Stop Floridation

Joel Bleifuss

Martin Luther King III and Greg Palast have teamed up to prevent the “Floridation” of the nation’s voting rolls in the 2004 presidential election.King, the president of the Southern Christian Leadership Council, and Palast, the author of The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, are circulating an open letter to Attorney General John Ashcroft that protests the so-called Help America Vote Act, passed by Congress in 2002. The act requires all states to follow Florida’s lead and by 2004 set up centralized, computerized voter files of the kind that allowed Florida Secretary of State Kathleen Harris to selectively purge Florida’s voting rolls of those voting while black, or Democrat.The letter to Ashcroft reads, in part:This is the very system which the state of Florida used to remove tens of thousands of eligible African-American and Hispanic voters from voter registries before the Presidential election of 2000. … We, the undersigned, hereby demand that NO voter be purged from centralized voter rolls without proof positive that the voter is ineligible. We also demand a halt to further computerization of balloting until such methods are made unsusceptible to political manipulation, fraud, and racial bias.To sign this petition, go to www.workingforchange.org.

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Joel Bleifuss, a former director of the Peace Studies Program at the University of Missouri-Columbia, is the editor & publisher of In These Times, where he has worked since October 1986.

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