Florida’s voter supression scandal

For some reason, this incredible story is not getting much pick-up in the US media, and I know about it only because a reader mailed it to me.

Greg Palast, the investigative reporter who helped uncover many of the sordid details of the repression of black voters in Florida in 2000, has created a terribly disturbing video (RealPlayer) showing that the GOP has created lists of voters in black neighborhoods whom they intend to challenge at the polls, thereby stalling the voting process, scaring people away, and forcing those challenged to vote by provisional ballot, which are often tossed away.

According to a related BBC article, this is being choreographed and sanctioned by top bush campaign officials.

Two e-mails, prepared for the executive director of the Bush campaign in Florida and the campaign’s national research director in Washington DC, contain a 15-page so-called “caging list”.

It lists 1,886 names and addresses of voters in predominantly black and traditionally Democrat areas of Jacksonville, Florida.

An elections supervisor in Tallahassee, when shown the list, told Newsnight: “The only possible reason why they would keep such a thing is to challenge voters on election day.”

Ion Sancho, a Democrat, noted that Florida law allows political party operatives inside polling stations to stop voters from obtaining a ballot.

They may then only vote “provisionally” after signing an affidavit attesting to their legal voting status. Mass challenges have never occurred in Florida. Indeed, says Mr Sancho, not one challenge has been made to a voter “in the 16 years I’ve been supervisor of elections.”

“Quite frankly, this process can be used to slow down the voting process and cause chaos on election day; and discourage voters from voting.”

You have to watch the video to see how insidious this is. They are actively and shamelessly taking away people’s right to vote, especially poor people who are less likely to have the resources to fight back. Welcome back to 2000.

Update: If there’s a problem with the news story link, you can read about it here.

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Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.

The Discussion: 2 Comments

Link don’t work for article. Also, stopping using Jeremy, and just going to initials.

October 31, 2004 @ 10:57 pm | Comment

Matthew Yglesias wrote a thing a few days ago praising the Australian system, where voting is compulsory. The electorate is just a given, and there is no motive to try and stop people voting.

November 1, 2004 @ 8:35 pm | Comment

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