Jesse Jackson Files Suit in Florida
Dec. 6 -- Black Florida state legislators joined the Rev. Jesse Jackson today in charging the voting rights of Florida blacks were violated in the presidential election.
At a press conference in Tallahassee, Jackson said 27,000 votes in Duval County were not counted on Election Night, including 16,000 in black inner city neighborhoods and 6,000 so-called undervotes — where voters were not registered as selecting a candidate for president, though they voted elsewhere on the ballot.
Jackson said Monday more than 22,000 of those ballots were thrown out because of undervotes, where no vote is read by vote counting machines, or overvotes, where more than one vote is read.
Florida Black Caucus members and Jackson jointly filed a civil rights suit Tuesday charging minorities in Duval County were discarded at higher rates than those of whites and possibly contributing to Democratic candidate Al Gore’s possible loss of Florida’s 25 electoral votes and the presidential election.
The Republican Party of Florida today had no comment on the suit.
Jackson also took issue with Miami-Dade’s decision last month to abandon its manual recount after its canvassing board determined the county could not complete the recount by a deadline set by the Florida Supreme Court.
“Our case remains clear. We want to win by the count, not by the clock,” Jackson said.
When the Miami-Dade recount was discontinued, it showed Gore gaining 157 votes on George W. Bush. Also, Democrats have said 10,700 Miami-Dade ballots that didn’t register a vote for president in previous counts should be hand counted.
Jackson called for a full federal investigation into alleged minority voter disenfranchisement across the state.
“The Department of Justice has a duty to protect the protected vote, and they must do their job and they have not,” he said.
The Justice Department on Monday sent two investigators to Florida to gather information to see whether a federal investigation is warranted.
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