The Florida Vote
12:01 pm
Mon November 26, 2012

Top Republicans Confess: Voter Suppression Was Goal Of 2011 Florida Election Law

The whole idea behind the voting law state legislators passed in 2011 was to discourage Democratic voters.

Jim Greer: Voter suppression was the goal, voter fraud was the marketing.

That's the bottom line in a Palm Beach Post story by Dara Kam and John Lantigua. Although the law was presented as an urgently needed defense against voter fraud, sources including former Republican Gov. Charlie Crist and former state GOP Chairman Jim Greer and some Republican campaign consultants tell the Post a very different story:

"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."

The law clamped down on voter registration by third party organizations, such as the League of Women Voters, and shortened the early voting period from 14 to eight days. The results, arguably, included long lines at the polls on Election Day -- so long, in some cases, that voters gave up and went home without casting ballots. But the Miami Herald suggested a long, confusing ballot and a shortage of voting equipment in some precincts was also responsible for the Election Day chaos.

Crist says in the story that he was approached by Republicans to suppress early voting but, he told the Post, "I didn't want them to go there at all." But State Rep. Dean Cannon, who was House Speaker at the time the law was passed, says he believes its main purpose was to combat voter fraud and he never had any intention of suppressing the Democratic vote.