Thursday, August 19, 2004 - Apache Junction, Arizona, USA


Jeb Bush is ready to throw the 2004 Florida presidential election results to his brother again. That’s a pretty heady statement, but let’s take a look at the facts. First, from the 2000 election in Florida.

Florida has a large percentage of black voters, most of whom vote Democratic. The easiest way to swing the election there to George Bush would be to invalidate or eliminate black votes. There are a couple of ways you can do that.

1. Don’t allow black people to vote. Is this possible in this day and age in our country? Indeed it is. It’s also very difficult to verify. No one can be sure of the number of people that were turned away from the polls in Florida or were deprived of their right to vote. But we do know that the Florida attorney general’s office received over 3,600 allegations, over 2,600 complaints, and over 1,000 letters stating that the caller or writer was restricted from voting in the 2000 election.

Both the Democrat and Republican parties received many complaints from Floridians who were restricted from or experienced difficulty when attempting to vote.

A commission was set up to study the Florida voting irregularities. Their report concluded that credible evidence shows many Floridians were denied the right to vote and that these denials fell squarely on persons of color.

2. Spoil the ballots of blacks who do vote. An analysis of the incidence of spoiled ballots (those cast but not counted) shows a correlation between the number of registered African American voters and the rate at which ballots were spoiled. The higher the percentage of blacks, the higher the chance of the vote being spoiled.

Thirty-four percent of the variation in the percentage of spoiled ballots across counties can be explained by the size of the African American population in the counties. Twenty-eight percent of the variation in the percentage of spoiled ballots is explained when considering the percentage of the population that is a member of a minority group. This is way above national averages. It is obvious that race is one factor in explaining why ballots were spoiled in the Florida election.

3. The Florida mandated purge list. Enacted in 1998, a statute required the Division of Elections to contract with a private firm to purge from voter files any deceased person, duplicate registrations, individuals who are declared mentally incompetent to vote, and convicted felons without civil rights restoration.

Many people appeared on this list inaccurately. In Miami-Dade county alone, 5,762 names appeared on the list. Of these, 327 appealed successfully and were returned to the roles. But another 485 names were identified after the election as persons who had had their rights restored, or shouldn’t have been on the list in the first place. 65.4% of them were black.

The commission unequivocally supported the fact that African Americans were denied the right to vote in Florida in 2000. It would not have taken many of these votes to have given the election to Al Gore.

Will things change in Florida for this year’s election? According to Paul Krugman, a New York Times columnist, the answer is a loud NO.

Florida’s new voting machines provide no paper trail as to who voted for whom. Florida officials could easily have mandated that such machines must be used, but they did not. Instead, Republican leaders in private emails to their constitutes strongly suggested that they use absentee ballots to ensure their votes be counted this year. One wonders why?

Recently Flordia state officials drew up another purge list and attempted to keep it secret. When a judge forced release of the list, it turned out to be just as corrupt as the two used in year 2000. Once again, many people were wrongly disenfranchised – mostly African Americans. Very few whites or Hispanics were on the list.

Florida State Police officers have been going to the homes of elderly black voters, including participants in get-out-the-vote operations, and interrogated them as part of what the state says is a fraud investigation. But there is little information from Florida officials about the investigation and it looks remarkably like an attempt to intimidate African-American voters.

I smell an upcoming foul again by the “Brothers of the Bush.”

©2004 Marcia Ellen "Happy" Beevre

# posted by Marcia Ellen @ 3:48 PM
You seem quite cool. Way to be outspoken.
Thanks David!! We need to be outspoken!! :)
You are hilarious. Your opinions speak loud and proud just the way it should be.
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