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Thurman to Greer: Welcome to the vote-protection club

Florida Democratic Party chair Karen Thurman sent this response to Republican Party Chair Jim Greer's request re: election-day lawyers.

"I am happy to see that the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) is finally joining the Florida Democratic Party (FDP) in our long standing efforts to ensure Florida’s voters are given the opportunity to cast their ballots free of any harassment or intimidation and to make sure that every legal, legitimate vote counts. I welcome the opportunity to work with you on this.

Since the 2000 election, the FDP has run statewide election protection programs to ensure that Florida’s elections are fair elections. In fact, our election protection operation in 2004 was credited with saving over 50,000 votes. Hopefully, working together we can have even greater successes this year.

As you know there will be more than a million of people, who have never voted in Florida, participating in this election. Between the 2006 General Election and September 1, 2008, Florida has gained more than 1.3 million new voters, and we expect huge gains between now and when registration ends next week.  Since more than 540,000 of the new voters are Democrats and nearly 350,000 are Republicans, we should begin our efforts by educating these voters on Florida’s election procedures.

For the past several weeks Democratic senior citizens across Florida have been receiving letters from John McCain and the Republican National Committee. As newspapers across Florida have reported, this effort looks very similar to the 2004 efforts by the RPOF, RNC, and Bush-Cheney Campaign to cage voters as your party prepared to challenge their right to vote on Election Day. In other states we see Republicans going after folks who have lost their homes from this economic crisis. We hope that your party is not planning such actions, but as we educate our poll watchers and election protection teams, we should both include information about how under Florida law it is a crime to frivolously challenge voters (Fla. Stat. 101.111(2)).

I look forward to working with you to protect Florida’s voters. Hopefully, our bi-partisan efforts can last beyond Election Day to work with our legislative delegations on ways to make it easier for Floridians to legally register to vote and cast their ballots.


Congresswoman Karen L. Thurman

Chair, Florida Democratic Party"