Huffpost Miami

Florida Voter Law Designed To Keep Students, Renters From Voting, GOP Politicians Admit

Posted: Updated:
DENNIS BAXLEY FLORIDA
Dennis Baxley (R-Ocala) | AP

Why were there 25 percent more provisional ballots this year? Because Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, sponsored a law tightening change-of-address guidelines on how Floridians could vote. Monday he told reporters he was inspired to do so after hearing friend and Alachua County GOP chairman Stafford Jones's voter conspiracy theories, which later proved unfounded.

Jones told Baxley that liberal voters had moved to his county for just one day to vote for openly gay mayor, Craig Lowe, the Miami Herald reports, who won by 42 votes.

"They don't really understand the politics of this community," Jones told CNN. "They don't have a stake in it."

As a result, Baxley sponsored a law that required anyone who recently moved counties to vote with a provisional ballot if they hadn't changed their address one month before Election Day.

Democrats claim this mostly affects their supporters "who are more likely to be renters and move a lot like blacks and students," according to a CNN report on the changes in Florida's voting laws. (It also snagged up actor Christian Slater's day at Miami-Dade polls.)

Jones says he recalled reading about the conspiracy on a liberal blog but officials were never able find any evidence of his claim.

Provisional ballots not only take an extra 30 minutes each to process, but they are rarely if ever counted.

In another report, the Huffington Post found that in the 2008 election, only half of the provisional ballots submitted in Florida were ever counted. In Miami-Dade and Broward counties, two of the most heavily Democratic counties in Florida, only a third and six percent of those ballots were counted respectively.

Stricter rules on provisional ballots are just one of the voting roadblocks put in place by Governor Rick Scott and the 2011 Florida legislature. State officials also shortened early voting, restricted voter drives, and attempt to "purge" the voter roll -- all targeted to stop almost nonexistent voter fraud.

Since 2000, there have been only 178 cases of alleged voter fraud in Florida.

Related on HuffPost:

Suggest a correction

Around the Web

Provisional-ballot law prevented little fraud but forced extra work ...

Angry Over Gay Mayor's Election, Florida GOP Leader Wants To ...

Voters in America: Who Counts - CNN.com - Transcripts

CNN voting doc features Gainesville | County Lines and City Limits

Provisional ballots spike, but Florida elections supervisors say they're not ...