Florida got a special shout-out from former President Bill Clinton for its efforts to limit access to the polls. Speaking before the annual gathering of the liberal student activist group Campus Progress, Clinton railed against what has become a national trend.
“I can’t help thinking since we just celebrated the Fourth of July and we’re supposed to be a country dedicated to liberty that one of the most pervasive political movements going on outside Washington today is the disciplined, passionate, determined effort of Republican governors and legislators to keep most of you from voting next time,” Clinton said at Campus Progress’s annual conference in Washington.
“There has never been in my lifetime, since we got rid of the poll tax and all the Jim Crow burdens on voting, the determined effort to limit the franchise that we see today,” Clinton added.
Clinton mentioned Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s move in March to overturn past state precedent — including under former GOP governors — that allows convicted felons to vote once they’ve served they’ve finished probation periods.
That last bit refers to the state cabinet’s decision earlier this year to roll back voting rights for felons. The rebuttal, from Chris Jankowski of the Republican State Leadership Committee, includes talking points that will be familiar to anyone who followed the debate surrounding Florida’s House Bill 1355, perpetuating the notion, which seems to lack supporting evidence in Florida, that frauds and criminals are swarming the polls on election day:
“The Republican legislative majorities and their governors around the country are standing up for the integrity of the election process,” he added. “We support everyone who is entitled to vote to vote. And to take issue with that, to be opposed to that principle means you’re actually supporting illegal voting.”