Liberals Say Republicans Are 'Suppressing' the Black Vote

By Susan Jones | July 7, 2008 | 8:30 PM EDT

( - Liberal efforts to paint Republicans as racists are moving into high gear as the Republican National Convention approaches.'s Political Action Committee -- in conjunction with the Rev. Jesse Jackson and other African-American leaders -- accuses the Republican Party and the Bush-Cheney campaign of "suppressing" the black vote.

In a press release issued Thursday, MoveOn PAC said it is joining the Rev. Jackson, NAACP Chairman Julian Bond, and other African-American elected officials in launching an on-line petition -- "demanding an end to Republican efforts to suppress the votes of minority and specifically African-American voters."

The online petition -- addressed to President Bush, Bush-Cheney Campaign Manager Ken Mehlman and RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie -- asks the Republican Party and the Bush/Cheney campaign to "disavow all forms of voter suppression, including voter intimidation, misinformation, purges of voter roles that disenfranchise qualified voters, the threat to discount provisional ballots, and other actions that undermine the rights of qualified Americans to vote."

James Rucker, the director of grassroots mobilization for MoveOn PAC, said, "Rather than trying to win over African-American and minority voters on the issues, Republicans are simply trying to prevent them from voting." He called the approach "racist and undemocratic."

The Reverend Jesse Jackson said MoveOn PAC's petition is part of a "massive effort" to address the alleged problem: "We will mobilize our communities to halt all voter suppression efforts of the rightwing aimed at thwarting the democratic vote of the people."

MoveOn PAC points to a report released this week by the People For the American Way Foundation and the NAACP. The report details "a few examples of recent incidents in which groups of voters have been singled out on the basis of race."

However, the report also says that voter intimidation and suppression are "not the province of a single political party."

Earlier this week, a 25-year-old Tampa woman sued the Florida Republican Party, the Republican National Committee, and the Bush-Cheney campaign for alleged racial discrimination and retaliation.

Nadia Naffe said she was fired from her job as a field worker for the Florida Republican Party, after she complained about being assigned to black-outreach efforts because she is black, a practice known as "race-matching."

Joseph Agostini, spokesman for the Florida Republican Party, said Naffe's charges are baseless.

"Allegations are just that -- allegations. The process will play itself out, and I am confident they will be found to be without substance," Agostini said.

Also this week, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People announced it would send a team of lawyers and election workers to observe Florida's Aug. 31 primary election.

"The NAACP will not allow another 2000 voter fiasco to occur," said NAACP President and CEO Kweisi Mfume. "We will have observers and lawyers on the ground to assist voters and to make sure they are not intimidated. Our goal is to see that all eligible voters register and vote, and that every vote is counted."

The MoveOn PAC also has announced the release of a new 30-second TV spot produced by noted hip-hop director Benny Boom aimed at spurring voter registration and turnout among younger and minority voters.

MoveOn said the ad will start running next week during the Republican Convention.

See Earlier Stories:
NAACP Sending Election Monitors to Florida Primary (25 Aug. 2004)
GOP Organizations Sued for Racial Discrimination (25 Aug. 2004)

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