- Faith & Family
Every citizen of the U.S. 18 or older has the right to vote. But some here in Florida were recently unable to exercise their right. It is not because you don’t have a voter’s registration card. It is not because you somehow lost your right due to a past criminal history. The reason that you had to wait in line five hours to vote and had to give up due. You had to get back to work or you have a disability that forced you to cut your wait short or you were ill and couldn’t tolerate the long lines.
Who’s to blame? The blame for your inability to vote is due to the cold-blooded schemes of the Republican-led Legislature and Republican Governor Scott. They probably figured if they were able to limit early voting it would reduce the chances that President Obama would win. Most of his supporters vote early, while most of the Republican supporters use absentee ballots. The proposed justification for limiting early voting was voter fraud — a bogus charge. Little has been done to address the real culprits in voter fraud — those who “collect’ absentee ballots.
I am angered that my elderly mother-in-law could not vote this year because she has arthritis and cannot stand for five hours, nor can she afford to take five hours off from work to vote. Why should anyone have to wait five hours to vote? Whether you are a Republican, Democrat, Independent, undecided or any other type of voter, you should have the right to cast your ballot.
Normally, a person can vote in less than 15 minutes. Because this ballot was loaded up with inane constitutional amendments created by special interest groups, the average voter took over an hour to read the ballot and vote. This meant that the waiting time to vote went up exponentially.
In this election year, when the margin between the candidates is so close, it is an absolute travesty that anyone who wants to vote cannot vote. If we had the normal 14 days of voting, the Sunday before election day voting and even longer hours, then it would have given everyone the opportunity to vote. Elections should not be decided by who had the physical endurance to stand in line for 5 hours to vote. I feel that every voter has a right to be passionately angry with Scott and the Florida Legislature for robbing many of the right to vote and the inconvenience caused to millions of voters. Democracy should not be reduced to a cold-blooded calculation of how to disenfranchise voters so your party can win. This is election fraud that even the Venezuelan dictator Chavez did not attempt in his bid to win the election.
Reginald J. Clyne is a partner at Clyne and Associates, P.A. of Miami/Fort Lauderdale.