Voting should be tough, lawmaker says -- just like in Africa
By Aaron Sharockman
Published on Friday, May 6th, 2011 at 4:35 p.m.
Most people say they want to make voting easier.
But Sen. Mike Bennett, R-Bradenton, took a slightly different tack while speaking on the floor of the Florida Senate.
"We all want everybody to vote," he said on May 5, 2011. "But we want an informed voter."
Voting is a privilege, Bennett said, so how easy should it be?
"Do you read the stories about the people in Africa? The people in the desert, who literally walk two and three hundred miles so they can have the opportunity to do what we do, and we want to make it more convenient? How much more convenient do you want to make it? Do we want to go to their house? Take the polling booth with us?
"This is a hard-fought privilege. This is something people die for. You want to make it convenient? The guy who died to give you that right, it was not convenient. Why would we make it any easier? I want 'em to fight for it. I want 'em to know what it's like. I want them to go down there, and have to walk across town to go over and vote."
The line about people walking 200 to 300 miles to vote stuck out to us -- since it's about the distance between Miami and Daytona Beach.
It stuck out to everyone whom we told it to as well.
Theophilus Dowetin, with the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, asked where Bennett got his information, so he can refer it to the Guinness World Records.
Others just laughed.
The American Independent, "Florida senator’s argument favoring elections bill: Voting should not be easy," May 5, 2011
HB 1355, accessed May 6, 2011
Interviews with various members of the Trans-Saharan Elections Project, May 6, 2011
Researchers: Aaron Sharockman
Names in this article: Mike Bennett