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September 11, 2004
Kerry: GOP Racists, Looking To Suppress Black Votes

John Kerry told the Congressional Black Caucus that the Republicans want to suppress the black vote in November, repeating the canard that a million black votes went uncounted in 2000:

"We are not going to stand by and allow another million African American votes to go uncounted in this election," the Democratic presidential nominee told the Congressional Black Caucus. "We are not going to stand by and allow acts of voter suppression, and we're hearing those things again in this election."

Kerry has a team of lawyers to examine possible voting problems to try to prevent a repeat of the 2000 election disputes. He also has said he has thousands of lawyers around the country prepared to monitor the polls on election day.

"What they did in Florida in 2000, some say they may be planning to do this year in battleground states all across this country," Kerry said. "Well, we are here to let them know that we will fight tooth and nail to make sure that this time, every vote is counted and every vote counts."

The fact that Kerry has hired "thousands" of lawyers to do anything about the election should tell you exactly what a Kerry presidency would look like: a sellout to the trial-lawyer lobby, where lawyers go to court to create Kerry's brand of radical legislation that Congress would never approve. Even worse than Kerry's threat to follow Al Gore's precedent of attempting to sue his way to the Oval Office, though, is Kerry's despicable use of the race card and his painting of the GOP as racist. As a member of the GOP, I take that accusation personally, as I believe it was meant.

The Civil Rights Commission reported that African-American voters in Florida were more likely to have spoiled ballots or be denied a vote than other voters, but never quantified the number of voters. It claimed that 14.4% of African-American voters could not successfully vote in the 2000 general election. The total number of African-Americans in Florida for 2000 was 2.3 million. If half were adults, that would make a potential electorate of 1.15 million. Registration rates for African-Americans in 2000 were about 75%, one of the highest rates for all ethnic groups. Voter turnout for this group in 2000 was 61% of this 75%, or about 526,000 votes. If 14.4% of these voters were unsuccessful, that represents just under 76,000 votes -- nothing to sneeze at, to be sure, but a far, far cry from one million votes.

But let's take a look at where these voters were disenfranchised, according to the USCCR. As the nation painfully learned in the aftermath of the 2000 election debacle in Florida, the counties control the ballot preparation and voting procedures in the Sunshine State. In the executive summary of the report, the commission specifically mentions Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties -- all controlled by the same party: Democrats. In fact, 24 of the 25 counties that had the highest ballot-spoilage rates were run by Democrats, not Republicans.

The only state-level function specifically pointed out by the commission was the felon purge list, which has only been confirmed to have kept three eligible voters from casting ballots on Election Day in 2000. In fact, as USCCR member Peter Kirsanow put it in his minority report:

Whites were actually twice as likely as blacks to be erroneously placed on the list. In fact, an exhaustive study by the Miami Herald concluded that "the biggest problem with the felon list was not that it prevented eligible voters from casting ballots, but that it ended up allowing ineligible voters to cast a ballot."* According to the Palm Beach Post, more than 6,500 ineligible felons voted.

Put simply, the "million black voters disenfranchised in Florida" meme is a fraud, an easily debunked one at that if anyone looks at the Census Bureau reports for Florida in 2000. Kerry has decided to cast his lot with the conspiracy theorists and the race-baiters. His use of a hoary urban legend does not speak well of his intelligence, his ethics, or his judgement. Kerry should be ashamed of himself.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at September 11, 2004 9:32 PM

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Tracked on September 12, 2004 8:34 AM

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