Former Republican leaders in Florida have admitted the state’s voter ID law was nothing but a failed attempt at voter suppression.
It was long suspected by many on the outside, but today Republicans who were responsible for passing the legislation that caused long voter lines and kept the state’s electoral votes from being counted until days after the election had been decided admitted to The Palm Beach Post that the laws were really just meant to assure a GOP victory in the state.
Former Republican Party of Florida Chairman Jim Greer and former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist both say that early Republican claims that the law was intended to fight voter fraud were bogus.
Greer says he attended various meetings, beginning in 2009, at which GOP staff members and consultants explained their real reasoning for passing the law that reduced early voting from 14 days to eight and took away Sunday voting.
“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,’ ” Greer said he was told.
“They never came in to see me and tell me we had a (voter) fraud issue,” Greer said. “It’s all a marketing ploy.”
Greer is now under indictment, accused of stealing $200,000 from the party through a counterfeit campaign fundraising operation. He has counter sued, saying party leaders knew what he was doing and never objected.
Christ, who is no longer a Republican, backed Greer’s story. He said he was never told explicitly to disenfranchise black voters, “but it looked to me like that was what was being suggested,” Crist said. “And I didn’t want them to go there at all.”
A GOP consultant who asked to remain anonymous out of fear of retribution was less restrained.
“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.
A number of voter registration organizations, minority coalitions and Democratic politicians in Florida are now demanding investigations either by state or federal officials.
“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,” Greer 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.”