Something's rotten in the state of Denmark

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Broward smells

I tell you, I told friends of mine involved in the Kerry Campaign from the beginning to forget about Florida and figure out a way to win Missouri and Colorado and Nevada and Ohio, because Florida makes Louisiana look clean. In addition to the machines that count backward once they hit a maximum number of votes (no idea if the machines also suddenly say Tilt), there's this little treat that's going around as quickly as a list of bad lawyer jokes. Apology for the messiness of the presentation, but it's been forwarded and forwarded and forwarded.

> >This account of voter disenfranchisement in Broward
> County, Florida, was
> >written by four UC Berkeley Political Science
> graduate students who were
> >there:

> >
> > Spurred by the unwillingness of the
> broadcast media to report
> >voting problems during the 2004 election race, we
> want to alert our
> >friends, family and colleagues to the widespread
> voter suppression and
> >disenfranchisement that occurred in Broward County,
> Florida. We staffed
> >the emergency hotline for the Kerry Campaign
> Headquarters in Broward County
> >from late October through the election. All of us
> were devastated by the
> >margin of Bush's win in Florida, particularly since
> polls predicted the
> >race would be extremely close.
> > Many of the calls to our hotline were
> from voters who had pressed
> >the "Kerry" button on their electronic voting
> screen, only to have "Bush"
> >light up as the candidate they had chosen. In some
> cases, this would
> >happen repeatedly until about the 5th or 6th time
> the voter pressed "Kerry"
> >and eventually his name would light up. In other
> cases, the voters pushed
> >"Kerry" but were later asked to confirm their
> "Bush" vote.

> > We had calls about a road block, put up
> by the police at 7am on
> >Nov. 2, which blocked road access to two precinct
> locations in majority
> >black districts. There was no justification for
> the road block - no
> >accident or crime scene or construction.

> > Many of our calls dealt with voter
> suppression, or manipulation,
> >of the Haitian population -occurrences which seem
> too numerous, and their
> >targets too indefensible, as primarily poor,
> first-time-voter,
> >Creole-speaking refugees, to be anything but
> systemic. In one example, a
> >voter whose hands were bandaged could not press the
> touch-screen himself;
> >he asked the nonpartisan election official to press
> "Kerry" for him, but
> >the election official pressed "Bush" and sent his
> vote immediately into the
> >machine. Many, many others were denied the right
> to vote and were not
> >given provisional ballots, while others were
> refused assistance at the
> >polls, even though provisional ballots and voter
> assistance are legal
> >rights. Others were told they had already voted
> and were turned away,
> >although they had never voted previously.
> latter experience was a
> >complaint not isolated to Haitians but also
> included other surprised voters
> >with no recourse except their word against that of
> the Supervisor of
> >Elections.
> > We spoke with hundreds of voters who were
> certain they had
> >registered to vote in the past 6 months, well
> before the October 18
> >deadline, but were not on the rolls. And those
> were just the people who
> >had the information to contact us.
> > The local paper, citing the Supervisor of
> Elections office as its
> >source, told all people voting by absentee ballot
> that they could turn in
> >ballots by hand to any of its seven offices by 5pm
> on Tuesday, Nov.
> >2. Every single one of those offices except one
> was closed on
> >Tuesday. We had numerous calls from voters
> on Nov. 2 whose
> >precincts had closed, yet the Supervisor of
> Elections office had given
> >voters no notification of the closure, and no
> notification of where to go
> >to vote. Thousands of people were likely
> disenfranchised because of
> >inexcusable mishaps such as this.
> > We had many calls from people who had
> been harassed by poll
> >workers, who were turned away without being allowed
> the right to vote
> >provisionally (another breach of voter rights).
> Other people were turned
> >away because the address on their driver?s license
> did not match the
> >address on their voter registration card; again,
> this is in direct
> >violation of election law.
> >All of these problems do not even take into account
> the 58,000 absentee
> >ballots that had been "lost" by the Supervisor of
> Elections, in perhaps the
> >most democratic county in the state,
> disenfranchising thousands of people

> >who were disabled, out of the country, or elderly
> and unable get to the polls.
> >
> > These events, and many others, have
> been documented and also
> >reported to lawyers, but we fear they will not get
> the attention they
> >deserve. This is what we witnessed in just one
> county. We believe that
> >these "voting irregularities" raise serious
> concerns about the legitimacy
> >of the results in Florida, and more broadly, about
> the health of democracy
> >in this country. Please circulate this widely.

Like I said: Southern Florida is the real vat of cat piss in this situation.

No idea if there is further corroboration for these accounts and stories. But that's exactly why we need a GAO investigation and the media following all these stories -- to see if these stories are true or not.

But with a political party that distributed on official RNC paperwork leaflets in West Virginia telling voters that the Democrats were going to ban the bible, a political party that sued to have partisan lawyers present at polls in Ohio in a situation straight out of Jim Crow days, are we really in a position where we can 100% doubt that the Republicans would not resort to this level of dirty tricks? Can we really give them the benefit of the doubt?