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High Voter Turnout a Crisis That Calls for Quick Republican Action

The media klieg lights are always on, but they dim just a tad around the close of the business day Friday. Everybody's off to happy hour, or making the week's last commute home. Media consumers take a break to spend time with friends and family, and it may be late in the weekend before they bother to consider issues affecting all society. So if you're a politician with some nefarious plan or embarassing confession, save it for late Friday -- and who knows? Maybe by the time Monday rolls around a whole bunch of other stories will have entered the news cycle and your item will be lost, forgotten.

That clearly was the strategy of Florida House Republicans who had every reason to be ashamed of their effort to overhaul state voter registration laws, six months after voter drives were credited with helping Barack Obama win Florida in the presidential election. The bill would bar two forms of voter identification that were valid in 2008. It doesn't address the need for more early voting and longer hours of open polls. And it was all done lickety split after Republicans stopped what ought to have been a robust debate. South Florida Democrats are not pleased. From the article in the St. Pete Times:

The House Democratic leader, Rep. Franklin Sands, D-Weston, took the floor on a point of personal privilege to condemn the council's action. He said the bill's contents were not made public until late Thursday night while lawmakers were debating the budget. Sands asked that the bill be returned to the same committee for more study and testimony.

"This morning's deliberations failed to meet the Legislature's promise of open and fair government," Sands said.

On Sunday the Times published this furious editorial. Let's hope this story stays in the news this week.

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Thomas Francis

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