little green footballs

Former FL GOP Leaders Say the Goal Was Voter Suppression

Mon, Nov 26, 2012 at 1:52:49 pm

Of course it was already blazingly obvious, but today the Palm Beach Post reports that former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist says new early voting regulations were specifically designed by the Republican Party to suppress Democratic votes.

A new Florida law that contributed to long voter lines and caused some to abandon voting altogether was intentionally designed by Florida GOP staff and consultants to inhibit Democratic voters, former GOP officials and current GOP consultants have told The Palm Beach Post.

Republican leaders said in proposing the law that it was meant to save money and fight voter fraud. But a former GOP chairman and former Gov. Charlie Crist, both of whom have been ousted from the party, now say that fraud concerns were advanced only as subterfuge for the law's main purpose: GOP victory.

Crist said party leaders approached him during his 2007-2011 gubernatorial term about changing early voting, in an effort to suppress Democrat turnout. Crist is now at odds with the GOP, since abandoning the party to run for U.S. Senate as an independent in 2010. He is rumored to be planning another run for governor, as a Democrat.

Crist said in a telephone interview this month that he did not recall conversations about early voting specifically targeting black voters "but it looked to me like that was what was being suggested. And I didn't want them to go there at all."

About inhibiting minority voters, [Former Republican Party of Florida Chairman] Greer said:

"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 said.

"It's not really a broad-based racist issue. It's simply that the Republican Party gave up a long time ago ever believing that anything they did would get minorities to vote for them."

But 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.

GOP spokesman [Brian] Burgess discounted Crist's statement to The Post.

"Charlie Crist speaks out of both sides of his mouth," he said.