Florida Fla. Republican: We wanted to suppress black votes

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Florida's disgraced former GOP chairman says the party had meetings about "keeping blacks from voting"

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Former Florida Republican Party chairman Jim Greer in 2008(Credit: AP/Reinhold Matay)

In the debate over new laws meant to curb voter fraud in places like Florida, Democrats always charge that Republicans are trying to suppress the vote of liberal voting blocs like blacks and young people, while Republicans just laugh at such ludicrous and offensive accusations. That is, every Republican except for Florida’s former Republican Party chairman Jim Greer, who, scorned by his party and in deep legal trouble, blew the lid off what he claims was a systemic effort to suppress the black vote. In a 630-page deposition recorded over two days in late May, Greer, who is on trial for corruption charges, unloaded a litany of charges against the “whack-a-do, right-wing crazies” in his party, including the effort to suppress the black vote.

In the deposition, released to the press yesterday, Greer mentioned a December 2009 meeting with party officials. “I was upset because the political consultants and staff were talking about voter suppression and keeping blacks from voting,” he said, according to the Tampa Bay Times. He also said party officials discussed how “minority outreach programs were not fit for the Republican Party,” according to the AP.

The comments, if true (he is facing felony corruption charges and has an interest in scorning his party), would confirm what critics have long suspected. Florida Gov. Rick Scott is currently facing inquiries from the Justice Department and pressure from civil rights groups over his purging of voter rolls in the state, an effort that critics say has disproportionately targeted minorities and other Democratic voters. One group suing the state claims up to 87 percent of the voters purged from the rolls so far have been people of color, though other estimates place that number far lower. Scott has defended the purge, even though he was erroneously listed as dead himself on the rolls in 2006.

As Vanity Fair noted in a big 2004 story on the Sunshine State’s voting problems, “Florida is a state with a history of disenfranchising blacks.” In the state’s notoriously botched 2000 election, the state sent a list of 50,000 alleged ex-felons to the counties, instructing them to purge those names from their rolls. But it turned out that list included 20,000 innocent people, 54 percent of whom were black, the magazine reported. Just 15 percent of the state’s population is black. There were also reports that polling stations in black neighborhoods were understaffed, leading to long lines that kept some people from voting that year. The NAACP and ACLU sued the state over that purge. A Gallup poll in December of 2000 found that 68 percent of African-Americans nationally felt black voters were less likely to have their votes counted fairly in Florida.

Former Republican Gov. Charlie Crist, who has since become an independent and is rumored to be considering his next run as a Democrat, wrote an Op-Ed in the Washington Post recently slamming Scott’s current purge. “Including as many Americans as possible in our electoral process is the spirit of our country. It is why we have expanded rights to women and minorities but never legislated them away, and why we have lowered the voting age but never raised it. Cynical efforts at voter suppression are driven by an un-American desire to exclude as many people and silence as many voices as possible,” he wrote. A recent study from the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law School found that voter ID laws disproportionately affect poor, minority and elderly voters.

Link to the original article on Salon


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FL Legislators with ALEC Ties

House of Representatives

  • Rep. Larry Ahern (R-51), registered to attend 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting[51]
  • Rep. Ben Albritton (R-66), registered to attend 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting[51]
  • Rep. Dennis Baxley (R-Ocala), attended 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting, sponsored 2005 SB 436 "Castle Doctrine Act" based on ALEC model[52]
  • Rep. Michael Bileca (R-117), registered to attend 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting[51]
  • Rep. Jeff Brandes (R-52), attended 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting[52]
  • Rep. Jason Brodeur (R-33), ALEC Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force member, registered to attend 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting[51]
  • Rep. Rachel Burgin (R-56), registered to attend 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting[51]
  • Rep. Matt Caldwell (R-73), ALEC member who has "attended one conference to date, having paid for the membership and any conference costs with my excess campaign account"[53][51]
  • Rep. Richard Corcoran (R-45), registered to attend 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting[51]
  • Rep. Fred Costello (R-26), "could not afford the time out of my business to attend" the 2011 ALEC Annual meeting but looks "forward to attending ALEC in the future"[54]
  • Rep. Steve Crisafulli (R-32), registered to attend 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting[51] but "not a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council"[55]
  • Rep. Daniel Davis (R-13), registered to attend 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting[51]
  • Rep. Jose Diaz (R-115), registered to attend 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting[51]
  • Rep. Chris Dorworth (R-34), dues-paying ALEC member as of 2011[56], registered to attend 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting[51]
  • Rep. Brad Drake (R -5)[17]
  • Rep. Clay Ford (R-3)[17][20], ALEC Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force member, registered to attend 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting[51]
  • Rep. Rich Glorioso (R-Longwood), attended 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting[52]
  • Rep. Matt Hudson (R-101), ALEC Health and Human Services Task Force member, registered to attend 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting[51]
  • Rep. Clay Ingram (R-2), attended 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting[57][51]
  • Rep. Ana Rivas Logan (R-114), registered to attend 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting[51]
  • Rep. Debbie Mayfield (R-80), ALEC member[58]
  • Rep. Peter Nehr (R-48), registered to attend 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting[51]
  • Rep. Bryan Nelson (R-38), registered to attend 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting[51]
  • Rep. Jeanette Nunez (R-Miami), attended 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting[52]
  • Rep. Jimmy T. Patronis, Jr. (R-6), ALEC State Chairman[59], registered to attend 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting[51]
  • Rep. Ray Pilon (R-69); Public Safety and Elections Task Force
  • Rep. Scott Plakon (R-37), ALEC International Relations Task Force member, worked with ALEC in 2011 on "a proposed constitutional amendment that prohibits laws that would force people to join health care plans, an attack on federal health care changes"[52]
  • Rep. Stephen L. Precourt (R-41), ALEC Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force member, registered to attend 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting[51]
  • Rep. Lake Ray (R-17), registered to attend 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting[51]
  • Rep. Kelli Stargel (R-64), registered to attend 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting[51]
  • Rep. John Tobia (R-31), attended 2009 ALEC Annual Meeting at a taxpayer cost of $1,150; [60] in August 2011 claimed he has not attended another ALEC meeting and is not a member[61]
  • Rep. Carlos Trujillo (R-116), registered to attend 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting[51]
  • Rep. Will Weatherford (R-61), registered to attend 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting[51]
  • Rep. John Wood (R-65), ALEC Health and Human Services Task Force member who calls himself "proud to be a member of ALEC and has attended two annual conferences - Atlanta in 2009 and most recently New Orleans in 2011"[62][51]
  • Rep. Dana Young (R-Tampa), attended 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting[52]
  • Former Rep. Bill Posey (now Congressman, R-Rockledge), ALEC Alumni in Congress[63] and 1999 recipient of ALEC "Legislator of the Year" Award[64]

Senate

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