Did you hear the one about the Florida teacher who registered students to vote but was fined $1,000 when she didn’t turn the forms in right away?
Actually, it’s no joke. Then again, it might be, as Stephen Colbert was good enough to show us last week on The Colbert Report.
What are raising his hackles, according to the ACLU of Florida, are do-gooders like this teacher who have the temerity to lead by example. In a segment on the program, Colbert, with tongue planted firmly in cheek, found truthiness in attempts by Sunshine State officials to sunset various ways to make it easier to vote there.
The stated goal of these laws is to combat the problem of voting fraud, which, as Colbert pointed out, is all but nonexistent. ACLU of Florida Executive Director Howard Simon, a good sport if ever there was one, appeared on the segment devoted to provide whatever context and perspective is possible on a program like this.
Fortunately, the piece, which you can watch here, has enough laughs and faux righteous indignation to keep you from crying over this injustice. But the problem is serious: many states, not just Florida, are making it harder for millions of people, especially the elderly, the homeless, students and persons of color, from having their vote counted.
The Florida law skewered by Colbert is being challenged in federal court by the ACLU, as are other voter-suppression efforts in South Carolina and Wisconsin. We’re keeping an eye on similar measures being contemplated in other states.
We’ll leave it to you to ponder the motivations of the politicians pushing these measures during a pivotal election year. You can leave it to the ACLU to fight back against any law that would infringe on one of the most fundamental of civil liberties.