Black Voter Suppression in Florida
The vile actions of voter suppression are no stranger to the Southern region of the United States, especially the state of Florida. Voter suppression is a strategy to manipulatively keep a demographic group from participating in an electoral process, through discriminatory legislation, malice intent while campaigning, and utilizing the private sector to use their influence to keep individuals from the polls. The earliest form of voter suppression reared its ugly head during the 19th and 20th century, in the form of Black Codes and Jim Crow laws. This was in the form of poll taxes, literacy tests, grandfather clauses (if your elder members couldn’t vote before legislation neither could you), black codes, gerrymandering, and white-only primaries.[footnoteRef:1] The Voting Rights Act of 1965 changed the electoral landscape across the country and in some places alleviated some of the pressure on blacks to vote in states. [1: Klarman, Michael J. From Jim Crow to Civil Rights: The Supreme Court and the Struggle for Racial Equality. Oxford University Press, 2006.]
The acts of voter suppression continued in the 21st century. In the 2000 presidential election black voter suppression in the state of Florida was put on a national stage. In the predominantly black Duval County it was reported that almost one-third of black votes were rejected and that black precincts had three times the number of votes rejected than to white precincts.[footnoteRef:2] The 2000 presidential election in Florida also prompted an investigation by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights that found fourteen percent of black voters in the state had their ballots rejected, in comparison to roughly two percent of non-black voters that had their votes rejected.[footnoteRef:3] [2: Washington Post article Duval county ] [3: U.S. Commission on Civil Rights ]
The largest implication of voter suppression in the state of Florida that continues today is the implementation of the “voter purge.” A 1998 bill by the Florida legislature following the corrupt Mayoral election of 1997 in Miami prompted a decade long purge of black voters that started during the 2000 presidential election. The bill allocated $4 million to program to eliminate the deceased, felons, duplicate registrants and the mentally incompetent from the state’s voter roll.[footnoteRef:4] This system that was intended to fix a broken problem that occurred three years prior – actually disproportionately affected black voters in the state. Of those purged sixty-five percent were black, while they only represented only twenty percent of the entire state population. The purge had major implications on the 2000 election because ninety percent of black voters voted for Al Gore in the 2000 election and almost five-thousand black voters were wrongfully purged through this process.[footnoteRef:5] It can be assumed that the five-hundred and thirty-seven victory of George Bush wouldn’t have...