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Scott moves Florida into a Jim Crow status

Roger Caldwell | 10/17/2013, 9 a.m.

Leading up to the election of 2014, Governor Rick Scott will continue to run Florida as a Jim Crow state. In 2012, ex-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 referring to the Republican governors and legislators who are “disciplined, passionate, and determined to keep young people, minorities and progressives from voting in 2014.”

Recall that ‘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. But when the Supreme Court allowed separate but equal facilities, it was easier to implement Jim Crow laws and the number of lynchings increased in the South. The majority of states that passed these laws were former Confederate states and Florida was no exception. From 1896 to 1904, Black voters were completely eliminated from the voter rolls in many of these states.

Sound familiar? Now Scott is trying again to alter the voting rolls by eliminating Blacks and Hispanics from the voter rolls. He’s 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, reminiscent of the old Jim Crow strategies.

We may no longer have to face atrocities like lynching, but we do have the prison industrial complex which has become a new ‘home’ for many Blacks and Hispanics. In 2012, Scott overturned Florida State laws and disallowed 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 what life was like for Blacks in the 100 years ago. Trayvon Martin was killed and the shooter, George Zimmerman, was allowed to walk free because of the Stand Your Ground Law.

In the next several months, minorities can expect our governor to try to implement ID laws and to develop new laws to limit new 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 roadblocks for minorities and working to change the demographics on the voter rolls. If minority and liberal lawyers don’t speak up and expose discrimination, Florida voting rolls will be controlled by antiquated Jim Crow laws.

Roger Caldwell is the CEO of On Point Media Group in Orlando.