The former chair of the Florida Republican party says the GOP uses voter fraud as a "marketing tool" to mask their efforts to erect "roadblocks" for minority voters, college-age voters, and others who are more likely to vote Democratic.
In a deposition released last month, Jim Greer, who was ousted as party chief in 2010 and is currently on trial for corruption charges relating to his management of the party's finances, said that at times during his tenure “political consultants and staff were talking about voter suppression and keeping blacks from voting."
On PoliticsNation Thursday, Greer elaborated. "I sat at many meetings where it was discussed of how to make sure that what happened in 2008, when President Obama brought out the college-age voters, the minority voters, never happened again," he told Al Sharpton.
"The Republican party believes that minority voters in general are not ever gonna vote Republican," said Greer, an ally of former governor Charlie Crist who has long had a rocky relationship with the current party leadership. "So discussions centered around, 'how do we make sure what happened in '08 never happens again?' And part of those discussions dealt with changing the election laws in Florida."
"Some of those changes dealt with reducing early voting," Greer continued, as Sharpton noted that 54% of African-Americans voted early in 2008. "They talked about making voter registration much more difficult for third party organizations like the League of Women Voters."
Under Republican governor Rick Scott, Florida has conducted a purge of the voter rolls, knocking off perhaps thousands of legitimate voters, and has passed other restrictions on voting.
Greer also said voter fraud, the reason given by Florida party officials for the restrictions, was never a legitimate concern.
"Never one time did we have any discussions where voter fraud was a real issue," he said. "It's simply been created as a marketing tool here in Florida for the right wing that is running the state government now, to convince voters that what they're doing here is right."
"I was in the room," he said. "It's part of the strategy."