Reporter William March has covered state and national politics since 1994. Email
Reporter Mike Salinero has covered Hillsborough County government since 2007. Email
Reporter James L. Rosica covers state government from the Tribune's Tallahassee bureau. Email
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Castor, other Dem reps seek federal investigation of Florida voting laws
Posted Nov 27, 2012 by William March
Updated Nov 27, 2012 at 04:35 PM
A group of Democratic Congress members including Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa, have urged the U.S. Civil Rights Commission to hold hearings on the Florida election laws blamed by Democrats for long lines at polls Nov. 6.
The congress members cited news reports, mainly in the Palm Beach Post, that former Gov. Charlie Crist, former state Republican Party Chairman Jim Greer and some Republican political operative—mostly quoted anonymously—said the laws were written at the urging of the state Republican Party for the purpose of disenfranchising minority and young voters.
“We are extremely concerned over the integrity of this law and the justification for its implementation,” said a letter today from the Congress members to Martin R. Castro, chairman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. “As you know, trust in our democracy is what holds our country together. Voters must be able to trust that their elected officials are acting in their best interest.”
Besides Castor, it was signed by Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Weston; Ted Deutch of Boca Raton; and Florida’s three black Democratic House members, Alcee L. Hastings of Miami, Frederica Wilson of Miami Gardens and Corrinne Brown of Jacksonville.
The commission, established by the 1957 Civil Rights Act, is a bipartisan research and advocacy organization on civil rights which has mainly advisory powers.
Greer and Crist are both considered apostates by the state Republican Party. Crist left the GOP in 2010 to become an independent and is expected to become a Democrat; Republicans contend Greer stole money from the party, and he has been charged with fraud.