May 03, 2004

Rock the vote (but not in the good way)

I'm having a hard time getting up the energy to be witty about the fact that nothing's really been done about that whole expurgating-felons-from-voter-rolls-except-they're-not-necessarily-felons-but-better-safe-than-constitutional, because it's just so infuriating.

Willie Steen was one voter purged from the Florida voter rolls in the 2000 election.

Steen's case was easy. You can't work in a hospital if you have a criminal record. (My copy of [Florida Secretary of State Katherine] Harris's hit list includes an ex-con named O'Steen, close enough to cost Willie Steen his vote.) The NAACP held up Steen's case to the court as a prime example of the voter purge evil.

The state admitted Steen's innocence. But a year after the NAACP won his case, Steen still couldn't register. Why was he still under suspicion? What do we know about this "potential felon," as Jeb called him? Steen, unlike our President, honorably served four years in the US military. There is, admittedly, a suspect mark on his record: Steen remains an African-American.

Still couldn't register? What does one have to do to get back on the voter rolls after being taken off? I would think winning a court case would be sufficient. It's reminiscent of the problems people have had when they found themselves mysteriously added to no-fly lists. I hope to hell we get ourselves an administration that actually gives a shit about voting reform or we're going to end up with a problem to rival terrorism -- a democracy no one has faith in.

Posted by Francis at 02:21 AM