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Democracy for Whom?

Problems with the Florida vote cannot be ignored.

by Jorja Buchanan
November 9, 2000

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Democracy for Whom?_Jorja Buchanan-Problems with the Florida vote cannot be ignored. The fix is on in Florida. Use whatever euphemism you like. The media have chosen to use the term "irregularities" to describe the outrageous and bizarre collection of events that took place during the Florida election on Tuesday. For those of us who grew up with the specter of Watergate hanging like a black cloud above our heads, we prefer to call it as we see it. The election of the 43rd President of the United States has been tampered with in the state of Florida.

We are talking about more than just a confusing ballot here. Although apparently that element alone has caused more than 19,000 votes to be thrown away, there are reports coming in from around the State that the election was conducted improperly — to put it mildly. Today, CNN reports that the President of the NAACP and Jesse Jackson have logged numerous complaints from Black voters who were told that the polls were closed or that their polling places had somehow mysteriously run out of ballots.

Yesterday, the Sun Sentinel in Broward County Florida reported that four white police officers set up a safety and driver's license checkpoint about a mile from the Woodville Baptist Church, where three local precincts vote and almost one in three voters is black. An obvious attempt to intimidate voters in that precinct.

Today, the Florida Sun Sentinel documents complaints from poll workers who had to turn away hundreds of voters because they could not reach the main elections office to answer voter registration questions.

Reports on National Public Radio have detailed the experiences of first-time voters in Florida who punched the incorrect mark for Buchanan, realized it, asked for a new ballot from the on-site voting officials, and were told that once they marked their ballot it was final. There are even reports of voting officials taking ballots out of the hands of voters and placing it in the ballot boxes themselves. This is patently illegal.

Reform Party candidate Pat Buchanan told the Today Show this morning that he believes that most of the 3,000 votes he received in West Palm Beach County were made for him in error and were intended for Gore by the voters.

The loss of 19,000 votes due to confusion is reason enough to call for a new election in the State of Florida. These people took the time to go to their polling places and cast their ballots they deserve to be sure that their ballot was cast in the manner that they intended.

In addition, if any of the allegations of election impropriety are true, than it is imperative that a new election be called in Florida. These are the kind of shenanigans that one might expect from Slobodan Milosevic, but to have this going on in the United States is unforgivable. The fact that this miscarriage of justice and liberty took place in Florida, the State that the National election is now hinging upon and where the currently prevailing candidate’s brother is Governor, is far too convenient to be called an innocent mistake. Furthermore, the collection of complaints about the voting process in Florida now spans such a wide variety of improper acts I find it impossible that this was an unfortunate coincidence.

The right to vote is the most sacred right we possess as citizens. The sanctity of the process must be absolute. The alleged offenses to the American Constitution must be addressed immediately. There is no telling what an immoral President who enters the White House under the auspices of a compromised election can or will do. Can anyone say Germany, circa 1930?

The fact that there are questions about the election in Florida should have Mr. Bush himself calling for a new election. No man should want to assume the Presidency under such a cloud of suspicion about the vote that elected him to the office. The threat to the United States place in the International Community is very real. We will be the laughing stock of the entire world. How will we face other heads of State and tell them that democracy is a good system when we will have no response to their statement, "How can you say that, Mr. Bush, when you were elected in a contest during which the democratic process in your country was undermined?"

Should the election in Florida go unchallenged and if Mr. Bush is confirmed as President under the given circumstances, I will have no other choice but to conclude that the Constitution has been breached and that the American Republic is dead. LONG LIVE THE KING. I would much rather have a womanizing adulterer as a President than a traitor to the Nation and the Constitution.

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