From Huffington Post:
Jim Greer, the former head of the Florida Republican Party, recently
claimed that a law shortening the early voting period in the state was
deliberately designed to suppress voting among groups that tend to
support Democratic candidates, the Palm Beach Post reports.
“The Republican Party, the strategists, the consultants, they firmly
believe that early voting is bad for Republican Party candidates,” Greer
told the Post.
“It’s done for one reason and one reason only...‘We’ve got to cut down
on early voting because early voting is not good for us.’"
The HB 1355 law, which was passed by Florida's Republican legislature
and signed by Gov. Rick Scott (R) in Nov. 2011, cut the number of early
voting days from 14 to eight. It was
publicly sold as an effort to
reduce voter fraud and to save money, but Greer says that this was
simply a "marketing ploy."
Greer served as Florida's GOP chairman from 2006 until 2010 when he
was forced to resign after allegedly stealing money from the party. He
was arrested and his case is pending.
Scott's predecessor, Republican-turned-Independent Charlie Crist,
resisted efforts from Republicans to shorten the state's early voting
period, citing reasons that mesh with Greer's claims.
In an interview with The Huffington Post earlier this month, Crist said the new law is clearly aimed at curbing turnout among Democrats.
"The only thing that makes any sense as to why this is happening and being done is voter suppression," he said.
Crist added, "People have fought and died for our right to vote, and
unfortunately our legislature and this governor have decided they want
to make early voting less available to Floridians rather than more
available ... It's hard for me as an American to comprehend why you
don't make democracy as easy as possible to exercise for the people of
our state. It's frankly unconscionable."
Greer also acknowledged that the effort to restrict early voting
would directly affect turnout among Florida's African Americans, a
demographic that consistently supports Democrats.
“The sad thing about that is yes, there is prejudice and racism in
the party but the real prevailing thought is that they don’t think
minorities will ever vote Republican,” he told the Post.
Greer went on to suggest that there was "absolutely nothing" state
Republicans wouldn't do in following their "absolute obsession with
Parts of HB 1355 were overturned by a panel of federal judges in
August, partially due to its anticipated impact on minority turnout. The
three judge panel ruled
that a "dramatic reduction in the form of voting that is
disproportionately used by African-Americans would make it materially
more difficult for some minority voters to cast a ballot than under the
The court's ruling, however, only affected five of Florida's 67 counties
-- those covered by the section of the Voting Rights Act cited by the
court in its ruling. The vast majority of Florida voters were subject to
the shortened voting period.
Despite lines as long as nine hours on Election Day in Florida, Scott said he stands by the new law. "Well I'm very comfortable that the right thing happened," he told WKMG Orlando after the election. He later promised to order a review of electoral issues.
From Politics 365:
In a series of stunning public confirmations regarding the Florida
Republican Party, minorities and new voter ID laws, former GOP party
Chairman Jim Greer confirmed that party strategists met on voter
registration strategies with the intent to suppress Blacks and Latinos
from voting in Florida.
The former Florida GOP Chairman said, “There’s no doubt that what the
Republican led legislature in Florida and Governor Scott are trying to
do is make sure the Republican party has an advantage in this upcoming
election by reducing early voting and putting roadblocks up for
potential voters, Latinos, African Americans to register and then to
exercise their right to vote. There’s no doubt. I was in the room. It’s
part of the strategy.”
Greer made the revealing confirmations last night on live television
during an interview with Rev. Al Sharpton on his MSNBC show Politics Nation. His revelations were first revealed in a deposition in late July but yesterday was the first time he spoke on the matter on national television.
“It’s very sad what’s going on in the Republican party. It’s very
sad the Republican Party doesn’t want to win votes by talking about
what it stands for. It wants to ensure that some people can’t get to
the polls, can’t register to vote. Political strategists for the GOP
can’t control what voters do in the voting booth but it can certainly
try and control them ever getting to the voting booth and that’s what
happened in Florida,” said former Republican Party Chair Greer in a
stunning and revealing interview regarding Florida’s new voter ID laws.
When Sharpton asked Greer if he was in the room for strategic
discussions regarding how Republicans could avoid a repeat of President
Obama’s 2008 victory, Greer responded, “Absolutely.”
“In three and a half years as Chairman in Florida, I never had one
meeting where voter fraud was discussed as a real issue effecting
elections. Never one time,” Greer told Sharpton.