WRAP UP OF PROBLEMS AT THE POLLS--Andrew Stelzer

11/02/04

Thousand of volunteers from all over the country are fanned out across the State of Florida to protect residents right to vote, and avoid some of the problems which plagued the 2000 election. So far, there have been minor problems reported throughout the state, but no major incidents of voter suppression.

VOTING

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SOUND “VOTE NOW� In a NEIGHBORHOOD nicknamed suitcase city Because of its poor, transient population, a car with a Kerry Edwards sign drives through the streets calling on residents to vote. Even before election day, over 2 million Floridians voted, more than 20 percent of the eligible voter population.

EARLY VOTING HAS helped keep lines shorter at some precincts on election day, but at some sites, like the Temple Hills Civic Center, over 100 people were waiting when poll workers developed their own system to help speed the line.

ACT “They were calling people up—alphabetical if you were A, B, C you’d get called up, if you were M, N, O you were called up…you might have a whole bunch of people in line that were a,b,c those people wouldn’t get to vote for along time, and those people that were say M, N, O would get to come right to the front because there was no body else in line that was M, N, O Redwood Stevens, came from Seattle to Tampa for the election—he’s Working with election protection, a non-partisan groups working to make sure no ones voting rights are taken away.

ACT and so people in line were frustrated, because some felt like they were standing there a long time, didn’t get to vote while others got to walk, almost directly to the front of the line...I think it was around 9 o’clock they switched, and they went to getting everybody in the same line, taking 10 people in line, getting them right off the line, and everything’s been smooth since then. END ACT

At many polling sites, there were more than half a dozen volunteers, from political parties, and non-partisan groups---Rumors over the past week that Republican backed poll monitors were planning to challenge whether voters were legally eligible. Last night, the republican state party spokeswoman finally admitted they did plan challenges based on a list of felons that was proven to be faulty. At the Tampa Crest Community center//, Chad Moore, A lawyer for the Democratic Party, explained that 2 people had their rights challenged based on the list early this morning..

ACT “there only been 2 challenges here, 1 person had been purged from the voter list and didn’t know what precinct to go to anymore, and the Florida voting rights attorney lawyer from the Democratic Party helped straighten that out helped get her to the right precinct so she could fill out a provisional ballot so she could vote. The other one was a felon challenge, he said his voting rights had been restored, and again the voters rights attorney stepped in and he was allowed to vote after they called the supervisors of elections office..

SO WAS HE CHALLANGED BY THE REPOUBLICNA OPBSERVER. Yes he was challenged by the republican observer; and he was using the list that was scrapped and so we stepped in and I think the right think was done….I heard that the republican attorney was sort of in the persons face and I did hear that the African American man who was being challenged said what are you doing man, you trying to keep me down.

END ACT

Although the election protection group is non-partisan, and has assisted voters from both the republican and democratic parties, most of the groups that are collaborating on that and other voters rights projects are traditional supporters of the democrats, such as the AFL-CIO, league of Women voters, and the NAACP. While at the two low income area precincts, there were at least 5 volunteers, only a few miles away, at the a wealthy, largely republican district in Tampa Palms, There was one moveon.org volunteer present, and Democratic Party poll watcher who reporter no problems. John and Sara Beckham are too young to vote, but they were holding Bush Cheney signs 50 feet from the polls—earlier this morning, they were asked by the democratic volunteer to respect the 50 foot rule when they went into the line to say hi to a friend.

ACT “we want to support president bush, we think he’s a great guy, he d make a great president for the next four years. WHAT ARE THE ISSUES YOU LIKE HIM ON? Terrorism, economy, and faith. WHAT BOUT THE ENVIRONEMNT? Environment, it’s not really to important to me, everythings fine as far as I can see. I’m not getting carbon monoxide poisoning or anything like that so its not a big concern.�

END ACT

State representative Arthenia Joyner said she been getting phonecalls all day from black people who are being called and told they can vote over the phone—she says the republican party will stop at nothing to keep the number of voters as low as possible. Jones says she has heard of a few minor incidents at the polls, mostly regarding the controversial list of felons ineligible to vote.

ACT “the republican poll watchers got mugshots off the FDLE website, and they’re using those at the precincts to se if they can identify some of the people, and one did in fact point one person who he thought they had the picture of and the clergy approached the person and it was not the person.�

END ACT

Although the polls close tonight at 7pm, if you are in line by 7pm, you will be allowed to vote, no matter how long the line is. If you have a problem voting, call 1-866-OUR -VOTE

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