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10 News Investigators: Former GOP Chair Jim Greer says party didn't want minorities to vote

9:25 PM, Aug 6, 2012   |    comments
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OVIEDO, Florida -- The 10 News Investigators are hearing from former Republican Party Chairman Jim Greer that the Republican Party of Florida has tried its best to suppress minority voting throughout Florida for years.

Greer said the "whack-a-do right wing crazy" wing of the party was trying to keep minorities from voting.

"The party says one thing, but behind the scenes does something else," said Greer. He's talking about, in part, Governor Rick Scott's administration's effort to purge voter lists across the state. The administration called it a way to improve the integrity of Florida elections.

"There is a culture in the Republican Party that deals with minority voters and there is a belief that minority voters are not going to vote Republican," said Greer.

Former State Republican Chair Jim Greer was forced out of office and is suing the party, as well as facing criminal charges. Greer testified in a deposition that party officials have worked to keep minorities from being able to vote.

"You have to remember the Republican Party can't control what they do in the polling booth. Since the Republican Party and its leadership controls everything that happens in Florida, they can keep them from ever getting to the polling booth," said Greer from his Oviedo home.

Greer also maintained that was the thinking behind a law requiring groups registering voters to have the petitions to the supervisor of elections within 48 hours.

"The political consultants knew if they changed that law to say they had to be in within 48 hours, those registrations would never make it into the Division of Elections registration file. So that was one step," said Greer, adding that was a direct attempt to thwart minority voting.

The current Florida GOP chair, Lenny Curry, told Chris Matthews on MSNBC's Hardball that wasn't the case. "In my view, the deadline seemed reasonable," he said.

The only problem was U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle didn't see it that way, calling the new provisions harsh and impractical. He struck down the law. But Greer says the party has other tactics.

"They started out by changing the voter registration laws, then they reduced early voting because statistics within the Republican Party show that people who vote early are not generally Republican voters," he said.

All these allegations can't come at worse time for the GOP.  When the Republican National Convention meets at the Tampa Bay Times Forum in August, the party will try to convince voters the party is a party of inclusion. Greer says it's just the opposite -- it's a party of exclusion.

"There were lots of things in the party that demonstrated to me that many in the party, particularly leadership, don't embrace minority voters."

As proof, Greer points to racist emails that came to light from some party leaders, the ongoing voter purge, to him being chastised for reaching out to minorities -- which won him awards like the 2007 Award of Excellence from the Florida Federation of Black Republicans. But party leaders complained that wasn't helping the party.

"'It was just going to bring blacks out from under every rock' was a term that was used one time at a meeting in my office," said Greer.

While some in the GOP say Greer is just looking for revenge, he maintains he still loves the Republican Party, but doesn't love what it stands for when it comes to suppressing minority participation.

The RPOF sent an email in response to Geer's allegations that said, in part, because it didn't like our previous stories about its dealings with Greer, which a party spokesman alleges were erroneous, the RPOF will not respond to these ridiculous charges.

Greer's case is set to go to trial in late November.

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