Leading up to the election of 2014, Gov. Rick Scott will continue to run Florida as a Jim Crow state. In 2012, former President Clinton said, “There has never been in my lifetime, since we got rid of the poll tax and all the Jim Crow burdens on voting, the determined effort to limit the franchise that we see today.”
Clinton was giving a speech and he was referring to the Republican governors and legislators who are “disciplined, passionate, and determined to keep young people, minorities and progressives from voting in 2014.”
There is a saying, “Those who fail to understand history are doomed to repeat it.” From 1896 to 1954, for 58 years, separate but equal was constitutional and blacks were considered second-class citizens. Before Plessy vs Ferguson, during Reconstruction, blacks were voting, getting elected to legislatures, building businesses and allowed to interface with whites.
Once the Supreme Court allowed separate but equal facilities in the country with the Plessy vs Ferguson ruling, the opinion helped implement Jim Crow laws and a high rate of lynching was started throughout the South. Since most of the African Americans lived in the South, the majority of states that passed these laws were former Confederate states and Florida was one. During 1896 to 1904, black voters were completely eliminated from the voter rolls in many of these states.
In 2013, Scott is trying, once again, to change and alter the voting rolls by eliminating African Americans and Hispanics. He is calling his plan “Project Integrity” but everyone knows that the goal is to purge the voter rolls and make the voting process less accessible to minorities. Much of this new purging of voting rolls reminds minorities of the old Jim Crow laws.
During the Jim Crow period, Southern Legislatures passed laws of racial segregation and, in 2013, Republican governors and Legislatures are passing laws which discriminate against minorities. Now there is no more lynching but in 2013, there is the prison system and they fire you from your job if you speak up concerning an injustice.
Back in 2012, Scott overturned past state laws and stopped convicted felons from voting once they served their time and finished their probation period. Also, there have been numerous shootings of black youth and men in the state and it makes you think of the time when lynching was allowed in certain counties in the early 1900s. Trayvon Martin was killed and George Zimmerman was allowed to walk free because of the “stand your ground” law.
There is a fundamental change taking place in 2013 and Scott wants voter turnout to drop drastically. In the coming months, minorities can expect our governor to try to implement ID laws and develop new laws to limit voter registration.
Scott may hold press conferences and tell the public that he is standing up for the integrity of the election process but that is not true. He is really erecting electoral roadblocks for minorities and working to change the demographics of the voter rolls.
If minorities and liberal lawyers don’t speak up and expose this discrimination, Florida voting rolls will be controlled by antiquated Jim Crow laws.
Roger Caldwell, a community activist, author, journalist, radio host and CEO of On Point Media Group a media company, lives in Orlando. His book, The Inspiring Journey of a Stroke Survivor, details his story of his recovery from a massive stroke. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org