An investigation into voter registration fraud in Florida—groups like ACORN registering “Mickey Mouse” to vote—has surfaced no proof of its existence, except on the part of some GOP operatives. Florida’s Secretary of State spurred the state’s Department of Law Enforcement to research registration fraud, a project that ended up roping in Florida New Majority, a progressive organization that advocates for expanding democratic participation and was instrumental in registering scores of people of color last year. The investigation found nothing on Florida New Majority, according to The Tampa Bay Times. But it did net fraud from Strategic Allied Consultants, a GOP contractor that made headlines last year when its owner Nathan Sproul was caught red-handed falsifying registration forms. As for any other registration fraud from Democrats, Independents, the Obama campaign, ACORN or any other group Republicans accused of dirty registration tactics, the investigation turned up none.
In 2011, Florida Republican state legislators passed pitiless voter participation rules that criminally punished registration drive conductors if they failed to turn over voter registration forms to the government within 48 hours. Before 2011, groups conducting registration drives had up to 10 days to turn in forms, so the new rules threatened to leave inauspicious effects on elections volunteers from Florida’s black churches, NAACP chapters and the League of Women Voters. Republicans claimed this was needed because registration fraud was rampant, even alleging that people disqualified from voting due to felony convictions were voting from jail. A federal court overturned the stifling registration rules last June.
Earlier this year, Florida Gov. Rick Scott appeared to see Republican errors in their new voting rights rules and walked back policies like early voting cuts-also passed in the name of voter fraud, but which disproportionately hampered voters of color. The investigation from Florida’s Law Enforcement Department proves that the restrictive elections laws were based on myths.