Politics

Republican Leader Admits Black Voter Suppression Tactics

Sat., Jul. 28, 2012 9:31 AM EDT
by Terry Shropshire

For the first time, a major Republican Party leader has admitted publicly what many have long suspected: that GOP party officials have discussed ways to greatly reduce the ability of the black electorate to vote.

Former Florida Republican Party chairman Jim Greer says that GOP leaders in the important political state devised ways to prevent black and minorities from being able to register and cast their votes, the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Greer alleges that party officials, some of whom he called “whack-a-do’s,” discussed this in a December 2009 meeting.

“I was upset because the political consultants and staff were talking about voter suppression and keeping blacks from voting. It had been one of those days,” he said. Greer also charges that the party wanted to oust former governor Charlie Crist, a Republican, in part because Crist appointed a liberal black judge to the state’s Supreme Court.

Greer’s admission, however, comes as he is facing a personal conundrum: he is staring at six felony corruption charges that include money laundering and grand theft stemming from allegations that he ran a shell company that improperly funneled party money to him. The timing is curious, but doesn’t invalidate his claims of collusion and corruption aimed at instituting modern-day Jim Crow voting laws.

Gov. Rick Scott of Florida, a Republican, has endorsed a voter I.D. law in the state, as well as a purge that its supporters say is meant to keep non-citizens from illegally casting a ballot. However, critics say that voter fraud almost never happens, that disproportionate numbers of the people purged are Democrats or Hispanics who are legally eligible to vote, and that the purge does not leave them sufficient time to re-register in the event that they are accidentally kicked off the voter rolls.

Earlier this week, Crist said that Rick Scott, who succeeded him as governor, called the state’s vote identification laws and its voter purge “unconscionable.”

“The concern really is on sort of a closing the door on democracy,” Crist told MSNBC.terry shropshire

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