The idea that a new GOP-backed Florida law that reduced early-voting days and hours was a cynical plot to minimize the number of votes cast by Democrats is nothing new. In fact, among Democrats, the legislation was widely cast as part of a nationwide voter-suppression effort in advance of the recent presidential election.
But former GOP officials and current GOP consultants who are now on the outs with their party have reportedly admitted to the Palm Beach Post that concerns about "voter fraud" were, in fact, made up, and the real intent of lawmakers was simple: Republican victory. While the "We've got to cut down on early voting because early voting is not good for us" plan that former Republican Party of Florida Chairman Jim Greer told the Post about won't surprise many, his candid discussion of it will:
Former Republican Party of Florida Chairman Jim Greer says he attended various meetings, beginning in 2009, at which party staffers and consultants pushed for reductions in early voting days and hours.
"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."
Greer is now under indictment, accused of stealing $200,000 from the party through a phony campaign fundraising operation. He, in turn, has sued the party, saying GOP leaders knew what he was doing and voiced no objection.
"Jim Greer has been accused of criminal acts against this organization and anything he says has to be considered in that light," says Brian Burgess, Florida GOP spokesman since September.
But Greer's statements about the motivations for the party's legislative efforts, implemented by a GOP-majority House and Senate in Tallahassee in 2011, are backed by Crist — also now on the outs with the party — and two veteran GOP campaign consultants.
Read more at the Palm Beach Post.