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ABC News: Botched Ballots - Black Voters Angry Their Votes Weren’t Counted, 11/19

Real Vote Victims: Minorities
, 11/17

Black Caucus letter to Janet Reno demands vote fraud investigation, 11/14/00

Massive vote fraud against African Americans in Election 2000

The NAACP held hearing in Florida on the numerous abuses comitted against African Americans around their rights to vote.  The Congressional Black Caucus is working with the results of that testimony and is demanding an investigation. The major media ignored this until 11/17 when the NAACP turned over a report to the Justice Department and 11/19, when ABC News had a story about, deprecating people's concern over the denial of rights by ascribing the "errors" to first time voters who did not know how to vote!

For more on voter fraud, see The Banana Republic - Elections 2000

ABC News: Botched Ballots - Black Voters Angry Their Votes Weren’t Counted, 11/19

M I A M I, Nov. 19 — In Florida’s black churches today, amid the rhythm, rapture and fellowship, there was anger about the number of black votes that were disqualified in the presidential election.
    

     “If our ancestors fought to get us the right to vote, then our vote ought to count,” says Rev. Rudolf McKissic, Jr. of the Bethel Baptist Missionary Church in Jacksonville.
     Some were using even stronger language.
     “Someone is trying to steal this election,” Bishop Victor Curry told his congregation at the New Birth Baptist Church in Miami today.

High Disqualification Rate

Much has been said about Palm Beach County — home of the now-infamous butterfly ballot — and the residents who had their votes thrown out because of mistakes in the voting booth.
     But the disqualification rate was much worse in places with large African-American populations. For example, 6 percent of the residents in Palm Beach County misvoted, but in rural Gadsden County, it was 12 percent, and in rural Glades County, 11 percent. And in certain predominantly black precincts in Miami-Dade County, 10 percent of the votes were thrown out.
     The most common problem was “overvoting” — botching the ballot by voting for more than one candidate.
     “[It’s] much, much more than I’ve ever seen anywhere else in the country,” says Kim Brace of Elections Data Services. According to Brace, more than 100,000 Floridians overvoted, 30 times more often than past presidential elections. 

For the full story, see abcnews.go.com/onair/WorldNewsSaturday/wnt001119_ELECTION_blackvote_feature.html

Real Vote Victims: Minorities, 11/17

Real Vote Victims: Minorities
by Juan Gonzales
Columnist, NY Daily News, 11/17/00

What will it take for the American public to realize that Florida's presidential election last week was tarnished by something far worse than a confusing and possibly illegal butterfly ballot in Palm Beach County?

Black and Hispanic leaders have insisted ever since Election Day that gross violations of the Voting Rights Act occurred all over the state, yet the Justice Department and the media keep ignoring the allegations.

Congress passed the act specifically to dismantle the Jim Crow laws - including poll taxes and literacy tests - that kept blacks from voting in the South for most of the 20th century.

Yet here is a presidential election that may be swayed because federal law was violated in one state.

Section 11(a) the Voting Rights Act says: "No person acting under color of law shall fail or refuse to permit any person to vote who is ... otherwise qualified to vote, or willfully fail or refuse to tabulate, count and report such person's vote."

Nothing like that happened in Florida, you say?

Well, listen to these accounts.

Stacy Powers is a middle-age white woman, a former cop who is the news director of WTMP, an AM radio station in Tampa. On Election Day, she traveled around city neighborhoods providing regular news reports to her station.

What she saw, Powers said, made her want to cry.

She said she entered several polling places in the black community where people were being turned away and told their names were not on voter lists. She tried to intercede with poll workers, reminding them that a person can file an affidavit vote even if they don't appear on the list. She was rebuffed, Powers said, and ejected from several polling places.

Later in the day, Powers saw several police cars running a traffic check at the entrance to a polling place in another black neighborhood. She said she watched in disbelief as two officers searched an elderly African-American man. Powers told her story at a public hearing held by the NAACP this weekend in Miami, and she repeated it to me this week.

She was only one of more than a score of witnesses who told how they had been prevented from voting. A Miami woman, Donnise DeSouza, was told she was not on a voting list even though her newly registered son was. She was sent to various polling places to find her name and never was allowed to vote. The next day, she checked with the elections board and found that her name was indeed on the list.

Others said they were told they had been dropped from the rolls as convicted felons, even though they'd never been arrested. Black college students testified that they had registered this summer but their names did not appear on voter lists.

In Tampa, a black Republican named Joe Robinson has filed a suit contesting the results in Hillsborough County. He alleges that 1,209 absentee ballots were rejected by the the county's three-member canvassing board the day before Election Day. His suit calls for all disqualified ballots to be inspected.

Then there is the amazing story of Jacksonville and surrounding Duval County.

We all know about the 19,000 ballots in Palm Beach County, where people mistakenly voted for two presidential candidates. Well, in Duval, a Republican area, nearly 27,000 were disqualified, 22,000 of them for overvoting for President. Of those 22,000, more than 12,000 came from four districts that are virtually all black.

The four districts, with less than one-third of all the voting precincts in the county, had nearly 60% of the disqualified votes. In some black precincts, more than 30% of the votes were disqualified, said Mike Langton, head of the Gore campaign in northern Florida.

Langton said canvassing board officials never told him about all the disqualified votes. He learned of them when he was contacted by a reporter a few hours before the deadline to ask for a manual recount. By then, the Gore campaign had already announced that it was focusing its manual recount request on four other counties.

Isaiah Rumlin of the Jacksonville NAACP said the mixup was caused because the presidential candidates were printed on two pages, but the instructions at the front of the ballot told people to vote on every page.

Duval County had one of the highest ballot disqualification rates in the state, 9.3%. That's triple the voided-ballot rate of the last presidential election.

There have been so many complaints of voting-rights violations that the Congressional Black Caucus yesterday urged Attorney General Janet Reno to begin an investigation.

"This is a corrupted, tainted process, an attempt to steal an election," the Rev. Jesse Jackson said yesterday during a press conference in Manhattan.

The South of Jim Crow days has not totally changed, Jackson said. Blacks, Hispanics and even Jews must still defend the right not only to vote, but to have their votes counted.

While the Gore and Bush campaigns lock horns in the courts, Jackson called for demonstrations at federal buildings across the country – beginning today at noon in Foley Square - to demand that all of Florida's votes be counted.

NAACP turns over Florida report to Justice Department

WIRE:11/17/2000 09:03:00 ET
NAACP turns over Florida report to Justice Department

BALTIMORE, Nov 17 (Reuters) - The NAACP said on Friday that it has given the U.S. Justice Department a report on election irregularities suggesting that blacks and others were denied the right to vote in Florida"s Nov. 7 presidential ballot. The report contains testimony from 20 witnesses who told a Miami hearing of the National Association of the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) that they were prevented from voting by election staff, questioned by police or subjected to other irregularities. On Tuesday, a spokeswoman for the nation"s oldest and largest civil rights organization had said the report would not be ready until next week. "The NAACP was appalled to hear testimony of conduct that would clearly adversely impact the voting strength of Florida"s minority voters and that could be reasonably considered an intentional effort to deny the franchise to voters of color," NAACP President Kweisi Mfume said in a statement. Blacks generally supported Democratic nominee Al Gore in the election. The NAACP called on U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno to investigate claims of irregularities last week, saying there was evidence that authorities violated the constitutional rights of voters. It also has charged that blacks in Michigan, Virginia and Florida were subjected to fraudulent pre-election phone calls suggesting the NAACP had endorsed Republican nominee George W. Bush. Its warnings have since been echoed by lawmakers from the Congressional Black Caucus. Mfume and other top NAACP officials have openly criticized the Justice Department for what they see as a failure to take the initiative in addressing reports of wrongdoing. "We abhor the countless horror stories from minority voters across the country and are incensed that no one seems to care," Mfume said. Florida"s ballot, which has become engulfed in legal arguments since the Nov. 7 vote, will decide whether Gore or Bush wins the presidency by delivering 25 Electoral College votes to the victor. Bush currently leads Gore by 300 votes in the state.

Black Caucus letter to Janet Reno demands investigation, 11/14/00

November 14, 2000

The Honorable Janet Reno
Attorney General United States Department of Justice
Washington, D.C. 20530

Dear Attorney General Reno:

We are writing to request a formal investigation into serious allegations of violations of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that have been made during and after the November 7, 2000 elections in Florida and across the United States. Victims of and witnesses to election day irregularities and discriminatory practices at voting precincts have come forward in unprecedented numbers. On November 11, the NAACP conducted a hearing at which numerous witnesses presented information about discriminatory practices that occurred in Florida. After reviewing the allegations made at the NAACP hearing and hearing numerous other allegations from our constituents and other citizens throughout the country, we believe that there is substantial evidence indicating that many African-Americans and other minorities were denied their fundamental rights as citizens of the

United States. We urge you to move quickly to determine the validity of each of these allegations and to take appropriate legal steps to remedy any violations you find.

The information presented at the Florida NAACP hearings included first-hand accounts from victims and eyewitnesses of the following:

1. that citizens who were properly registered were denied the right to vote because election officials could not find their names on the precinct rolls and that some of these voters went to their polling place with registration identification cards but still were denied the right to vote;

2. that registered voters were denied the right to vote because of minor discrepancies between the name appearing on the registration lists and the name on their identification;

3. that first-time voters who sent in voter registration forms prior to the state's deadline

for registration were denied the right to vote because their registration forms were not

processed and their names did not appear on the precinct rolls;

4. that African-American voters were singled out for criminal background checks at some precincts and that one voter who had never been arrested was denied the right to vote after being told that he had a prior felony conviction;

5. that African-American voters were required to show photo identification while white voters at the same precincts were not subjected to the same requirement;

6. that voters who requested absentee ballots did not receive them but were denied the right to vote when they went to the precinct in person on election day;

7. that hundreds of absentee ballots of registered voters in Hillsborough County (a county covered by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act) were improperly rejected by the Supervisor of Elections and were not counted;

8. that African-American voters who requested assistance at the polls were denied assistance;

9. that Haitian-American voters who requested the assistance of a volunteer Creole/English speaker who was willing to translate the ballot for limited English proficient voters were denied such assistance;

10. that police stopped African-American voters as they entered and exited a polling place in Progress Village Center; and

11. that election officials failed to notify voters in a predominantly African-American

precinct that their polling place, a school, was closed and failed to direct them by signs or other means to the proper polling location.

In addition to the accounts presented at the NAACP hearing, we are aware of other allegations of possible Voting Rights Act violations in Florida. For example, there are reports that 200 Puerto Rican voters in Orange County were unable to vote because

they could not produce more than one piece of identification or were unable to understand the ballots because of the County's failure to provide ballots in Spanish or Spanish interpreters at the polls. Orange County is a covered county under Section 203c of the Voting Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. 1973aa-1a.

We are also aware of unprecedented numbers of complaints of similar problems in other parts of the United States. Calls flooded our offices, the NAACP and other agencies seeking to lodge complaints about registered voters who were turned away from the polls

because their names mysteriously did not appear in the precinct books. In North Carolina, numerous voters who registered at the Department of Motor Vehicles under the provisions of the NVRA or otherwise properly registered this year were told that they could not vote because their names did not appear on the precinct books and were denied the right to cast "provisional" ballots as allowed by North Carolina law. In Virginia, there were numerous complaints of voters who registered in social services offices under the provisions of the NVRA who were not allowed to vote because their registrations

were not recorded. Also in Virginia, numerous students at Norfolk State University registered but were not allowed to vote when they tried to do so at the appropriate precinct. In New York City there were numerous reports that minority voters were denied the right to vote and in Saint Louis, eyewitnesses say that at some precincts African-American voters were asked to show ID, while white voters in the same line were not asked to produce any identification.

These allegations raise potential violations of Sections 2 and 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, 42 U.S.C. ? 1973, as well as several provisions of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, 42 U.S.C. 1973gg-5(a). The Department of Justice must fully

carry out its responsibilities to vigorously enforce these statutes. We call upon you to take all steps necessary to determine the extent of Voting Rights Act violations, not only in Florida where violations may have been decisive to the outcome of the election, but in other states where it is equally crucial that a complete and reliable factual record be developed and appropriate remedies be pursued.

The right of every U.S. citizen to cast a ballot and have that ballot counted must be protected without compromise and without regard to the voter's race. This is a task for the federal government because federal guarantees in federal elections are at stake. Moreover, time is of the essence because this is surely a situation in which justice delayed would be justice denied.

Thank you for your immediate attention to this urgent request to safeguard the most basic right of citizens of the United States --- the right to vote.

James E. Clyburn

Chair, CBC

Melvin L. Watt

Chair, Voting Rights Special Task Force

 

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