I do not mean to start another post with a personal touch, but the topic of voting does touch very close to home for me. My dad was elected for 40 continuous years to the Hancock Town Board. Having served in WWII, the Pacific Theatre, and feeling a connection to his hometown area and the people, meant he had a sense of public service. But I know if Dad had been defeated at the polls he would have taken it in stride, thanked the people for the opportunity to serve, and went back to the garden where he took pride in his potato patch.
What I know he would not have done is kvetch about the election, who voted, who did not, or whine about the voting procedures. The reason would have been due to knowing such behavior was not decent. I would phrase it because he was above such behavior, but dad would not have cared for the idea that he was somehow better than others. That sentiment, too, is a reflection of the man he was.
So it really does touch a nerve to read of the continuing assaults on voting access across the country which are being created by Republicans. (And, yes, my dad was a Republican until President George W. Bush invaded Iraq. I was so proud of him for telling people why he had switched parties, and even watching him hang up the phone on attempts to raise money for the GOP.) The latest episode that simply confounds me with attempts at voting manipulation by conservatives are the new restrictions in Florida. Recall that Donald Trump won that state in 2020.
What makes the GOP nervous in the Sunshine State is that 680,000 more Democrats than Republicans voted by mail in Florida in 2020. That makes for anguish when the party leans more in tune with autocratic foundations than ones rooted in democratic ideals. The new Florida law would limit the use of drop boxes by having them available only when early voting sites are open instead of 24 hours a day.
But the blowback from losing the White House does not end there. Florida Republicans have also gone after absentee balloting in several ways, too. There are now more needless ID requirements, above and beyond what is already regarded as the safeguard for protecting the voting process. The new laws get rid of the standing absentee voter list and force voters to ask for an absentee ballot for every election! That is absurd.
And not to be outdone for meanness and to be akin to Georgia, it doesn’t let voters standing in line to be given water or food. Perhaps the brainy ones in the GOP base are fearing microchips will be in the cold water and make a voter become a raving socialist by the time they enter the voting booth.
The bottom line in Florida, like so many other states where Republicans are showing their true Brown Shirt character, is that they are doing everything they can to stop people who are likely to favor Democrats from voting.
Perhaps the Republican Party should follow the path my dad took those 40 years in public service. Act with honor in office, help people understand the issues, and never be petty about the will of the voters.
And so it goes.