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GOP Efforts Succeed in Lowering Black Early Voting in Florida

It appears that the worst fears of Democrats, that changes to the early voting rules would disproportionately affect black voters, have come true—at least in the state of Florida, where Republicans efforts to restrict voting access prompted the Democratic Party to actually file a lawsuit.

Floridians had to wait on lines for as long as seven hours over the weekend, surely causing some people to give up and go home. The situation was so bad that even Republicans like former New Jersey Gov. Christie Todd Whitman expressed outrage over what she saw.

“I don’t know what went on in Florida, but I do have to say that in this day and age, it’s inexcusable that in this country, we have anything like this going on,” she said on MSNBC. “I’ve led delegations around the world to watch voting and this is the kind of thing you expect in a third-world country, not in the United States of America.”

The New York Times wrote an editorial recounting Republican efforts to confuse, mislead or intimidate voters, hamper early voting, and otherwise reduce turnout among minorities, poor people and other likely Democrats in Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Wisconsin, Iowa and Florida.

It is remarkable to compare the efforts of Republicans in these states to restrict voting with the decision by the state of New Jersey to let residents vote by email or fax because of Superstorm Sandy or in New York to let voters go to any polling place they choose.

In its lawsuit, the Florida Democratic Party contended that the three counties of Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach, which account for a third of the state’s Democrats, have “inadequate polling facilities” and that “long lines and extreme delays unduly and unjustifiably burdened the right to vote.”

Avis Jones-Deweever, director of the Washington-based National Council for Negro Women, told the New Statesman that with the rise in racism that has been exhibited toward African Americans since Obama’s election and the thinly veiled racism undergirding movements like the Tea Party and the “birthers,” it will be an even bigger accomplishment for Obama to be re-elected than was his election in 2008.

Jones-Deweever blasted Republican for trying to win office by stopping African-Americans from voting, rather than promoting policies that would be favored by a majority of the electorate.

She said it was “a blatant attempt to reduce access to vote for non-white people.”

The changes Florida instituted in its election law appear to have reduced the number of Florida voters who participated in early voting this year by an estimated 300,000 votes, according to the Herald Tribune, from about 2.7 million voters in 2008 to 2.4 million this year. Democrats were more affected by the dropoff because they accounted for 46 percent of the early votes compared to the Republicans’ 36 percent, a difference of 248,000 votes. In 2008, early voting accounted for 60 percent of the total votes cast in Florida, but this year the percentage dropped to 54 percent.

When he saw the ridiculously long lines as a result of the Florida legislature’s move to reduce early voting days from 14 to 8, Florida Gov. Rick Scott had the opportunity to extend the early voting hours—as the last two governors of Florida did, including Jeb Bush. But Scott refused, saying the process was “running smoothly.” Obviously the long lines were part of the Republican plan all along to make black people turn around and go home.

But these strategies in these states do not work work if the black people and other Democrats who may have been discouraged over the past week return with a vengeance to vote today on election day. While there were just 300 early voting locations in the entire state, today Floridians will have access to 6,000 Election Day polls.


What people are saying

12 thoughts on “GOP Efforts Succeed in Lowering Black Early Voting in Florida

  1. Florida is a headache n racist

  2. Pretty Young Thang says:

    WHAT… it's not wonder why so many disasters come about to that state…it should hit those rich WITCHES..heartless M.O.'S. unbelieavable after martin luther king fought for our freedom this is the thanks people of color get…I hope GOD whips the taste outta their faces and have the REPUBLICANS eat out of garbage cans….and let them see what it feels like to be degraded.

  3. Steve Cullen says:

    So anything short of 14 days of early voting is racist. My how far down are you going to stoop. For the last four years this is all we have heard. You don't agree with Obama's leftest ideology so you must be racist, as you see Obama is black. No kidding, I'm not white but because I don't agree, that makes me a racist. This propaganda will not work for the majority of the citizens of this free America who think for the betterment of this country and themselves.

  4. DeeAnna Roberts says:

    We will not forget this. Luckily, we have other avenues to reaching that 270 mark , but we will NOT forget nor forgive this.

  5. Duane Sims says:

    wow, really? florida is doing all it can to keep jim crows legacy alive, I know lil bush can appreciate all of their efforts.

  6. John Brown says:

    Um….you DO realize that MLK Jr. was a Republican don't you? You also realize that the civil rights movement started with a REPUBLICAN President, don't you. You realize it was a Republican who freed the slaves don't you? If not, you are one confused sister. I realized 3 years ago that Obama wasn't good for the black race, and you should too. He wants to keep african americans down, and under government programs. Wake up people. Take care of YOURSELVES!!!

  7. You do realize those are new Republican talking points from Fox. Black people do read you know. This arguement goes back to the Dixiecrats and is really not valid anymore. Maybe you should try again on that one. Geez, you guys will try anything!

  8. Pretty Young Thang says:

    I can take care of myself thank you very much…. and he is good for PEOPLE worldwide. how about you get your act together. I am not one of the those ppl who wants government assistance…as I do work and take care of my family. I was only implying about the disgrace that is going on in florida. SO HAVE A NICE DAY TO YOU BOTH …

  9. Nancy Wigman says:

    'Ya have to forgive, sweetie – otherwise in the long run, they really did win, cuz it'

  10. Pretty Young Thang says:

    Cheryl Neely Anderson i agree with you but are you okay with what's going on in all this…

  11. Pretty Young Thang says:

    John Brown I can take care of myself thank you very much…. and he is good for PEOPLE worldwide. we are all entitled to our OPINION…and Martin fought still and hmm then he got shot for what reason…we all know the facts and truth. how about you get your act together. I am not one of the those ppl who wants government assistance…as I do work and take care of my family. I was only implying about the disgrace that is going on in florida. SO HAVE A NICE DAY… =0). God bless you!!!

  12. Marge Bloom says:

    So basically the poor black democrats are too good to stand in line like anyone else wishing to vote regardless of color or political affiliation? I believe that there should not be any early voting. Election day is always the first Tuesday in November!

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