>Date: Sat, 11 Nov 2000 08:53:57 -0500 >Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org >Sender: email@example.com >From: "Nathan Newman" <firstname.lastname@example.org> >To: <Undisclosed-Recipient:@mr1.its.yale.edu;> >Subject: Florida Voting Rights & Wrongs- Campaign for a Legal Election >X-Priority: 3 >X-Rcpt-To: email@example.com > >Any organization interested in signing onto the Campaign for a Legal >Election's statement, please email firstname.lastname@example.org > >===================================================== > Yale Law Students CAMPAIGN FOR A LEGAL ELECTION > Yale Law School 127 Wall Street New Haven, CT 06511 > (203) 432-4888 email@example.com >===================================================== > >How dare either candidate claim an election victory (or concede) before the >facts of what happened in Florida are determined? Don't let the politicians >or the pundits deprive Florida residents of their voting rights and the rest >of the country of our democratic process. > >Please do your part NOW to change the tone of the debate. > >Don't let the press spin this story to force a hasty solution. Any country >can have a quick result. America is special because we believe in the rule >of law and the protection of constitutional rights. Let's set an example >for the world by proceeding in a patient and dignified way. Any party or >politician that seeks to claim this election prematurely will have violated >our trust and threatened the legitimacy of our government both domestically >and internationally. It is our responsibility to hold them accountable >because we will pay the price. > >Therefore, please do the following: > >1) WRITE TO YOUR HOMETOWN PAPER (please see a sample op-ed piece below; feel >free to use/edit any part of it for letters to the editor, etc.) > >2) CALL IN TO TALK SHOWS where you live and in Florida. You can find out >which staions there are by checking out www.broadcast.com . > >3) SEND THIS AND OTHER E-MAILS TO FRIENDS AND FAMILY. LET PEOPLE KNOW THAT >YOU WILL NOT ACCEPT A RUSH TO JUDGMENT BECAUSE THERE IS TOO MUCH AT STAKE. > > >FOLLOWING IS A STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLES THAT WE ENCOURAGE EVERYONE TO >DISTRIBUTE TO FRIENDS AND/OR SUBSTANTIALLY EDIT AND SUBMIT TO THEIR LOCAL >(HOMETOWN) PAPERS. DON'T DELAY: TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE! > >========================== >Voting Rights and Wrongs in Florida >========================== > >Since Tuesday, many politicians and others have suggested that it is >inappropriate for the results of the election in Florida to be subjected >to a legal challenge. This attitude amounts to a fundamental assault on >the Voting Rights Act and the right to vote guaranteed by state and >federal constitutions. > >The right to vote is the underpinning of our society. As the Supreme >Court has stated, "other rights, even the most basic, are illusory if the >right to vote is undermined." Equally important is the ability to enforce >this right to vote. During the civil rights movement, people struggled >and died not only for the right to vote itself, but also for the right to >pursue legal action if the vote was denied. What James Baker decries as >"unending legal wrangling" is the enforcement mechanism of our >Constitution. > >It is premature for either campaign to declare victory or concede >defeat. It is neither up to Governor Bush nor Vice President Gore to >concede defeat or assume victory until the choice of the people is >clear. As the Florida Supreme Court has stated, "the real parties in >interest" in a legal challenge to the results of an election "are the >voters," not the candidates or their political parties. > >There is too much at stake to let this election pass without scrutinizing >the many reports of problems in Florida: >* Thousands of voters in Palm Beach County may have been effectively >denied their right to vote due to an illegal and unnecessarily confusing >ballot design. >* Polls closed while people were still in line in Tampa. >* Voters were denied ballots on grounds that their precinct had changed. >* Some election officials refused to allow translators in voting booths >for Haitian-Americans in Miami. >* Hispanic voters in Osceola County alleged they were required to produce >two kinds of identification when only one was required. >* At least two absentee ballots have already been invalidated due to >fraudulent submission, in what may be a statewide campaign of absentee >voter fraud. > >Many have said that such "irregularities" exist in every >election. Although that is unfortunately true, a systemic failure in our >election process is not license to ignore the law, especially when the >very outcome of the election may be at stake. In fact, it is only when >elections are subjected to such intense scrutiny that problems such as >poorly designed ballots or racial intimidation surface. > >Courts have the responsibility to ensure that elections are conducted >legally, and to order a new election if necessary. If the Palm Beach >ballots violate Florida law, this is not a legal technicality; laws >provide for a common format for ballots to ensure that the process is >uniform and clear statewide, and that the election reflects the intentions >of the populace. In fact, under Florida law, a new election is only >required if a court finds that violations of elections laws created doubt >as to whether the outcome of the election truly reflects the will of the >people. > > Many people have spoken about the rule of law. What the rule of > law requires, however, is not a blind respect for the ballot count in an > election marred by denials of the right to vote, but a healthy > appreciation of the need for legal redress of any violations. Seeking > legal redress is not being a "poor sport." Rather, it is protecting > one's constitutional rights. > >Other countries look to the United States as a bastion of legality, >stability, and above all democracy. Some have suggested that the >continued uncertainty over the outcome of the election is embarrassing, >but far more embarrassing would be a rush to an incorrect result. Any >country can have quick results. It is a testament to the strength of our >democracy and our legal system that the most powerful people in our >country must wait for the courts to completely address the concerns of >even the most vulnerable American citizens. > >As law students, we are especially concerned about the assault on the right >to use the courts to preserve legal rights. The right to vote was granted >to blacks only after the Civil War and made effective only after the Civil >Rights movement, and was granted to women only after many years of >organizing. To assert that the courts should not intervene to protect >this right undermines the very right itself. The late Supreme Court >Justice Thurgood Marshall, a veteran of the Civil Rights movement himself, >once stated that "the right to vote is preservative of all other >rights." Surely, the ability, indeed the responsibility, to enforce this >right is equally important.
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