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View Diary: FLORIDA: Today, Gov. Ensured MILLIONS of Dems Won't Vote! Where's the outrage? (361 comments)

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  •  NAACP Lawsuit Settlement in 2002: Leverage? (1+ / 0-)
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    SemDem

    I would think this also violates the court settlement the NAACP made with the state following the 2000 election illegal voter supression tactics and see this CBS story regarding the settlement of the lawsuit. Greg Palast, who did much of the investigative journalism work to unravel how Jeb Bush stole the Presidential election for his brother, also followed up on this in a 2002 article in Salon.

    I've left a message for the national legal department of the NAACP asking if they'll be able to use the leverage from the 2002 lawsuit to block this law.

    I was concerned at the time of the 2002 settlement, because it failed to hold those who ran the Jeb Bush voter-suppression operation criminally liable for violating the Voter Rights Act (there is a criminal provision of the law but it has almost never been used).

    It's important to quickly summarize the voting rights violations at the heart of the 2000 Florida Presidential election: the Jeb Bush administration violated the Voting Rights Act by asking the database company (DBT, later ChoicePoint) to scrub from the rolls people who they knew had the legal right to vote, even after the database company warned them more than once of this problem. Voter suppression wasn't a bug, it was the desired feature that Florida was paying the database company to supply.

    As wikipedia summarizes,

    At first, Florida specified only exact matches on names, birthdates and genders to identify voters as felons. However, state records reveal a memo dated March 1999 from Emmett "Bucky" Mitchell, a lawyer for the state elections office who was supervising the felon purge, asking DBT to loosen its criteria for acceptable matches. When DBT representatives warned Mitchell that this would yield a large proportion of false positives (mismatches), Mitchell's reply was that it would be up to each county elections supervisor to deal with the problem.[4]
    In February 2000, in a phone conversation with the BBC's London studios, ChoicePoint vice-president James Lee said that the state "wanted there to be more names than were actually verified as being a convicted felon".[5][6]

    On 17 April, 2001, James Lee testified, before the McKinney panel, that the state had given DBT the directive to add to the purge list people who matched at least 90% of a last name. DBT objected, knowing that this would produce a huge number of false positives (non-felons).[7]
    Lee went on saying that the state then ordered DBT to shift to an even lower threshold of 80% match, allowing also names to be reversed (thus a person named Thomas Clarence could be taken to be the same as Clarence Thomas). Besides this, middle initials were skipped, Jr. and Sr. suffixes dropped, and some nicknames and aliases were added to puff up the list.
    "DBT told state officials", testified Lee, "that the rules for creating the [purge] list would mean a significant number of people who were not deceased, not registered in more than one county, or not a felon, would be included on the list. DBT made suggestions to reduce the numbers of eligible voters included on the list". According to Lee, to this suggestion the state told the company, "Forget about it".

    When I talked to civil rights attorneys for a possible article about the possibilities of criminal sanctions in 2002 and the possible drawbacks of the settlement, they said the NAACP settlement was for the best, because it would at least prevent future voter suppression tactics. Is there potential for using this settlement now?

    P.S. I did call the DoJ (202) 307-2767 and left a message.

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