Jacksonville, Florida – Florida members of People For the American Way Foundation’s African American Ministers Leadership Council today said they were “appalled but not surprised” by a Palm Beach Post report  this weekend that restrictions on Florida early voting and voter registration were explicitly intended for partisan gain. The Post interviewed current and former GOP officials who said the restrictions were targeted at African American voters, and specifically at turnout operations at black churches.
“There’s a reason African Americans stood in line for hours on Nov. 6,” said Elder Lee Harris, Pastor of Mt. Olive Primitive Baptist Church in Jacksonville. “We knew that these early voting and voter registration restrictions were meant to keep us away from the polls. But we’ve come too far and fought too hard to let anybody take away our vote again.”
The African American Ministers Leadership Council worked to bring African Americans throughout the country to the polls through the nonpartisan “I am a VESSEL and I Vote!” program .
“I am appalled but sadly not surprised by these officials’ admissions that their goal was purely to suppress the African American vote,” continued Elder Harris. “Even while cloaked in the dubious language of ‘voter fraud,’ the real reason for these measures was always clear. African Americans in Florida knew that, and we fought back – by voting.”