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Shen writes: "Former governor Charlie Crist (R-FL) and former GOP chairman Jim Greer (R-FL), as well as several current GOP members, told the Post that Republican consultants pushed the new measures as a way to suppress Democratic voters."

Florida's early voters stand in long lines in 2012. (photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Florida's early voters stand in long lines in 2012. (photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)


Florida Republicans Admit Voter Suppression Was the Goal of New Election Laws

By Aviva Shen, ThinkProgress

30 March 14

 

loridians endured election chaos and marathon voting lines this year, largely thanks to reduced early voting hours, voter purges, and voter registration restrictions pushed by Republican legislators. In an exclusive report by the Palm Beach Post, several prominent Florida Republicans are now admitting that these election law changes were geared toward suppressing minority and Democratic votes.

Former governor Charlie Crist (R-FL) and former GOP chairman Jim Greer (R-FL), as well as several current GOP members, told the Post that Republican consultants pushed the new measures as a way to suppress Democratic voters. Crist expanded early voting hours in 2008 despite party pressure, but Gov. Rick Scott (R-FL) targeted early voting almost immediately when he took office in 2011. Scott’s administration claimed the new laws were meant to curb in-person voter fraud, despite the fact that an individual in Florida is more likely to be struck by lightning than commit voter fraud.

Current party members and consultants confirmed the motive was not to stop voter fraud but to make it harder for Democrats and minorities to vote:

Wayne Bertsch, who handles local and legislative races for Republicans, said he knew targeting Democrats was the goal. “In the races I was involved in in 2008, when we started seeing the increase of turnout and the turnout operations that the Democrats were doing in early voting, it certainly sent a chill down our spines. And in 2008, it didn’t have the impact that we were afraid of. It got close, but it wasn’t the impact that they had this election cycle,” Bertsch said, referring to the fact that Democrats picked up seven legislative seats in Florida in 2012 despite the early voting limitations.

Another GOP consultant, who did not want to be named, also confirmed that influential consultants to the Republican Party of Florida were intent on beating back Democratic turnout in early voting after 2008.

[...]A GOP consultant who asked to remain anonymous out of fear of retribution said black voters were a concern. “I know that the cutting out of the Sunday before Election Day was one of their targets only because that’s a big day when the black churches organize themselves,” he said.

Though the state ultimately went to President Obama, the Republican effort to suppress votes was largely successful. A post-election report found that new voting restrictions led to a huge increase in provisional ballots, which are cast when there is some question of the voter’s eligibility.

While crying voter fraud, the Florida GOP had to confront its own scandal when a voter registration firm they hired turned in hundreds of fraudulent registration forms in several Florida counties. The GOP hastily cut ties with the group when the state opened a criminal investigation into their operations.


 

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+26 # Luckyenough 2014-03-30 07:52
Surprise, surprise! And it's happened here in Pennsylvania as well. Miniscule evidence of any kind of voter fraud, but massive suppression of votes by the elderly, the poor, and people of color. Only here no republican mucky-mucks have actually been willing to admit it.
 
 
+14 # AMLLLLL 2014-03-30 10:14
Mike Turzai pretty much blabbed about the real motivation for the voter ID in Pennsylvania in the last election, yes? Shameless. A party of zero conscience.
 
 
+11 # angryspittle 2014-03-30 09:07
DUH!
 
 
+19 # angelfish 2014-03-30 09:43
HOW is their behavior, in ANY way, Constitutional, Legal, or Fair, for that matter? These people have NO business having ANYTHING to do with the Electoral Process and should be disbanded as a Political Entity in this Country! shame, Shame, SHAME on them! The Party of Lincoln is DEAD and has been usurped by dictators with teeny, tiny, little genitals! Americans! We MUST demand equity and justice for ALL our citizens and send these cheats and liars back to the Caves from whence they crawled!
 
 
+20 # OldLady 2014-03-30 09:58
I'm waiting for the federal felony indictments, but not holding my breath.
 
 
+6 # Anarchist 23 2014-03-30 10:56
When will the citizens of this country face up to the reality of what we are now? Certainly not the world's greatest democracy or the 'Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave'! USSA!USSA!USSA!
 
 
+4 # thehodges1 2014-03-30 22:57
I know the Supreme Court have done so many things that is not Constitutional but don't they swear an oath to follow the Constitution of USA and to be impartial but they have gutted law and are bought and paid for elected a president without regard for the citizens of this country. Why can't they be recalled?
 
 
+2 # CorporatistNation 2014-03-31 03:06
Trust me, I live in Florida, have run for U.S. House a couple of times both as a Dem and an No Party candidate... There is NOOO democracy in Florida. I have personally caught the Division of Elections in Tallahassee illegally qualifying a candidate for Federal Office (Congress) which in determining such (after also finding the Hillsborough County Election Supervisor's office complicit in an obvious coverup)only through persistence had the candidate removed from the ballot. When the case was presented in detail to a low level FBI agent over the phone, he was all over it. Subsequently when the case got to the supervisory level no investigation was initiated as "I did not give them a felon, or it could have been a paperwork error..." in a system specifically designed and operated to eliminate human error but not impervious to those with access to the state databases in Tally who wish to "FIX" an election. This is just a summary of one example of democracy thwarted in over 10 years of political involvement in the State of Florida. BTW the Dems are just as corrupt as the Republicans and in fact work in tandem for the powers that be here who fund them both.
 
 
-1 # DenDen 2014-03-31 09:29
@thehodges1 "Why can't they be recalled?" Because that's not in the constitution. You might want to read it.
 
 
+2 # LAellie33 2014-04-01 02:09
The 5 corporatist conservative justices on the Supreme Court are guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors. They do not "rule from the bench," but rather from their personal political ideology. Their highly destructive "Citizens United" ruling opened the floodgates to usher in a government by the wealthy (Oligarchs), who with no official political power, but massive wealth, gives them the power of unlimited influence over our government and politicians. This ruling against the people of America and the dissolution of our "Democracy" for a "Plutocracy" is grounds for impeachment under high crimes and misdemeanors.
 
 
0 # CorporatistNation 2014-04-02 17:13
Yes the SCOTUS is the codifying entity for Amerikan FASCISM as demonstrated once again today in their latest ruling expanding the legal "bounds" applicable to political contributions. Essentially these appointed pigs just removed the last vestige of campaign finance legislation governing Federal office. Elections no longer offer the average citizen recourse. We've been losing what little remained of "democracy" in Amerika over the past 20 years or so a piece at a time. In the past five years the bits have become boulders. Rest assured the fight is over... in the political arena.
 

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