Rights Panel Finds Widespread Vote Fraud
Justice Dept. Probe of 2000 Vote Is Sought
by Robert E. PierreThe U.S. Commission on Civil Rights yesterday approved a report that harshly criticized Florida leaders for allowing problems during last November's presidential election, disenfranchising countless Floridians.
Commission Chairwoman Mary Frances Berry said she plans to meet with Attorney General John D. Ashcroft to ask the Justice Department to investigate whether the commission's findings constitute a violation of the federal Voting Rights Act.
The inquiry concluded that the 2000 presidential race in Florida was characterized by "injustice, ineptitude and inefficiency," charging that Gov. Jeb Bush and Secretary of State Katherine Harris -- both Republicans and both directly connected to George Bush's campaign -- and county election supervisors -- many of whom are Democrats -- allowed it.
Both sides did agree, however, that the election was rife with problems, and that African Americans were more likely to be affected. The commission's vice chairman, Cruz Reynoso, a retired associate justice of the California Supreme Court, said a statistical analysis that showed a connection between a voter's race and the likelihood that his ballot would be rejected appeared to indicate a violation of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. That legislation outlaws actions that disproportionately affect minority voters, even if they are unintentional.
"It's quite condemnatory of the entire system, irrespective of intent," Reynoso said.
Dan Nelson, a Justice Department spokesman, said the department would take "steps deemed appropriate" to address the commission's findings and recommendations.
In a statement yesterday, Harris said other states had similar problems but were not investigated.
Berry said the commission will monitor Florida election reform and is preparing a report on similar violations in other states.
The above article was distributed by the Grassroots Media Network.
What's your opinion on vote fraud? Tell your views to The Progress Report:
Page One Page Two Archive Discussion Room Letters What's Geoism?