Florida Democrats Seek Civil Rights Hearing on Voter Suppression

The request follows accusations that Republicans changed rules to discourage Democratic voters.

Posted: 11/28/2012 11:45 AM EST
Florida Democrats Seek Civil Rights Hearing on Voter Suppression

The 2012 election season may have ended, but the battle against voter suppression continues.

Six U.S. House Democrats from Florida, including three Congressional Black Caucus members, have requested a U.S. Commission on Civil Rights hearing on H.B. 1355, a bill they say was designed to suppress Democratic turnout.

"The law limited access to the polls for minorities, seniors and college students," the lawmakers wrote. "In particular, it reduced the number of early voting days and imposed new restrictive regulations on voter registration groups."

Their request was spurred by allegations made by Jim Greer, a former chairman of Florida's Republican Party, about efforts by party staff and consultants to suppress the Democratic vote. Greer's charges have been backed by Florida's former Republican Gov. Charlie Crist. 

In addition, The Palm Beach Post reports, a Republican consultant, speaking anonymously, said that Republicans specifically targeted the extremely popular African-American tradition of "souls to the polls" on the Sunday before an election because Black voters overwhelmingly support Democrats.

“In light of these allegations we are extremely concerned with the integrity of this law and the justification for its implementation,” the lawmakers said in their letter. “Therefore we believe that a hearing must be held as soon as possible.”

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(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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