What’s the matter with Florida? Democrats weigh in on the latest election disaster

Share The Grio Share The Grio
Early voters fill out their ballots as they cast their vote in the presidential election on the first day of early voting, at the Stephen P. Clark Government Center on October 27, 2012 in Miami, Florida. Early voting in one of the important swing states is held for eight straight 12-hour days, leading up to the November 6 general election. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Early voters fill out their ballots as they cast their vote in the presidential election on the first day of early voting, at the Stephen P. Clark Government Center on October 27, 2012 in Miami, Florida. Early voting in one of the important swing states is held for eight straight 12-hour days, leading up to the November 6 general election. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Kevin Cate, Florida Democratic political consultant:

“Putting aside whether or not reducing early voting days was an attempt to suppress votes, at minimum it was a profound lack of foresight by leadership in Tallahassee,” says Cate. “This was a math problem and Florida failed, again. Expanded early voting locations is now an inevitability, but the Republican Legislature is unlikely to admit wrongdoing by returning to the accessibility that expanded early vote dates provided to working voters [who] don’t trust mail ballots.”

Peter Schorsch, who runs the influential Saint Petersblog political blog, based in Tampa Bay, in Florida’s crucial, swing I-4 corridor:

“From the moment the Republican legislature was gaveled into session in 2011, it made every effort to create a new set of voting circumstances it believed would lead to a different outcome at the presidential level than what occurred in 2008. But the GOP’s best laid plans went awry, creating a backlash that led to the exact opposite of what the Republican suppression effort was intended to create.”

By the way, Schorsch is reporting this week that a group of state lawmakers, including Democrats backed by former Republican governor-turned-independent Obama supporter Charlie Crist, plan to introduce voting reform legislation in Florida during the next legislative session.

Clarence McKee, Florida Republican political consultant:

McKee tells theGrio he’s not sure what could be done to improve the process, but he writes in his NewsMax column:

On early voting, were any black or Hispanics asked how such efforts would be “perceived” in black and Hispanic communities?

The result: an election disaster. The front page headline in the Florida Courier, Florida’s only state-wide black newspaper said: “A black voter backlash against GOP suppression tactics helped . . . Obama administer an Electoral College beatdown of Mitt Romney . . . ” Many whites were also angered too.

Millions of Florida voters were disenfranchised — Florida’s electoral votes were meaningless. Four days after the election Obama was declared the winner.

Follow Joy Reid on Twitter at @thereidreport.