FL GOP Insiders Admit Voter Suppression Efforts

The Palm Beach Post reports on several Republican insiders, including the former Republican governor of Florida, who are admitting what was obvious to anyone paying attention, that the GOP initiatives in that state on voting were designed to suppress the votes of poor and minority voters to help them win the election. One of them is Jim Greer, former chairman of the Florida Republican Party who is accused of stealing from the party and is involved in competing lawsuits, so perhaps he can be dismissed to some degree:

Former Republican Party of Florida Chairman Jim Greer says he attended various meetings, beginning in 2009, at which party staffers and consultants pushed for reductions in early voting days and hours.

“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 by those staffers and consultants.

“They never came in to see me and tell me we had a (voter) fraud issue,” Greer said. “It’s all a marketing ploy.”

But he’s not the only one:

But Greer’s statements about the motivations for the party’s legislative efforts, implemented by a GOP-majority House and Senate in Tallahassee in 2011, are backed by Crist — also now on the outs with the party — and two veteran GOP campaign consultants.

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…

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.”

The Republicans will deny it, but this has been obvious for a long time. One of the first things you learn in political science classes is that high turnout favors Democrats and low turnout favors Republicans. It’s not a coincidence that it’s always Republicans trying to make it more difficult to vote and Democrats trying to make it easier.

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  • Artor

    Typo alert, Ed. In the first sentence, “denied to suppress the votes.” I think the word was meant to be designed, not denied. My first reading stumbled on that a little.

  • busterggi

    Who says Republicans never tell the truth!

  • Alverant

    This appeared on alternet and someone pointed out that one person switched parties and the other is charged with fraud so that both have reasons to lie. He didn’t say they were lying but thought such information was important and pondered why alternet didn’t bring them up. I’m glad you did.

  • abb3w

    I wonder if there’s any chance the legislators who voted for this could be indicted under 18 USC § 241 for conspiracy against civil rights.

  • baal

    Can we please have jail time for these guys? I’d like to think that voting is a basic right of even a republican democracy and we usually have criminal penalties for violations of basic rights.

  • Ichthyic


    what would also be interesting to know is whether the allegations made by these people were made before they were accused of “stealing” or any of the other things THE REPUBLICAN PARTY is accusing them of. The bias most assuredly can go both ways; we have seen MANY times what happens to whistleblowers in the GoP.