[Marxism] "Angry about the lost votes of 2000, black Florida town has strong turnout"

Fred Feldman ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Tue Nov 2 16:22:51 MST 2004


Angry about the lost votes of 2000, 
black Florida town has strong turnout

AFP: 11/2/2004

RIVIERA BEACH, Florida Nov 2 (AFP) - Anger over the lost
votes of 2000 is still simmering in this mainly black town
of south Florida, where voters turned out massively
Tuesday, many vowing they would not be disenfranchized
again.

Residents, standing in long lines to cast their ballots,
said renewed irregularities are only strengthening their
resolve to make their votes count. And many said that vote
is against President George W. Bush.

The feeling that Bush stole the last presidential was
strong in this city of 30,000, where as many of 16 percent
of the ballots were discarded in the 2000 election, twice
as many as the already high statewide average.

"We are not going to let this happen again," said John
Goldwise, 57. "This time we have too many people watching,"
he said after casting his ballot at an elementary school,
where partisan poll watchers monitored the proceedings.

Outside Riviera Beach's Lindsey Davis community center, a
dozen members of the non-partisan Election Protection
group, among the thousands of lawyers and other volunteers
deployed to Florida, noted down complaints and helped
voters who had questions.

A lawyer with the John Kerry campaign also offered
assistance, but his Republican counterpart stood at a
distance, and declined to make any comments on his role at
the site.

Civil rights groups have accused Republicans of targeting
black and Hispanic communities for challenges of their
voter eligibility.

Several voters complained they had received phone calls or
flyers directing them to the wrong precincts, and have
strong suspicions the calls were part of a concerted effort
to keep Kerry supporters away from the polls.

Michelle Hargrett, 37, pointed to a brightly-colored flyer
she said she found on her door, urging her to vote for
Kerry but sending her to the wrong precinct, kilometers
(miles) away from the one where she is registered.

"This is a dirty trick," she said. She did not fall for it,
but used it to teach her 18-year-old daughter a lesson in
democracy, and reported it to electoral lawyers.

"I told my daughter that even if we had stood for hours in
the wrong line, we'd have still have made sure we
eventually voted."

She said she's voted in every election since she turned 18.
But what happened in the last presidential bid made her
even more determined.

"I was bitter after the last time, they disenfranchized
people who look like me," said Hargrett, who is black.

Bush won the White House in 2000 after the US Supreme Court
halted five weeks of recounts in Florida, leading many
Democrats to cry foul.

In that election thousands of votes, many from black
voters, were discarded for reasons ranging from voter
eligibility to badly perforated ballots.

Confusing ballots had caused elderly Jewish voters to
mistakenly support a far-right wing candidate widely
considered anti-semitic.

"My friends in New York still give me of hard time, saying
I voted for Pat Buchanan," said Esther Kinterman, who sat
on a bench with two elderly friends, after voting at a
synagogue in West Palm Beach.

Many people in south Florida agree the new touch-screen
machine is much easier to use than the punch-card system it
replaced, though some are concerned that the fact it
doesn't print out ballots would make it impossible to
recount votes manually in case of disputes over the outcome
of Tuesday's election.

"Those old machines, I was happy to get rid of them," said
Sheryll Miller, who said she had no trouble casting her
ballot at the synagogue, located inside a retirement
community.

11/02/2004 18:14 GMT - AFP








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