-By Benjy Sarlin
July 6, 2011- Former President Bill Clinton weighed in on Republican efforts in several states to pass new restrictions on voting, comparing the measures to the Jim Crow laws of the past.
"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 said in a speech at a Campus Progress conference in Washington.
He specifically called out Florida Governor Rick Scott (R) for trying to reverse past precedent and prevent convicted felons from voting even after they've completed their sentence.
"Why should we disenfranchise people forever once they've paid their price?" Clinton said. "Because most of them in Florida were African Americans and Hispanics who tended to vote for Democrats. That's why."
Clinton is hardly the first Democrat to raise the alarm over a wave of Republican-proposed laws purportedly aimed at combating voter fraud. The Democratic Governor Association is raising money for a new voter protection project to counter the proposals, which they say violate minority voters' civil rights.