Mark Bunster <email@example.com> 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 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 ========================================= At 02:36 PM 12/7/00 -0500, Mark Bunster <firstname.lastname@example.org> 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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