U.S. Civil Rights Commission Condemns Officials' Conduct During Florida 's Pivotal 2000 Election
Some eight months after one of the most chaotic presidential elections in United States history, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights released a report June 8, which examined irregularities in Florida's pivotal 2000 election. The commission concluded that Florida's African American citizens were nearly 10 times more likely than white voters to have their ballots rejected. While African Americans comprised about 11 percent of all voters in Florida in the November election, blacks cast about 54 percent of the ballots thrown out.
The commission, which held three days of hearings, with over 30 hours of testimony from over 100 witnesses, also found that Florida election officials had wrongfully purged thousands of voters from the registration rolls. Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who recently signed legislation reforming his state's electoral system, attacked the report for what he characterized as its "faulty analysis and political bias."
Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Penda Hair, co-director of the Advancement Project, one of several civil rights groups which have filed a law suit against the state of Florida for its disenfranchisement of minority voters. She assesses the U.S. Civil Rights Commission report and offers suggestions for overhauling the nation's electoral system that go well beyond the simple upgrade of outdated voting machinery. (This interview segment is available in downloadable MP3 and RealAudio on radio newsmagazine Between The Lines' website www.btlonline.org for week ending 6/22/01).
Contact the Advancement Project by calling (202) 728-9557 or visit the Lawyer's Committee for Civil Rights Under Law Web site at www.lawyerscomm.org