If the Republicans in the Florida legislature think they're going to certify Florida's 25 electors for Bush on the basis of THIS election come December 12, they've got another think coming.
Time to march on Tallahassee
The Editors
November 27, 2000

As report after report comes in detailing the many obstacles Florida voters faced at the polls and in getting their ballots counted, a picture of massive race-based voting bias and general dismissal of the will over the voters has emerged.

We don't even need to count in the fact that felons in Florida are permanently prevented from voting, or that the polls being open on a work day discriminates against working people. Or that half of potential voters are discouraged because they don't see how voting will change anything.

Even within that framework of bias and discouragement, people who cleared all those obstacles and went to the polls are not getting counted, and it's time to raise a ruckus.

Consider these reports of racial bias:

Carpools of African-American voters were stopped by police, according to the Los Angeles Times (11/10/00). In some cases, officers demanded to see a "taxi license" (Hillsborough County.)

A roadblock was set up by police near a predominantly black polling station by Florida Highway patrol (near Tallahassee.)

According to the Miami Herald, many Haitian-American voters were turned away from precincts where they were voting for the first time (11/10/00)

In Osceola County, Hispanic voters were required to produce two forms of ID when only one is required. (Associated Press)

Many African-American first-time voters who registered at motor vehicles offices or in campus voter registration drives did not appear on the voting rolls, according to a hearing conducted by the NAACP and televised on C-SPAN on 11/12/00.

Then there was the exclusion or confusion of votes all over Florida:

Double-punched ballots: the butterfly ballot led people to think there were, as one voter said, "One hole for Bush and two for Gore/Lieberman." (This accounted for 19,120 spoiled votes. No recount there.)

Mis-punched ballots: People who thought they were voting for Gore voted Buchanan instead. (This accounts for 3,412 votes of which around 600 would have likely been intended for Buchanan. No recount of these, either.)

In Osceola County, ballots did not line up properly, possibly causing Gore voters to have their ballots cast for Harry Browne.

Dozens, and possibly hundreds, of voters in Broward County were unable to vote because the Supervisor of Elections did not have enough staff to verify changes of address.

Florida voters were mistakenly removed from voter rolls because their names were similar to those of ex-cons, according to Mother Jones magazine. (See article)

On 11/13/00 in The London Times and on 11/14/00 in the New York Times there were reports of two different kinds of pro-Bush vote fraud schemes which are currently under investigation by authorities.

If the Republicans in the Florida legislature think they're going to certify Florida's 25 electors for Bush on the basis of THIS election come December 12, they've got another think coming.

If they can get away with stealing this election--what will they be tempted to try stealing next? If we let them get away with subverting this vote, what vote will be safe?

We call on everyone who believes in the sanctity of the electoral process to join in planning a march on Tallahassee before this injustice goes further. We can't rely on the courts to defend our rights--we can only rely on ourselves. History shows us that the courts may follow and do the right thing but only if the people lead.

Do we have to?
Many people, trying to find a calm thought in this situation, are saying, 'Oh, well, it was really close and the country will go on whether we have Bush or Gore in the White House.'

But what's at stake here is not just Bush or Gore, it's the question, can you steal a U.S. election outright? If we don't react to this, it's a signal to the power structure that we're easy to take on the next time they want to restrict our democratic rights.

Others say, 'Well there's not much difference between the candidates anyway.'

But can you imagine what any of our politicians would be like if they didn't have to answer to the people occasionally?

And still others say, "if voting changed anything they'd outlaw it." That's precisely why it's taken us 200 years of struggle, sometimes bloody, to get to the point where we are now--first eliminating monarchy, then struggling for men without property and male ex-slaves to vote, then for women, then immigrants, then for African Americans in the South. The vote is the main thing holding back our politicians from utterly doing the bidding of the corporations.

And any plans we have to wrest back our country from corporate power rely, ultimately, on the vote and on winning truly 'free and fair' elections.

What we can win
We're at a pivotal point in a pivotal state. If we mobilize we can probably not only get these ludicrous pro-Republican bars on hand recounts ended, we can also get some standardization in voting machines nationally and eliminate further barriers to voting such as Florida's ban on ex-felons (see article)

We can show that we will not stand for these local officials intimidating and excluding minority voters, and bring some wrath down on the heads of the petty (and not so petty) authorities responsible.

We can make it clear that on the cusp of new technologies for voting which may make fraud easier, that we will not stand for any fraud of any scope.

The right wing is counting on the idea that 50% of eligible voters don't feel outrage over the elections outcomes because they didn't vote. The less people vote, the better it is for the right. And as they slowly eliminate our ability to affect policy through the ballot box, fewer people vote. We can stop that trend by taking a strong stand right here in Florida.

We can also avoid four and possibly eight years of an election-stealer in the white house.

Let's get to work.

[current issue] next article
Search | Archives | Calendar | Directory | About / Subscriptions |

Valid HTML 4.01 Transitional eXTReMe Tracker