[saymaListserv] Fwd: Voting Crisis in Miami-Dade

Michael Austin Shell bright_crow at mindspring.com
Tue Sep 10 22:45:25 JEST 2002

>Date: Tue, 10 Sep 2002 03:53:20 -0600
>To: whitlock at bigsky.net
>From: Kay Whitlock <whitlock at bigsky.net>
>Subject: Voting Crisis in Miami-Dade
>Friends, please take a moment to read this.  This is extremely 
>serious.  AFSC has actively participated in this historic gay rights 
>ballot contest, working closely with other partner organizations of the 
>National Religious Leadership Roundtable, Save Dade, and the National Gay 
>and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF).  We prepared sermon talking points for 
>clergy in the Miami-Dade area, several AFSC representatives recently 
>participated in a faith rally and door-to-door canvassing effort in Miami, 
>and we met with Miami Friends on this matter.  Several Friends joined in 
>the canvassing effort and attended the rally.  Miami Friends Meeting has 
>posted updated information regularly on their website and sent electronic 
>bulletins to members.
>I note that I was present in 1977 at the first Miami-Dade ballot 
>initiative launched by the Christian right; I was chair of the national 
>lesbian rights task force for NOW and did public speaking and telephone 
>canvassing.  Most of the speaking I did was in Jewish synagogues.  In 
>1977, our greatest, in fact, our only clear "wins" were in precincts that 
>were heavily Jewish. As you know, we lost that vote.  The stakes are very 
>high this time.
>I note that there is much more to be said about all of this.
>Stay tuned.  AFSC may be speaking out on this soon.
>Kay Whitlock
>Tuesday, September 10, 2002
>Ballot Debacle Again in Florida Election: NGLTF Demands Investigation into 
>Apparent Voter Fraud
>NGLTF Communications Department
>ngltf at ngltf.org
>Pager: 800-757-6476
>MIAMI, FLORIDA - In today's Miami-Dade election that featured a historic 
>gay rights ballot measure, registered voters have once again been denied 
>the right to cast votes. Rampant breakdowns in new touch screen voting 
>machines, failure to open polling places in a timely manner, untrained 
>personnel, and refusal by election officials to provide paper 
>"provisional" ballots when voting machines have malfunctioned have left 
>voters and observers alike stunned and angered.
>Worst of all, numerous complaints have been registered by voters who went 
>to the polls to vote NO on the anti-gay ballot measure, but were prevented 
>from doing so. In some precincts, there was no ability to vote on any 
>initiatives. In others, voters have complained that when they voted NO on 
>the anti-gay ballot measure, YES votes appear to have registered instead. 
>Many polling places were not operative until after 1:00 pm, more than 5 
>hours later than the scheduled 7:00 am.
>"In 2000, African Americans in southern Florida were denied the right to 
>vote and to have their votes counted. In 2002, the gay and Jewish 
>communities are facing the same inexcusable fate," said Lorri L. Jean, 
>Executive Director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.
>While irregularities have been reported in precincts countywide, Miami's 
>Jewish and gay communities have been disproportionately hit by voter 
>machine malfunction and other irregularities. These communities represent 
>some of the strongest opposition to a measure on the ballot that, if 
>passed, would remove discrimination protections based on sexual 
>orientation from the County's human rights ordinance.
>"How many times must historically oppressed communities be denied the 
>right to participate in elections under the watch of Jeb and George W. 
>Bush?" demanded Jean. "Hundreds and potentially thousands of people in 
>Miami-Dade have been unable to vote today because of malfunctioning 
>machines and then have been provided no alternative means of voting. This 
>is not a partisan failure, this is a leadership failure."
>"After the last Florida voting fiasco, Jeb and George Bush promised the 
>American public that they would make every vote count," Jean continued. 
>"They have had two years to create a system that guaranteed full 
>participation in the democratic process to all people and, as we now know, 
>they have failed to deliver on their promise."
>Therefore, NGLTF is demanding that the Governor employ all available 
>communication devices and personnel at the state's disposal to let voters 
>know that voting hours have now been extended until 9:00 pm and to 
>encourage them to return to the polls.
>"Further, we are demanding full and immediate investigations by the 
>Governor's office and the U.S. Department of Justice into the failures of 
>the Florida election system so that the gay community and indeed all 
>Floridians will never again be denied that opportunity to vote and have 
>those votes counted," Jean concluded.
>The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force has worked to eliminate prejudice, 
>violence and injustice against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender 
>people at the local, state and national level since its inception in 1973. 
>As part of a broader social justice movement for freedom, justice and 
>equality, NGLTF is creating a world that respects and celebrates the 
>diversity of human expression and identity where all people may fully 
>participate in society.

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