Two Democratic state senators from Orlando warned Gov. Rick Scott to take seriously a recent letter from U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and make no efforts this fall to suppress voting in the 2014 elections.
State Sens. Darren Soto and Geraldine Thompson, joined by other Central Florida Democrats and Civil Rights advocates, including Orange County Democratic Party Chairman Carlos Smith, said the attorney general was right in alleging that Florida partisan politics attempted to make voting more difficult in 2012, and they warned the governor to not try anything new this year.
“Florida again was a national embarrassment,” Thompson said, in a press conference held Wednesday afternoon on the steps of the Orange County Courthouse.
She, Soto and the others were responding after a back-and-forth late last week between Holder and Scott’s re-election campaign. that he believed the Florida administration “repeatedly added barriers to voting and restricted access to the polls.” Holder vowed the U.S. Department of Justice would be watching Florida elections this year.
Scott’s campaign fired back that Holder’s letter was blatant partisan politics, and the laws Holder had complained about had been reviewed and approved by Holder’s administration.
Soto, Thompson and others on the Orange County steps, however, said the issues were the intent and enforcement of Florida’s 2011 voting laws, which required voter IDs, restricted early voting and placed new rules on voter registration groups. Many of those requirements were eased by new laws last year, but Thompson and Soto there still is opportunity for more partisan voting changes.