Sunday, Jul 8, 2007, 7:10 pm
Documents Reveal Voter Suppression Discussions In Florida 2004
J. Taylor Rushing for the Florida Times-Union reports:
TALLAHASSEE - Internal city memos show the issue of Republican "vote caging" efforts in Jacksonville's African-American neighborhoods was discussed in the weeks before the 2004 election, contradicting recent claims by former Duval County Republican leader Mike Hightower - the Bush-Cheney campaign's local chairman at the time.
"Caging" is a longtime voter suppression practice by which political parties collect undeliverable or unreturned mail and use it to develop "challenge lists" on Election Day.
The contradiction comes to light as the U.S. Justice Department continues to consider a June 18 request from two U.S. senators for an investigation into potential illegal voter suppression tactics in Duval County three years ago. A department spokeswoman said last week that the request is still being reviewed.
"Vote caging" has a long history in politics. In one such procedure, a campaign will send out postcards to a particular group of addresses with instructions to return the mail. The campaign then creates a database of addresses that did not return the postcards and challenges the right of anyone registered at those addresses who attempts to vote on Election Day. The effect often dissuades turnout. The tactic is legal, but not if voters are targeted by race.
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