Documentary exposes Jeb Bush administration subversion of elections
Jenny Brown
October 2002

As we gear up to vote on whether Jeb Bush should continue as Florida's governor, a new film exposes the premeditated Jeb Bush administration strategy of eliminating voters from the rolls in preparation for the 2000 elections, and then details the anti-democratic machinations of the Republican party as they tried to seize Florida's 25 electoral votes for George W. Bush. In the end, even that failed, and they had to rely on the U.S. Supreme Court to stop the count.

Filmmakers Joan Sekler and Richard Ray Perez presented "Unprecedented: The 2000 Presidential Election" at two different showings in Gainesville on September 24 as part of a tour around the state which met with enthusiastic audiences from Miami to Jacksonville. The hourlong documentary will be shown again at the Hippodrome on Monday, October 28, at 7:30 and 9:00 p.m. presented by the Iguana and the Civic Media Center.

The film finds smoking-gun memos which prove that Florida election officials set out to purge the voting lists long before the election. A private company hired to find ex-felons who might be on the voting roles in the state was directed to 'cast a wide net' and include people in the list even if their names, birth dates, race, and other characteristics did not match. This resulted in the election day discovery by many voters that they had simple been disappeared on the roles. The film illustrates the premeditated nature of the thousands of 'errors' by uncovering memos from the private company to Florida's elections office in which they warn Florida that the procedures set up will create numerous 'false positives.' Elections officials replied that they wanted that.

Caught in the sweep was Gainesville Pastor Thomas Johnson, who spoke at the Gainesville showings of the film. Mr. Johnson was denied the right to vote even though his felony conviction was in another state. By Florida law, you are eligible to vote here under these circumstances. He directs House of Hope, a program for ex-felons.

The film interviews him and many other disenfranchised voters, and investigative reporter Greg Palast confronts the director of the Florida Division of Elections on why legitimate voters were purged and never had a chance at the polls. Palast is among many reporters and writers interviewed in the film who have spent the intervening time putting together the pieces and analyzing what really went on behind the scenes.

The picture is grim. Florida's governor Jeb Bush and Secretary of State Katherine Harris are shown to have reigned over a deliberate effort to disenfranchise black voters and Democratic voters and steal the presidency. They did not simply use a "too close to call" election to squeak by, they created the circumstances for it to be close by targetting voters in the state early and often.

Then, having created a hostile environment for voters, Republicans used mob tactics to push through their agenda. Among memorable moments, the film freezes a shot of the chanting mob outside the manual recount room in Miami Dade (and which supposedly represented spontaneous popular local sentiment.) Then each person in the photo is identified as one or another Republican congressional aid, shipped in to stop the vote count.

It's hard to conclude from the film that Jeb Bush should simply no longer be governor, what becomes clear is that he should be under indictment along with several members of is administration.

When the film-makers presented the film in Gainesville, audience member Bill Gilbert stood up during the question period and stated that this was was a coup in America. The filmmakers agreed, and said that this had been the working title of the film. They're currently working on a broadcast deal, and the film just received

You can also buy a copy of the video to share with friends in the run-up to the election, go to for more information.

And, as W. Bush leads us into war, it's good to to be reminded that no, we didn't elect the thug.

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