Civil rights group alleges voter suppression in federal complaint

Last Updated: Friday, November 16, 2012, 10:30 PM EST

A civil rights group is asking the U.S. Attorney General to investigate the Florida election.

The Florida Civil Rights Association announced Friday they've filed the complaint.

In that complaint, the group calls Florida "the voter suppression capital of America."

Allegations in the complaint include that Florida failed to provide adequate polling locations for early voting and on Election Day, Governor Scott refused to issue an emergency order to extend early voting hours and Florida's election law is a "pathway to racially profile voters" and "creates barriers at the polls to discourage people from voting."

Neither the governor’s office nor Florida’s Secretary of State has commented on the complaint.

Below is the full statement from the Florida Civil Rights Association:

The Florida Civil Rights Association announced today the recent filing of a federal complaint with US Attorney General Eric Holder against the State of Florida based on its 2011 Election Law Manifesto that unfairly targets African Americans and Hispanics for discrimination during the 2012 election process.

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 is a landmark piece of national legislation that outlawed discriminatory voting practices that has been responsible for the widespread disenfranchisement of African Africans, said J. Willie David, III, President of the Florida Civil Rights Association. Today, the voters in Florida and across the nation realized that the Voting Rights Act is needed now more than ever to protect citizens from election disasters.

The 2012 election debacle in Florida, demands a federal investigation by the U.S. Attorney General and a federal review at the highest level in US Government, including by President Barack Obama, David said. In addition, federal legislation on the election process must be passed to address America's election crisis, David added.

The two page federal complaint points to statements and comments made by two top Republican officials in Florida. Former Republican Party of Florida chairman Jim Greer stated in a deposition to Florida Statewide Prosecutors about several GOP meetings was held on how to suppress the black vote. In addition, former State Senator Mike Bennett stated on the Senate floor on how to make voting hard for Floridians like people in Africa who walks 200 miles across the desert to vote. These allegations constitute evidence of a discriminatory purpose that was politically motivated to create the 2011 election law manifesto, said David.

The Florida Civil Rights Association named the State of Florida the voter suppression capital of America for the following reasons: 1) the 2011 election restrictions ended-up being a major disaster to the state and the entire voting population, 2) 8.5 million voters of swing state Florida came in last of the 50 states in counting votes, 3) Florida’s 29 electoral votes did not help clinch the 270 electoral votes needed to elect the next president of the United States, 4) Florida reinstated the “literacy tests” on the poor, and minorities with its notorious 11 state constitutional ballot amendments that was wordy and complex, and 5) Florida failed to provide adequate polling locations for early voting and election day voting which created long lines forcing voters in several counties wait up to 7 hours to vote after 1:00am, 6) Governor Rick Scott refused issue an emergency order to extend early voting hours to voters.

The complaint also states that the election law is a pathway to racially profile voters, it create barriers at the polls to discourage people from voting. The complaint said at a minimum, Attorney General Holder should launch an investigation to ensure the integrity of the election process in Florida will be applied equally to all voters.