Florida Republican Admitted Party Tried to Suppress Black Votes
July 31, 2012 10:42 am
The Tampa Bay News reported last week that Jim Greer’s deposition — detailing efforts by state party officials to suppress black votes — was released by statewide prosecutors. If true, the 630-page deposition from the former chairman of the Florida Republican Party confirms what voter advocates have been claiming for years: that Republicans in Florida deliberately tried to suppress demographics that would vote against Republican party candidates and causes.
On trial in November for felony corruption for the diversion of party funds for personal use, Greer’s deposition was primarily about his roles and actions for the Florida Republican Party. However, what developed was, according to Alex Seitz-Wald of Salon, “a litany of charges against the ‘whack-a-do, right-wing crazies’ in his party,” which included efforts to suppress the black and historically Democratic vote as well as pandering to the increasingly powerful — and reactionary — Tea Party movement.
Greer’s statement strengthens aspects of Vanity Fair’s coverage of Florida’s “history of disenfranchising blacks” back in 2004. In it, the article related the story of a list of 50,000 alleged ex-felons identified as unable to vote despite the fact that 40% on the list were not felons at all — 54% of whom were black. Vanity Fair also reported on the understaffing of polling stations in black neighborhoods, which resulted in lines around the block that kept some from voting in the 2000 election.
Florida Governor Rick Scott is facing inquiries from the Department of Justice over purging of voter rolls in his state that disproportionately target minority and Democratic voters. Scott has vigorously denied any deliberate targeting of voters as well as the need for voter purges, even though he himself was listed up as deceased on the rolls back in 2006.
Back to Greer’s trial, The Tampa Bay Times reported this Monday that Orlando Circuit Judge Marc L. Lubet ordered that a “four-page report that . . . includes some embarrassing accusations against witnesses is a public record.” Judge Lubet also refused to limit the records Greer can subpoena from the Florida Republican Party despite the efforts of Orlando attorney Richard E. Hornsby.
Hornsby has asked the court to seal records for privacy’s sake, but has refused to identify the “interested persons” who hired him.
Image from here