The evidence of deliberate and conscious acts on the part of Duval County Supervisor of Elections John Stafford designed to disenfranchise black voters continues to mount. The data presented amounts to a prima facie case of criminal disenfranchisement--the laws detailing the proper method of counting votes is clear, the law detailing the proper criteria for counting votes is clear. Stafford had an absolute legal obligation to count ALL the votes in his county, and there is an absolute presumption under the law that he knew what the law said.
An Open Letter To Attorneys General Of The United States, And The State Of Florida
Paul Lukasiak firstname.lastname@example.org
There is now indisputable evidence of criminal disenfranchisement of blacks in Duval County that demand prosecution.
Under Florida Law, if a ballot is marked for both a "listed candidate" and for "write-in" it is ONLY considered an overvote if the name of a "qualified write-in candidate" is written in. If anything other than the name of a "qualified write-in candidate" appears, it is PRESCRIBED BY LAW as a vote for the listed candidate. (A full explanation of the law can be found at http://failureisimpossible.com/needtoknow/lostvotes.htm)
According to data provided by the Miami Herald, 51 such votes were recorded for Bush, and 172 such votes were recorded for Gore. There are four "black majority" districts in Duval County, which comprise about 31% of the county's total voters.
60% (103) of these uncounted legal Gore votes came from these four black majority counties.
All told 50% of these uncounted legal votes (9 Bush, 103 Gore) came from these majority black districts.
Duval County uses a punch card system where write-in votes written in on the ballot secrecy envelope. Under the laws of the state of Florida, when such systems are used, both the envelope AND the ballot card must be manually checked for write-in votes prior to being counted by machine. If a write-in 'vote' is found, the ballot must be counted by hand. Yet according to Duval County Assistant Supervisor of Elections, ONLY the ballot envelope was checked. As a result, over 200 legal voters, a disproportionate number of them from black majority districts, were never included in the Duval County vote totals.
Duval is the only LARGE (over 200,000 votes) punch card county that permitted people to punch a hole for a write-in candidate then counted it as a "vote". The rest of the large punch card counties (including Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties) block the hole, because including a hole will result in the miscounting of ballots as overvotes.
Duval's decision to go with a two-page ballot, then instruct the voters to "vote on every page" had a massive impact on the rate of uncounted legal votes. Lee County, with about 189,000 votes cast and a one-page presidential ballot, also miscounted votes in the same fashion, but only eight votes were lost as a result. Duval, with its two page ballot, had 223 out of 292,000 votes cast that were improperly counted--a rate of uncounted voters EIGHTEEN TIMES HIGHER than that in Lee County.
The evidence of deliberate and conscious acts on the part of John Stafford designed to disenfranchise black voters continues to mount. The data presented amounts to a prima facie case of criminal disenfranchisement--the laws detailing the proper method of counting votes is clear, the law detailing the proper criteria for counting votes is clear. Stafford had an absolute legal obligation to count ALL the votes in his county, and there is an absolute presumption under the law that he knew what the law said.
In an election that is decided by tens of thousands of votes, not taking the necessary remedial action to count ALL the legal votes would be considered a technicality. But when a presidential election is being decided by a few hundred votes, when the elections supervisor is fully aware that a disproportionate number of machine counted "overvotes" were from majority black districts, and when among those "overvotes" are fully legal votes that should have been counted, there is an absolute and undeniable obligation for the United States Department of Justice to prosecute those responsible for the disproportionate disenfranchisement of black voters.
Paul Lukasiak email@example.com