Jul 27 / Erin Ferns Lee

Republican Officials Acknowledge Voter Suppression Motives

Voting rights advocates have long asserted that restrictive voting laws are only implemented for one reason: suppressing the votes of underrepresented citizens. Yesterday, former Florida Republican Chairman Jim Greer confirmed this by admitting that state Republicans have conspired to suppress Black voters. Unfortunately, this admission from Florida is not the first that we have heard in recent years.

Greer exposed the GOP’s plans for “voter suppression and keeping blacks from voting,” claiming that party officials dismissed “minority outreach programs” because they were “not a fit for the Republican Party,” according to Salon.

Greer is facing felony charges after cutting ties with state GOP. He is now suing his former colleagues and revealed the Party’s alleged intentions in a deposition, reports the International Business Times.

“Florida is currently embroiled in a controversy surrounding Gov. Rick Scott’s (R) voter purge program, which disproportionately affects voters of color. Fifty-eight percent of Scott’s original list of voters who were supposedly ineligible to vote were Hispanic while Hispanics make up only 13 percent of Florida’s eligible voters,” reports Think Progress.

Last month, Pennsylvania House Republican Mike Turzai shocked the nation when he proudly announced that the state’s controversial new voter ID law would give Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney the state’s votes in November.

“Voter ID, which is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania, done,” he said at a Republican State Committee meeting.

The state, which recently discovered that at least 750,000 registered voters do not have required ID to vote, is currently battling over the voter ID law in court.

Turzai’s spokesman, Stephen Miskin claimed that the remarks “were simply meant to underscore that combating voter fraud was important and that doing so would level the playing field in the next election.” But, Miskin “declined to say if he thought that fraud had played a role in past presidential elections in Pennsylvania,” wrote Michael Cooper at New York Times blog, The Caucus.

(HINT: Voter fraud is a non-issue. This week, the state confirmed that there “have been no investigations or prosecutions of in-person voter fraud in Pennsylvania,” according to TPM)

In 2011, the New Hampshire state House unsuccessfully attempted to do away with the state’s Election Day registration law and implement strict residency requirements that would prevent college students from registering and voting. House Speaker William O’Brien justified these measures to a Rochester, N.H. Tea Party group by saying that students shouldn’t vote because they’re “foolish” and would dilute the votes of average taxpayers in college towns. And it was caught on video.

“Voting as a liberal. That’s what kids do,” he said, adding that students lack “life experience,” and “they just vote their feelings.”

This week, former Republican Former Governor Charlie Crist denounced Florida’s voter purge program and the voter suppression efforts that sweep the nation.

“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 at the Washington Post. “Our country has never solved anything with less democracy, and we’re far better off when more citizens can access the polls — no matter which party mobilizes the most voters to them.”

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