Miami Herald documents miracle: resurection of the dead on Nov. 7

Jose G. Perez jgperez at SPAMnetzero.net
Sun Dec 24 18:26:08 MST 2000


    Following up on the discussion on religion on the Marxism List, I
thought the following article from the Miami Herald, documenting at least
one case in which a Haitian several years deceased was resurrected on
election day as a Hispanic would be of interest.

    The article is not without political relevancy also, but it takes
careful reading. Following the Herald's (and all other major bourgeois
mouthpieces) editorial policies, the article shies away from identifying the
"race" (which in the U.S. also means ethnic group) of those involved.

    What's going on here, I suspect, is that the gusano mafia got out an
illegal vote on election day. The Herald reporters understand it, but aren't
about to be allowed to say it. Instead, they try to communicate this to the
reader by giving sufficient detail so that the ethnic groups involved can be
inferred.

    This is one more piece of the campaign waged by the Republicans in
Florida to steal an election which Al Gore won handily, in the sense one
would mean "won" if one were talking about a democracy, which is that Gore
had the support of more of the actual voters than his rival.

    Contrast the treatment of gusanos in Miami seeking to cast "affidavit
ballots" to that of Blacks, including Miami Haitians, as this article
documents, who were denied the right to cast such ballots.

    It should be noted that the Herald won the Pulitzer Prize a year or two
ago by documenting how the Miami mayoral race was stolen by ballot stuffing
by people from the gusano mafia. Those articles led to the courts
overturning the results of that election.

José

*   *   *

Published Sunday, December 24, 2000, in the Miami Herald

Unregistered voters cast ballots in Dade
Dead man's vote, scores of others were allowed illegally, Herald finds
BY MANNY GARCIA AND TOM DUBOCQ
magarcia at herald.com

André Alismé died of cancer in 1997. Yet a vote in his name was cast in last
month's presidential election, one of more than 100 illegal ballots
uncovered by The Herald in Miami-Dade County.
Violating rules meant to safeguard the integrity of balloting, Miami-Dade
poll workers allowed scores of unregistered voters -- including out-of-state
residents -- to vote on Nov. 7.
They cast ballots at polling places where they were not listed on voter
rolls. All they had to do was sign sworn statements that they were eligible
to vote.
They were not.
Nobody at the polls checked, as required by county regulations and state
law -- which meant that those illegal ballots counted in one of the closest
presidential races in history.
All of those voters would have been caught before casting ballots had poll
workers followed a simple procedure -- making a phone call to elections
headquarters to check whether each voter was indeed eligible to vote.
The Herald examined ballots cast at just 138 of Miami-Dade's 617 precincts,
finding that 144 ineligible voters had been allowed to sign in at polls
where they were not registered. If that trend holds true in the rest of
Dade, hundreds more illegal ballots may have been cast.
Poll workers overwhelmed by heavy voter turnout struggled with two competing
mandates: sustaining citizens' right to vote while combating fraud at the
ballot box. As a result, the anti-fraud rules weren't always followed:
 Frustrated poll workers said they were stymied by constant busy signals
when they tried to call an Elections Department hot line to verify voter
registration.
 Some were so poorly trained that they didn't know the verification
requirements. They said they let people vote -- some without any
identification -- based on gut feelings that voters were honest.
 Other poll workers, feeling pressured by long lines and short tempers, said
they ignored the rules or bent them just to avoid ugly confrontations.
Some poll workers were too trusting, said Miami-Dade Elections Supervisor
David Leahy. ``Some clerks obviously did not follow procedures,'' Leahy
said. ``A lot of what we do is on the honor system. Clearly you cannot have
a deceased person voting.''
The Herald investigation shows that the already controversial Florida
presidential election also was marred by illegal voting. Those votes also
point to a larger problem: The safeguards enacted after Miami's
fraud-tainted 1997 mayoral election didn't keep cheaters from voting.
Much of the fraud unearthed in 1997 involved absentee balloting, and most
reforms were aimed at stamping out fraudulent mail-in ballots. The trouble
this year came at the polls, where some precinct workers ignored systematic
safeguards.
The vote cast for André Alismé exemplifies what went wrong.
A Haitian immigrant, Alismé registered to vote in Miami-Dade on Sept. 10,
1996. The registered Democrat cast his first and only ballot as an American
citizen in the presidential election that year.
He was 60 years old when he died the following May. After spotting his
obituary in the newspaper, the Elections Department routinely verified his
death with the Florida Department of Vital Statistics. Then his registration
was canceled, on June 2, 1997.
On Nov. 7, Alismé's name was resurrected at the Korean Presbyterian Church
of Miami, 13700 NE 10th Ave., the polling place for Precinct 141. Alismé's
name was handwritten on Page 65 of the precinct roll, along with an obvious
forgery of his signature. The roll shows that Ballot No. 119451 was cast in
Alismé's name.
``No, no, that cannot be! André Alismé is deceased,'' said Elda Suffret, who
lives with Alismé's son at the family's El Portal home. ``There is no other
André Alismé in Miami. His sons have different names, and they are not U.S.
citizens. I don't know how this could happen.''
THE CASE OF AN IMPOSTOR
Dead man's identity is used to cast an illegal vote
Precinct 141 was particularly busy on Election Day -- 855 ballots were cast
there, a 67 percent turnout. Nearly 90 percent of the presidential vote went
for Al Gore.
Despite the heavy turnout, precinct supervisor Thomas Dennard said he
clearly remembers the man who called himself Alismé.
``It was early in the morning, and it was a madhouse,'' Dennard said. ``He
was sitting at the end of a long table waiting to be helped.''
Like 46 other voters at Precinct 141, the impostor needed Dennard's approval
to cast a ballot because Alismé's name was not printed on the precinct's
voter rolls.
The procedure is clear. Poll workers are supposed to get identification from
the walk-in voter -- preferably a current voter registration card and photo
identification.
If the voter doesn't have that, poll workers are supposed to write down the
voter's name, current address, birth date and Social Security number, then
verify the information against voter registration records before having the
voter sign an affirmation swearing that the information is correct.
Dennard said he followed official procedures, calling an Elections
Department hot line to verify that Alismé was registered to vote. Elections
Department officials doubt that he made the call.
They said that if Dennard did call, alarms would have gone off:
 The impostor gave Alismé's old address, 8800 NE Fourth Ave. -- which is in
Precinct 159, about three miles south in El Portal. Under county
regulations, Dennard should have directed the man to the correct precinct
and not issued him a ballot.
 The impostor told poll workers he was born June 27, 1922, elections records
show -- making him 14 years older than Alismé would have been. Alismé's
correct birth date, on file at the Elections Department: Nov. 30, 1936.
 Dennard said the voter presented him with photo identification -- either a
passport or a driver's license -- as well as a voter registration card
identifying him as Alismé. He said the voter was white and spoke with a
thick Hispanic accent. ``He was, like, from Cuba,'' Dennard said.
Voter registration records list Alismé as black. He was born in
Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
 When Alismé's records are called up on any Elections Department computer, a
message flashes on the screen, an alert that he is deceased.
No record could be found that Dennard called the hot line on Nov. 7 to check
out Alismé or any other voter. Hot line operators were supposed to log in
all calls from precincts. Dennard stood by his story. ``I did make the
calls,'' he said.
Dennard has worked at Miami-Dade polls since 1982, but that was only the
second time he had been in charge of a precinct. An unemployed food-service
worker, Dennard earned $99 for the 14 hours he spent at Precinct 141 on Nov.
7.
Alismé was not the only questionable voter in Precinct 141.
``I am not a registered voter, but I voted,'' Michel Guerda, 20, told The
Herald.
Guerda said she voted in Precint 141 after two girlfriends persuaded her to
ride with them to the polls and try to vote.
``I told the man there, the supervisor, `I'm not a registered voter.' He
said, `That's OK. You can vote,' '' Guerda said. ``He asked me for a photo
ID. I showed him a photo ID. I filled out some paper and I signed the book.
He gave me a ballot and I voted. It was easy. Am I in trouble?''
Dennard said he does not remember Guerda, who lives within Little Haiti's
Precinct 505, six miles from Precinct 141.
Aldo Rios also voted -- although his family says he lives in New Jersey.
Rios filled out an affirmation listing his granddaughter's North Dade
address.
Dennard signed it, although elections officials confirm that Rios is not a
registered voter.
``He lives in Union City,'' said Yanelis Cabrales, Rios' granddaughter. ``He
comes back and forth, but his home is up there, not here.''
Christina Ashby admitted in her affirmation that she lives in a Broward
County apartment. Dennard said he signed it because Ashby showed him
identification, possibly a driver's license, listing an address within the
precinct.
Ashby, an activities director for a nursing home, said she is registered to
vote in Miramar, but twice got turned away when she tried to vote at another
precinct near her son's school.
``They would not even let me fill out an affirmation,'' she said. ``The
Broward clerks tried calling the elections department but never got through.
It was busy all the time.''
Frustrated, Ashby said she drove to her original precinct where she had
registered to vote in 1992 -- Precinct 141. She explained her ordeal and got
to vote. Ashby said she did not know that was illegal.
``I was tired and frustrated,'' Ashby said. ``All I wanted to do was vote.''
That happened all over Miami-Dade -- unregistered voters wanting to vote.
Most voters interviewed by The Herald said they were unaware that state law
requires voters to be registered in the county where they currently reside.
Registration cards from other counties and other states are invalid.
A QUESTION OF RESIDENCY
Voters not on the rolls were able to cast ballots
South Dade resident Aurora Ojeda was one of nine unregistered voters in
Precinct 759 who cast ballots at South Kendall Community Church, 16550 SW
147th Ave. Ojeda, who moved here from Monroe County several years ago, said
she remembered filling out a registration form about a year ago, but never
received a registration card.
``I wanted to vote, so I drove to the Keys first thing in the morning. But
they told me I had to vote in my precinct here,'' Ojeda said. ``So I came
back and they let me vote here.''
Claudine Richard said her mother, Claudette Richard, was allowed to vote
even though she was registered outside Florida. Poll workers in Precinct 759
allowed her to vote anyway. Claudette Richard was in Haiti and could not be
reached for comment.
``She was registered to vote in New York,'' her daughter said. ``I tried to
register her online a few weeks before the election, but it was too late.
Does this mean she wasn't supposed to vote?''
The state registration deadline was Oct. 10. Anyone registering after that
was ineligible to vote.
In Precinct 146, Pamela Perez signed affirmations for seven people who gave
her addresses within that precinct. Elections records show that none were
registered voters.
``I'm sure several people got by me who should not have voted. I know I made
some boo-boos. I should have checked more thoroughly,'' said Perez, who
oversaw voting in Keystone Point, a well-to-do neighborhood in North Miami.
``I had a lot of people coming in without voting cards and people who were
not registered in the book,'' she said. ``I tried calling the elections
office, but it was busy the whole day.''
Perez said she was caught unprepared for the onslaught of people who showed
up on Nov. 7. She registered to vote in February and had never done election
work.
Poll clerks must attend a two-hour class and study a 32-page procedural
manual before they set foot inside a precinct. Perez said she warned
Elections Department trainers that she was not prepared for such
responsibility.
``The poll worker training lasted 40 minutes, maybe an hour,'' Perez said.
``I told them, `I never voted in my life. I never did this in my life. I
didn't have any experience doing this,' and they said, `You can do it.
You'll be fine. It's easy.' Well, it wasn't easy.''
Leahy, the elections supervisor, said the hardest part of his job is finding
enough qualified poll workers, especially for larger elections.
``We have to beg people to take these positions for what we pay,'' Leahy
said. ``Basically, we are asking you to take a Tuesday off, work at least a
14-hour day, plus two hours of training.''
BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT
Some voters' word accepted about where they were living
Perez said she gave several people the benefit of the doubt because they
said they lived in her neighborhood.
``They said they lived in Keystone Point, and I believed them,'' Perez said.
``Maybe I should have been more strict in some cases.''
But Perez said she also turned away plenty of people, mostly those she felt
were Haitian, because she believed they did not live in Keystone Point.
``They wanted to come in to vote,'' Perez said. ``I said, `I know you don't
live in this precinct,' and they said `OK' and would leave.''
But how clerks determined who got a ballot differed from one precinct to the
next.
In Opa-locka, for example, clerk Herman Ralph Davis Jr. said he did not
allow anyone to vote without showing a picture ID. Davis said he turned away
several potential voters at Precinct 271, 2105 Ali Baba Ave., because he
could not reach elections headquarters.
``They had to have a picture ID,'' Davis told The Herald. ``If you're not
registered in the book and did not have a picture ID, and I couldn't get
through the phones to the Elections Department, then you couldn't vote. I
had about four I turned away like that, but part of my job is to guard
against fraud.''
Poll clerk Joe Galante said his job was to facilitate voting at Precinct
126, Allen Park Community Center, 1770 NE 162nd St.
``If they didn't have a driver's license or picture ID, voter's
registration, nothing, we filled out that affirmation,'' Galante said. ``I
made them raise their right hand and take an oath that they were telling the
truth. Our job is to help people vote. We're on the honor system here.
``I remember we had one guy,'' Galante said. ``He hadn't voted in years. But
he looked like a nice guy. So we let him vote.''
Herald staff writers Mireidy Fernandez and Jasmine Kripalani contributed to
this report.











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