Official Misconduct in Count
of Florida Presidential Ballots,
Calls on Congress to Reject
Florida's Electoral Votes
For Immediate Release
Tallahassee, FL January 3, 2001 -- In the first manual recount of overvotes in Florida's Gadsden County, Democrats.com today uncovered new evidence of official misconduct in the Florida presidential election.
Using a Florida public records act request, Democrats.com attorneys today examined overvotes, which are ballots that contained double votes or extraneous marks that prevented them from being included in the vote totals of each of the candidates. The Miami Herald and other media organizations are looking at undervotes, or ballots for which no vote for president was recorded by vote tabulation machines.
Democrats.com is the the largest independent community of Democratic voters and activists with headquarters on the Internet at http://www.democrats.com. More information on the newly revealed unlawful actions by Florida election officials has been put on a special Web site at http://www.trustthepeople.com
"Of the 1,900 overvotes examined today, 40 of them were clear and obvious votes for Al Gore," said Florida attorney George Drumming, who handled the examination of the ballots on behalf of Democrats.com. These 40 were invalidated due to a smudge mark or some other extraneous mark through some other candidate's name, most done by a light pencil mark that was completely different from the mark indicating the voter's preference. "There was not a single case of mysterious extraneous marks appearing on any ballots for George W. Bush," said Drumming.
The largest category of "overvotes" were from voters who marked their ballots in the first column for Al Gore and then also marked another presidential candidate in the second column. A total of 456 Gore votes were disqualified for this reason. Not only were the ballots unlawfully designed to spread the candidates in the presidential race over two columns, but the instructions on the ballot said "vote for group," suggesting the ability to vote for more than one candidate.
"The disqualification of these 496 votes for Al Gore is a crime against American democracy," said Democrats.com co-founder David Lytel. "A simple examination by any human of these ballots shows the clear preference of the voter. It is only because of the poor design the ballot, the inadequacy of the instructions, the limits of the optical scanning equipment itself, or tampering with the ballot afterwards that these votes were not credited to Al Gore." Correcting these mistaken official results from Gadsden County results further extend Gore's lead over Bush, which was already up to 260 votes in the unofficial recount.
"In light of this new evidence we are calling on Congress to challenge the award of Florida's 25 electoral votes for George W. Bush on Saturday," said Democrats.com co-founder Bob Fertik. Congress will meet on Saturday January 6th. Under constitutional procedures established more than 100 years ago, the electoral votes of any state may be challeged by any member of the House of Representatives in conjunction with any member of the Senate. The challenge requires that each house debate and decide by majority vote.
Democrats.com will be examining so-called overvotes in Jackson County on Thursday and in Calhoun County on Friday.
"With all due respect to Vice President Gore, we believe that it is the duty of the American people assembled in Congress to determine how much election fraud we as a nation are prepared to accept," said Fertik. "In short order we believe the clarity of Gore's victory in Florida will become evident. The final tabulation -- blocked for so long by Republicans -- will show that Gore won Florida by several thousand votes. And the magnitude of the Bush brothers' complicity in the conspiracy to suppress voter turnout by illegal means will be revealed. As these things happen, the vote that Republicans in Congress will cast to uphold the Florida election results will become a mark of dishonor that will cost a few of them their seats."
"We call upon all citizens to call and visit the offices of their representatives urging Congress to challenge and then to reject Florida's electors," added Lytel. Democrats.com is calling on citizens to visit the local offices of their representatives in Congress at noon on Friday January 5th to make their feelings known.
More about this campaign to reject Florida's electors as well as a reporting of the evidence gathered so far by Democrats.com is available at http://www.trustthepeople.com
For more information:
David Lytel (315-472-0581) or Bob Fertik (212-396-3457)