use the definition of Swing States by the Swing State Project.
select your state of interest to proceed. (If there is no link, that
means there is no content for that state yet).
Some reports in Florida
of electronic voting machines displaying Bush as the voter's choice
when Kerry was selected
Via reader radtimes, here is piece
by David Corn:
Regular readers know
that I've advised the Bush opposition to be cautious in claiming that
the November 2 vote count was rigged in Ohio, Florida or
elsewhere--especially when there is no concrete evidence, just
supposition. But there are plenty of reasons to fret about the overall
integrity of the voting system--particularly when some counties rely
on electronic voting machines that produce no auditable paper trail
and that are manufactured by Diebold, a company that is run by a GOP
fundraiser and that refuses to submit its computer codes for
independent scrutiny. I've just finished another short piece on all
this for The Nation. (I'll post it when it's out.) But today I
received an interesting email from a fellow I do not know, a
62-year-old retired systems programmer living in Palm Beach County. I
cannot vouch for him, but I thought his note is worth sharing. It is
one of the more intriguing emails out of the 100-plus notes I have
received on this subject the past few days. I don't know if he wants
his name publicized, so I have deleted it. Here's the email:
Hi. After reading your article--A Stolen Election?--I am inclined to
share my experience with you.
I witnessed my wife's attempts to vote for Kerry in precinct 1196, St.
Edwards Church, Palm Beach FL 33480. She pushed Kerry at least 3
times, each time a Bush vote displayed. [She] anxiously called me over
and I suggested that she not push so hard on the screen, and push
DIRECTLY on the X for Kerry and it worked. The summary at [the] end
stated a Kerry vote. My machine gave no problems. We voted early, to
go answer phones for the PB county Democratic HQ.
During my stint on PB Dems phones, I answered 2 calls from poll
watchers, relating to VOTER COMPLAINTS: "I Push the Kerry button,
and get a Bush vote." After the first one, I called the Kerry
lawyer pool, and their response was "seems to be happening
everywhere," "poll workers have a procedure to take
offending machine off line, and re-calibrate it." [During] the
2nd call, I relayed the information to "demand a re
After thinking about this problem (with 40 years of computer
programming experience), I thought about how to debug a program,
REQUIRING RECALIBRATION enough to make it a STANDARD PROCEDURE. Then
the thought came to me that it may not be a BUG, but a "DESIGN
FEATURE" as we euphemistically call some in the trade. This was a
Sequoia machine, not a (Republican-run) Diebold. If your touch-screen
routine was designed to properly execute when pushed lightly in the
DESIGNATED SPOT, it would be certifiable. If it was pushed elsewhere
or TOO HARD, what would the program do? Perhaps skew to a
"preferred candidate"? Based on proximity to the DESIGNATED
SPOT. Perhaps this was calculated on a pixel basis, and maybe the size
of the finger/footprint. What happens when one pushes farther along
the longer "Kerry" name versus the shorter "Bush"
name? Is the touch-screen map parametrically hard-coded in pixel
ranges, or with a (calculated, possibly volatile) bitmap, which could
be modified by a bug in a clock routine? Or some other routine,
unrelated to voting such as Windows scheduler, or the touch interrupt?
I would feel better about this:
1) if [Palm Beach County] elections commissioner (chairman Theresa
LaPore) had not ruled the no "outsider" can experiment with
the machines, hardware, software, procedures, because "they are
proprietary," AND that "would void the warranty," and
that there "could be no paper trail." I am glad she is gone,
but not soon enough.
2) if I heard ANY (documented or anecdotal) Bush voter complain that
her/his vote was MYSTERIOUSLY changed to a Kerry vote.
3) if the Sequoia machine was debugged to not require recalibration,
and the re-calibration problem was ADEQUATELY explained in the new
We will never know what code was in that machine while my wife was
voting Nov. 2nd. And whether that code removed itself.
My feeling is that all Bush needed was to get 1 or 2 or more CHANGED
votes from EACH of these machines, allowed by an inattentive voter
neglecting to verify the final summary page, due to time/inattention
problems, or [who] frustratedly let the vote stand without
complaining. Actually I later found out that 175,000 machines were
used in the vote, and the Bush margin (3.5 million) would only require
a swing of 10 votes per machine to be wiped out or 20 per machine to
change an expected Bush loss to win.
This might explain some of the exit poll/verified vote discrepancy, or
why Kerry ONLY got 60% of the Palm Beach County vote (and 64% of
Broward), while San Francisco gave Kerry 85%.
"Everything should be as simple as possible, but not
simpler." -- A. Einstein
I am not trying to bolster the case made by others that Bush won
because someone rigged the voting machines. And it's not surprising to
me that Kerry did better in San Francisco than Palm Beach. But Bob's
note raises important issues about the use of touch-screen machines.
Why did some record the wrong vote? Why did they have to be
recalibrated? More importantly, who is out there to investigate the
operations of these machines and credibly verify their operations? The
answers to Bob's questions and suspicions should be easily determined.
But voting, in a way, has been outsourced to private companies. The
message to the vendors ought to be: no open-source code, no contract.
Voting ought to occur in private; vote-counting should be a public
volunteers report possible undercounting of votes in a Florida county
Via reader LV, this report in the Newport
south Lincoln County couple flew to Florida on Oct. 29, and came back
November 3. "We were assigned," Betts said, "to
precinct 162, which people there called 'Little Haiti.' The
demographics," he said, showed more than a thousand people
registered as voters. The poll worker who opened the doors in that
precinct told Betts the precinct had 1,080 registered voters.
According to the information from Election Protection, Betts said, it
was closer to 1,300.
The breakdown Betts and Scarborough received from Election Protection
showed 818 Black (i.e., mostly Haitian) voters; 172 Hispanics (none,
he added, Cuban-Americans), 47 white, and an unidentified 117
"other" category voters. It was a predictably Democratic
The polls opened at 7 a.m. and, said Betts, "I shook hands with
the first lady in line. She smiled broadly at me. At one point, there
were three very elderly ladies, walking with walkers," he
recalled, and "I saw they were leaving the polling area without
the 'I Voted' sticker polling officials give people after they have
voted. So I asked them why they were leaving, and one of the ladies
said they had been waiting too long, their knees hurt and they
couldn't stand and wait any more. So I went to the poll worker who had
opened the doors at 7 and explained what was happening, and could they
let these elderly women come in ahead of the younger voters to
That was done and, Betts said, "one of the other poll workers,
with a heavy Creole accident, told me, 'You're a good man, doin' that
for them old ladies.'"
Aside from that, Betts said, "There were no incidents, no
The poll worker who had opened the doors in the told Betts at about 4
p.m. there had been "over 800 people who'd voted." And,
Betts said carefully, "She explained that starting after 5, until
about 7, about another quarter of the voters come in, after work, to
vote." That would mean a total of 1,000 or more voters in the
But when the results came out, Betts continued, the official vote was
given as 535 total votes cast.
That didn't fit right, Betts felt. "How did they get down to 535
people voting there?" he asked.
"There is," he continued, "not much you can do about
it. There was no paper trail. The only way to verify this would be to
check the voter rolls and see the number of people who were checked
off" as having come to the polling place and voted.
"And that still would not prove anything," he noted.
"The county there could say maybe they didn't vote for
Betts had to stay non-partisan, but he explained he was still able to
ask people questions even though he could not advocate for any
"I talked to about half the people voting," he recalls.
"I can recall talking to about six or eight people who said they
voted for Bush," and many times that number who said they voted
for Kerry. "In Haiti," he said, "the country was in
chaos around the time of the ouster of Aristide as president there. A
lot of the people I talked to were really angry about the ouster of
Aristide, and more about the Bush administration's delay, of two or
three weeks, before sending in security personnel to restore
But it is not the fact that 10 percent (55 voters) were officially
recorded as voting for Bush. "Maybe they did," he says. It
was the fact that half of the heavily Democratic precinct officially
never showed up to vote, even though the leading poll worker told him
far more than half had voted even before the after-work rush had
"I don't know any way that precinct could have turned out only
535 votes all together," Betts said. "Not when the poll
watcher had said there were 800 voting even before 5 came."
Black Box Voting (BBV)
finds poll tape copies in the garbage, poll tape discrepancies, and
hostile officials in Volusia County, Florida; officials say BBV is
comparing apples to oranges in reporting a discrepancy and that
legally, they don't have to keep the copies (that were found in the
Box Voting filed this report:
TUESDAY NOV 16 2004:
Volusia County on lockdown
records just got put on lockdown
election officials gnashing teeth, Votergate.tv
film crew catching it all.
Here's what happened
Friday Black Box
Voting investigators Andy Stephenson and Kathleen Wynne popped in to
ask for some records. They were rebuffed by an elections official
named Denise. Bev Harris called on the cell phone from
investigations in downstate Florida, and told Volusia County
Elections Supervisor Deanie Lowe that Black Box Voting would be in
to pick up the Nov. 2 Freedom of Information request, or would file
for a hand recount. "No, Bev, please don't do that!" Lowe
exclaimed. But this is the way it has to be, folks. Black Box
Voting didn't back down.
Monday Bev, Andy and
Kathleen came in with a film crew and asked for the FOIA request.
Deanie Lowe gave it over with a smile, but Harris noticed that one
item, the polling place tapes, were not copies of the real ones, but
instead were new printouts, done on Nov. 15, and not signed by
Harris asked to see
the real ones, and they said for "privacy" reasons they
can't make copies of the signed ones. She insisted on at least
viewing them (although refusing to give copies of the signatures is
not legally defensible, according to Berkeley elections attorney,
Lowell Finley). They said the real ones were in the County Elections
warehouse. It was quittin' time and an arrangment was made to come
back this morning to review them.
Lana Hires, a Volusia
County employee who gained some notoriety in an election 2000
Diebold memo, where she asked for an explanation of minus
16,022 votes for Gore, so she wouldn't have to stand there
"looking dumb" when the auditor came in, was particularly
unhappy about seeing the Black Box Voting investigators in the
office. She vigorously shook her head when Deanie Lowe suggested
going to the warehouse.
Kathleen Wynne and
Bev Harris showed up at the warehouse at 8:15 Tuesday morning, Nov.
16. There was Lana Hires looking especially gruff, yet surprised.
She ordered them out. Well, they couldn't see why because there she
was, with a couple other people, handling the original poll tapes.
You know, the ones with the signatures on them. Harris and Wynne
stepped out and Volusia County officials promptly shut the door.
There was a trash bag
on the porch outside the door. Harris looked into it and what do you
know, but there were poll tapes in there. They came out and glared
at Harris and Wynne, who drove away a small bit, and then videotaped
the license plates of the two vehicles marked 'City Council' member.
Others came out to glare and soon all doors were slammed.
So, Harris and Wynne
went and parked behind a bus to see what they would do next. They
pulled out some large pylons, which blocked the door. Harris decided
to go look at the garbage some more while Wynne videotaped. A man
who identified himself as "Pete" came out and Harris
immediately wrote a public records request for the contents of the
garbage bag, which also contained ballots -- real ones, but not
A brief tug of war
occurred, tearing the garbage bag open. Harris and Wynne then looked
through it, as Pete looked on. He was quite friendly.
Black Box Voting
collected various poll tapes and other information and asked if they
could copy it, for the public records request. "You won't be
going anywhere," said Pete. "The deputy is on his
Yes, not one but two
police cars came up and then two county elections officials, and
everyone stood around discussing the merits of the "black
bag" public records request.
The police finally
let Harris and Wynne go, about the time the Votergate.tv film crew
arrived, and everyone trooped off to the elections office. There,
the plot thickened.
Black Box Voting
began to compare the special printouts given in the FOIA request
with the signed polling tapes from election night. Lo and behold,
some were missing. By this time, Black Box Voting
investigator Andy Stephenson had joined the group at Volusia County.
Some polling place tapes didn't match. In fact, in one location,
precinct 215, an African-American precinct, the votes were off by
hundreds, in favor of George W. Bush and other Republicans.
Hmm. Which was right?
The polling tape Volusia gave to Black Box Voting, specially
printed on Nov. 15, without signatures, or the ones with signatures,
printed on Nov. 2, with up to 8 signatures per tape?
Well, then it became
even more interesting. A Volusia employee boxed up some items from
an office containing Lana Hires' desk, which appeared to contain --
you guessed it -- polling place tapes. The employee took them to the
back of the building and disappeared.
Then, Ellen B., a
voting integrity advocate from Broward County, Florida, and Susan,
from Volusia, decided now would be a good time to go through the
trash at the elections office. Lo and behold, they found all kinds
of memos and some polling place tapes, fresh from Volusia elections
So, Black Box
Voting compared these with the Nov. 2 signed ones and the
"special' ones from Nov. 15 given, unsigned, finding several of
the MISSING poll tapes. There they were: In the garbage.
So, Wynne went to the
car and got the polling place tapes she had pulled from the
warehouse garbage. My my my. There were not only discrepancies, but
a polling place tape that was signed by six officials.
This was a bit
disturbing, since the employees there had said that bag was destined
for the shredder.
By now, a county
lawyer had appeared on the scene, suddenly threatening to charge Black
Box Voting extra for the time spent looking at the real stuff
Volusia had withheld earlier. Other lawyers appeared, phoned, people
had meetings, Lana glowered at everyone, and someone shut the door
in the office holding the GEMS server.
Black Box Voting
investigator Andy Stephenson then went to get the Diebold
"GEMS" central server locked down. He also got the memory
cards locked down and secured, much to the dismay of Lana. They were
scattered around unsecured in any way before that.
Everyone agreed to
convene tomorrow morning, to further audit, discuss the hand count
that Black Box Voting will require of Volusia County, and of
course, it is time to talk about contesting the election in Volusia.
radtimes, a report in the Orlando
Sentinel on this:
whose meeting with Volusia officials Tuesday was recorded by
videographers working on a documentary called Votergate, wouldn't
reveal the names of all the counties her group is focusing on first,
though she confirmed she is scheduled to get information from St.
Lucie County today.
filmmakers also taped Harris' supporters finding documents from
Election Supervisor Deanie Lowe's office in the trash. Lowe said the
documents were duplicates of precinct-based reports poll workers
printed after the polls closed on Election Day.
said she's not required by law to keep the duplicates and that she
Volusia, Harris is citing apparent discrepancies such as
Day results that differ from last week's final tally as reasons to
scrutinize the county's ballots and voting equipment.
Lowe said it's not logical to expect those sets of numbers to add up
because the final tally includes such categories of ballots as
absentee and provisional.
got to compare apples to apples if you expect to come up with a
bushel of apples," Lowe said. County Judge Steven deLaroche, a
member of Volusia's elections canvassing board, said it seems Black
Box Voting is on a fishing expedition in the wrong county.
After all, Volusia had to count its ballots twice -- once on
Election Day, and then a close judicial race prompted an automatic
recount. They checked out.
Tuesday's meeting, Lowe offered to let Black Box Voting inspect
ballots from three precincts at no charge if it wanted to compare
the paper ballots with the precinct-based reports from
asked to inspect ballots from 50 precincts because those are the
ones she suspects have problems, based on her initial review of the
paperwork she got this week from Volusia County.
Lowe said Harris couldn't inspect that many for free. The estimated
cost, mainly to pay for two county employees and security, won't be
known until Harris tells Lowe which specific precincts she wants to
268 uncounted absentee
ballots "discovered" in the office of Pinellas county that
Bush "won" by 226 votes - after county formally certified
results. This is not new - similar incident in 2000 resulted in County
changing final tally in favor of Al Gore. These are not the only
incidents that County Supervisor of Elections Deborah Clark has become
at Dailykos, here is a report in the St.
Petersburg Times (bold text is my emphasis):
The unmarked brown
box sat unnoticed in the Pinellas Supervisor of Elections office
until Monday, two weeks after the election, when an employee
cleaning a desk stumbled upon it.
Inside were 268
uncounted absentee ballots.
"I think this is
a very serious situation," Supervisor of Elections Deborah
Clark said Monday, vowing to fire or discipline any employee found
to be negligent.
"I assume all
responsibility for everything that happened in that department, but
I have to rely on other people," Clark said. "It's not a
The unmarked box
wasn't the only problem.
Five days ago,
Clark sent the state the county's final results for the Nov. 2
election. But her office had failed to perform a standard check to
ensure that all ballots had been accounted for.
Clark assumed her
staff had performed the check, but they had not.
Now she will ask
the state for permission to change Pinellas' official results. The
canvassing board will count the missing ballots Thursday.
Although it is
numerically possible, officials say the missing ballots probably
won't change any results. Only a few races were decided by less than
268 votes - including the presidential contest.
George W. Bush won
the presidential race in Pinellas by just 226 votes. While Bush's
margin in Pinellas could change, his statewide victory won't.
A city commission
seat in South Pasadena and a referendum in Indian Rocks Beach were
also decided by fewer than 268 votes.
"If you found a
couple hundred thousand votes in Ohio, that might be exciting,"
said Paul Bedinghaus, chairman of the Pinellas Republican Party.
"I expect that human error will continue to occur as long as
human beings are involved."
This is the third
time since Clark became election supervisor in 2000 that her office
has had problems handling ballots.
presidential race in 2000, the office neglected to count 1,400
ballots - and counted more than 900 ballots twice. In 2001, her
office misplaced six absentee ballots in a Tarpon Springs city
absentee ballots this time came from the St. Petersburg election
there put absentee ballots in a box to be delivered to the election
service center in Largo, where they would be counted on Election
That afternoon, a
staff courier delivered the box from St. Petersburg to Largo.
Clark said her
office has a system to track the boxes, but she could not describe
it in detail during a phone interview from her home Monday night.
The box arrived at
the election office, where it sat in plain sight in the absentee
ballot department for 14 days.
Lori Hudson said other boxes and papers were piled on top of the
box. The ballot box was not marked in any unique way. Clark could
not say Monday why the box was not specially marked.
Voters, accustomed to
putting punch card ballots in locked metal boxes, had been uneasy
when they saw election officials throw absentee ballots in a brown
box in the St. Petersburg office, said Democratic lawyer Peter
Election Day, missing ballots had caused embarrassment for another
election supervisor. Hillsborough Supervisor of Election Buddy
Johnson had been criticized in October after his staff lost 245
ballots in the Aug. 31 primary.
Normally, Clark would
have detected the missing ballots when her staff checked to ensure
that every ballot was accounted for.
ballot, whether filed absentee or at a polling place, is registered
into a computer system. After the election, workers compare the
number recorded in the computer to the number of ballots.
For some reason,
the staff did not perform the procedure.
Clark learned about
the missing ballots on Monday afternoon. Clark did not return to the
office because she said she needed to be with her husband, who is
Her staff, though,
worked past 5 p.m. She promised a thorough investigation.
"If we determine
that this is the result of negligence, then those responsible will
be held accountable," Clark said. "I can assure you of
at Dailykos also notes:
A quick Google search
of Mrs. Clark comes up with several oddities, and a potential
conflict-of-interest -- the county election
supervisor's husband was employed by voting machine manufacturer
ES&S, who was awarded over $400,000 in sales of their voting
equipment to the county.
While Deborah Clark
worked as a top official in the Pinellas Supervisor of Elections
Office, her husband's employer was awarded more than $400,000 in
business with the office.
Now, Clark heads
the office, and that company, Elections Systems & Software, is
a leading contender to land a lucrative contract -- worth as much
as $15-million -- to sell new voting machines to Pinellas County,
Wednesday evening she sees no conflict of interest, and pointed
out that the contracts were handled by her predecessor.
The above article
goes on to mention that Clark's deputy is also connected by family
ties to the voting machine manufacturer.
To complicate matters,
Clark's deputy administrator, Karen Butler, is the sister of
Sandra Mortham, Florida's former secretary of state and now a
lobbyist for ES&S before the state Legislature. Butler is one
of more than a dozen senior staff members helping to evaluate
competing systems, but she told the Times that family ties won't
In 2002, many
voters were given the wrong ballots, possibly swinging the
election for the fire commissioner.
elections officials said human error was to blame for
more than 600 voters getting the wrong ballot in Tuesday's
mislabeled machines that activate the cards Pinellas voters
insert into touch-screen voting machines to display their ballots.
activators in five precincts caused 633 voters in
unincorporated Lealman, between St. Petersburg and Pinellas Park,
ballots with referendum questions from those cities rather than
fire commission race, officials said.
The problem could
have affected the outcome of a fire commission race
decided by 582 votes, officials said.
feel terrible about it,'' said Elections Supervisor Deborah Clark.
"We've already changed our internal procedures to check
activators more than
The problem was
fixed early in four of the precincts. But it wasn't caught until
late in the day at the fifth, where 444 voters got the wrong
ballot and had no
chance to vote for fire commissioner.
confusion, officials certified the election.
In the 2000
presidential election, the county was initially called for Bush,
until discoveries led to a significant swing -- subtracting
61 erroneous votes for Bush and adding 417 missing votes for Gore
-- putting the county in the Gore
Pinellas County, which
includes St. Petersburg, will have to redo its count because a
poll worker inadvertently failed to run an unknown number of
ballots through its computer Wednesday, county Supervisor of
Elections Deborah Clark said. The county retracted its original
announcement that Gore had gained 404 votes and Bush dropped by 61
votes in its recount.
In Florida, electronic
voting machines subtracted about 70,000 votes from vote totals in
Broward County and by about 8400 in Orange county
we have this report in the Miami
corrected a computer glitch Thursday that had miscounted thousands
of absentee votes, instantly turning a slot-machine measure from
loser to winner and reinforcing concerns about the accuracy of
electronic election returns.
The bug, discovered
two years ago but never fixed, began subtracting votes after the
absentee tally hit 32,500 -- a ceiling put in place by the software
''Clearly it's a
concern about the integrity of the voting system,'' said Broward
County Mayor Ilene Lieberman, a canvassing board member who was
overseeing the count. ``This glitch needs to be fixed immediately.''
The problem, which
resulted in the shocking discovery of about 70,000 votes for
Amendment 4, a measure allowing a referendum on Las Vegas-style
slots at parimutuels in Miami-Dade and Broward, came to light just
after midnight Wednesday when Broward's canvassing board shut down.
of Elections Brenda Snipes and several lawyers on both sides of the
gambling amendment noticed votes suddenly disappearing on Amendment
The problem was
quickly traced to software in what is known as the central
tabulation machine, a computer that collects data from optical
scanners that read the individual mail-in ballots.
Besides reversing the
Election Night outcome on a controversial gambling question, the
error spurred finger-pointing and provided more ammo for critics of
Another report from Orange County via Votersunite:
Sometimes the problem
is that votes were miscounted. That's what happened, officials say,
with precinct-by-precinct results posted on the Orange County
elections office Web site showing that Democrat John Kerry beat
Republican President Bush by 9,227 votes in Orange.
That was off by 8,400
votes. Officials working for Bill Cowles, the Orange elections
supervisor, said the correct totals, available elsewhere on the
site, showed that Kerry bested Bush in the county by only 827 votes.
The cause of the
error, Orange officials said Thursday, was a software program that
could not tabulate more than 32,767 votes in a single precinct. On
election night, officials anticipated the problem and adjusted for
it, deputy election official Lonn Fluke said Thursday.
But the next day,
workers failed to account for the glitch while posting precinct
results online. When absentee-ballot totals exceeded the limit in
one precinct, the software caused additional votes to be subtracted
from Bush's total.
A similar discrepancy
affected vote totals posted online for the U.S. Senate race between
Republican Mel Martinez and Democrat Betty Castor. But neither
online counting problem made it into the real totals sent to
Tallahassee, election officials insist.
results we certified to the state are correct," Fluke said. The
presidential and U.S. Senate absentee results posted online were
Neither miscount was
enough to influence Bush's or Martinez's Florida victories. But the
conflicting data was not removed from the Web site until Thursday.
problems were reported in Broward County and in Greensboro, N.C.
Democratic voters in
Florida receive fraudulent calls claiming they need to go to a
different polling location
Desk, here is a report in The
Voters who received
calls over the past few days saying their precincts have been moved
should pay no heed, election officials said, and should go to their
previously assigned precincts. The calls are part of what appears to
be an organized misinformation campaign, officials said.
criminal,” said Lake County Supervisor of Elections Emogene
Stegall. “It’s the most terrible thing. I have never seen
anything like this happen here.”
received calls Monday afternoon from four concerned residents, all
receiving the same automated message on their answering machines.
The message told the voters their precincts had changed and they
should go to a different location, one which Stegall said does not
All of the calls,
said Stegall, were made to registered Democrats. The complaints came
from all over the county.
While the four
complaints came in rapid succession, calls from confused voters were
coming in all morning. It wasn’t until a certain number of voters
asked questions about a precinct being moved that election officials
realized this was an attempt to suppress turnout, Stegall said.
Supervisor of Elections Karen Krauss got one similar complaint
Monday. A Lindon voter, also a registered Democrat, had someone call
her in person and tell her that the Lindon location was closed. The
voter called Krauss to check, and Krauss informed her the Lindon
location would remain open and that the voter should go there.
“The various groups
are out there starting to do things, and it’s really sad,”
Krauss said. “We have no way to know how much of this is organized
efforts and how much is done by lone rangers.”
The Lake County
Sheriff’s Office is now investigating the calls. Stegall said she
does not know if this is a local effort or a larger effort organized
by a statewide group or an out-of-state organization. Florida is
considered a pivotal state in today’s presidential election, and
polls all show the race within the margin of error.
Stegall said a change
in polling locations would not be made so close to an election. In
the event that polling sites are moved, all affected voters are sent
a notification by mail. Voters should go to their assigned precinct
as shown on their voter identification cards, Stegall said.
Any Lake County voter
who does not know where their polling location is may call 343-9734,
Stegall said. Sumter voters may call Krauss’s office at 793-0230.
has a note as well:
Reporting from West Palm Beach for CNN, Gary Tuchman just
confirmed what Nick mentioned
earlier about a barrage of automated phone calls in Florida last
night telling people their polling places had changed, causing
large-scale confusion and the phone lines at election supervisors'
offices getting jammed with questions throughout this morning.
Non-partisan voter registration drive illegally blocked in Florida and
decision reversed after court order
here is a report:
in Miami Beach, Florida,
in conjunction with the Department of Homeland Security, blocked a
voter registration drive for new citizens, citing crowd control and
public safety issues.[i]
In August, John C.
Shewairy, Chief of Staff to the District Director of Homeland
Security, informed Mi Familia Vota (MFV), a nonpartisan voter
registration project run by the Center for Immigrant Democracy in
conjunction with People For the American Way Foundation, that they
would no longer be allowed to conduct voter registration drives on
the sidewalks just outside the Miami Beach Convention Center at the
conclusion of naturalization ceremonies.
Mi Familia Vota attempted to solve the issue without resorting to
litigation, but when Mr. Shewairy refused to respond to their
requests and Miami Beach officials denied MFV access to the public
sidewalks in front of the convention center in September, the
organization went to federal court seeking an injunction. The judge
issued an injunction restraining DHS and Miami Beach officials from
prohibiting MFV's registration drive.[ii]
[i] Nicole White, “Voter Group
May Sign Up New Citizens,” The Miami Herald, 9/17/04
for the American Way press release, "Nonpartisan Voter Reg
Group Sues Homeland Security, City of Miami Beach over Denial of
Access to New Citizens," 9/15/04 & Adalberto Jordan,
"Center for Immigrant Democracy vs. John C. Shewairy,"
CASE NO. 04-22326-CIV -JORDAN, 9/16/04
GOP demands that
Democratic volunteers in Florida speak to non-English (Creole)
speaking Haitian-American early voters in English only, claiming that
the volunteers are "threatening" the voters. Democratic
volunteers deny this and point out that they were responding to
requests of help from the voters (confirmed independently).
report a story in the Miami
Democrats are accusing each other of intimidating and harassing
Haitian-American voters at early voting polling sites in Miami-Dade
In Little Haiti,
Democratic activists say Republican observers are demanding that
community volunteers speak English when assisting Creole-speaking
that Kerry-Edwards supporters are pressuring voters inside the
polling place at the Lemon City Library.
In North Miami, a
prominent Haitian-American activist said GOP observers tried to kick
her out of the North Miami Library, where fellow Haitian-American
voters were soliciting her help with the ballot questions.
including Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie, said
the Democrats were the ones who overstepped the bounds.
''We'd be happy if it
was just soliciting,'' said Manuel Iglesias, chairman of the
Bush-Cheney legal team in Miami-Dade.
'Voters are being
threatened, with activists saying, `We're going to tell the Aristide
people that you're voting for Bush.' ''
President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who was forced from office on Feb.
29, has claimed that he was ''kidnapped'' by the Bush
administration. The administration vehemently denies the accusation.
Iglesias said the
political activists are allowed inside the polling site because
Florida law that bars them from within 50 feet of a poll's entrance
on Election Day doesn't apply during early voting.
Seth Kaplan, a
spokesman for the Miami-Dade County elections department, said all
Miami-Dade poll workers have been told to obey the 50-foot rule. But
he acknowledges that problems have popped up with poll watchers who
enter the voting areas.
Kerry supporters at
the government center on Thursday denied intimidating anyone.
''We got here this
morning for a rally in support of the minimum wage amendment, then
the Bush-Cheney people showed up. Tell me who's intimidating whom?''
asked Delores Turner, president of the Miami board of ACORN.
activists on both sides of the political aisle say the problem is
simple: There are not enough Creole-speaking elections volunteers
working the polling sites to assist voters.
Even though ballot
questions are in Creole, some cannot understand the questions
because they are illiterate in the language. As a result, voters are
seeking help from volunteers, some of whom are Democratic activists.
Carline Paul, a
former Miami-Dade teacher, said GOP observers tried to boot her out
of the North Miami Library after accusing her of soliciting voters.
She denied it.
Tens of thousands of
absentee ballots go missing in Florida - adding to jeopardy that many
votes will not get counted; internal postal service e-mail confirms
that at least some absentee ballots were mishandled despite earlier
denials by Florida officials. Additionally, outrageous absentee ballot
delays in Broward County - ballots mailed OUT only on 10/30. Hundreds
of voters disenfranchised.
Appalling has this update (via Buzzflash):
Broward County, Florida,
has just announced
that it is resending some 76,000 absentee ballots. Some 56,000
ballots, asserted by the Elections Office to have been mailed on
October 7-8, have not been received.
What happened to
56,000 ballots demands a thorough investigation. It's difficult to
imagine such a large mailing "lost" without some criminal
activity. But the investigation will have to wait until after the
In the meantime,
those missing ballots are a real threat to the outcome of the
Florida election. For some—home-bound people and travelers—the
absentee ballot is a must. But of the total requests, this group
does not represent the greater portion.
The majority have
requested the ballots as a convenience or as insurance that their
vote is counted. So can they just go to the polls and vote?
[I]f a voter has
received an absentee ballot and has not sent it back, they must
hand it over to election officials before they can vote on
Since you can't
return what you haven't received, I made a call to a Florida
Supervisor of Election's office to find out what the procedure is
for the voter who cannot return his/her absentee ballot. It is this:
a poll worker at the precinct must call in to the Elections
office to verify that no ballot has been received before the voter
may proceed to vote. Even a few thousand such calls would
overwhelm any system in the state!
If the Broward
Elections office mailed the ballots on or before October 8, as it
says, and if the U.S. Postal Service hasn't been able to deliver
them by now, I can't be optimistic that this second batch will be
delivered on time.
If you are a Florida
resident and have requested a ballot that you haven't received, I
would urge you to vote before November 2.
at Dailykos notes this
AP story which says that only some ballots will be re-shipped:
With voters jamming
phone lines saying they haven’t received absentee ballots in the
mail, elections officials planned to mail out thousands of replacement
election workers and the U.S. Postal Service traded the blame
Wednesday, Broward County elections supervisor Brenda Snipes moved
to solve the problem with less than a week left before the
presidential election by sending duplicates to people who had not
returned the original ballot.
focused on a batch of 58,000 Broward ballots given to the Postal
Service on Oct. 7-8. Though some voters have completed and returned
ballots mailed those days, hundreds of others have called to
complain their forms have not arrived. It was unclear how many
absentee ballots were affected.
isn’t a blame game,” Snipes told The Miami Herald. “What
we’re concentrating on is getting the ballots to the voter.” She
was named to the job by Gov. Jeb Bush after the 2000 elections
supervisor quit during the bitter presidential vote recount and her
replacement was suspended for bungling.
estimated she would resend no more than 20,000 ballots, but about
76,000 ballots sent by her office have not been returned. Overnight
mail was to be used to send new ballots to voters living outside the
county, such as college students.
Via reader radtimes, an update in the Sun-Sentinel:
The same day postal
officials publicly denied responsibility for 58,000 missing absentee
ballots, an internal e-mail sent by the South Florida District Manager
to his employees expressed concern that his staff was not handling
ballots within the region properly.
In the memorandum sent on Oct. 26, Butch Parker also told his
employees that staff seemed unaware of the procedures that should be
taken when handling ballots.
"As of today, we have supervisors and employees that state they
have never been made aware of the procedures to be used," Parker
wrote to his employees. "We continue to find absentee ballots
mixed in with other classes of mail."
The e-mail stated that absentee ballots with improper postage sat idle
in postal facilities, instead of being returned to their sender.
Although the ballots soon began trickling into elections officials,
countless other voters continued to complain that they had not
received the ballots they requested, or that they arrived weeks after
Postal officials downplayed the e-mail on Thursday, saying Parker
merely meant to stress proper procedure, said Earl C. Artis, Jr., a
spokesman for the Postal Service.
"It was an effort to make certain that every manager was checking
and double checking mail at their facility to ensure that we had
processed and delivered every absentee ballot we had received,"
he said Thursday.
The same day the e-mail was sent out, Postal Service officials said
they were not to blame for the backlog.
at Dailykos has this additional news (bold text is my emphasis):
Depressing story (http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/10059493.htm)
about problems in Broward in today's Miami Herald. Broward is
a Dem county that just keeps on screwing up (elections). Here's the
election office took about 2,500 absentee ballots -- some heading to
addresses in Ohio, Arkansas and Nevada -- to the post office
Saturday afternoon for regular delivery.
''We work miracles
around here, but this is really asking a lot,'' said Gerry McKiernan,
a U.S. Postal Service spokesman, adding that he did not know exactly
how many were going out of town."
Reader radtimes sends in this
Odile Dumas' daughter
Monique, a student at Howard University in Washington D.C., was so
anxious to vote that back in September she requested an absentee
ballot from Palm Beach County in Florida. On Friday, just five days
before the election, when her ballot still hadn't arrived, she
called her mother Odile in a panic. Odile immediately went to the
Supervisor of Elections office to get her daughter's ballot and
Federal Express it to her. But the lines were too long and she had
to get to work. So she returned on Saturday and took her place on
line. "My black ancestors were jailed and killed for trying to
vote," said Odile. "The least I can do is stand in line so
that my daughter can vote." Odile's patience turned to
exasperation, however, when the 8-hour wait meant that she had
missed the deadline for Federal Express and the wait was all for
naught. "My daughter has just lost her right to vote,"
said Odile. "Is this the democracy we fought for?"
Odile was not alone
in her frustration. Also on line was Shelly Marcus, trying to get an
absentee ballot that her son Joshua, a student at Emory College, had
requested on September 11. "My son is 18 and this was his first
opportunity to vote for president. I'm ashamed that once again, Palm
Beach can't get it right." Gregory Berman, who waited on line
for 8 hours and 40 minutes to get an absentee ballot for his
90-year-old father in a nursing home, was furious. "No one in
America should have to wait 8 hours to vote, and certainly not to
get an absentee ballot that the county was supposed to send out long
ago. What you are witnessing here in Palm Beach County is democracy
Welcome to Palm Beach
County, home in 2000 of the infamous butterfly ballots, "Jews
for Buchanan", and hanging chads. The
infamous Supervisor of Elections Theresa LePore was voted out of
office in this past August - but unfortunately her term doesn't
end until January. That gives her an opportunity to muck up one more
election as her parting salvo. And before election day has even
arrived, it looks like she's succeeding.
In both Palm Beach
County and neighboring Broward County, run by a Democratic
Supervisor, there have been a record number of requests for absentee
ballots-mostly from the elderly, disabled, voters living outside the
county, and people who don't trust the new paperless voting
machines. Both counties have been flooded by complaints from people
who never received their ballots. In Broward, when the media
reported that 58,000 absentee ballots seemed to have
"disappeared," Supervisor Brenda Snipes opened up an
emergency center to field calls, brought in volunteers to call all
21,000 out-of-town voters, and overnighted thousands of ballots with
prepaid overnight return envelopes. Here in Palm Beach County,
Theresa LePore's constituents had no comparable support.
here is a report in the Palm
Despite a change to
Florida law made after the 2000 election that allows anyone to vote
absentee, many of the laws that govern mail-in ballots didn't
anticipate how widely they would be used and the challenges large
counties would face in case of a crush of absentee requests.
Secretary of State Glenda Hood, the state's top elections official,
did not respond to several requests for an interview for this story.
State Sen. Ron Klein,
D-Delray Beach, has plans to change the system, in anticipation of
even heavier future use. He calls the problems that occurred a
Outgoing Palm Beach
County Elections Supervisor Theresa LePore calls the massive demand
an anomaly and cautions legislators against crafting
shoot-from-the-hip remedies. She believes lawmakers could create new
problems by tinkering with the laws that were written to solve the
problems of the 2000 election, she said.
begin with voters unable to confirm the status of their request for
an absentee ballot. Many of them requested a ballot online but said
they couldn't confirm whether their request was processed. When
their ballot didn't arrive, they called their elections office,
which had no record of their request. In some cases, by the time
they realized a ballot wasn't on its way, it was too late.
"There should be
a system of verification and receipt no different from when you buy
a movie ticket at Muvico," Klein said.
Hundreds of voters
— including Klein's son, a student at the University of Michigan
— couldn't vote because their early orders for ballots
disappeared. Though elections supervisors blamed postal workers for
delays getting ballots to voters on time, Klein doesn't.
"Direct mail is
done in the billions of parcels each year," the state Senate
minority leader said.
Florida GOP and the
Bush-Cheney campaign continue attempts to suppress Democratic votes in Florida
using evolving methods
A GOP "caging List" of voters in a
minority rich district was discovered and suspected to be a vote
challenge list. Its use for vote challenges exposed as possibly
illegal, the GOP claimed they will challenge lots of voters but not specifically
the ones on the list. Their vote challenge plan in Florida (using
a 109-year old pre-civil-rights-era state law) mirrors GOP plans in Ohio and is expected to cause massive voting
delays or shutdowns on voting day (and attendant discouragement/suppression of
voters). Governor Jeb Bush
encouraged the vote challenges and downplayed the significance of the
GOP plan. The GOP vote challengers/poll watchers are
disproportionately in minority rich districts - says something doesn't
Additionally, the GOP challenged the votes already cast by
numerous people claiming that they are felons (using the repeatedly
discredited Florida "felon list") - and not unexpectedly,
shortly after they propagated this new list it was shown to have names
of people who had already had their voting rights restored.
The latest news is that the Florida Elections Director
issued a detailed ruling stating that challenges cannot be allowed to
delay the polls, that those challenged should be given the option of
casting a provisional ballot and that a voter's being in the
discredited felon list is not sufficient reason to allow a challenge
to his or her vote.
we have this report by Greg
Palast in the BBC:
A secret document
obtained from inside Bush campaign headquarters in Florida suggests a
plan - possibly in violation of US law - to disrupt voting in the
state's African-American voting districts, a BBC Newsnight
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.
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
this process can be used to slow down the voting process and cause
chaos on election day; and discourage voters from voting."
Sancho calls it
"intimidation." And it may be illegal.
well-known civil rights attorney, Ralph Neas, noted that US federal
law prohibits targeting challenges to voters, even if there is a
basis for the challenge, if race is a factor in targeting the
The list of
Jacksonville voters covers an area with a majority of black
When asked by
Newsnight for an explanation of the list, Republican spokespersons
claim the list merely records returned mail from either fundraising
solicitations or returned letters sent to newly registered voters to
verify their addresses for purposes of mailing campaign literature.
campaign spokeswoman Mindy Tucker Fletcher stated the list was not
put together "in order to create" a challenge list, but
refused to say it would not be used in that manner.
Rather, she did
acknowledge that the party's poll workers will be instructed to
challenge voters, "Where it's stated in the law."
There was no
explanation as to why such clerical matters would be sent to top
officials of the Bush campaign in Florida and Washington.
In Jacksonville, to
determine if Republicans were using the lists or other means of
intimidating voters, we filmed a private detective filming every
"early voter" - the majority of whom are black - from
behind a vehicle with blacked-out windows.
The private detective
claimed not to know who was paying for his all-day services.
On the scene,
Democratic Congresswoman Corinne Brown said the surveillance
operation was part of a campaign of intimidation tactics used by the
Republican Party to intimate and scare off African American voters,
almost all of whom are registered Democrats.
I hadn't realized
that the caging memos Palast got his hands on came from the Dead
Letter Office over at the parody site GeorgeWBush.org
The emails/lists are here
It seemed like most of those emails were kind of boring, but Palast
found the diamond in the rough. You can go check out the names
yourself. 49 of those people live at the Naval
Air Station in Jacksonville. So apparently, the GOP is
targetting some of our servicemembers as well.
notes that the GOP seems to have recognized the illegality of
the "caging list" and is claiming that they won't selectively
use that for challenges.
heard of GOP
plans to pay “volunteers” $100 each to intimidate voters in Ohio,
and now we have confirmation that similar tactics will be employed
They plan to put
“Poll Watchers” in certain precincts (I have no doubt that,
coincidentally, most precincts staffed with GOP watchers will be in
poor and minority neighborhoods.) to challenge certain voters. Now,
the way the system works in Florida, just one or two challenges,
even if they are without merit, can shut down the entire precinct,
as each poorly trained poll worker must weigh in with an opinion as
the whether or not the challenged voter should be allowed to cast a
Working people will
not have time to wait in line forever. They will get discouraged, or
just have to get back to work, and they will leave the line. Every
lost vote is a small victory for the GOP.
Protection Volunteer provides on way that you may be able to
Party said Tuesday that it may equip its Florida poll watchers
with lists of voters whose registrations appear fraudulent, then
use a little- known section of state law to try blocking them from
voting as they arrive at the polls.
denounced the unprecedented tactic but did not rule out the
possibility that they, too, may file eligibility challenges next
With both sides
amassing armies of lawyers, the prospect of the fight working its
way into neighborhood polling stations is frightening county
elections supervisors because the arcane procedure is so unwieldy
it could shut down entire stations each time it is exercised.
Party adviser Mindy) Tucker Fletcher would not identify which
voters the Republicans believe have fraudulently registered to
vote, but in comments this week she specifically complained of
felons and voters with false addresses on the voting rolls.
have compiled a list of voters that likely provided faulty
said the party conducted widespread mailings to newly registered
voters of all parties and created a database of the name and
address on mailings that were returned by the post office. She
would not say whether that list would be used in any potential
challenges at the polls of voting rights.
Broadcasting Corp. reported Tuesday that it had obtained a portion
of that database, which lists 1,886 names and addresses of voters
in predominantly black and traditionally Democrat areas of
said the partial list obtained by the BBC ``is not going to be
used in any way to challenge voters.''
Uh, would that denial
have anything to do with the fact that the Jacksonville list may
well be illegal, since it looks to have been compiled using race
as a factor?
(back to the TBO.com
Under the state's
challenging provision, observers must file an affidavit detailing
their cause for suspicion. The voter then is notified and asked to
fill out an affidavit of his own.
Browning said, ``At
this point, that voter is going to be incredibly, incredibly
Voting in the
entire polling place is then suspended as all poll workers present
are required to convene to take a vote on whether the voter should
be allowed to cast a ballot. Majority rules.
If a majority of
poll workers - who have received no more than 20 minutes of
training on the procedure - decide the voter should not vote, a
provisional ballot is provided to the voter that will be sealed in
a secrecy envelope and considered by the county's canvassing board
in the days after the election.
Supervisor of Elections Ion Sancho said he had never encountered a
challenge in 16 years. Browning said he had encountered a
challenge only once in his 24- year career.
Matt Miller, a
spokesman for Sen. John Kerry's presidential campaign, said, ``All
the Republicans are able to talk about are, No. 1, scare voters
from the polls and, No. 2, raise questions about the election.''
at Dailykos has more (bold text is my emphasis):
From today's Tampa
The Republican Party
said Tuesday that it may equip its Florida poll watchers with
lists of voters whose registrations appear fraudulent, then
use a little-known section of state law to try blocking them from
voting as they arrive at the polls.
With both sides
amassing armies of lawyers, the prospect of the fight working its
way into neighborhood polling stations is frightening county
elections supervisors because the arcane procedure is so unwieldy
that it could SHUT DOWN ENTIRE STATIONS EACH TIME IT IS EXERCISED
sidebar (on the print edition, not the online edition), breaks down
the procedure, with my comments in italics:
The governing statute,
Title IX, Chapter 101.111, can be found here.
This is meant to be used in isolated, individual cases only.
Two election supervisors interviewed for the story, both
Republicans, stated they had essentially never encountered
challenges brought under provisions of this statute.
1. The observer cites
reasons for the challenge in an affadavit.
2. The would-be
voter is notifed of the challenge and asked to file a written
3. Precinct workers
(that is, all those INSIDE the polling station on Election Day)
vote on whether the challenge should be upheld or denied. The
article later states that at this time ALL voting in the entire
polling place is suspended during this part of the procedure,
while the precinct workers convene to consider a challenge!
the poll workers uphold the challenge, the voter is allowed to
fill out a provisional ballot to be considered later by the county
The Republicans are
doing this because there are no provisions for filing challenges
before Election Day. The prospect of having entire precincts
shut down to address challenges under this statute is very bad.
St. Petersburg Times reports (via Buzzflash):
Gov. Jeb Bush said
Wednesday he would have no problem if Republican poll watchers
challenge the eligibility of voters before they cast ballots on
Election Day, despite growing concern that it could create gridlock
and scare away qualified voters.
"I don't think
it will cause problems," Bush said. "I do think that
people who are not eligible to vote shouldn't and the people who are
at Dailykos adds this new, unsuprising twist:
state GOP officials are making a big stink over what they say are
ineligible ex-felons who have already voted or who have registered and
plan to vote. They are threatening to bring in the Florida
Department of Law Enforcement to investigate what they claim is an
emerging case of fraud.
the SP Times.
Republican Party said Thursday that more than 900 felons already
have voted illegally or requested absentee ballots, triggering
another controversy over the party's aggressive efforts to
identify Floridians who might be unqualified to vote.
controversial and flawed state databases, Republicans also said
they identified an additional 13,568 felons expected to vote by
Election Day, based on their participation in the 2000 or 2002
elections or their recent registration as a new voter.
The list of 921
felons who have already voted includes 65 names from Hillsborough
County; 36 from Pinellas County; 11 from Hernando; three from
Citrus; and one from Pasco. The party plans to give all its
information to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for
this is simply the tip of the iceberg and there could be
potentially additional felons who have registered," said
Mindy Tucker Fletcher, spokesman for the Florida Republican Party.
But within hours of
the Republicans' announcement came indications that the GOP list
may suffer some of the same problems that caused Secretary of
State Glenda Hood to scrap her controversial list of 47,763
suspected felon voters in July.
Reporters for the
St. Petersburg Times quickly found two Tampa Bay area individuals
on the GOP list who say they have had their voting rights
Records show Neal
D. Bolinger, 57, of St. Petersburg had his rights restored in
1974, two years after his conviction for grand larceny, and has
been voting ever since.
He used an absentee
ballot last week to vote straight Republican.
It's the second
time in four years his name has been flagged. He had to convince
Pinellas County election officials in 2000 that he was qualified.
"If every four
years I come up on the list and have to have myself reinstated,
that will become a problem, and I'll have to start shaking some
trees," he said.
Jeffrey Arnold, 44, said he received his clemency more than a
dozen years ago and has been voting ever since. The exact status
of Arnold and others could not be confirmed Thursday by the Times.
acknowledges the GOP's list started with flawed data.
Besides the state's
controversial felon voting list, it relied on a Florida Parole
Commission clemency list, updated through Oct.14, that has proven
inaccurate in the past because it does not include many felons
whose rights were restored under Gov. Reubin Askew in the 1970s.
"We felt it
was important to see if supervisors (of elections) had done their
jobs and cleaned their list when some admitted they hadn't,"
Fletcher said. "We wanted to see if the law was being broken
across the state systematically."
supervisors countered that the list came from the same database
Hood had ordered them not to use.
they use a list that is determined to have errors?" asked
Pinellas supervisor Deborah Clark. "If their real objective
is to keep ineligible voters from casting ballots, why didn't they
give the list to supervisor of elections right away? No one from
the Republican Party has contacted me."
Supervisor Buddy Johnson sounded a similar theme.
"I don't have
the same information," he said. "I'm not removing anyone
off any voter list until I have ascertained that they are in fact
Blogwood has an
update from the St.
Hoping to ease rising
concern over voter challenges, state elections officials on Friday
released new guidelines for handling such challenges without
delaying other voters.
The four-page memo
from state Elections Director Dawn Roberts was an attempt to clarify
a 109-year-old election law that in recent days has generated
widespread anxiety about whether it would be used to deter voters.
The memo emphasizes
that voter challenges must be resolved without delaying other
It says that even if
a challenge is successful, the voter must be given the option to
file a provisional ballot. And it reaffirms that inclusion on a
controversial state felon list is not sufficient evidence to sustain
The new guidelines
are the state's first formal response to concerns that the arcane
poll watcher law has the potential to cause problems on Election
Day. As recently as Wednesday, Gov. Jeb Bush said he didn't expect
poll watcher challenges to be a problem.
more focused on this now days before the election," said Deputy
Secretary of State Alia Faraj. "We wanted to make sure that
supervisors are clear on the procedures outlined in state law. . . .
It requires more than just (a poll watcher) pointing at someone in
the precinct. There's a process in place."
Faraj said the memo,
sent to county elections officials on Thursday, was written after
repeated conversations with local election officials, who reported
multiple inquiries from attorneys.
officials have said they are considering having their poll watchers
challenge felons or other voters they consider ineligible.
On Thursday, the GOP
unveiled part of its research: a list of 921 felons that it thinks
have already voted early or requested an absentee ballot in
violation of state law. The list was culled from flawed state
Mindy Tucker Fletcher, spokesman for the Florida Republican Party,
called the memo "reasonable and balanced. If there is one thing
we learned from 2000, it's that it's important to have the rules
laid out beforehand."
elections appeared to welcome the advice as they braced for record
numbers of poll watchers. By the end of the day Friday, more than a
dozen counties had talked with state elections officials to say they
planned to follow Roberts' guidelines.
at Dailykos has this
I guess it's naive of me to keep being shocked by this kind of
thing, but I really hope I will never read news like this and just
shrug it off as par for the course:
From this morning's
In Miami-Dade County, Democrats said, 59 percent of predominantly
black precincts have at least one Republican poll watcher, while
24 percent of predominantly white precincts have them. In Leon
County, 64 percent of black precincts have at least one Republican
poll watcher, compared with 24 percent of majority white
precincts. In Alachua, 71 percent of black precincts have a
Republican poll watcher assigned, while 24 percent of white
Low income, minority and
elderly Florida voters (a Democratic leaning group) fraudulently asked
to give away absentee ballots to strangers pretending to be election
officials; others illegally asked to vote "at home" or
provide information on parking tickets, debt or arrest records.
we have this report in the St.
Petersburg Times (bold text is my emphasis):
officials have a warning for the county's absentee voters: Don't
give your ballot to a stranger claiming to be from the elections
They're not who they
say they are.
"The people who
are soliciting your ballots in this manner are not elections
officials," Pasco Elections Supervisor Kurt Browning warned
The warning came
after a phone call from a west Pasco woman. Other Florida counties
have gotten similar complaints.
"We've had a
bunch of them - 100 at least," said Bob Sweat, elections
supervisor for Manatee County. "It's probably going on all over
the state of Florida."
The Pasco woman said
someone came to her home to collect her absentee ballot earlier this
week. She said she was led to believe they were from the elections
office. The woman told the strangers she hadn't completed the
ballot, but they took it anyway.
had not yet received the woman's absentee ballot Thursday. Given the
circumstances, Browning arranged to send her another.
Other counties have
had numerous complaints about similar misrepresentations.
"We've had a few
people with those complaints - I'd say less than 10," said Dan
Nolan, chief of staff for Hillsborough Supervisor of Elections Buddy
Johnson. Johnson said he routinely advises voters to send their
absentee ballots in via mail, or to bring it directly to his office.
In Manatee, there
have been numerous complaints, and the Sheriff's Office is
Supervisor Sweat said the people collecting the ballots appeared to
know exactly who had absentee ballots. It is possible for political
parties, candidates and political groups to get lists of voters who
request the absentee ballots.
Sweat said it
appeared the collections were occurring in neighborhoods full of
low-income, minority and elderly residents.
In his warning,
Browning said, "I need to make it very clear that my office
will never show up at your place of residence to collect your
report in the St. Petersburg Times, via Election
When Dolores Cuellar
of Orlando opened her door and saw a woman with a clipboard, she
didn't hesitate to say which candidate she preferred.
said Cuellar, 42. "The other one."
The woman told
Cuellar she didn't need to bother going to the polls. She would mark
Cuellar's vote on a piece of paper right there. And while she was at
it, she also would record a vote for Cuellar's 18-year-old daughter.
Cuellar, who had
never voted before, said she mistakenly thought she had just voted.
"You never know
what can be true or what can't be true," said her daughter,
Julie Herrera, who later grew suspicious and called county elections
elections officials say voters are being approached by individuals
misrepresenting themselves and offering misleading or inaccurate
information about voting.
Voters cannot vote at
home and do not have to answer personal questions before casting a
ballot, election officials say. Election officials won't show up
unannounced at private homes, either.
Supervisor of Elections Buddy Johnson said he has heard about a
group asking voters at the County Center if they have ever been
arrested, have outstanding parking tickets or any debt.
clipboards stood outside the County Center last week, offering to
direct voters to the 16th-floor election office. They said they were
from a voter registration office.
officials would never ask questions about voters' debts, Johnson
Other voters say
people are coming to their homes, asking to take absentee ballots.
Some say they work for the elections office.
"We don't want
anyone to think that it is the supervisor of elections that is
coming around," said Lori Hudson, a spokeswoman for the
Pinellas elections office.
of Elections Deborah Clark also said voters should not give out
personal information such as Social Security numbers to callers.
Officials won't phone for that information.
Both major political
parties are legitimately attempting to collect absentee ballots in
the Tampa Bay area.
"It is perfectly
consistent with the law," said Matt Miller, a spokesman for the
Kerry-Edwards campaign in Florida. He said Kerry-Edwards workers
will identify themselves and make sure absentee ballots are
delivered to elections offices.
Even so, some voters
say they have grown uneasy with people who come to their doors
without identification or name tags. Last Saturday, two men came to
Brian Reale's door in St. Petersburg to ask for his absentee ballot.
He said they told
him: "It's better if we take it."
Reale, 68, said he
told them to come back Monday, but they never returned.
Rachel Bernstein of
St. Petersburg said a man came to the home of her 80-year-old
grandmother last Thursday and told her he was there for her absentee
She declined to turn
it over. A few days later, another group asked for her ballot,
Her grandmother later
mailed the absentee ballot - but not from her own mailbox.
"She was worried
someone would come to her mailbox and take it out in the middle of
the night," Bernstein said.
Earlier this year,
activist groups collected hundreds of voter registration forms - and
then never turned them in.
Clark, the Pinellas
elections chief, said her office received reports of people setting
up voter registration tables at East Lake Community Library during
the first week of early voting. She said the action is likely
illegal; voter registration ended on Oct. 4.
In Pasco County,
dozens of people received calls from someone claiming to be from the
elections office. They were told their absentee ballots had not
Pasco Supervisor of
Elections Kurt Browning said his office received about 60 calls from
voters seeking to verify the calls.
"We don't have a
clue who it was," Browning said. "It angers me. It's
Browning's chief deputy, said the office had received all of the
callers' absentee ballots.
"It is creating
some fear in the public that there are some more issues in Florida
with the ballots not counting," Hamilton said. "I don't
know if that's their motive, but it is certainly a byproduct."
Another GOP funded outfit
[Young Political Majors, run by Marc Jacoby] deceives students at the University of Florida
by registering (or trying to register) them as Republican. Students in
multiple Florida campuses report similar scams (perpetrators unclear),
and in some cases changed addresses (which could make it difficult for
them to vote).
we have this
Elections Supervisor Beverly Hill says she gave more than 500 voter
registration forms to local prosecutors.
That's because some
people say their party affiliation was fraudulently changed to
Republican. Last week, Hill says her office began reviewing the
forms collected at the University of Florida and other schools by
Mark Jacoby. He worked for a contractor that signed up voters for
the Republican Party of Florida. Jacoby says he asked every person
to initial a box on the form to indicate they wanted to change party
affiliation. State Republican adviser Mindy Tucker says she was
assured that all registration workers disclosed their attempts to
obtain Republican party affiliations.
Also see this
questioned the activities of a for-profit, Republican-sponsored
voter drive last week after it improperly was held on campus.
are not allowed to work at the university without prior
authorization, and Young Political Majors LLC did not seek UF
approval before beginning its drive last week, said Lohse Beeland,
director of student activities.
After talking with
the group, she said UF officials decided YPM could continue working
on campus as long as it adheres to university policies.
students later were concerned that YPM representatives reportedly
pressured students to register as Republicans.
Ted Terry, president
of the liberal Gator Greens, said he plans to file a complaint
against the group with UF and local officials after his own
encounter with the YPM drive.
After signing the
petition, Terry said he became suspicious because a YPM employee
checked off a box to change his party affiliation and asked him to
sign the registration form.
“They just marked
party change, but they never checked what party to change to,”
Terry said. “I was never going to check the party affiliation box,
so it seemed suspicious they marked the party change box.”
outreach coordinator for the liberal Civic Media Center, said she
observed YPM employees registering students to vote, and many
students did not understand that they were changing their party
Matt Carrillo, a
political science sophomore and registered Republican, said he
registered to vote with the group outside of the Reitz Union.
“I filled the form
out and left the party affiliation blank, then [the YPM employee]
asked me to initial next to my party affiliation,” Carrillo said.
Carrillo said he
didn’t understand why his initials were needed next to his party
affiliation, especially since he left it blank, which made him
wonder if YPM officials later planned to fill in a party affiliation
Although his company
encourages students to register Republican, it is not sneaky in
doing so, said YPM owner Mark Jacoby, who added he worked for Al
Gore’s campaign in the 2000 presidential election. [eRiposte
note: So what? You are paid by the GOP now!]
Supervisor of Elections Beverly Hill said although it is illegal to
alter registration forms after they have been signed by the
registrants, it is not illegal to persuade people to register with a
“There is a great significance to someone initialing by the
Republican [affiliation].” He would not comment further on the
issue, referring all future questions to the state Republican party.
Jacoby, who told Hill
he plans to turn in the forms this morning, said the complaints are
an example of partisan politics.
“There’s a group
that opposes the fact that we’re paid,” Jacoby said. “We’re
just doing what we were contracted to do.”
YPM is fully aware of
all equal access laws, he said, and will turn in registration forms
for all participants - including those who are not Republican.
Hill said students
need to be aware of all persons who approach them on campus.
something for someone when you don’t know what they’re doing,”
she said, “especially when it seems fishy.”
in this Chicago Tribune article,
Authorities in at least
three Florida counties are investigating more than 4,000 suspicious
voter-registration forms submitted on behalf of college students, some
of whom say they already had registered elsewhere or that their party
affiliation was changed to Republican without permission.
Although the reasons for the mystery were unclear Tuesday, reports of
registration irregularities have popped up elsewhere as states count
down to the Nov. 2 election. Supervisors in Florida said the latest
problems could end up invalidating the votes of some unwary students
"I decided it was fraud," Alachua County elections
supervisor Beverly Hill said Tuesday, a day after she turned over
about 500 of roughly 1,200 suspicious forms to the local State
Attorney's Office in Gainesville. She said her staff spot-checked 30
of them, "And they were, across the board [saying], 'No, I never
intended to do that.' "
Leon County elections supervisor Ion Sancho said he's received 3,000
photocopied registration forms, some of which he showed to the Florida
Department of Law Enforcement because they looked strange and did not
seem to make sense.
About 1,000 of the forms named black students from Florida State
University, Florida A&M University and Tallahassee Community
College. Nearly all claimed to be registering as Republicans, yet that
county's black population is overwhelmingly registered Democratic,
In Orlando, the University of Central Florida police are investigating
similar claims, though only 10 complaints have surfaced so far.
Most of these irregularities seem to stem from get-out-the-vote
efforts that have been used across the state to add thousands of
voters to the rolls. But circumstances differ from campus to campus.
At Valencia Community College and the University of Central Florida, a
number of students reported signing petitions about abortion rights or
favoring medical marijuana, only to later receive registration forms
in the mail that they say they never requested.
At the University of Florida in Gainesville and at the Tallahassee
schools, elections officials received large numbers of forms that
looked doctored or showed heavy Republican registration in areas where
Democrats are a clear majority.
Alachua supervisor Hill, a Democrat, said that the documents that
raised alarms came from one student, Mark Jacoby, who handed in 1,218
forms -- nearly all of them from students claiming to want to be
registered as Republicans.
Of those, 510 named people who already were registered in Alachua.
Hill turned those over to local prosecutors. The rest were new
registrants. Hill said she went ahead and processed them, to be sure
the people could vote.
Contacted by phone Tuesday, Jacoby said he'd heard of Hill's concerns,
but said he asked every newly registered voter to initial a box on the
form to indicate they wanted to change party affiliation in cases
where it mattered.
Jacoby declined to answer many questions, but he said he worked for a
private firm that paid him to collect signatures. He declined to name
that company or who ultimately paid for the work.
A senior adviser to the Republican Party of Florida confirmed later
Tuesday that Jacoby worked for Arno Political Consultants, a firm
subcontracted to register voters at UF, UCF and possibly other
The senior Republican adviser, Mindy Tucker Fletcher, said she had
checked on the GOP efforts and was assured that all UCF and UF
registration workers disclosed attempts by workers to obtain
Republican party affiliations.
"They took extra steps . . . to make sure people knew they were
registering as Republicans," Fletcher said.
Fletcher said she could not explain why all 30 people contacted by the
Alachua supervisor's office said they did not want to be classified
"I can't guarantee you that's what those people were thinking
when they signed that form that day," Fletcher said. "People
really may not want to own up to that now."
UCF student Audrey Berk said she signed an abortion-rights petition in
August and then, at the urging of the person collecting signatures,
signed another sheet to confirm her identity. She didn't think much of
But weeks later the Orlando Democrat got a letter from Orange County
elections supervisor Bill Cowles informing Berk that the registration
application she sent in that indicated a switch to the Republican
Party was missing some information.
Confused, she called the election office to sort out what happened.
"I've made several calls to make sure I will be able to
vote," said Burke, 23. "But if I hadn't done anything, it
could have been a real mess."
In many cases, students registered as Republican against their wishes
will have no problem voting Nov. 2. But a student registered legally
in one county and falsely in another could have problems.
Leon County's Sancho said that his stepdaughter, Ashley Herrald, a UCF
student, signed a petition on campus favoring medical marijuana, then
got an Orange County voter card that she never requested. She plans to
vote absentee in Leon County, but would have had her vote thrown out
if she had not cleared up the issue, he said.
Laszlo at Dailykos, here is another
story from USF:
thought she was signing a petition supporting stricter child
molestation laws in Florida. The voter registration card she
received in the mail told a different story.
Elliot is one of many
USF students to fall victim to a scam tricking college students into
registering to vote as Republicans.
The ploy has been
uncovered at several college campuses across the country, including
the University of Central Florida earlier this month. Students are
asked to fill out a form asking for personal information, and some
time later receive a notice from the county election supervisor's
office about a change in their party affiliation.
"I had read the
article in The Oracle earlier that day about the UCF students,"
Elliot said. "When I got home, I had a new voter registration
card in the mail; and I knew exactly what it was."
Elliot was not only a
registered voter in Palm Beach County but also had never filled out
an absentee ballot. She noticed her political party was listed as
Republican when she had initially registered herself as Independent.
Elliot said she
registered to vote at the DMV, so she didn't recognize the paperwork
she filled out was a voter registration form.
frustrated. The one time I thought (signing a petition) was a good
reason, I decided to stop, and I got screwed over," said
Elliot, who explained further that she would never stop to fill out
any paperwork from a petition worker again. "I just think it
was shady that that's what Republican Party has to do to get
Another USF student,
sophomore Justin Lawandales, was also fooled. Lawandales said the
people who asked him to sign the petition identified themselves as
being associated with the Republican Party.
"It makes it
hard to trust the people who are out there actually trying to do
good things," Lawandales said.
Lawandales said the
form he signed had no indication that it was a voter registration
form. He said he signed his name to what looked like a petition,
gave the people some personal information -- including the last four
digits of his social security number -- and a month later received
his new voter registration card in the mail.
Joe Lupia, a freshman
at USF, said in early September a group approached him on campus and
asked him to sign a petition to change child molestation laws. Lupia
said the people were carrying voter registration forms, asking him
for general information and whether he was registered to vote.
"When I noticed
she was filling out the voter registration form, I stopped, saying I
was already registered. She repeatedly told me that wasn't what she
was doing," Lupia said.
Lupia, suspicious of
the woman, told her to cross out his name from the form before he
"I don't know
exactly what they were doing that day," he said, "but it
wasn't just getting signatures for child molestation laws."
A group in Nevada
known as Youth Voter Outreach is being prosecuted for a similar
plot, using the child molestation law petition to fool young voters.
Members there have admitted their affiliation with the Republican
John Duddy, president
of USF's College Democrats, said at least a dozen students had
contacted him saying their registration had been unknowingly
changed. He also said any students who think they may have had their
registration changed can call a hotline for help at 1-866-OUR-VOTE.
In Florida, voter
fraud is a class three felony, said Dan Nolan, chief supervisor of
the Hillsborough County Voter Registration office.
Nolan, aware of the
situation at USF and UCF, has been working with the USF police and
State Attorney's office in trying to trace back the crimes to a
"When we're able
to trace it back to an individual, we'll have a case," Nolan
Nolan urges anyone
who thinks they may have been duped into changing their party
affiliation to make corrections on the card and then send it back to
the Hillsborough County Election office so they may make the
"Voter I.D. is
our responsibility to you," Nolan said.
He said that the
voter registration card does not need to be presented at the polls;
it's only to inform voters of their voting precinct.
"It won't make a
difference in this election, but it could have made a difference in
the primaries," Nolan said.
tricked into changing party affiliation can vote for whichever party
they please; however, Elliot and Lupia are still concerned.
"No matter what
party it's for it's unethical. Who knows how many students have
fallen for that," Lupia said. "Not everyone is as
politically savvy as me."
report in the Washington Post:
"In my 16 years
as an election administrator, I've never seen anything like
this," said Ion Sancho, supervisor of elections in Leon County,
Fla. "I see it as an expression of a political culture that has
evolved in the United States of win at any cost. It's not partisan,
but it's just lie, cheat and steal, and ethics be damned."
The problem in Leon
County: Students at Florida State and Florida A&M universities,
some of whom signed petitions to legalize medical marijuana or
impose stiffer penalties for child molesters, unknowingly had their
party registration switched to Republican and their addresses
students at the University of Florida in Alachua County have made
similar complaints and that about 4,000 potential voters in all have
been affected. Local papers have traced some of the problems to a
group hired by the Florida Republican Party, which has denounced the
shenanigans. Switching voters' party affiliations does not affect
their ability to vote, but changing addresses does, because when
voters shows up at their proper polling places, they will not be
Workers of left-leaning
but non-partisan group ACORN involved in fraud in Florida involving
registrations falsified to register students as Republican; this, in
combination with other data from an incident in MN suggests workers
were defrauding ACORN
is the relevant article (via Digby,
who says "If I were a suspicious person, I
might think that some enterprising GOP dirty tricksters were
infiltrating liberal voter registration groups"):
Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating 1,500 voter
registration forms received by the Leon County elections office that
apparently were altered to register local students as Republicans.
supervisor Ion Sancho said it was suspicious enough that the
registration forms were all photocopies, but the new voters were
also between the ages of 18-24, a group that often registers with no
The Leon County case is one of several being looked at around the
state. In some cases, there are reports of bogus addresses, forms
coming in with false information and registered voters who are being
reregistered without their knowledge.
In St. Petersburg,
former Mayor Charles Schuh received a letter saying he was
ineligible to vote in the Aug. 31 primary because his registration
application wasn't received on time. He later learned that the
Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now had turned in
a registration form with his correct name, address and phone number,
but the wrong date of birth, final four digests of his Social
Security number and gender.
Brian Kettenring, the head organizer for Florida ACORN, said,
"We take these 1,500 cards as seriously as the 212,298 that we
collected this past year. And for that reason we are working with
the state attorney to insure the integrity of every registration.
"The law is the
law and everybody needs to know they need to follow the law."
In Leon County, the
alleged fraud could have meant the 1,500 applicants wouldn't be
allowed to vote. Sancho, however, said he is placing the people on
the voting rolls with no party affiliation.
"They will be
eligible to vote in November," Sancho said. "We are not
going to allow lawbreakers to profit by their actions."
Pilgrim at Dailykos provides this update on other allegations made
by a former ACORN worker against ACORN:
friend of mine is working hard in Florida registering voters, and
pushing for a higher minimum wage, with ACORN. He's given me the
inside scoop on what Republicans are falsely calling "Democrats
trying to steal the election", and are using to distract from
the real voter fraud perpetrated by Nathan Sproul and Associates.
First - ACORN's
voter registration work is entirely non-partisan. While it does
focus on minority communities and is therefore reasonably seen as
leaning democratic - people are welcome to register regardless of
The allegations of impropriety are coming from a guy, Mac Stuart,
they terminated on August 5th "for failing to follow our
procedures of how to run a proper voter registration effort."
My friend adds " we were concerned that his failure to follow
our protocols was inappropriate and could possibly lead to other
Now we get to the good part - how good a witness is this guy? Not
Two weeks later, we
were contacted by Total Bank in FL that he has attempted to cash
a $5000 check from a donor and has crossed out another name and
written in his own. We have a copy of this check and a signed
affadavit from that attorney. We are presently, and have been
for several weeks, trying to get law enforcement to investigate
My friend continues:
After we fired Mr.
Stuart, he alleged that we were pulling out Republican cards. This
is absolutely, completely untrue. To date, Mr. Stuart has
presented no evidence, and there is none. He did get a number of
papers and TV stations to air his attacks on us, though none but
one even bothered to contact us about the situation. Apparently,
Stuart shows in one of the TV interviews a large stack of
Republican cards that were allegedly held by us. Now obviously
they are or were in his possession. I believe that either 1. he
swiped these during his employment with us; or 2. he collected
these after we fired him and is using them to embarrass us.
comment from Fred in Vermont in Dailykos provides more details on
another claim against ACORN in Minnesota, which was attributed to a
former worker of ACORN who had been fired because he was defrauding
Then, just this
weekend, a car was stopped for a minor traffic violation, and 300
cards were discovered in that trunk. I assume there will be
a decision on indictment early this week. Again it was a
former ACORN worker.
Here is a link to a story about that case. St.
Paul Pioneer Press | 10/16/2004 | Voter registration cards bring
felony charge it looks like the guy was doing a fraud on ACORN
rather than being some sort of GOP plant.
Reed had been fired
from his canvassing job with the Association of Community
Organizations Seeking Reform Now, or ACORN, about two months
before the voter registration cards were found in his trunk
during a routine traffic stop Sept. 22.
[. . . ]Early
this month, Becky Gomer, the chief organizer for ACORN's voter
registration drive, said Reed was one of a number of canvassers
whom ACORN paid to register voters at a rate of $1 per voter.
Gomer said ACORN
supervisors fired Reed early this summer after hearing from
Hennepin County investigators that they suspected Reed of
registering some voters more than once to increase his pay. [. .
said: "He has been charged with a pretty straightforward
charge. We are doing a further investigation of forgery charges
involving duplicate cards."
Jeb Bush's indifference
to voting rights in Florida start to show up at the polling booth with
insufficient or faulty voting machines, long downtimes, and disenchanted early voters
- not to mention self-contradictory absentee ballot instructions.
Additionally, Duval County where Jacksonville is located had only one
early voting site open, far from African American precincts - and some
group was videotaping voters.
at Dailykos, here's a report
from the Sun-Sentinel that shows exactly what happens to voters'
enthusiasm when voting technology is not ready for prime time:
As long lines
gathered at polls, early voters at nine of Broward County's 14 sites
ran into computer-generated problems on Monday.
Gisela Salas, of the Broward Elections Office, said workers had
problems connecting with a live database that is used to verify that
a voter is properly registered in the county.
The sites, Salas said, that were unaffected were at satellite
offices in Deerfield Beach, Hollywood, Lauderhill, Pembroke Pines
All 14 of the branch offices had problems with the database
connection. Many of the sites had numerous voters lined up to cast
their ballots. Some reported waiting in lines up to 2-1/2 hours to
A work-around was created by calling in each voter's name to the
main Election's Office in Fort Lauderdale. Two office workers were
assigned to each phone, Salas said, for a slowed verification
process. The workers would plug into the database, and verify that
the voter in one of the branch sites was indeed registered to vote.
Shortly after 2 p.m., some of the branch sites, which were using
laptop computers, began getting back online and gaining access to
the database. And shortly after 3 p.m., all but one of the branch
sites -- the one in Oakland Park -- were back online.
Salas said it was not yet known what went wrong to cause the glitch.
Voters at several sites said poll workers told them the problems
started 20 minutes to 30 minutes after the early polling stations
opened at 8:30 a.m. The stations close at 6 p.m.
At the Tamarac branch public library, where voting stopped after the
computer glitch, Sally Zwanger, a poll watcher for the Kerry
campaign, claimed the problems reflected the inability of Gov. Jeb
Bush's administration to fix voting problems left over from the 2000
"The worst thing to hear was, 'I support Kerry, but I can't
wait in this line,'" she said. "We are having a repeat of
2000, and it's only in Florida that this could happen. This
administration would do anything to ensure that he [Bush] stays in
Zwanger said at one point there were 63 people in line, most of whom
had gone home without voting by 11 a.m.
She also said waiting voters were told at 8:30 a.m. that every
voting location in Broward County was closed. But she found out
after calling the Broward County Elections Office headquarters that
the Plantation location and four others were still open.
Susan Emert waited for two hours - starting at 8:20 a.m. -- before
she finally had to leave for work.
"They had all the time from when they said the voting machines
will be used, all the time to perfect them, and here we are, up the
creek," she said, throwing her arms wildly up in the air.
"This is really another black eye for the county. I'm so fed
Before leaving, however, Emert was able to get a number from an
elections official. It will allow her to receive priority placement
in the line when she returns.
Most of the voters waiting in the line were seniors, and many shared
Emert's frustration. They repeatedly uttered phrases such as,
"This is ridiculous," and "This is so
Lucien Gennaro, a police aide in Coral Springs, waited for an hour
at a public library to cast his vote Monday morning, before he had
to leave for work.
``A lot of people who were waiting just left. I'll try again
tomorrow,'' he said. ``It was a little frustrating after what
happened in 2000.''
In Palm Beach County, the center of the madness during the 2000
presidential recount, a state legislator said she wasn't given a
complete absentee ballot when she asked not to use the electronic
touch-screen machines. In Orange County, the computer system that
lists voters briefly crashed, paralyzing voting in Orlando and its
immediate suburbs. And in Broward County several sites had problems
with laptops connected to elections headquarters.
State Rep. Shelley Vana, D-Lantana, was the seventh person in line
Monday at a Palm Beach County early voting site.
She said the paper absentee ballot she received was missing one of
its two pages, including the proposed amendments to the state
constitution. She said election workers were indifferent when she
pointed out the oversight.
``There was absolutely no concern on the part of the folks at the
Supervisor of Elections Office that this page was missing. This is
not a good start. If there are incomplete ballots out there, I can't
imagine I would be the only one getting it,'' she said.
Elections supervisor Theresa LePore did not immediately return a
call for comment.
The Progress Report has this
citizens in Gov. Bush's state began casting votes on Monday, "and
within an hour problems cropped up." A Democratic state
legislator in Palm Beach County said she wasn't given a complete
ballot when she opted to use paper instead of the touch-screen
machine, and "in Orange County, the
touch-screen system briefly crashed, paralyzing voting in Orlando
and its immediate suburbs." Meanwhile, "early voters at nine
of Broward County's 14 sites ran into computer-generated problems."
The breakdowns resulted in long lines and many would-be voters leaving
for work. A coalition of private citizens and elected officials plan
a lawsuit to avoid similar problems in New Jersey.
we have this report about self-contradictory absentee ballot
TAMPA - Kelley Moore
opened up his absentee ballot Friday and began reading the
instructions. When it came to marking the ballot, the more he read
the more confusing it became.
The official printed
ballot was clear enough.
It said to mark
choices with a No. 2 pencil. But a mimeographed instruction sheet
provided by the office of Hillsborough Supervisor of Elections Buddy
Johnson cast doubt on that. The sheet said to use black or blue ink
or a dark pencil.
"I thought about
it awhile and I decided to call and ask," said Moore, 59, a
retired salesman who lives on Davis Islands. "They (at
Johnson's office) said the information about the No. 2 pencil was
incorrect. I was told to use a dark pen.
"But then I
thought, what if I use a pen and I don't follow the instructions on
the ballot - will they throw it out?"
Edith Schrier was in
a similar quandary Friday. Schrier, 46, a Forest Hills resident who
runs her own coin and jewelry company, also read both sets of
instructions, also called Johnson's office and also was told:
disregard the ballot and use a dark pen.
satisfied. She called local Democratic officials. They advised her
to do what the ballot said: use a pencil.
"But then I
thought, what if someone erases it," said Schrier "They
could still tamper with it."
Since the disputed
presidential election of 2000, when hanging chad, butterfly ballots
and aborted recounts raised the consciousness - and paranoia level -
of Florida voters, suspicions about ballot-marking instructions
can't be dismissed.
Johnson said he had great sympathy for voters confused by dual
He also said absentee
voters can use a dark pencil or a blue or black pen and have
confidence their votes will be recorded.
completely," said Johnson. "I think the instructions could
be clearer. In an effort to be helpful, we added the second set of
instructions. Perhaps next time, we'll try to make it more
Johnson pointed out
that the printed sheet of instructions cautioned voters not to use
red ink, which is not easily read by optical scanners.
spokesman for Sequoia Voting Systems, which this year printed nearly
56,000 absentee ballots for Hillsborough, said Friday that optical
scan devices "will read black ink, blue ink or dark pencil
equally well." Charles was also sympathetic about local voters'
Florida were told they weren't following directions in the 2000
election, and I think they're trying to make sure they do this
year," he said. "There's an increased level of awareness
now. People are just trying to do the right thing."
But Moore said his
effort to get it right just made him angry.
"The voters in
Florida look pretty dumb to the rest of the U.S.," he said.
"You'd think we could at least get this straight."
Via reader PT, this
post on 10/19/04 by chicagoprogressive in Dailykos:
But in Duval County,
home to the 840 square mile city of Jacksonville, the challenge
ahead of us is great. There is exactly one Early Vote site
open here and, as reported in last week's Washington Post, it is
located miles from most of the majority Black precincts.
ACT's canvassers and
fleet of vans are spread thin trying to compensate for this
suppression by Florida Republicans. We need to put more
canvassers on the streets of Jacksonville right away to drive voters
to the polls.
Please help us get
voters of Duval County to the polls. $75 contributed now will
field another canvasser to help elect Democrats in federal, state
and local elections. CLICK HERE TO DONATE: https://secure.acthere.com/modules/contribution/contribute.php?b=florida
Please contribute to
fund ACT's work in Duval County.
Outrage is already
spreading across the community causing Republican Secretary of State
Glenda Hood to announce that the state will add another 2-4 early
vote sites in the area, but she's given no indication of when.
Physics, there's more from the Washington
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -
Nearly a dozen African American ministers and civil rights leaders
walked into the Duval County election office here, television cameras
in tow, with a list of questions: How come there were not more early
voting sites closer to black neighborhoods? How come so many blacks
were not being allowed to redo incomplete voter registrations? Who was
deciding all this?
across the office counter under a banner that read "Partners in
Democracy" was the man who made those decisions, election chief
Dick Carlberg. Visibly angry, the Republican explained why he
decided the way he had: "We call it the law."
leaders said the scene at the supervisor's office last week was
reminiscent of a blocked schoolhouse door at the height of
desegregation. They charge that GOP officials are deliberately using
the law to keep black people off the rolls and hinder them from
Four years ago, ballots cast from black neighborhoods throughout
Florida were four times as likely to go uncounted as those from
white neighborhoods. Nowhere was the disparity more apparent than in
Duval County, where 42 percent of 27,000 ballots thrown out came
from four heavily Democratic black precincts.
In Duval County,
31,155 black voters had been added to the rolls by the end of last
week. That is more than the total number of ballots nullified here
four years ago, in a race that George W. Bush won by 537 votes.
hundreds more could show up at the polls only to find they cannot
vote. The office has flagged 1,448 registrations as incomplete, and
as of last week had yet to process 11,500 more.
A Washington Post analysis found nearly three times the number of
flagged Democratic registrations as Republican. Broken down by race,
no group had more flagged registrations than blacks.
in a heavily GOP county where records show that the numbers of
blacks added to the rolls since 2000 approximately equals the number
of non-Hispanic whites.
registrations were missing critical information, such as a
signature. Others had different problems, with some people listing
post office boxes instead of street addresses or putting street
addresses on the wrong line.
of State Glenda E. Hood, a Republican appointed by the president's
brother Gov. Jeb Bush, recently ruled that for registrations to be
deemed complete, new voters must not only sign an oath attesting to
their citizenship, but also check a box that states the same. Unlike
many counties, which have chosen to ignore the directive, Duval
County chose to enforce it.
who is acting election chief because his superior is ill, told the
ministers that the office did the best it could to contact
applicants who submitted incomplete forms, but the law says that
"if they aren't complete now, they're not going into the
office, as well as Hood's, said the real blame belongs with the
Democratic-leaning groups that targeted minority voters and then
turned in sloppy and incomplete registrations. The disproportionate
number of black Democratic registrations flagged, said Carlberg
spokeswoman Erin Moody, is a function of "who those groups are
during the 10-minute confrontation at Carlberg's office last week,
the ministers argued that the election official had stalled in
processing new registrations until it was too late to fix them by
the Oct. 4 cutoff. "You kept them in a box in a cage,"
charged Edward Exson of the Southern Christian Leadership
Appalling (via Buzzflash) has more:
It was wonderfully
convenient to have only one polling site. It made it so much easier
to set up an intimidation campaign.
office contacted police after Democrats complained about men
videotaping people in front of the office all day. U.S. Rep.
Corrine Brown and coalition members confronted them in the
evening. But Scheu said the videotaping was allowed on a public
sidewalk across the street.
powerless to stop them," Scheu said.
Hillerich of Price
Rite Investigations of Jacksonville declined to say who hired
his firm to videotape events at the office. But he said he had
done the work elsewhere before, and "I ain't doing anything
"I'm sure it
is, it's intimidation," said the Rev. Willie M. Bolden, a
Southern Christian Leadership Conference official who joined
others questioning Hillerich. "They're doing all kinds of
things across the state."
I don't know if Mr.
Hillerich is doing this to intimidate voters, paid for by the
Republican party or one of its sympathizers. But if you would like
to ask him, here is his contact information—
Phone: (904) 779-9815
With 1.6 million new
registered voters since 2000, the nation's most up-to-date system of
balloting is showing signs of buckling. Though Election Day does not
formally arrive until Tuesday, nine days of early voting have
produced their own problems, offering a glimpse into what could lie
ahead in a contest that again appears narrowly divided.
Lines have moved so
slowly at new touch-screen voting machines that only six votes per
hour are being cast in parts of South Florida, a troubling ratio for
next week's expected crush of voters. Gov. Jeb Bush ordered election
supervisors to "preserve order at the polls" after
episodes of voter harassment arose and some workers threatened to
abandon their posts when an aide was nearly choked by an angry
partisan who grabbed the identification badge around her neck.
Reader radtimes sends in this
Welcome to Palm Beach
County, home in 2000 of the infamous butterfly ballots, "Jews
for Buchanan", and hanging chads. The
infamous Supervisor of Elections Theresa LePore was voted out of
office in this past August - but unfortunately her term doesn't
end until January. That gives her an opportunity to muck up one more
election as her parting salvo. And before election day has even
arrived, it looks like she's succeeding.
Ms. LePore also put obstacles in the way of people wanting to vote
early. One of the solutions to the calamity of the 2000 election was
to institute early voting, an option for voters to go to the polls
up to two weeks in advance. It is estimated that one-third of
Florida's voters will take advantage of this new option. Yet after
10 days of voting, out of 744,000 registered voters in Palm Beach
County, less than 30,000 had been able to vote early- one of the
lowest turnouts in the state. One reason is that Theresa LePore
offered her constituents only eight locations for early voting in
the entire county, making the waiting time in Palm Beach County
longer than anywhere else in the state. "These long lines are
ridiculous," said Omar Khan, whose father, a diabetic who was
fasting for Ramadan, was forced to abandon his attempt to vote after
hours of standing in the hot sun. "Either it is tremendous
incompetence or deliberate voter suppression. In either case, the
supervisor is not doing her job." Liz Grisaru, a volunteer
lawyer with Kerry's Voting Rights Protection Team, said that they
had tried to negotiate with Theresa LePore for more early voting
locations, more voting machines, more poll workers, and longer
hours, but all of their efforts were rebuffed. "The Supervisor
has failed miserably in her duty to the public by not responding to
the large volume of voters," said Ms. Grisaru.
GOP Dirty Tricks in
Florida continue unabated
Where to start? After having committed
large scale vote fraud in the 2000 election - as confirmed
by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (also see this Vanity
Fair article: Part
I and Part
II and this
Nation article) - Florida Governor Jeb Bush has been very busy
trying to find similar or new ways to bring about disenfranchisement
of voters in Florida this year - especially of minority or
are the five vote suppression and fraud incidents in Florida to date.
Vote suppression using fake ex-felon list that virtually and
conveniently excluded Hispanics (who tend to vote Republican in
Florida) but included lots of Blacks (who tend to vote Democratic).
- After a maelstrom of criticism the decision to use this list in 2004
- Later, news has emerged that Jeb
Bush ordered that the list be used (originally) even though his Law
Enforcement Department's own computer experts advised against it
because of concerns about the accuracy of the list
Billmon has a good
rundown (bold text is my emphasis):
But it also looks at
the latest installment in the ongoing saga of Florida's efforts to
"purge" felons from the voting rolls.
As you probably
recall, the purge list was one of several methods allegedly used by
baby Bush and the dragon lady (you know who I mean) to depress
African-American turnout in 2000. The list turned out to be just
chock full of voters who had either never been felons, or who had
had their voting rights restored in other states. And just by
coincidence, the vast majority of these improperly banned voters
turned out to be black - evn higher, as I recall, than the already
disproportionate number of African Americans in the real
Florida felon population.
bureaucratic screw up, baby brother Bush said, and one that wouldn't
be repeated. As part of a package of election reforms passed by the
state legislature in 2001, Jeb's crew was told not to use felon
lists obtained from other states (which had proved so inaccurate the
last time around.) The state also reached a settlement with the
NAACP that required more diligent matching of names to make sure
non-felons weren't being disenfranchised. The Department of Justice
also signed off on the new procedures - although not the list
Not hardly. When the CNN asked for a copy of the list (which
had almost 50,000 names on it) earlier this year, Jeb's people told
them they couldn't have one. Why? Because the GOP-dominated
Florida legislature had quietly inserted another provision in
the post-2000 election reform package that, in essence, allowed
reporters to look at the list, but not to make copies of it.
If I remember correctly, this was made the list unique among state
records that are subject to public disclosure.
Sorry, Jeb's crew
told CNN, but that's the way it goes - we don't make the laws. But
they insisted that local election officials and the voters had
nothing to worry about - after all, the process now had the NAACP's
seal of approval. "The mantra has been 'trust us,' " the
head of the Miami League of Women Voters told the Times.
Trust but verify,
replied CNN, which along with the First Amendment Foundation and
a bunch of Florida newspapers asked a state court to rule that the
no-copy rule violated the sunshine state's government-in-the
sunshine law, which happens to be written straight into the state
Two weeks ago the
court agreed, and after some hemming and hawing Jeb's crew decided
to not to appeal to the Florida Supremes (who must have been
salivating at the possibility of a little payback) and released
But once they had a
chance to examine the list, it didn't take too long for the media
to realize there was something strange about it: It had virtually no
Hispanic names on it. Apparently, in the entire state of
Florida there were roughly 50 Hispanic ex-cons whose names needed to
be lifted from the voting rolls - this in a state where 1 in 5
residents is Hispanic.
Of course, in
addition to its size, another noteworthy thing about Florida's
Hispanic community (or at least the Cuban part of it) is that it
tends to vote heavily Republican. The Cubans went for big brother
Bush by something like an 80% margin in the last election.
So once again,
coincidence had conspired to create a fraudulent felon list heavily
slanted in favor of Jeb Bush's big brother. How unlucky can you get?
This is the very
same list, mind you, that the Bush administration (Florida branch)
had been promoting as squeaky clean - right up until it was released
and the mysterious law-abiding zeal of the state's Hispanic
population was discovered.
course, the story changed. A simple clerical error, the Jebster said
- the wrong button pushed, a computer glitch, resulting in a
failure to merge two different felon lists (exactly why the names of
Hispanic convicts were being kept in a separate file has never
really been explained, as far as I know.) And just to show what a
good sport he is, Jeb decided tto just forget
the whole thing:
Hispanic felons that may be voters on the list . . . was an
oversight and a mistake. . . . And we accept responsibility and
that's why we're pulling it back," said Gov. Jeb Bush...
And yet, just days
before, various Florida election officials (including the Secretary
of State, the Republican ex-mayor of Orlando and a Bush appointee)
had been insisting that the felon purge had to go forward
this year because it was mandated by the state legislature.
The good news, I
guess, is that at least one of the screw ups (intentional or
unintentional) that turned Florida into Floriduh four years
ago won't be repeated this year. (The fact that the hanging chads
will also go away is offset by the black box problem, which may be
But by now you really
have to wonder: How long would Jeb Bush be able to stay off the
Florida felon list himself if he wasn't the brother of the
president and a member of one of the most powerful political
dynasties the country has ever seen? I mean, when your kid tells you
the dog ate his homework once, you might not believe it, but you
might give him/her the benefit of the doubt. But twice?
How many times
does the Bush family have to steal a Florida election before they
finally get it right?
Drum at Political Animal on the "technical glitch"
VOTER FRAUD IN
FLORIDA, PART CXXVI....Publius
at Legal Fiction decided today to revisit a story he's written about
before, and in the process uncovered some damn good reporting from
Chris Davis and Matthew Doig of the Sarasota
Short version: Felons
are not allowed to vote in Florida, and last July, after a
protracted battle by the state, a federal judge forced Florida
election officials to make their newly created felon list public.
Surprise! It turned out the list had lots of blacks (who mostly vote
Democratic) but virtually no Hispanics (who mostly vote Republican).
After a public outcry, the list was scrapped.
Fine. But why
were there no Hispanics on the list? Was it just an unforeseen
computer glitch or was it deliberate hanky panky? Publius has the
full story, and the bottom line is that the evidence seems to
indicate that it probably wasn't just a glitch. Go
I'll add one comment
of my own. The technical reason that Hispanics were excluded from
the list is that Florida officials insisted that no one be purged
from voting rolls unless their voter registration record matched
perfectly with a prison record. This is a good idea, but it turns
out that Hispanics are listed as "white" in the prison
database and as "Hispanic" in the voter registration
database. Thus, none of them matched perfectly.
Davis and Doig
present several pieces of evidence that suggest everyone knew
perfectly well this would happen, and all of it makes sense to me.
I've been involved in database projects like this before, and they
all the work the same way, especially when they're done by a big
consulting company like Accenture. The database schemas are all
carefully compared with each other, test runs are performed, data
conversions are done, and sample data is run and matched against
hand-checked data to make sure all the code is working properly.
This and more is done multiple times by multiple people (and billed
out at $200 per hour). That's just how it works, and an obvious data
mismatch like this would leap out almost immediately and set off all
sorts of alarms.
In other words, of
course they knew. In a project of this size, it's just
inconceivable that they didn't. And if CNN and several local
newspapers hadn't sued to open up the database, no one would ever
have been the wiser.
hardly unexpected, is it?
As Kevin had guessed above, Jeb Bush
knew the list was erroneous and went ahead with it anyway (before
the truth came out). This
report in the Sarasota Herald Tribune (via Salon.com's
War Room 04) lays out the facts:
Several days before
the state's felon voter list was sent to county elections offices
across Florida, state officials expressed doubts about its
The doubts were serious enough that Gov. Jeb Bush was advised to
"pull the plug" on the entire project, according to an
e-mail written by a state computer expert and obtained by the
Bush refused the request, the e-mail said, and told the Department
of State to proceed with the purge of nearly 48,000 voters.
Two months later, after flaws in the list were exposed in the press,
the state abandoned the effort to purge voters on the list. Those
flaws were revealed after Secretary of State Glenda Hood lost a
court battle to keep the list hidden from the public.
Bush said Friday that he was never warned about any problems before
the list was released.
But his denial contradicts a May 4, 2004, e-mail in which Florida
Department of Law Enforcement computer expert Jeff Long describes
how election officials told Bush the list needed to be abandoned.
"Paul Craft called today and told me that yesterday they
recommended to the Gov that they 'pull the plug,'" on the voter
database, Long wrote in an e-mail to his boss, Donna Uzzell.
Long added that state election officials "weren't comfortable
with the felon matching program they've got."
"The Gov rejected their suggestion to pull the plug, so they're
'going live' with it this weekend," Long wrote.
Long was recounting a conversation he had earlier that day with
Craft, the Department of State's top computer expert and the point
man on the felon purge list.
Long's primary responsibility was to provide Craft with his
department's database of convicted felons.
Friday, Long confirmed the contents of the e-mail, saying that he
didn't remember the specifics, but Craft told him about the meeting
outnumbered Republicans on the list 3-to-1 and nearly half the list
was made up of black voters.
They also noted that Hood had spent more than $100,000 in legal fees
fighting to keep the list secret.
After a judge made the purge list public in July, the Herald-Tribune
reported that only 61 Hispanics, who tend to vote Republican in
Florida, were on the list.
Subsequent reports revealed that the FDLE data did not include
Hispanic as one of the race categories, virtually assuring that
Hispanic felons would not be matched to Hispanic voters.
So far, Hood's office has characterized the flaws as honest
But Ralph Neas, president of People for the American Way, said
Long's e-mail shows that Bush was responsible for the creation of a
flawed list that could help his brother win the presidential
"This isn't functionaries making decisions below the governor.
This is the governor directly overruling the recommendations of
state employees," said Neas, whose group serves as the legal
arm of the NAACP. "This shows a direct, personal involvement of
the governor in the decisions of state employees directly related to
the conduct of elections. It is nothing short of astonishing."
As Farhad Manjoo notes in his Salon.com
According to the paper,
Paul Craft, a technologist at the Florida Department of Law
Enforcement who'd been leading the effort to create the purge list,
told the governor's office in early May that he wasn't
"comfortable" with the method by which the state's software
matched names on a list of known felons to a list of people registered
to vote. According to an e-mail obtained by the Herald-Tribune through
a public records request, though, Jeb Bush rejected Craft's call to
scrap the list. "Needless to say, Paul's going NUTS!" the
e-mail notes. (Here's a PDF
of the e-mail.)
Attempt to further suppress ex-felon voter registration by eliminating paper
applications for felons seeking to recover their civil rights
David Sirota, here is an article in the Miami
Herald (posted at Truthout) (bold text - except headers- is
Gov. Jeb Bush
has decided to eliminate paper applications for felons seeking to
recover their civil rights, and attorneys assert that the move
will thwart thousands of potential voters.
after a Florida appeals court demanded that the state provide more
help to felons who want their right to vote restored, Gov. Jeb Bush
introduced a new policy that civil rights advocates say circumvents
the will of the court and threatens to exclude tens of thousands of
week, the First District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee unanimously
ruled that state prison officials must follow the law and provide
newly released felons the necessary paperwork and assistance to get
their full civil rights back.
would include a one-page application for a formal hearing before the
Florida Clemency Board - the only way an estimated 85 percent of
felons will ever get their rights restored.
instead of providing the application, Bush decided to scrap it
altogether. On Wednesday, he announced that felons will now have to
contact the Office of Executive Clemency when and if they want to
apply for a hearing to have their rights restored.
argues that the policy reduces paperwork and, therefore, provides
the ease and assistance demanded by the court.
rights advocates say the decision will disfranchise thousands of
people in a state where more than 400,000 are already banned from
including the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida and the
Florida Justice Institute sued the state in 2001, saying the
Department of Corrections for years violated the law by not helping
felons to make civil rights applications. The Department has made
changes since then but still refuses to provide to outgoing inmates
the one-page application needed for a hearing.
rights groups took the state to court to change the policy. Last
week, they declared victory. On Wednesday, they cried foul.
"You have to hand it to the governor.
It's a very clever legal tactic and even more clever
propaganda," said Howard Simon, executive director of the ACLU
in Florida. ''It's done under the guise of trying to simplify the
process and eliminate paperwork, but it just shows his true
character. It's completely disingenuous."
Bush and his staff, however, say eliminating
the application and requesting that felons call to request hearings
simplifies the state's clemency system and ensures that the agencies
overseeing the process won't be bogged down by paperwork.
bottom line is, this will streamline the process," said the
governor's spokesman, Jacob DiPietre. ''Once felons are notified
that they don't qualify for restoration without a hearing, all they
have to do is pick up the phone and call, send a letter or e-mail a
request for a hearing."
is one of just six states that permanently strip felons of the right
to vote. The Florida Clemency Board - composed of the governor and
the Cabinet - can reinstate a felon's right to vote.
are two ways for ex-felons to get their rights restored. Depending
on their past crimes and other factors, they may qualify for
restoration through a paperless process without a hearing. Those
rejected from that process must go through a more complicated
investigation and hearing before the governor and his Cabinet.
The state had argued that the Department of
Corrections fulfilled its legal obligation by electronically
submitting the names of newly released felons for consideration in
the paperless process.
civil rights advocates countered that the Department didn't go far
enough, because an overwhelming majority of felons are rejected from
that process. To get their rights back, they must apply for
however, has repeatedly refused to provide the one-page application
to felons before they leave custody.
Berg, executive director of the Florida Justice Institute, argued
that if an application for a hearing was already on file, more
people would be ready and waiting for consideration.
think the governor thumbed his nose at the court order and showed
disrespect for the rule of law," he said.
Intimidation of Democratic voters and Kerry supporters using State Law
Gumbel reporting in The Independent (U.K.) (bold text is my
73-year-old Mr Thomas, an affable ladies' man, is staying out of
public view for fear of exacerbating what is already a highly
controversial - and highly political - criminal investigation of his
A similarly low
profile is being taken by Steve Clelland, the head of the local
firefighters' union. Last week, he did not even dare attend a local
appearance by John Kerry, the candidate he is supporting for
President, in case it added to the legal troubles facing his own
organization. The firefighters are also subject to a criminal
investigation, the chief allegation - for which no evidence has
been produced - being that they colluded with City Hall to set up an
illegal slush fund for political campaigning.
What makes the
troubles facing the two men particularly sinister is that they
are declared Kerry supporters, with the power to bring in
hundreds if not thousands of votes for the Democratic Party. The
investigations are being conducted by the state police, known as the
Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), which reports directly
to Governor Jeb Bush, brother of President George Bush.
naturally, deny the investigations are politically motivated. But
even they acknowledge that a chill has spread through Orlando's
overwhelmingly Democratic black voting community after a flurry of
unannounced visits by armed state police to at least 52 homes whose
mostly elderly residents had signed up for an absentee ballot with
Mr Thomas's help.
The Republicans have
been hard put to explain what exactly the two men have done wrong.
The media has aired official allegations ranging from vote fraud to
campaign finance irregularities to racketeering, but no charges
have been brought, despite exhaustive investigations. A grand jury
examining allegations concerning the firefighters' union concluded
that no laws had been broken, which has not deterred the FDLE from
pursuing the case.
It is impossible to
understand what is going on without considering the broader
political picture. Orlando is slap-bang in the middle of the
so-called "I-4 corridor", the line of Florida cities
running along Interstate Highway 4 from Daytona Beach on the
Atlantic coast to Tampa Bay on the Gulf of Mexico. The I-4
corridor is regarded as the hinge on which the outcome of the
presidential election in Florida will swing, and Orlando - with
surrounding Orange County - is considered the corridor's bellwether
So this is the key
swing city in the key swing region of the key swing state that will
determine whether or not George Bush wins another four years in the
White House. Little wonder passions are getting heated. Given the
unholy electoral mess Florida produced in 2000, and given the
state's sordid history of vote fraud and systematic
disenfranchisement, especially of black voters, both parties find
themselves voicing the suspicion that the other side will try to
steal Florida if only they can figure out how. "It's a blood
sport," said Joe Egan, a prominent Orlando lawyer who
represents both Mr Thomas and the firefighters.
One added wrinkle is
that Orlando's mayor, Buddy Dyer, is one of only two prominent
Democratic public officials along the I-4 corridor. Clearly, if
he is discredited, the Democrats will be deprived of a vital
figurehead in the run-up to 2 November. As it turns out, he is directly
implicated in both of the FDLE's investigations. The intrigue
began with Mr Dyer's election last March. It was a two-round
election, but Mr Dyer finished with just over the 50 per cent
threshold needed to avoid a run-off. His closest opponent, a
Republican called Ken Mulvaney, cried foul, saying the 234-vote
margin putting Mr Dyer over the threshold was fraudulent.
Mulvaney's campaign manager was a prominent local talk-radio host
called Doug Guetzloe, his allegations had a wide airing. But most of
them, if not all, were demonstrably untrue. Mr Guetzloe claimed
illegal absentee votes had been faxed into the elections
supervisor's office, but the office accepts only originals. He also
said people had been paid for their votes, but offered no evidence
suspicion fell on Ezzie Thomas, because he had personally witnessed
applications for 270 absentee ballots, a figure big enough to force
a run-off election if it could be shown the votes were fraudulent.
The city attorney's office cross-checked the signatures on the
absentee ballots with the original application forms and concluded
they were valid. Intriguingly, the FDLE did the same thing and
stated, in a letter written to the state attorney in Orlando in May,
that there was "no basis to support the allegations" and
that the case should be considered closed.
trying to explain away that letter ever since," said one senior
city employee who did not wish to be identified. Something caused
the FDLE to change its mind, because in early June uniformed
officers began knocking on doors and asking threatening questions of
dozens of black voters who had been in contact with Mr Thomas.
Several said the FDLE officers took off their jackets and exposed
their firearms while questioning them. In at least one case, the
officer crossed his legs and tapped a 9mm pistol sitting in an ankle
holster while he asked detailed questions about the interviewee's
reasons for voting absentee. (Absentee voting is a choice under
Florida law, so one can wonder about the line of questioning.)
threatened, embarrassed and like I was being accused of being a
criminal," one interviewee, Willie Thomas, wrote in a
statement. Many others told Joe Egan later that they no longer
wanted to vote absentee because they felt it was somehow illegal.
Although the FDLE's
public statements have been less than transparent, it appears to
have relied on a paragraph in the Florida statute books which says
it is illegal to receive or offer "something of value" for
absentee ballots. Mr Thomas and his organization, the Orlando
Voters' League, have not been accused of paying for votes, but they
have acknowledged paying the 37-cent postage for some people's
absentee ballots. Mr Thomas, who received $10,000 from the Dyer
campaign for his get-out-the-vote efforts, has also acknowledged
paying his volunteers between $100 and $150 for petrol and other
expenses over the campaign season.
seem particularly absurd because such practices are absolutely
par for the course for both parties. "A 37-cent postage stamp
is a very interesting definition of racketeering," Mr Egan
said. "Now, it's well known that most absentee ballots come out
of the white community ... I seriously doubt the police would behave
in the same way in a white community."
As it happens, Mr
Thomas had been been hired before by Republican candidates to
perform exactly the same services he provided for Mr Dyer, without
falling foul of the law. Among his past clients are two names with
particular resonance in the 2004 presidential race. One is Mel
Martinez, the Bush administration's outgoing Housing Secretary who
is now running for the Florida Senate seat being vacated by the
retiring Democrat, Bob Graham. (Mr Thomas helped Mr Martinez run for
chair of the Orange County commission a few years ago.) And the
other is Glenda Hood, who was mayor of Orlando for 12 years before
being appointed Jeb Bush's Secretary of State, the office
responsible for running Florida's elections.
And Mayor Hood, not
Mayor Dyer, allowed the firefighters' union to spend up to $40,000 a
year in city funds on political activities. In those days, the
firefighters were considered allies of the Republican establishment
in Orange County and had endorsed George Bush for President in 2000.
But Mr Clelland and his members were deeply disappointed by the
White House's failure to follow through on promises to put an extra
100,000 firefighters on American streets and update their equipment.
So, in early June, they joined a statewide union vote endorsing Mr
Kerry for President in 2004.
Days later, the FDLE,
with television cameras in tow, raided City Hall, seized several
computers and announced that the union and its so-called "leave
bank" were being investigated. The beefy Mr Clelland said he
was scared to death in his interview with the FDLE supervisor in
Orlando and was told he might be slung into jail if he insisted on
having his lawyer present. He duly asked Mr Egan to leave the room.
Like the black
absentee voters, Mr Clelland also noticed the officer tapping the
9mm pistol in his ankle holster as he let loose his barrage of
questions. "You would think these investigators were going
after John Gotti [the late Mafia don]," he said bitterly.
"Their actions have gutted this organization locally."
After the grand jury ruled that the union leave bank was legal,
Mayor Dyer asked Florida's attorney general for a ruling to get the
FDLE off their backs.
Left has extracts from Bob Herbert's New York Times op-ed
addressing these blatant voter intimidation tactics.
Attempt to suppress voting of new citizens (immigrants) by claiming
that they didn't check a box! (It's not enough to swear or affirm otherwise that one is a U.S.
citizen - one needs to have ticked a box in the voter registration form
in certain counties or
face disqualification from voting!)
- even when forms were
fixed, they did not get processed on time
not enough for new Florida voters to swear an oath that they are
U.S. citizens, Secretary of State Glenda Hood says.
They also have to
make sure they check a little box on their voter registration
should be barred from voting Nov. 2, Hood says.
Potentially hundreds of Floridians won't be able to vote because
they failed to check the box even though they signed the form.
interpretation of state law drew the ire Monday of Democratic
presidential nominee John Kerry's Florida campaign chairman and
third-party groups that have registered thousands of voters in
really in my opinion a technicality," said U.S. Rep. Kendrick
Meek, D-Miami, Kerry's Florida campaign chairman. "If you
sign the form, under the threat of prosecution if you lie, that
should be good enough to allow them to vote."
Meek stopped short
of accusing Hood, who was appointed by Republican Gov. Jeb Bush,
of playing partisan politics.
"But this is
the very same office that went out of its way to make sure Ralph
Nader was on the ballot," Meek said. Democrats, who fear
Nader will undermine Kerry's chances of winning, sued
unsuccessfully last month to keep him off the ballot.
Hood said last week
that thousands of people could be turned away from the polls Nov.
2 because their voter registration cards were rejected for
technical reasons. Most registered through third-party groups that
are not as careful as elections officials, Hood said.
But the head of one
of those groups said Hood should err on the side of voters.
being equal the secretary of state should be moving mountains to
let people vote," said Brian Kettenring, head organizer for
Florida ACORN, or Association of Community Organizations for
Reform Now, which announced Monday it had 212,317 new voters in
Florida. "We believe the secretary of state should be giving
voters every benefit of the doubt."
More, from Herald.com:
County residents who skipped over a box on their voter
registration form will be barred from voting in the presidential
election, while Miami-Dade residents who made the same omission
will be allowed to cast ballots.
Secretary of State
Glenda Hood, who oversees elections statewide, said Monday that
Broward was following her instructions in disqualifying those who
failed to complete the form.
But she indicated
that there was no way to force Dade to follow the same procedure.
And Dade said it was sticking to its plan of not disqualifying
voters for skipping the citizenship box if they affirmed elsewhere
with their signatures that they are U.S. citizens.
So, is Jeb! appointee
Buddy Johnson gonna reject forms from Hillsborough County residents
based on a technicality? Well, so far, he's only been able to
find one form on which the only mistake made was the citizenship
box, and he rejected it. He's gleefully rejecting thousands of
other forms for multiple little mistakes and other irregularities. (Back
to SP Times)
Elections Supervisor Buddy Johnson said only one form was rejected
because the citizenship box wasn't checked.
More than 6,600
other forms were rejected for a variety of reasons.
very, very rare that that particular field is the only incomplete
field," Johnson said.
And as these
dedicated GOP public servants work to maintain the integrity of the
election by disenfranchising thousands of hopeful first time voters,
let's not forget that sometimes it's okay to fix an official
election form - at least, it's
okay if you're a Republican.
Martin County absentee ballot case. In that lawsuit, local
Democrats have been arguing that because Republican election
officials allowed GOP volunteers to take home incomplete absentee
ballot applications and correct them, every absentee ballot cast
in that county was compromised. Their preferred solution is to
throw out all of the approximately 10,000 absentee votes, which
would give Gore a net gain of more than 2,000 votes.
will be heard Thursday at 1 p.m. EST in the Seminole County case,
a precursor to the Martin County suit. Hanging in the balance are
that county's 15,000 absentee votes. Democrats allege that county
election supervisor Sandra Goard illegally allowed Republicans to
set up shop in her office and fix thousands of absentee ballot
requests from Republicans.
In one of
Wednesday's most charged moments, Democratic attorneys read aloud
testimony from Goard, who has held the supervisor post in Seminole
County for 23 years. She admitted to permitting two Republican
Party representatives, including the party's regional director,
Michael Leach, to add missing voter identification numbers to
about 2,000 absentee ballot applications filed by Republican
voters. Goard also acknowledged that Florida law did not permit
her to take such an action and that she had not provided Democrats
with the same opportunity.
Secretary of State
Florida Department of State
R. A. Gray Building
500 S. Bronough
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0250
of Elections and ask them if they plan to follow Glenda Hood's
advice to disenfranchise new voters.
Progress Report, here's an update from the San
The lawsuit regarding
voter registration forms, filed in federal court in Miami, stems
from Hood's recent recommendation to throw out forms on which
registrants did not check a box indicating they are U.S. citizens,
even if they signed an oath at the bottom of the form swearing that
It charges that while
some registrants fixed their incomplete forms before the Oct. 4
deadline, elections officials did not always process them in time
and did not let other registrants know their forms were flawed. It
charges Hood and elections supervisors in Broward, Duval, Miami-Dade
and Orange counties with violating federal election law and the
Voting Rights Act.
The plaintiff groups
-- including People for the American Way; the American Federation of
State, County and Municipal Employees; and the AFL-CIO -- all
registered thousands of new Florida voters in recent months, often
urging them to vote Democratic.
According to their
complaint, more than a third of the incomplete forms in Broward and
Miami-Dade counties came from African American registrants, even
though African Americans make up only 17 percent of the electorate
in Broward and 20 percent in Miami-Dade.
Via reader radtimes, a Federal judge
A federal district
judge here dismissed a lawsuit Tuesday that was filed on behalf of
more than 10,000 new voters whose registration forms had been
rejected as incomplete.
The judge, James
Lawrence King, said the labor unions that brought the case had no
standing because they had not proved that any of their members were
affected. Judge King also said several other plaintiffs, people who
had turned in incomplete registration forms, could not blame their
local elections supervisors, who were named as defendants.
"No federal or
state statute,'' he wrote, "prescribes a time period within
which a supervisor must notify an applicant that her application is
Sheila Thomas, a
lawyer for the Advancement Project, a rights group that represented
the plaintiffs, said, "We think the ruling is incorrect as a
matter of law, and we are considering appealing it."
The suit, brought
against elections supervisors in Broward, Miami-Dade and several
other counties, charged that the rejected registration forms had
come disproportionately from blacks and Hispanics. In some cases,
the applicants did not check a box indicating that they were
American citizens, though they signed an oath on the form affirming
that they were. Some registrants corrected their incomplete forms
before the Oct. 4 registration deadline, the suit said, but
elections officials did not always process them in time, and did not
let other registrants know that their forms were flawed.
Florida's GOP Secretary of State Glenda Hood (nickname: Katharine
Harris II) issues election rules barring manual recounts (via machine
log printouts) for electronic voting machines in close elections, even
though Florida law requires a manual recount of ballots in close
- after a court order
against her stance, she issues new ruling which is barely different
from her original ruling
Manjoo in Salon.com [via reader CC] - with bold text being my
Many of the
improvements in Florida, as in the rest of the nation, were
cosmetic; lawmakers moved quickly to make changes, but their reforms
were often quick fixes. In Florida, where the election mess had been
blamed on punch-card voting machines, officials looked for a
technological solution to the state's democratic woes. In 2001,
lawmakers here banned punch-card voting machines. Many local
officials then had a choice to make -- should they go with optical
scan ballots (the fill-in-the-bubble paper ballots that are counted
by machines), or should they install paperless electronic
touch-screen machines? Officials in smaller counties chose optical
scan, while most of the larger counties chose the electronic
systems. In the upcoming election, slightly more than half of
Florida's voters will find touch-screen machines at the polls, while
the rest will vote on opti-scan.
It wasn't long
after the state adopted touch-screen systems that the machines
proved to be just as troublesome as punch cards. On Sept. 10, 2002,
Miami-Dade County, the state's largest, used electronic machines for
the first time in its primary election. Election Day was
a disaster, mostly because the voting systems, made by Election
Systems & Software of Omaha, Neb., failed to start up on time,
resulting in delays of several hours before some precincts were
opened for voting. The main contest in the race pitted Janet Reno,
the former U.S. attorney general, against Bill McBride for the
Democratic gubernatorial nomination. The initial count showed Reno
losing by more than 8,000 votes -- but as officials checked and
rechecked the machines over a process of weeks, they
"found" thousands of additional votes for Reno.
Eventually, Reno's margin of defeat was determined to be within the
legal limit allowing her to challenge the results -- but by the time
all the votes were found, she'd missed the deadline to challenge.
In the aftermath of
the Sept. 10 fiasco in Miami-Dade, voting-rights activists from all
over the county got together to form the Miami-Dade
Election Reform Coalition. Amidst all the turmoil in this state,
the group is the best example of public democracy Florida has to
offer -- a rebellious, fearless and fiercely nonpartisan citizens'
group that aims to bring accuracy, if not honor, back to Florida
elections. Every Wednesday evening for the past two years, the
group, composed of two dozen or so lawyers, civil rights experts,
poll workers, labor leaders and ordinary citizens, has met in a
dreary third-floor conference room at the Florida ACLU. Their
meetings are intense, sometimes fractious, but also, surprisingly, a
lot of fun. In the middle of an intricate discussion on the
complexities of election law at one recent get-together, giggles
broke out when someone sketched a sign on a yellow legal pad and
held it up for the room to see. The solution to Florida's election
woes? "GLENDA MUST GO!" the sign said.
activists in Florida responded to the Sept. 10 primary by calling
for what they said were practical fixes to the problems they saw
with touch screens. Specifically, members of the coalition asked
Hood to consider a "manual recount" procedure for
touch-screen systems. Most touch-screen machines produce elaborate
internal logs documenting everything that happens to that machine in
the course of a day of voting -- the time it was turned on and off,
the mode it was in during the election, the number of voters who
used the machine, and possibly much more information, including
printouts of each ballot cast. Voting machine firms have always
touted these internal logs as a security feature. So in the event of
a question over an electronic machine's results, reformers asked,
why couldn't election officials look at the system's internal logs
to determine if the machine functioned correctly during the race?
logs would seem to be a sensible safeguard against election mischief
-- but for reasons that remain unclear, Hood decided that officials
should never consult these internal logs. To carry out her edict,
she called on the Florida Legislature to pass a
law that would have prohibited manual recounts on touch-screen
machines. In response, the Miami-Dade Election Reform Coalition
mounted a campaign to defeat the bill, and after a groundswell of
public support, the bill failed. But in April, after the legislative
defeat, Hood quietly issued an administrative election rule -- which
did not need to be approved by the Legislature -- to achieve exactly
what the defeated bill would have achieved, the prohibition of
manual recounts on voting machines.
To her critics,
Hood's actions on the manual recount issue epitomize her general
attitude toward election law; she rules high-handedly, they say,
without regard for public sentiment. In 2000 and in 2002, Florida
experienced massive election failures; clearly, these events would
have caused voters to lose confidence in Florida's election plan.
But Hood failed to grasp this "post-Nov. 7" public mood,
the need for greater trust in the voting equipment, says Martha
Mahoney, a professor at the University of Miami School of Law and a
member of the Miami-Dade Election Reform Coalition. Instead of
moving to reassure voters by mandating closer study of touch-screen
systems, Hood moved to limit the ways in which elections officials
could scrutinize election results.
Indeed, despite a
couple of years' worth of examples from around the country showing
that touch-screen systems are just as fallible as other bits of
modern technology (including the example of Florida's 2002 primary),
Hood has bizarrely maintained that the voting systems in Florida are
flawless. "The track record shows that since 2002, when
electronic voting equipment's been used in Florida, that we've
delivered successful elections," she told CNN recently.
"There have not been problems with the equipment that's been
used." Jeb Bush, too, claims that the election equipment in the
state is perfect. Jacob DiPietre, a spokesman for Bush, told Salon
that the chaos that Miami-Dade experienced in 2002 was the result of
"human error" -- the election problems were caused by poll
workers, not by machines. This theory is contradicted by independent
reports of what occurred in that election. For instance, the
Miami-Dade County Inspector General has documented (PDF)
the many and various ways in which the ES&S systems failed in
the 2002 primary, noting in particular the systems' inability to
start up on time.
evidence, Bush maintains that the only people who question Florida's
voting machines are Democrats, and they only do it to boost voter
turnout. "Every time that liberal Democrats say that the
election is in question, every vote should count, it is an effort to
try to mobilize their base and that's it," Bush told the Miami
Herald in July. "And it should be discounted, deeply, because
it is purely politics." Martha Mahoney, though, points out that
there are many Republicans who favor stricter scrutiny of electronic
machines; counting every vote is not a dream only of Democrats. In
fact, the Know
Your Vote Counts Act of 2004, a proposal in the U.S. House to
paper trails in electronic voting systems, counts among its
co-sponsors dozens of Republicans, including five from Florida. One
of them is Katharine Harris, the Bushes' former vote-counting
consigliere, who was elected to Congress in 2002. In supporting a
paper trail in voting machines, is Harris trying, as Bush suggests,
to mobilize Democrats? That's hard to believe.
After Hood issued
her rule prohibiting recounts in electronic machines, the Florida
chapter of the ACLU sued her, challenging her authority to issue
such an order. Hood lost the suit, and was forced to rewrite the
rule; now, a revised rule governing recounts on electronic machines
could come down from Hood's office anytime before Election Day. Activists
aren't sure, though, that the new rule will be any more fair than
the rule Hood first devised -- still, says Howard Simon, executive
director of the ACLU of Florida, it's better for activists to be
waiting for a possibly unfair rule before the election than to find
out about unfair rules on the day of the election, which is what
occurred in 2000. That's the main difference, he says, between this
presidential election and the last one -- voting-rights advocates
are prepared this time. "We've been working up to our eyeballs
on preventive action," he says. "We're in a battle over
the rules of the game. The game is going to be decided by who makes
the rules of the game -- who decides who gets purged, who's
permitted to register, whether the machines are going to be audited
and reliable, will they have the capacity to do a recount in case a
recount is necessary, are the votes going to be counted or thrown
update on the "new" ruling:
From a news
story about Florida voting procedures:
State law requires a
manual recount if the election is decided by less than one-quarter
of 1 percent of the vote, as it was in the 2000 contest between
George W. Bush and Al Gore.
What are the rules? Read
on: (emp add)
Secretary of State Glenda Hood had issued a rule barring manual
recounts for touch-screen votes, but a judge in August ruled the
manual-recount law applies no matter what voting technology is
Hood's office released the new recount rules late Friday, 18 days
before the Nov. 2 presidential election.
Under the new rules,
if a recount is needed, election officials must review a printout
from each voting machine to count the so-called undervotes, or
ballots on which no candidate was chosen. The equipment will be
checked for problems if the number doesn't match the undervote
totals given by the machine.
So what's the point? If
the paper record agrees with the machine, the machine count is
used. If the paper record disagrees with the machine, the
machine count is used.
If the discrepancy remains, officials will rely on the
original machine count.
Also, what's with using the undervotes as the test? Why not look at
all votes reported by the machine and compare that to the paper
NOTE: It's not clear what the paper record is anyway. Is it a
print-out from the machine when the voting is over, or is it (what
it should be) a running print of voter activity that occurs when
each voter uses the machine.
6. Jeb Bush's Government in
Florida adopts an extremely rigid standard for counting provisional
ballots in order to suppress voting -- a voter has to have cast his
ballot at his home precinct in order to have his provisional ballot
Manjoo in Salon.com [via reader CC] - with bold text being my
challenge has to do with "provisional ballots," which are
the ballots voters are allowed to cast in case their names can't be
found on the rolls at their polling place on Election Day. Provisional
ballots, which were required by the Help America Vote Act, the
federal election reform law that President Bush signed in 2002, are
meant to alleviate one of the most common problems elections experts
see in voting, voters being turned away due to faulty registration
rolls. Now, when a poll worker can't find a voter's name in the
registration database on Election Day, the voter can cast a ballot
provisionally; the state determines later whether to count the
ballot. But Florida, unlike most states, has adopted an extremely
rigid standard in deciding whether to count a provisional ballot --
a voter has to have cast his ballot at his home precinct in order to
have his provisional ballot counted. Simon, of the ACLU, points out
that this will cause many votes to go uncounted this year; going to
the wrong precinct could be a fairly common mistake voters make.
"Miami-Dade alone has added 130 new precincts, and what if you
didn't get your card in the mail that told you where to go?" he
asks. "Or what if you live in the part of the state that's been
hit by hurricanes, and they moved your polling place or it had to be
replaced at the last minute?" Just because you go to the wrong
precinct, Simons asks, why should your vote for president or senator
not be counted? But in Florida, these ballots won't count. In
August's primary election, about 2,000 voters cast provisional
ballots, and only half of them were counted, according to the
The outcome of these
lawsuits will likely determine the rules of the Florida election
game. And if Glenda Hood wins, many Democrats in the state fear, the
outcome of the presidential election in Florida could be certain
from the start.
As of 10/18/04, unfortunately the State
Supreme Court sides
with the Bush government:
(AP) -- People who cast a provisional ballot at the wrong precinct
aren't entitled to have their votes counted, the state Supreme Court
unanimously ruled Monday, rejecting an argument by labor unions that
the rule wrongly disenfranchises voters.
The court said the
law clearly states that provisional ballots must be counted only if
the person was entitled to vote "at the precinct," and
that the constitution gives the Legislature the authority to dictate
(via reader radtimes).