By Curtis Houck ~
Whether it’s the urge to link the Paris climate deal or global warming to Hurricane Matthew, the left has injected politics into a news cycle that should solely be focused on the deadly hurricane. In the last 24 hours, their focus has shifted to Florida’s registration deadline and their worries that it’d affect the 2016 presidential election with Slate providing one such instance of a liberal site airing its grievances.
“Beyond that initial tragedy, though, the storm also may have dire electoral implications, potentially affecting the outcome of the 2016 presidential election and landing emergency election litigation from Florida once again before the (now-deadlocked) United States Supreme Court,” writer Richard L. Hasen lamented in part of his lede.
In a post entitled “Hurricane Matthew Could Have Devastating Consequences for the Election,” Hasen furthered the pleas by Democrats to extend the October 11 voter registration deadline for the Sunshine State as well as the number of days for early voting due to the storm’s multi-day event.
Hasen cited past history of 50,000 people registering in the last five days back in 2012 before going onto the issue of early voting (which liberals so deeply cherish): “The good news here is that we are still four weeks out from Election Day and that Florida is a state with early voting, and so there is a chance to get some post-storm plans in place to help people as much as possible.”
Perhaps most amusingly, a liberal site like Slate expressed legitimate concerns of voter fraud if polling sites and voting methods are altered for any hard-hit areas in Florida:
We can also learn much of what post-storm voting could look like from the response to Superstorm Sandy, which hit the Eastern Seaboard in 2012, and caused great damage in New York and New Jersey just before Election Day. According to a study by Professor Robert M. Stein of Rice University, Sandy had a number of negative effects on the election in the impacted regions. Turnout went down. Polling places were consolidated. Jurisdictions differed in how they treated displaced voters. There was confusion and chaos in some affected areas.
Perhaps most disturbingly, some New Jersey jurisdictions relaxed rules for voting on the fly, including allowing voting by fax and by email. These measures violated New Jersey law, and a Rutgers study found that they may even have led to some fraudulent voting
Since this is Florida, Hasen raised the crazy possibility that voting problems and shrunken voting rolls could put the country in a scenario a la Bush v. Gore from 2000 if the presidential election between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton turns out to be close (even though comparing a close vote with ballot issues to a hurricane is rather irresponsible).
“If that argument sounds familiar, it is one that surfaced during the disputed 2000 presidential election between Republican George W. Bush and Democrat Al Gore. In that election, a very close margin separated the candidates in Florida, and Florida’s electoral votes determined the outcome of the race,” he complained.
Dubbing the possibility “a terrible perfect storm” if Florida decided who would be the next president, Hasen concluded that Trump’s floundering about whether he’d accept the election’s results if he lost might lead to a dangerous combination of storm-battered Floridians and a country on edge: “With Trump’s uncertainty about whether he would concede a close election to Clinton, this is a nightmare in the making. Let’s hope, for the sake of Floridians and all of us, that this storm is not as bad as it appears it will be.”
Curtis Houck is the Managing Editor of NewsBusters for the Media Research Center.