[Hpn] election tidbits

chance martin streetsheet@sf-homeless-coalition.org
Sun, 12 Nov 2000 16:17:15 -0700

Florida Cops Accused of Harassing Black Voters

Federal, State Authorities to Probe Allegations Amid Tight Race

Nov. 8, 2000

By Rick Sarlat

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (APBnews.com) -- As the world awaits a recount in Florida
to learn the outcome of the presidential election, some black voters here
are charging that they were deliberately harassed by state troopers who set
up a roadblock near a polling station.

At the urging of several black motorists, the State Attorney General's
Office today is looking into whether the Florida Highway Patrol
deliberately set up a checkpoint just one mile from Woodville First Baptist
Church. The church is the polling place for a precinct where more than
one-third of the voters are black, said Assistant State Attorney General
Paul Hancock.

"This was not done in accordance with normal [highway patrol] procedure,"
Hancock said. "We certainly see the sensitivity of the black community in
this situation. That's why we jumped right on it."
Of the 13 drivers cited at the checkpoint for equipment violations, eight
were black and five were white. The roadblock was set up between 10 a.m.
and 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, police said.

Feds want full inquiry

Hancock said that the U.S. Department of Justice has called for a full
inquiry into the allegations.

Victor Curry, president of the Miami chapter of the National Association
for the Advancement of Colored People, said that while the public may find
it hard to believe black voters were targeted, to the black community, the
incident is not all that surprising.

"The only thing that surprises me about the incident is all the attention
it's getting," Curry said. "Sounds like something out of the '60s, but all
it takes is a few racists who happen to be police officers."

Unauthorized checkpoint

Highway patrol officials admitted that the checkpoint on Tuesday was not
conducted according to protocol, but said they were "disappointed the black
community perceived it as an attempt to disrupt the political process."

"This was a checkpoint that had not been approved by the district
commander," said highway patrol spokesman Maj. Ken Howes. "The location had
not been approved and no notice had gone out to the news media, both of
which are requirements."

Howes said that since early October, the highway patrol has conducted 31
checkpoints, in which motorists are stopped and checked for licenses,
insurance and equipment safety, as part of an effort to conserve gas.

In late September, the highway patrol reached a $1 million deficit in its
gasoline budget and asked troopers to cut gasoline consumption by 20
percent. Instead of patrolling, officers set up checkpoints to check for
traffic violations.

Internal investigation

Howes said the sergeant who set up the checkpoint only chose the location
because it had not been used in the past. Police did not release the name
of the sergeant and three troopers who operated the roadblock.

Howes said the incident is being investigated internally. He said he did
not expect the sergeant and troopers to be reprimanded.

"They're just out there doing their job," Howes said. "Yes, departmental
policy was violated, but the violations were really only administrative

"These driver license and faulty equipment checkpoints have always been a
normal part of our overall enforcement strategies," he said. "The sergeant
and the troopers were oblivious to any connection between the election and
the checkpoint."
Rick Sarlat is an APBnews.com correspondent in Florida.


Four other US states may recount election votes

10th November 2000 


Four more US states may follow Florida and undertake recounts to decide who
be the next president.

The recounts may be ordered in Oregon, Iowa, New Mexico, and Wisconsin,
which Mr
Gore won narrowly.

In New Mexico, early voting tallies released in the state's largest county
narrowed the gap between Republican George W. Bush and Democrat Al Gore to
votes, with Mr Gore in the lead. That's a change from a previous unofficial
lead of 6,825 votes.

Republicans have threatened to challenge close Gore victories if he draws
challenges in Florida.  But New Mexico has only five electoral votes and
wouldn't be enough be itself.

In Oregon, a recount may also be required by a state law if the margin
Bush and Gore is less than one-fifth of 1% or about 2,800 votes.

With about 40,000 more votes to be counted, many in Republican leaning
areas, Mr
Gore led Bush by 8,485 votes.

In Iowa, Republican officials are exploring the possibility of requesting a
voter recount in a state that Mr Bush lost by less than 5,000 votes.

To ask for a recount, Bush would have to personally write each of Iowa's 99
county auditors by 5 pm Nov. 16 or 17, depending on the county.

In Wisconsin, where Mr Bush lost by about 6,000 votes, there is no automatic
recount. But a candidate may request a recount. The Bush campaign said they
looking at that possibility.


"Anarchy doesn't mean out of control. It means out of 'their' control."
    -Jim Dodge 
"Communications without intelligence is noise;
intelligence without communications is irrelevant."
    -Gen. Alfred. M. Gray, USMC
"It is not a sign of good health to be well adjusted to a sick society."
    -J. Krishnamurti


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