbers and car keys and ballots and voting booths didn’t help.  Forget all that.  Let’s just go with “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.

The teachers are facing fines of $50 per incident, up to a maximum of $1,000.  What happened was that the new law changed some little tiny detail about the duties of the third party registrant.  Before the change, folks who engaged in this had ten days to take the registrations in their possession to the registrar’s office.  The State of Florida decided that it should be done within 48 hours.  That takes care of trusting the United States Postal Service to meet that deadline.  Now you have to hop into your car and get there fast, or you’re in big trouble.

I think we all have a pretty good idea what this law is really about, and none of it has to do with fraud.  Florida seems to have a problem with making the voting process accessible for people whose political ideologies are not in lockstep with the those in power.  This is the land of the hanging chad, and where the Supreme Court of the United States had to step in, in an effort, rightly or wrongly, to determine a winner in the 200o presidential election.

One little fact that was mentioned by Colbert, and which I had to go check, was with regard to the number of shark attacks on humans versus the voter fraud figures.  Sure, it’s comparing apples and oranges, unless sharks are also registering to vote.  Actually, it’s an absurd comparison, but this is an absurd law that wouldn’t hold up under the scrutiny of a real debate.  In any case, he was right.  You do stand a greater chance of losing a limb, or even your life, by such attacks than the State has of uncovering voter fraud.  I added this chart, from The Miami Herald, to show the actual numbers:

FLORIDA

2008

2009

2010

2011

Total

Shark attacks

28

19

14*

11

72

Voter fraud cases

16

9

10

14

49

*fatality

As you can see, the voter fraud problem edged out the sharks in 2011, but we can explain that number fairly easily – it was those damn teachers.   I think that the sharks should form a lobbying group right now.  Maybe they could get some type of preventative measure passed where State representatives couldn’t abuse their powers and make laws that service no one but themselves.  Heaven knows what those Florida legislators have in store for the sharks.

Empress

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One Response to Florida, Voters and Sharks

  1. Viewer 5 says:

    Egads. I voted yesterday, in Florida. On account of I live here. Out of two little sections in my district (with about 1,000 people total) only fifty people had bothered to vote by four o’clock. Of course, lots of people voted after five pm, but the volunteers were bummed. Seriously bummed.

    As to Florida – well, that’s why they call it “Floriduh” – Diva can attest to this. I am glad Colbert brought this voter registration travesty (Texas is a mess, too, from what I understand) to national attention. The message gets through more with humor, I think.

    As ever, Empress… your clever summation was really a lot of fun to read.
    xo
    V5

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