[sixties-l] Re: Lesson Of Election 2000: Neo Slavery

From: radman (resist@best.com)
Date: 12/07/00

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    Mark Bunster <mbunster@saturn.vcu.edu> wrote:
    What, exactly, are their claims?
    Following is the letter written by the Congressional Black Caucus
    to Janet Reno about voting rights violations in the election. --
    Black Caucus asks Reno for investigation of voting rights
    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
    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
    At 02:36 PM 12/7/00 -0500, Mark Bunster <mbunster@saturn.vcu.edu> wrote:
    >At 12:46 PM 12/06/2000, Blankfort wrote:
    >>What is clear from the silence of Gore-Lieberman and Democratic Party
    >>apparachiks concerning the violations of the Voting Right Act relating
    >>to African-American voters in Florida is the Demos intent to distance
    >>the Party in the public viewpoint from being the party of Black
    >>Americans. even when it could enhance their presidential chances!
    >What, exactly, are their claims?
    >a) the ballot was confusing. This has been ajudicated, and--fairly or 
    >not--that's about all one can hope for.
    >b) the lines were long. Hey, they were really long where I voted, too. In 
    >any case, what possible remedy is there?
    >c) they were not allowed to vote.
    >Of these, only c) has any useful course of action. I understand 468 
    >complaints were lodged with the Justice Department. What are they, and how 
    >are they verifiable? Further, do they point to intentional fraud or 
    >malfeasance, or--like the embarassing data cleaning job done on Florida's 
    >list of ineligble voters due to felony conviction--unfortunate but 
    >non-criminal mistakes?
    >Seems awfully premature to throw around the rhetoric of abandonment 
    >without a passel of facts to back up the charges.

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