Think every citizen has the right to vote? Not around here

Credit: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Voting: It’s not for everyone.

The Founding Fathers only wanted some of us to vote, not all of us, and who are we to question rich, white, slave-holding gents from the 18th century?

To that end, the Republican Party is working overtime to make it much, much harder for the wrong sort to go around thinking they have any part in this great democratic republic.

This is complicated, so pay attention.

You might recall that ballot access experts praised Florida for running an efficient, clean election in 2020, causing the nation to collapse onto the nearest fainting couch in disbelief.

The state famous for dangling chads, butterfly ballots, botched voter-roll purges, the Brooks Brothers Riot, and racially selective highway patrol roadblocks had somehow become a paragon of vote-casting virtue.

Gov. Ron DeSantis, April 4, 2020. Credit: Governor’s Office

This was “how elections should be run,” said Gov. Ron DeSantis. Florida is the “state that did it right, and the state that these other states should emulate.”

Except too many people voted. Look at Georgia. One minute it’s all MAGA-caps and Confederate battle flags, the next minute there’s a huge turnout, Donald Trump loses the state, and two Democratic senators get elected.

Chaos!

Voting ain’t broke, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t fix it — and fix it good, if you know what I mean.

Florida may have pulled off a near-perfect election with mail-in ballots, early voting, Souls to the Polls, and drop-boxes, but come 2022 — when, coincidentally, Ron DeSantis will be up for re-election, practice for his presidential run in 2024 — the Florida Legislature, as well as the rest of Planet Republican, are determined to suppress the vote, just as the Founders intended.

Bills in both the Senate and the House would attack rampant franchise-exercising by making it harder to get that mail-in ballot, restrict or remove drop boxes, allow only immediate family members to pick up a ballot for you, curtail early voting, and force supervisors of elections to store voter signatures in digital files that could officially help identify all those dead folks, Venezuelans, illegal aliens, and other evil-doers hell bent on ruining America by electing Democrats, but also make it easier for those talented entrepreneurs who make a living pursuing what the haters call “identity theft.”

Hurt feelings

Some of our African American friends call this an “injustice,” even “racism,” which hurts Sen. Dennis Baxley’s feelings.

“They may not like what we’re doing, they may think it’s wrong,” says Baxley, sponsor of the bill to ban drop boxes and force citizens to apply every year to get a mail-in ballot. “But the attributing of motives and the assigning of motives to people — some days even I don’t know why I did something.”

Dennis Baxley (via Twitter)

Sen. Baxley merely wants to stop election fraud, which inevitably happens when the wrong people vote. You know: people of color. Young people. Gay people. Suburban women. Democrats. Persons with tattoos. Spanish-speakers. Fans of Megan Thee Stallion.

All right, you America-haters might point out that the only recent election fraud in Florida has been perpetrated by Sen. Baxley’s own party. There was that Republican lady in Lake County who kind of changed Democrats’ voter registrations to Republican, or Frank Artiles, also affiliated with the Party of Lincoln, who had to resign his Senate seat for pitching a racist hissy fit in the Governor’s Club, hollering the “N” word” at black people.

He has now been charged with felony campaign finance violations.

Prosecutors (who you know are in the tank for liberals) say he paid more than 44 grand to a car-parts dealer named Rodriguez to run against a Democratic incumbent named Rodriguez for a South Florida Senate seat. This cleverly confused everyone, ensuring that the Republican (a Garcia, not a Rodriguez) would win — which she did, by 32 votes.

The Democrats (also law enforcement) call it criminal; right-thinking patriots call it awesome!

Gov. DeSantis, Sen. Baxley, and lawmakers in Arizona, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Iowa, and other right-thinking states simply want to keep our elections safe by cutting down on excessive participation, which makes upstanding white folks distrust the whole shebang, just like Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani, and the My Pillow Guy told them to.

Georgia learned its lesson the hard way. Now the Fatherland of Marjorie Taylor Greene leads the way, cutting down on voting by mail, cracking down on drop boxes (where obviously some kind of fraud must be happening), and outlawing the heinous practice of giving food or drink to people standing in long lines to cast a ballot — you know there could be some Bill Gates-type microchip that could flip Republican votes in that bottle of Dasani water!

Trouble-maker Stacey Abrams calls it “Jim Crow 2.0.

‘A privilege’

Let’s be honest, y’all: Some people shouldn’t vote, just like some people shouldn’t be ballet dancers or CEOs or NASCAR drivers. We all have different talents.

As our own Gov. DeSantis once tweeted, “voting is a privilege.”

And yes, he later claimed he didn’t tweet that, and he doesn’t tweet (despite having a Twitter account), but that’s just him being modest.

Nevertheless, the Democratic Party thinks everybody — your transgenders, your Dreamers, your former felons, your asylum seekers — ought to have all these “rights.”

Now they’re even pushing for Washington, D.C., to become a state, what with the people there whining about “taxation without representation.”

The DC-ers (Democrats, of course, and many of them, you know, “people of color”) keep saying that since their population is bigger than, say, Wyoming, why shouldn’t they get two senators, too?

Have you ever heard anything so absurd? As Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas so astutely puts it, Wyoming deserves to be a state because people there work in “mining, logging, and construction.”

Manly jobs, not like lawyering, lobbying, and politicking. Also, as Georgia Rep. Jody Hice, points out, D.C. doesn’t have a landfill or even a car dealership, which we can all agree are minimum requirements for statehood.

This whole citizen thing has gotten out of hand. If we’re not careful, it’ll soon be easier to vote than to buy a gun.

And you know that ain’t right.

Diane Roberts
Diane Roberts is an 8th-generation Floridian, born and bred in Tallahassee, which probably explains her unhealthy fascination with Florida politics. Educated at Florida State University and Oxford University in England, she has been writing for newspapers since 1983, when she began producing columns on the legislature for the Florida Flambeau. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, the Times of London, the Guardian, the Washington Post, the Oxford American, and Flamingo. She has been a member of the Editorial Board of the St. Petersburg Times–back when that was the Tampa Bay Times’s name–and a long-time columnist for the paper in both its iterations. She was a commentator on NPR for 22 years and continues to contribute radio essays and opinion pieces to the BBC. Roberts is also the author of four books, most recently Dream State, an historical memoir of her Florida family, and Tribal: College Football and the Secret Heart of America. She lives in Tallahassee, except for the times she runs off to Great Britain, desperate for a different government to satirize.