News Release

Repeat of “Felon” Purging That Tilted Florida Election?


Palast is author of the New York Times best-selling book The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, an expanded election edition of which has just been released. He said today: “Florida has announced a surprise new purge of its voter rolls targeting 40,000 of its own citizens. Following the 2000 race, my investigative team at BBC Television discovered that tens of thousands of those purged by Katherine Harris and Jeb Bush — mostly black voters — were utterly innocent. But this racially-poisoned list of voters represented a mass elimination of the civil rights of voters — and picked the president by removing mostly Democratic voters. And now it’s back. After being caught red-handed erasing black voters illegally (a finding confirmed by the U.S. Civil Rights Commission) before the 2000 election, Florida’s viciously partisan voting apparatchiks are back at it again…”
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Supervisor of Elections for Leon County in Florida, Sancho said today: “Florida’s 2000 felon purge program resulted in over 50,000 legal voters being disenfranchised. Officials in the Secretary of State’s Division of Elections misled county election supervisors about the 2000 election purge list, blaming the vendor (DBT/Choicepoint) for the errors that were disenfranchising citizens. After the election was over, public record requests revealed that Division of Elections ordered the vendor to keep the matching criteria loose, guaranteeing the denial of citizens’ legal right to vote. Now, the Director of the Division of Elections has ordered local elections officials to implement a new felon purge list database for 2004. When asked for assurances the list was 90 percent accurate, the minimum level local Supervisors of Elections requested for such a list, we were told that it was better than the 2000 list — with no data to support its accuracy. As the Supervisor of Elections for Leon County, I will not be party to any effort, program or activity which may deny the voting rights of our citizens. I am outraged that our State officials, in an apparent pursuit of some imaginary voting fraud problem, are once again pursuing an ill-conceived program which may once again lead to the disenfranchisement of thousands of Floridians.”
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COURTENAY STRICKLAND, [via Alessandra Soler Meetze]
Director of the ACLU of Florida’s Voting Rights Project, Strickland said: “State election officials have admitted that they cannot guarantee the accuracy of the data used to purge more than 40,000 people from the voter rolls. Yet, state officials sent a memo to all county election supervisors instructing them to begin the felon purge process without also reminding county officials of their responsibility to ensure that the possible felons are, in fact, ineligible to vote.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020