to do about it: protests, petitions, boycott
Carter: Fla. voting too flawed
Former president `embarrassed', 1/10/01
Fla. Ballot Spoilage Likelier For Blacks, 12/3/00, Washington Post
Democracy in Chains, 11/29. The Village Voice on voter fraud in Florida
ABC News: Botched Ballots - Black Voters Angry
Their Votes Weren’t Counted, 11/19
Banana Republic USA - Elections 2000
Voters have been disenfranchised in Florida and elsewhere in the US on a scale large enough to change the outcome of the national elections. Here we track some of the news around these events, especially the news being ignored or deprecated by the major media, such as massive black disenfranchisment in Florida and in many other parts of the country. We hear directly from a member of the New York Times newsroom that there was a conscious decision taken in the newsroom to downplay any mention of race in the Elections 2000 debacle. Though the New York Times is gatekeeper to much of the US news, they can't control it all, and their decision is being countered at ABC News and in the Washington Post, among others, albeit with the usual weak liberal spin.
Timeline for various recount efforts
The GOP: 1980 - 1999
A note on Statistical Irregularities in Palm Beach County
Mother Jones' Election Coverage
CounterCoups' News Site
Pacifica News on Florida 2000
White state Highway Patrol officers set up a checkpoint, intimidate voters, 11/8/00
Vanishing Votes in Volusia, 11/10/00
BY MARK SILVA
Wednesday, January 10, 2001, in the Miami Herald
Paraguay yes, Florida no.
Former President Jimmy Carter, who has monitored dozens of elections in troubled spots around the world, says he would not assist a foreign nation that had election procedures as flawed as Florida's.
``I was really taken aback and embarrassed by what happened in Florida,'' Carter said in an interview aired Tuesday on National Public Radio. ``If we were invited to go into a foreign country to monitor the election, and they had similar election standards and procedures, we would refuse to participate at all.''
The Carter Center, with its mission of ``waging peace,'' has observed 30 elections in 20 countries. It watched six last year -- village voting in China and Nicaragua and elections in Venezuela, Mexico, Peru and the Dominican Republic -- as part of its Atlanta-based ``Democracy Program.''
For the rest, see www.herald.com/content/archive/news/elect2000/decision/058861.htm
Today's Supreme Court decision may determine the next president of the United States. But William Rehnquist, the Chief Justice of the court-- tasked with determining whose ballots will count and be counted-- has a history of racism and excluding people of color from voting.
In 1964, Rehnquist demonstrated his segregationist sentiments when he fought the passage of a Phoenix ordinance permitting Blacks to enter stores and restaurants.
Between 1958 and 1962, when Rehnquist was a private attorney in Arizona, he served as the director of Republican "ballot security" operations in poor neighborhoods in Phoenix. Rehnquist was part of Operation Eagle Eye, a flying squad of GOP lawyers that swept through polling places in minority-dominated districts to challenge the right of African Americans and Latinos to vote. At the time, Democratic poll watchers had to physically push Rehnquist out of the polling place to stop him from interfering with voting rights.
Two decades later, during Rehnquist's 1986 Senate confirmation hearing for appointment to head the Supreme Court, he denied targeting minority voters. Some election watchers, who had personally observed Rehnquist's tactics in Phoenix, accused him of lying to Congress.
The Senate went on to confirm him, but the 65-33 vote marked the largest negative tally ever received by someone confirmed to be chief justice. Today, we have two people who were in Phoenix in the 1960s and confronted now Chief Justice Rehnquist for his blatantly anti-democratic actions.
• LOU MEYER, Director of Pennsylvania Institute of Community Services who was a poll watcher in Arizona and witnessed Rehnquist harassing black voters.
• MANUEL PEA, Recently retired 30-year veteran of the Arizona legislature who was a poll watcher in 1962 and witnessed Rehnquist harassing voters.
by Dennis Roddy, Liberal Slant, 12/13/00
Lito Pena is sure of his memory. Thirty-six years ago he, then a Democratic Party poll watcher, got into a shoving match with a Republican who had spent the opening hours of the 1964 election doing his damnedest to keep people from voting in south Phoenix.
"He was holding up minority voters because he knew they were going to vote Democratic," said Pena.
The guy called himself Bill. He knew the law and applied it with the precision of a swordsman. He sat at the table at the Bethune School, a polling place brimming with black citizens, and quizzed voters ad nauseam about where they were from, how long they'd lived there -- every question in the book. A passage of the Constitution was read and people who spoke broken English were ordered to interpret it to prove they had the language skills to vote.
By the time Pena arrived at Bethune, he said, the line to vote was four abreast and a block long. People were giving up and going home.
. . . Operation Eagle Eye (as the Republicans called it) had a two-year run. Eventually, Arizona changed the laws that had allowed the kind of challenges that had devolved into bullying.
|By Laura Flanders
There's an elephant in our electoral living room that Democratic leaders want to hide. In all the talk about cranky voting machines, chads and butterflies, this is one topic the Gore camp has not touched. It will hurt them. It has already. In this case, the pachyderm is institutional racism, and in an election of losers it has come out on top.
Consider the big picture: in election 2000, 90 percent of African Americans voted for Gore, as did 63 percent of Latinos and 55 percent of Asians (exit-poll data on Native Americans is unavailable but they've historically voted Democratic.) The popular vote - that national, pro-Democrat majority -- is disproportionately people of color. Thanks to the winner-take all, Electoral College system, it counts for naught.
In the contested state of Florida, the Black vote was up a huge 65 percent. In a state where thirty-one percent of all Black men may not vote because of an 1868 ban on felons, Blacks contributed 16 percent (up from 10 percent) of the turnout, and nine out of ten voted Democratic. Again, disproportionately, their votes won't count.
On day one after the election, there was a story in the Florida papers about an unauthorized police roadblock, stopping cars not a mile from a Black church-turned- polling-booth. NAACP volunteers reported being swamped with complaints from registered voters who had found it impossible to vote. They heard stories of intimidation at and around polling places; demands for superfluous ID; people complained about a pattern of singling out Black men and youths for criminal background checks, and in call after call, would-be voters complained they'd been denied language interpretation, and other help at the polls.
By now it's clear that overwhelmed election workers made a mass of mistakes but those mistakes were laced through with some clear intent to suppress some votes. A full three weeks after the election The New York Times finally took a serious look and reported that -anticipating a large turnout in a tight race -- Florida election officials had given laptop computers to precinct workers so they could have direct access to the state's voter rolls, but the computers only went to some precincts, and only one went to a precinct whose people were predominantly Black. The technology gap in the no-laptop precincts forced the workers there to rely on a few phone lines to head office. Voters whose names did not appear on the rolls were held up while workers tried to get through on the phone, for hours, or until they gave up.
For those who voted, there was another technology glitch. 185,000 Floridians cast ballots that did not count. Theirs were the ballots that had been punched too few or too many times, or were otherwise flawed. Flaws too, seem to have followed race lines. In an election that turned on a few hundred votes, Floridians whose ballots failed to register a mark for President were much more likely to have voted with computer punch cards than optical scanning machines. In Miami Dade, the county with the most votes cast, predominantly Black precincts saw their votes thrown out at four times the rate of white precincts: according to the Times, 1 out of 11 ballots in predominantly black precincts were rejected, a total of 9,904.
Urban, multi-racial Palm Beach, home of the infamous butterfly ballot, and Duval, where candidates' names were spread across two pages despite what the published ballot had shown, produced thirty one percent of Florida's discarded ballots (but only twelve percent of the total votes cast.) In Duval, which has one of the highest illiteracy rates in the nation, more than 26,000 votes were rejected, 9,000 from precincts that were predominantly Black.
Many Floridians who found themselves "scrubbed" off the voting rolls weren't purged accidentally, reports Gregory Palast for Salon.com. Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris paid a private firm, ChoicePoint, $4 million to "cleanse" the voting rolls, and the firm used the state's felon-ban, to exclude eight thousand voters who had never committed a felony. ChoicePoint is a Republican outfit. Board members include former New York Police commissioner Howard Safir and billionaire Ken Langone, chair of the fundraising committee for Mayor Giuliani's aborted New York Senate bid. The erroneous data wasn't their doing, ChoicePoint complains, the names came, raw, from the state of Texas. They were supposed to be reviewed locally, but they were distributed un-reviewed. African Americans dominate. (The 8,000 wrong names were "a minor glitch" ChoicePoint told Palast; a glitch fifteen times the size of the Texas Governor's lead.)
As for that election morning police checkpoint, near Tallahassee, Robert Chamber, a Black resident, told the Guardian UK he knew what it was about: "putting fear in people's hearts…." The Florida panhandle is home to the largest concentration of neo-confederate white supremacist groups in the US. But this problem is no neo-nazi plot - it's racism of the institutional, not the exceptional kind, and even more devastating than the statistics has been Democratic leadership's silence. While African Americans in huge numbers know there was massive voter fraud, harassment and intimidation a la Jim Crow, the Democratic Party's white top-dogs have resolutely refused to talk about voting rights, race or racism - Why? For fear it will hurt them in the court of public opinion? Among white swing voters and southern Democrats? Already hurting in all of those places, they're trifling with one of the few solid voting blocks they've got left, (Blacks, Latinos, Jews.)
The NAACP came out strong, the weekend after the election, holding public hearings and gathering 300 pages of legally sworn testimony from 486 people who say they were denied their right to vote. With the Congressional Black Caucus the NAACP wrote to Janet Reno seeking a Justice Department investigation into possible violations of the Voting Rights Act. That was back on November 14th. Since then, the Gore campaign has filed dozens of lawsuits - not one deals with violations of voting rights. The Justice Department has initiated what officials go out of their way to characterize as a preliminary inquiry, not an investigation. (Alligator-wrestler Reno is scared to stir the waters in her home-state, where she's hoping to retire any day now, some say.)
The Gore team has chosen to try to eek some votes out of three counties with manual counts, and to make much of butterflies and chards, but nothing of race. (Recently, Gore told a reporter he was "very troubled" by the "serious allegations." That's it.) His racist denial of the seriousness of racism makes nonsense out of US politics.
The Electoral College is a tool of racism. As Yale's Akhil Reed Amar wrote in the New York Times, "the College was designed at the founding of the country to help one group - white Southern males - and this year, it has apparently done just that."
In the years after the forced-end of slavery, former slave states like Florida imposed those felon-disenfranchisement laws, precisely to disempower freed-but-impoverished Blacks. The political parties crafted the statewide primary system into what amounted to a white- man's private club to keep the newly enfranchised under the old establishment's control. Then came literacy tests and poll taxes - voters had to keep their tax-receipts on file - anything to keep electoral power in white hands. For an idea of what those tackling literacy tests faced, consider: under Jim Crow, Florida required that textbooks used by the public school children of one race be kept separate from those used by the other -- even in storage.
After the 1965 Act was passed, states did everything they could to dilute Black influence. Winner-take all systems, or absolute majority vote requirements were embraced to keep black candidates from winning over split fields of white candidates in local races - in just the same way as winner-take-all works in the presidential contest. More offices were filled by appointment. Legislative and congressional district lines were redrawn to keep black voting strength submerged.
None of this requires looking back very far: the same House Speaker, Tom Feeney, who wants the Florida legislature to select a Bush slate of Electors no matter what the vote-counters count, suggested reintroducing literacy tests just two weeks ago: "Voter confusion is not a reason for whining or crying or having a revote," said Feeney. "It may be a reason to require literacy tests." (Palm Beach Post, 11/16.)
The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court who will may well be the final arbiter of which votes get counted and which (white) man gets the White House, is William Rehnquist, a segregationist from way back.
In 1962, Republican activist William (then "Bill") Rehnquist was the leader of Operation Eagle Eye, a flying squad of GOP lawyers that swept through polling places in south Phoenix to question the right of minority voters to cast their ballots. As Dave Wagner reported in the Arizona Republic last year, Rehnquist defended keeping African Americans out of stores and restaurants in Phoenix. In 1964, at the Bethune Precinct, (which was 40 percent Hispanic and 90 percent Democratic) Rehnquist and Operation Eagle Eye activists challenged every Black and Mexican voter's ability to read the Constitution of the United States in the English language (then a requirement.)
The result, according to one witness, was "a line a half-block long, four abreast…They wanted people to become frustrated and leave." In his testimony to a US Senate hearing on his appointment to the Supreme Court, Rehnquist denied that he officially challenged anyone's right to vote. Just as today's defenders of Bush, argue that voter error, not bias, disproportionately shrank the counted vote, Rehnquist argued that he broke no rules, he was just following the law.
Trying to wage politics in the US while tiptoing around racism is like sidestepping an elephant. It's dangerous, it's not smart, and it won't work. What suppresses the Black and minority vote suppresses the Democratic and liberal-progressive vote. The majority of white male voters haven't polled Democratic since 1964 and only women of color create the gender gap for Gore. Yet the unequal distribution of resources and bias that created a practically apartheid voting system in Florida was sustained by the Democratic Party - who approved of the process, try as they might to blame the Governor's cronies. And Democratic pro-drug war, pro-death penalty, pro-felon disenfranchisement policies stoked the racist atmosphere in which this election was held.
The conditions are ripe for a pro-democracy movement. A moment, at least: this is it. Some things have changed in the nation since 1964, and when the public has heard (or seen on CSPAN) the witnesses who gave the NAACP testimony, they have been shocked. Voter protests in Florida have built a multi-racial coalition that is advocating the kind of electoral reform the whole nation could get behind. Among their demands: a non-partisan election commission, standardized voting procedures and federal enforcement of the Voting Rights Act. Add to that, the longer-term structural changes some advocate: instant run off voting, or some form of proportional representation, so that small parties (and minority constituencies) could build support for their issues without throwing elections to their foes.
The public has seen the Electoral College in its worst light: for the first time, the tyranny of a minority may contradict the popular will. Perhaps something will come of the shared experience of disenfranchisement. But not if we don't talk about what's at the root of it: racism. Not "the system," but this particular, racist one. And those who've been marginalized must occupy the center. People of color are central to why our electoral system is set up this way; likewise, they must be at the heart of any movement for real democracy. We can get rid of the racism, but only if we all shove that elephant out at once.
"The Laura Flanders Show," Monday-Friday, 9-Noon, Mountain Time 1490 KWAB and www.Radioforchange.com " JC
|Race Not Run
by Michael Crowley, The New Republic
Post date 12.07.00
A surprising debate is under way on Black Entertainment Television's website: Has Al Gore sold out his black supporters? On BET.com's public message boards, several angry posters want to know why Gore and his allies have spent the last month fixated on chads and butterfly ballots while remaining largely mute about allegations that crude bigotry prevented thousands of blacks from voting in Florida. "He sure steered clear of this fight," a post titled "Silent Al" seethes. "If Al Gore cannot find the heart to stand up against injustice committed against black people ... then he deserves to lose Florida by the slimmest of margins." Adds another: "Blacks have been abandoned by the Democratic Party to fight their own battle in the courts and in the streets."
And the grumbling isn't confined to online cranks. In the last couple of weeks, mainstream black leaders have increasingly complained about the Gore campaign's silence on the racial dimension of Florida's electoral mess. Outside the Supreme Court last week, Jesse Jackson angrily declared that Democrats as well as Republicans have refused to touch the "third rail" of race. "Both of them are discussing chads," he roared, "[but] those chads have faces on them.... Chads are about 85 percent African American!" NAACP President Kweisi Mfume bitterly swiped at the frosty attitude of Attorney General Janet Reno and the "Just Ice" Department (get it?) toward allegations of voter intimidation and harassment. "Everything about this is racial," concludes South Carolina Representative James Clyburn, chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus. But, Clyburn laments, "everybody gets scared of the race thing every time you bring it up."
For more, see http://www.tnr.com/121800/crowley121800.html
Published December 6 - 12, 2000
Brown and Jackson Ask Court to Intervene
by James Ridgeway
DECEMBER 7—The wild cards in the battle for the presidency just keep coming. A fresh round of civil rights allegations may keep the matter alive, even if the Florida Supreme Court rules against Al Gore.
African American leaders in Jacksonville filed their own lawsuit this week in Leon County Circuit Court contesting the presidential election. The leaders charge that George W. Bush was certified as the winner of Florida's 25 electoral votes only after minorities were systematically denied the right to cast ballots.
U.S. Representative Corrine Brown, a Democrat from
Duval County, is a plaintiff, along with Reverend Jesse Jackson.
"People are very upset," Brown told the Los Angeles Times.
"They are stopping me in the grocery stores and in church, asking
me what I'm going to do about it. . . . There is not a doubt in my mind
that Al Gore won the state of Florida."
Our involvement in the next few weeks is essential to assert
democratic control over the election process. The price of liberty is
eternal vigilance. This article is a collaboration of over a dozen
people who have been researching and documenting the truth. It provides
a point by point analysis of some key myths. Please read, copy, and
forward to friends, relatives and colleagues! ... 9) Myth: The election process in Florida outside of Palm Beach
County was fair.
Fact: Actually, thousands of irregularities in over a half-dozen
categories have already been reported:
-Ballots ran out in certain precincts according to the LA Times on
-Carpools of African-American voters were stopped by police,
according to the Los Angeles Times (11/10/00). In some cases, officers
demanded to see a "taxi license".
-Polls closed with people still in line in Tampa, according to the
-In Osceola County, ballots did not line up properly, possibly
causing Gore voters to have their ballots cast for Harry Browne. Also,
Hispanic voters were required to produce two forms of ID when only one
is required. (source: Associated Press)
-Dozens, and possibly hundreds, of voters in Broward County were
unable to vote because the Supervisor of Elections did not have enough
staff to verify changes of address.
-Voters were mistakenly removed from voter rolls because their names
were similar to those of ex-cons. (source: Mother Jones magazine,
-According to Reuters news service (11/8/00), many voters received
pencils rather than pens when they voted, in violation of state law.
-According to the Miami Herald, many Haitian-American voters were
turned away from precincts where they were voting for the first time
-According to Feed Magazine (www.feedmag.com), the mayoral candidate
whose election in Miami was overturned due to voter fraud, Xavier
Suarez, said he was involved in preparing absentee ballots for George W.
Bush. (11/9/00, reported at
-According to tompaine.com, CBS's Dan Rather reported a possible
computer error in Volusia County, Florida, where James Harris, a
Socialist Workers Party candidate, won 9,888 votes. He won 583 in the
rest of the state. [11/9/00] County-level results for Florida are
available at cnn.com.
-Many African-American first-time voters who registered at motor
vehicles offices or in campus voter registration drives did not appear
on the voting rolls, according to a hearing conducted by the NAACP and
televised on C-SPAN on 11/12/00. For the rest of this informative article, see
Our involvement in the next few weeks is essential to assert democratic control over the election process. The price of liberty is eternal vigilance. This article is a collaboration of over a dozen people who have been researching and documenting the truth. It provides a point by point analysis of some key myths. Please read, copy, and forward to friends, relatives and colleagues!
9) Myth: The election process in Florida outside of Palm Beach County was fair.
Fact: Actually, thousands of irregularities in over a half-dozen categories have already been reported:
-Ballots ran out in certain precincts according to the LA Times on 11/10/00.
-Carpools of African-American voters were stopped by police, according to the Los Angeles Times (11/10/00). In some cases, officers demanded to see a "taxi license".
-Polls closed with people still in line in Tampa, according to the Associated Press.
-In Osceola County, ballots did not line up properly, possibly causing Gore voters to have their ballots cast for Harry Browne. Also, Hispanic voters were required to produce two forms of ID when only one is required. (source: Associated Press)
-Dozens, and possibly hundreds, of voters in Broward County were unable to vote because the Supervisor of Elections did not have enough staff to verify changes of address.
-Voters were mistakenly removed from voter rolls because their names were similar to those of ex-cons. (source: Mother Jones magazine, http://www.motherjones.com/news_wire/floridavote.html)
-According to Reuters news service (11/8/00), many voters received pencils rather than pens when they voted, in violation of state law.
-According to the Miami Herald, many Haitian-American voters were turned away from precincts where they were voting for the first time (11/10/00)
-According to Feed Magazine (www.feedmag.com), the mayoral candidate whose election in Miami was overturned due to voter fraud, Xavier Suarez, said he was involved in preparing absentee ballots for George W. Bush. (11/9/00, reported at http://www.feedmag.com/templates/daily.php3?a_id=1389)
-According to tompaine.com, CBS's Dan Rather reported a possible computer error in Volusia County, Florida, where James Harris, a Socialist Workers Party candidate, won 9,888 votes. He won 583 in the rest of the state. [11/9/00] County-level results for Florida are available at cnn.com.
-Many African-American first-time voters who registered at motor vehicles offices or in campus voter registration drives did not appear on the voting rolls, according to a hearing conducted by the NAACP and televised on C-SPAN on 11/12/00.
For the rest of this informative article, see
Florida's Lessons For Black Leaders
Everyone, and we mean everyone, White or Black, should take their hat off or bow in respect for what the NAACP and Black opinion leaders did in Florida. The Black voter turnout in that state was simply unbelievable and without question is the only reason that Al Gore is as close as he is to winning the presidency. Black Get-Out-The-Vote (GOTV) efforts deserve a tremendous amount of credit for this impressive show.
Black voter turn-out rose a whopping 65% in Florida this year. In 1996, Black Floridians cast 527,000 votes and in this election not counting the tens of thousand of votes that were not counted, 952,000 Blacks voted and overwhelmingly Democratic.
However, accounts of voter confusion, intimidation and
voting rights violations do indicate that Black GOTV-efforts may have
focused too much on the ends (high turnout) rather than the means
(removing impediments to accurate voting). There is compelling evidence
that more than the necessary amount of votes needed to put Al Gore over
the top in his presidential race were lost due to the
previously-mentioned reasons: ballot confusion, intimidation and voting
|By John Mintz and Dan Keating
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, December 3, 2000; Page A01
Heavily Democratic and African American neighborhoods in Florida lost many more presidential votes than other areas because of outmoded voting machines and rampant confusion about ballots, a precinct-by-precinct analysis by The Washington Post shows.
As many as one in three ballots in black sections of Jacksonville, for example, did not count in the presidential contest. That was four times as many as in white precincts elsewhere in mostly Republican Duval County.
According to the Post analysis, in Miami-Dade County precincts where fewer than 30 percent of the voters are black, about 3 percent of ballots did not register a vote for president. In precincts where more than 70 percent of the voters are African American, it was nearly 10 percent.
For the rest of this article, something of a first for the mainstream media, see
|Slavery’s Legacy Shackled the Black VoteAnd Cost Gore Thousands of Ballots
by Laura Conaway & James Ridgeway
The Village Voice
They meant to vote for Al Gore. Many came from the black, poor, education-deprived neighborhoods of Jacksonville, and had never cast a ballot before. But they got on the buses in Duval County, Florida, and they went to the polls. They did just what the Democratic organizers instructed: Punch a hole on every page.
And because the list of presidential contenders spilled over two pages, thousands and thousands of them an estimated one-third of the voters in some precincts punched the hole for Gore, then invalidated their choice by stamping a minor-party candidate on the following leaf. In all, 27,000 Duval ballots had to be thrown out.
If Al Gore winds up losing this election by the skin of few hundred votes, he can chalk up his defeat not to the avowed support of Floridians for George W. Bush, not to badly designed ballots, but to a centuries-old national system of labor, education, and politics designed to keep African Americans from rising above the legacy of chattel slavery. Gore and his lawyers can hunt until doomsday for enough votes to prove he won, but they'll never rescue the botched ballots of the barely literate nor find a way to count the votes of minorities kept from the polls.
Duval County is only the starting point. Down to their foreshortened life expectancy, the black citizens there are the picture of a people held back. As recently as 1993, 47 percent of the county's residents were judged to be functionally illiterate, meaning they could read at a level no higher than ninth grade. Even well-educated citizens are often confused by the instructions in a voting booth, but those who can't make sense of an average newspaper have been disenfranchised long before Election Day. For this, some of Duval's black voters in particular were made to feel not merely unlearned, but dumb. "I kept looking around, pleading for help," a first-time voter told The New York Times. "But they just kept saying, 'Read it, read it.' "
For the rest of this article, consult:
|Who are Katherine Harris and
The Carlos Balino Institute, 11/16/00
Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris is a multimillionaire former real estate broker, elected in 1998, who was a Bush delegate to the Republican National Convention and is co-chairwoman of the Bush campaign in Florida. A profile in the Washington Post paints a picture of a corrupt political hack who traveled at state expense to Barbados, Brazil and other locations of little relevance to Florida election law.
Harris's political career flourished despite a scandal involving illegal campaign contributions to her 1994 state senate campaign by Riscorp, a Florida insurance company. Five people pleaded guilty, Riscorp's founder went to prison, and Harris's campaign director was named an "unindicted co-conspirator." Harris went on to become the chief election official of the state of Florida.
Ellis is the first cousin of George W. and Jeb Bush. He was hired by Fox News only a month before the vote to head the network's "call desk", which handled the exit poll results reported by Voters News Service, a consortium of the five major networks, and decided when to declare a state for Bush or Gore. Fox became the first network to "call" Florida for Bush, an action which triggered similar declarations by the other networks. Within 15 minutes, Vice President Gore was on the phone offering a concession statement which he reversed soon afterwards, after Florida Democrats called Gore headquarters to alert him that the vote totals in the state were still extremely close.
We are hearing reports from folks listening to the Jacksonville media that 27,000 votes were disqualified for double punching but they have disappeared. Many of these were reportedly from the north side, Jacksonville's black community. Were they punching prez and veep as is reported to have been the case in Palm Beach? Actually in Jax, the ballot was poorly marked, it had 2 pages of presidential candidates and people were reported to have thought that the second page was state senate races. Here is one version of the story in the local paper, The Florida Times Union. Naturally, these folks say nothing about how many of these votes are from the African American community!
|Sunday, November 12, 2000
Story last updated at 12:10 a.m. on Sunday, November 12, 2000
If able to, Gore campaign wants recount of Duval County vote
By Mark Reynolds
Times-Union staff writer
Regional officials with the Gore campaign hoped the state might afford yet another recount of votes in Duval County Saturday.
Meanwhile, they accused Jacksonville election managers of providing misleading information about the voiding of 27,000 votes in Tuesday's presidential election.
State law required the nullifications because voters marked more than one candidate or they failed to mark any candidate, but critics are bemoaning the slowness of election officials to detect the problem. The 27,000 votes were never counted, and election officials say there's no way for them to gauge the effect on either candidate.
"I may have lost my right to file a claim under the Florida law, to file a petition for a manual recount, or even another electronic recount," said Mike Langton, chairman of the Northeast Florida Gore campaign.
Langton said the possibility of another recount was unclear because he did not know whether Duval's official vote tally had been certified. Initially, Langton said, a manual recount must be requested within 72 hours of the election, but yesterday there was some question as to whether the deadline is not until the official vote tally is certified.
"I don't know the answer to the question," Langton said. "I don't know how the heck I'm going to find out."
The county's tally was sent via facsimile to Tallahassee on Thursday and mailed on Friday, said Susan Tucker Johnson, a spokeswoman for Duval County Supervisor of Elections John Stafford.
Johnson said Stafford had not received official confirmation as of yesterday that the vote was certified by the state.
Johnson said 21,942 ballots were nullified when voters punched their ballots for two candidates for president. An additional 4,967 either did not vote for president or did not punch the ballot hard enough for their vote to be registered, she said.
Langton has said he specifically asked Stafford how many votes were "rejected" earlier in the week and Stafford told him 200 to 300.
Johnson said the two men miscommunicated. She said Stafford was addressing the number of additional votes that Gore received in the recount.
Langton said he finds that explanation "ludicrous" because Stafford should have known that he already knew that information.
For current version, check out:
Judge grants injunction to freeze Palm Beach vote certification
WEST PALM BEACH, Florida (CNN) -- As the controversy continued to mount Friday over alleged voting irregularities in Palm Beach County, county officials said they would recount the vote by hand, a congressman said a circuit court judge must determine the "the will of the voters" and a judge issued an injunction freezing certification of the vote in that county.
Deutsch said a sample ballot distributed in advance of the election did not match the actual ballot.......
....Several lawsuits challenging election results have been filed in state court by Palm Beach voters. Protesters in front of the county's elections supervisor's office demanded a "re-vote" in the race because of what one plaintiff described as "crossword puzzle" ballots.
Wexler said those votes were concentrated in African-American communities -- which traditionally vote Democratic.
County Elections Supervisor Theresa LePore confirmed that 19,120 votes had been disqualified, but did not explain why.
For the full story, see
|Radio Havana Cuba, 11/10/00: Seventy-two hours after the polls closed in U.S. general elections, it is still impossible to determine who will be the president of the country that has always presented itself as the very model of democracy. That the state of Florida has become the center of this unprecedented crisis, has its roots in the erroneous foreign policy Washington has followed with respect to its relations with Cuba. It has been the activities of fanatic, anti-Cuba groups that caused the U.S. electoral crisis in the state of Florida. And it is not the first time. The scandalous kidnapping of little Elian Gonzalez was engineered by those extreme right-wing groups. Now, in their desperation for George W. Bush to win Florida's electoral votes, and thus take the presidency, extremist Cuban-Americans have once again resorted to trickery. Terrorist Cuban-Americans have a history of illegal activities in the United States. We recall that in the l970's, four of them broke into Democratic Party headquarters causing the Watergate Scandal that cost Richard Nixon the presidency. The continued illegal actions of these dangerous thugs, who have made Miami their headquarters, have managed to involve U.S. government officials in innumerable problems and international scandals which have seriously undermined Washington's prestige to the point that it has lost international support for its anti-Cuba policies. That was made clear once again on Thursday in the United Nations, when for the ninth straight year, the General Assembly passed a resolution condemning Washington's blockade against Cuba. This time, the vote was an overwhelming 167 in favor of the resolution presented by Cuba, with three against and four abstentions. Now, with the great scandal of the U.S. presidential elections, charges are once again being leveled at Miami's Cuban American Mafia, in various counties where it was necessary to re-count votes and where some are calling for the election results to be annulled. It remains unclear when and how the accusations of fraudulent elections will be resolved in that important southern state. It is also unclear just when U.S. federal authorities will totally divorce themselves from the Florida anti-Cuba terrorists and prosecute them for their illegal and disruptive activities.|
Vanishing Votes in Volusia?
A Florida Democratic Party official has raised a concern that thousands of votes for Gore may have been omitted from the Democrat’s vote total because of a computer error in Volusia County.
The problem was due to a faulty computer disk that contained results from a particular precinct, but county officials have not yet said specifically what the trouble was.
According to Bob Poe, state chairman for the Florida Democratic Party, Democrats had received reports of an instance in which a preliminary voting count this morning for Gore in Volusia County, reported by Florida election officials, actually decreased by about 10,000 over time, before climbing again.
“Now that might have been a typo, who knows,” he told ABCNEWS.com. “Stranger things have happened in Volusia County.”
The alleged decrease may also have been detected by Miles Gibson, a PhD candidate and instructor at the University of Virginia, who says he recorded 2,716,995 votes for Gore in Florida at 2:06 a.m. this morning and then 2,707,798 votes for Gore at around 2:15 a.m., while following a national newscast.
“I can’t certify these numbers, but I was paying extremely careful attention,” Gibson said.
ABCNEWS reported the same figures. At around 2:04 A.M., the network gave Gore 2,716,995 votes in Florida. About ten minutes laters, the network said Gore had 2,707,798.
ABCNEWS drew its data from Voter News Service, a consortium created by the networks to share raw polling data.
A Volusia county court judge said today there is nothing to indicate Volusia’s unofficial vote count is flawed or that appropriate procedures were not followed.
The county’s Canvassing Board will meet today to discuss the matter and the judge directed that three members representing the Democratic and Republican parties be present. State election officials could not be reached for comment.
Judge Michael McDermott also ordered Volusia’s election office secured and all ballots were locked in the office vault.
“We will doing everything it takes to make sure the public has full confidence in the ballot count here,” McDermott said.
“We’re hearing all sorts of things. Right now we’re trying to sift through what’s true and, you know, this is the most bizarre thing I’ve ever seen,” said Poe.
For the whole article, see
|Radio Havana Cuba, 11/9/00: The combination of the electoral and the popular vote results, as well as the antics of the U.S. mainstream media to announce the new president-elect without the official results, turns the ridiculous U.S. electoral system into a balancing act. Tuesday's elections and the confusing results bring about a logical end to an electoral show. The whole farce was seen on television and the INTERNET while the important issues and ideas were totally lost. The campaign to point out the defects, real or imagined, of their rival was George W. Bush and Albert Gore's only way to be different from the other candidate. They have similar positions on many issues and most of their positions lack any social content. Election Day results showed the existing contradiction between the electoral votes and the only ones that should really count: the popular vote. Tuesday's elections also point to the disproportionate role of the Electoral College -- 538 votes that have enough power to ignore the opinion of the majority. The vote re-count in Florida has ended up creating an atmosphere of anxiety and uncertainty among not only the U.S. people but also abroad. The frivolity with which the American mainstream media approached the electoral campaign reached its peak on Tuesday when well-known TV anchors had to apologize for announcing the new president-elect before the official results were in. In the final analysis, Tuesday's presidential elections showed how vulnerable the U.S. system is, despite Washington's self-proclaimed "model of democracy." (c) 2000 Radio Habana Cuba|
November 9, 2000
By Sasha Abramsky
Thousands of Florida residents were struck from the voter lists because they were mistakenly identified as ex-felons, just months before what has become the closest election in US history. With Bush apparently leading Gore by only hundreds of votes, in a state with hundreds of thousands of disenfranchised voters, could similar errors be tipping the race?
... But even more disturbing is the possibility that a significant number of Floridians may have been wrongfully barred from voting -- perhaps enough to have tipped the race.
Just months ago, nearly 12,000 Floridians were informed by the state Division of Elections that they had lost their voting rights because of felony convictions in other states. But the company hired by the state to compile that list of names made a massive mistake and misidentified thousands of people, according to the Palm Beach Post and other Florida papers. In response to a barrage of complaints from irate voters, nearly 8,000 of those who had received the notices were subsequently reinstated on the eligible voter lists in time for yesterday's vote.
George Bruder, senior vice president of the Boca Raton-based company, Database Technologies, called the inaccurate lists "a miscommunication." Representatives of the company did not return calls inquiring as to whether the other 4,000 voters on the list turned out to be genuine felons or ultimately had their voting rights restored. Florida election officials also could not be reached for comment.
Several papers reported that white state Highway Patrol officers set up a checkpoint near a balloting site in a heavily black district in Broward County, allegedly prompting state and federal officials to investigate whether the incident amounted to intimidation against African-American voters.
|Voters allege election mischief
By BILL COTTERELL AND GERALD ENSLEY
Charges of voter intimidation were raised Tuesday, involving a Highway Patrol roadblock in one case and marked sample ballots in another.
An FHP spokesman said the purpose of the roadblock had been misinterpreted; the elections supervisor said distributing filled-in sample ballots outside a voting place was not illegal.
The U.S. Department of Justice called for an inquiry into complaints that black voters may have been intimidated by the FHP road-safety checkpoint near a polling place in southern Leon County. But Maj. Ken Howes, the FHP spokesman, said the sergeant and three troopers were unaware they were only 1.4 miles from the First Baptist Church of Woodville, a precinct where about one-third of the voters are black.
Assistant Florida Attorney General Paul Hancock said a few voters had notified the Civil Rights Division of the checkpoint at Oak Ridge Road and Woodville Highway. He said the federal government had asked the state for a report.
"This was not done in accordance with normal procedures," Hancock said. "We certainly see the sensitivity of the black community to the situation like this, for people on their way to vote."
For more, see http://www.tdo.com/news/local/1108.loc.complaints.htm
|"Black Ex-Felons Could
Have Made The Difference For Al Gore"
It is a paradoxical situation. If it turns out that Al Gore loses Florida and the Electoral College to George W. Bush, he may have more to blame than malfunctioning ballot machines and Nader supporters. If he and his supporters are honest, they may have to blame the Clinton -Gore administration and a criminal justice system that locked up Blacks wholesale, over the last 8 years, for non-violent offenses.
Because 13 percent of all Black men can not vote because of incarceration and past felony convictions, and because this presidential election is so close, it may very well prove to be true that Blacks who have served their time in prison and gone on to lead productive and reformed lives, could have provided the margin of victory for Al Gore and Democrats in Congressional races, if they were allowed to vote.
This very real possibility is based on the expectation that party affiliations for Black ex-offenders would mirror those in the larger Black population - with Blacks overwhelmingly registered as Democrats. A very dear friend of mine who campaigned on behalf of Al Gore told me that in her Get-Out-The Vote (GOTV) efforts she heard over and over again, from the Blacks that she made outreach to, that they could not vote because of they criminal records. In addition to this, several of my friends and I have people close to them who have lost the right to vote because of their criminal records.
And because this dilemma affects Blacks at a much higher clip than other groups, it may very well have determined the outcome of the 2000 elections in the race for the presidency and in several congressional races. And maybe even more dramatically, it may have determined the outcome in hotly contested Florida. In Florida, it is believed that 1 in 3 Black men have lost their right to vote because of criminal justice issues.
And it does not end there. Pull out an electoral map and the votingreturns and compare it to the Reuters article that follows. You can see that the outcome of the 2000 presidential race, at least, was affected by the incarceration of Blacks:
Friday November 3 4:12 PM ET
13 Percent of Black Men in America Have No Vote
By Mary Gabriel
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - With efforts to get out the vote in full swing ahead of Tuesday's election, activists hoping to rally minority communities face a legal roadblock -- 13 percent of black men have lost the right to vote because of incarceration or past felony convictions. In Alabama and Florida, one study found, the total is as high as one in three.
``About 1.8 million men are disenfranchised within the African-American community,'' said Keenan Keller, minority counsel for the House Judiciary Committee, where a bill to extend voting rights to ex-offenders has languished for more than a year. ``In certain swing states, the number of folks who are disenfranchised could actually have a direct impact on the election,'' he said, adding that because of aggressive policing linked to the war on drugs the impact on future elections could be great. ``You have the situation where juveniles can lose the right to vote before they even get it,'' he said.
The Sentencing Project, a Washington, D.C., organization that promotes alternative sentencing programs, reports that in 47 states and the District of Columbia, all convicted adults in prison are denied voting rights while they are incarcerated. Thirty two states also deny paroled felons the right to vote, 29 deny felons on probation the vote, and in 13 states ex-offenders lose their voting rights for life.
Only Maine, Vermont and Massachusetts allow prisoners convicted of felonies to vote. But that right is on the ballot in Massachusetts on Tuesday when voters will be asked to decide whether to disenfranchise prisoners in that state.
Laws Based On Civil Death Laws denying criminals the right to vote have been on the books in the United States for 200 years. They are based on the belief that those who break the law should suffer ``civil death'' and forfeit some rights. Roger Clegg, general counsel for the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Equal Opportunity, has testified before the House Judiciary Committee on the issue. He said there are good reasons why the criminal disenfranchisement law should be maintained. ``The basic point is that somebody who is not willing to follow the law should not have a role in making the laws for everyone else. That's what you're doing when youvote,'' Clegg said in a telephone interview. ``There has to be some sort of minimum threshold of trustworthiness or loyalty an individual must have before they have a role in running the government.'' But those advocating a change say the old ``civil death'' laws could not have envisioned a society in which millions of people -- convicted of crimes ranging from murder to non-violent theft -- lose their right to vote. They say once a criminal has served their sentence they should be free to participate in the political process. Like the dark days of segregation, when laws were manufactured to keep blacks out of the voting booth, some today are reviewing the rules governing voting rights for felons to see whether they disproportionately affect the African-American community and muzzle its political voice.
In all, 4.2 million Americans -- either current prison inmates or
ex-offenders -- are not allowed to vote. Of those, more than one third
are black, according to The Sentencing Project. That amounts to 13
percent of all black men. ``We estimate in our report that for black
males born today, in the most restrictive states, 30 to 40 percent of
them will lose their voting rights at some point in their life,'' said
Mark Mauer, the group's assistant director. In 1998, The Sentencing
Project and Human Rights Watch looked at the extent of criminal
disenfranchisement and found that in Alabama and Florida, 31 percent of
all black men were permanently disenfranchised. In five other states --
Iowa, Mississippi, New Mexico, Virginia and Wyoming -- one in four black
men were permanently disenfranchised, and in Texas one in five black men
had lost the right to vote.
For months, we have argued that the high incarceration rates which have largely occurred under the Clinton-Gore administration and due to racial disparities in sentencing, were making the unemployment rate in the Black community look artificially low. We have said that if the incarceration rate of Blacks is figured into the unemployment statistics, the Black unemployment rate is almost 10% and not near 7% as the Clinton-Gore administration and mainstream media argue. And for years, we have seen die-hard Black Democrats go along with White Democrats who were praising the Clinton-Gore administration for being tough on crime, even in the face of data that clearly demonstrates that Blacks were being disproportionately arrested and receiving stiffer sentences than their white counterparts.
And it has been the Clinton-Gore administration that has ignored or offered soft support to efforts by Congressional Black Caucus members like Rep. Maxine Waters (D-California) who have tried to correct this problem.
Now, in dramatic fashion, the criminal justice system crisis that has devastated Black families in terms of economics and the break-up of two-parent homes, may have cost the Democrats the White House.
While it may be easier-to-swallow and sexier to blame Ralph Nader and
some ballot box shenanigans that may have gone on in Florida for a
possible Gore defeat - Democrats, and Black Democrats, in particular -
may want to consider the contribution that the
"tough-on-crime" policies of the Clinton-Gore administration
and New Democrats made to taking Blacks out of the voting process in the
last 8 years. It may have cost them an election.
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