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.�fade out�)

This past Saturday, there were several training sessions held for Poll Monitors.in Tampa. Including one on Stetson University Law School’s Tampa Campus…….This session was conducted by Alia Malek, who is working for the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law …

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 Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law group, also has the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the AFL-CIO Voting Rights Protection Program and others….

During her one hour presentation, Alia Malek discussed what she referred to as the ‘sexiest’Aspect of being a Poll worker, looking out for intimidation or harassment of voters (roll tape#2 o.q.�will look like�)

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. “and we were able to take care of that�)

The system being set up by Election Protection will be sophisticated……Lawyers and law students will be first responders, if you will, who , if they notice a problem, will contact their Mobile Field Attorney…That person will try to handle the problem, or bring it to a higher stage…..

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 Attorney….Election Protection’s Alia Malek explains what the poll workers will do first thing, election Morning (roll tape#4 o.q. “ask them what happened�)

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.�I think it’s a serious problem�)

Genevieve Whitaker is in just her first semester at Stetson…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.�exercise their right to vote�)

Republicans have complained that the Election Protection coalition is a front organization for the Democrats because them member groups represent tradition Democratic constituencies…..But throughout Saturday’s training , Non-Partisianship was stressed by Alia Malek from the Lawyers Committee on Civil Rights…

Student Lorne Burns says he’s well aware of the criticism that was previously leveled at Florida’s Former Secretary of State, Katherine Harris, and the current administrator, Glenda Hood….But he says he hopes that partisan ship is tamped down on election day(roll tape#7 o.q.�overly hopeful�)

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