ELECTION PROTECTION TRAINING IN TAMPA - Mitch Perry10/18/04
Election Protection Training in Tampa
As election day beckons, in 15 days, the coalition of groups working to ensure that many of the problems that happened at the Polls in Florida in 2000, are getting prepared.
(roll tape#1 o.q.Ã¢â‚¬?fade outÃ¢â‚¬?)
This past Saturday, there were several training sessions held for Poll Monitors.in Tampa. Including one on Stetson University Law SchoolÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Tampa CampusÃ¢â‚¬Â¦Ã¢â‚¬Â¦.This session was conducted by Alia Malek, who is working for the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law Ã¢â‚¬Â¦
A coalition called Election Protection 2004 says it has recruited more than 6,000 lawyers and law students to monitor Election Day problems nationwide, particularly in minority areas. The coalition was started by the People For the American Way Foundation, and in addition to the LawyersÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law group, also has the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the AFL-CIO Voting Rights Protection Program and othersÃ¢â‚¬Â¦.
During her one hour presentation, Alia Malek discussed what she referred to as the Ã¢â‚¬ËœsexiestÃ¢â‚¬â„¢Aspect of being a Poll worker, looking out for intimidation or harassment of voters (roll tape#2 o.q.Ã¢â‚¬?will look likeÃ¢â‚¬?)
Malek, who currently works out of Atlanta but will be in Fort Lauderdale for the Election, then described a specific example of Voter Intimidation that took place in Jacksonville during the Primary election (roll tape# 3 o.q. Ã¢â‚¬Å“and we were able to take care of thatÃ¢â‚¬?)
The system being set up by Election Protection will be sophisticatedÃ¢â‚¬Â¦Ã¢â‚¬Â¦Lawyers and law students will be first responders, if you will, who , if they notice a problem, will contact their Mobile Field AttorneyÃ¢â‚¬Â¦That person will try to handle the problem, or bring it to a higher stageÃ¢â‚¬Â¦..
The Law students were told that on the eve of the election, they will be given a packet telling them what precinct they will be assigned to, as well as given a kit, that will include a cell phone and camera, a Voter Bill of Rights statement, their Mobile Field AttorneyÃ¢â‚¬Â¦.Election ProtectionÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Alia Malek explains what the poll workers will do first thing, election Morning (roll tape#4 o.q. Ã¢â‚¬Å“ask them what happenedÃ¢â‚¬?)
Stetson Law Student Chris Failey says it was the disenfranchisement of tens of thousands of African-Americas at the poll, many incorrectly listed as Felons and thus unable to vote, that is spurring her to work this election day (roll tape#5 o.q.Ã¢â‚¬?I think itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a serious problemÃ¢â‚¬?)
Genevieve Whitaker is in just her first semester at StetsonÃ¢â‚¬Â¦She hails from the Virgin Islands, and say she too is all to aware of the problems that happened at the polls in 2000, and wants to do her part to stop that from happening this time (roll tape#6 o.q.Ã¢â‚¬?exercise their right to voteÃ¢â‚¬?)
Republicans have complained that the Election Protection coalition is a front organization for the Democrats because them member groups represent tradition Democratic constituenciesÃ¢â‚¬Â¦..But throughout SaturdayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s training , Non-Partisianship was stressed by Alia Malek from the Lawyers Committee on Civil RightsÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
Student Lorne Burns says heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s well aware of the criticism that was previously leveled at FloridaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Former Secretary of State, Katherine Harris, and the current administrator, Glenda HoodÃ¢â‚¬Â¦.But he says he hopes that partisan ship is tamped down on election day(roll tape#7 o.q.Ã¢â‚¬?overly hopefulÃ¢â‚¬?)