Ex-Republicans claim Fla. GOP suppressed Democratic vote

Rachel Rose Hartman
The Ticket

Former Republican Party of Florida Chairman Jim Greer has been claiming for months that state party members engineered a new law to suppress voter turnout, falsely touting voter fraud concerns to advance their mission. Now, other former Republicans and consultants are backing Greer up, The Palm Beach Post reports.

Greer, who is under indictment and accused of funneling campaign funds from the Republican Party, has been claiming that state Republicans supported a law (HB 1355)—which, in part, curtailed early voting—simply as a means to stymie the Democratic vote.

Staff and consultants "never came in to see me and tell me we had a (voter) fraud issue," Greer told the newspaper. "It's all a marketing ploy."

Former Republican Gov. Charlie Crist, GOP consultant Wayne Bertsch and one unnamed consultant now tell the newspaper that state Republicans and consultants were actively seeking ways to suppress Democratic turnout following the 2008 election.

"I know that the cutting out of the Sunday before Election Day was one of their targets only because that's a big day when the black churches organize themselves," the anonymous longtime GOP consultant told the newspaper.

State officials continue to discredit Greer as a disgruntled former Republican. Greer, in a deposition filed against the party this summer, accused leaders of working to suppress black turnout and made other damning claims.

Crist is also regarded as an enemy of the GOP following his party switch, his decision to back President Barack Obama for re-election this year, and his subsequent attacks on his former party. This past summer, Crist lambasted the Florida GOP for backing new laws that applied more restrictive voter ID requirements.

Republicans claim that Greer was not privy to the alleged meetings, that the discussions that he claimed took place never happened, and that the GOP did not seek to suppress turnout—a potentially illegal act.