According to a report in the Palm Beach Post, current and former Republican Party officials in Florida have confirmed what voting-rights advocates have long suspected: That the GOP has hyped concerns about voter fraud as a means to reduce Democratic election turnout. Former Governor Charlie Crist told the Post that party leaders approached him when he was governor to see if he'd back efforts to limit early voting. While he didn't recall the officials explicitly saying their intention was to target black voters, Crist said that "it looked to me like that was what was being suggested. And I didn't want them to go there at all."
In 2011, Crist's successor, Republican Gov. Rick Scott, signed a bill passed by the GOP-controlled legislature that slashed Florida's early voting period from two weeks to eight days. (The bill also tightened restrictions on voter registration laws, although many of those provisions were tossed after a court challenge.) This November, Florida was plagued with long early voting lines that extended into Election Day and may well have disenfranchised voters.
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