Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Deja-vu, All Over Again

Thousands of eligible Florida voters may be removed from the rolls in this year's election because of a faulty database aimed at convicted felons.

Ok, so you are tired of hearing the story of 2000 again - only it's not 2000, it's now...

Despite protests from critics and nervous election supervisors, the state will continue with plans to implement the system.

Convicted felons are not allowed to vote in Florida unless granted clemency, but before 2000 there was little enforcement of the law. That year, then-Secretary of State Katherine Harris hired DBT Online to provide a database of felons to be purged from the rolls. But the list contained the names of many people who should not have lost their voting rights. Many supervisors refused to use the list, but others did.

After George Bush won the state by a mere 537 votes, and with it the presidency, the felon list became a subject of national controversy and numerous lawsuits. A study by the Palm Beach Post showed more than 1,100 voters had been wrongfully turned away from the polls.

"We have developed much more stringent matching material on the list," said Jenny Nash, a spokeswoman for the Division of Elections. "We run each name through a whole series of algorithms now. If a name doesn't meet a certain threshold it is not purged."

But voter advocacy groups remain concerned about the list being unrolled so close to this year's elections. "Here we go again," said Ralph Neas, president of People for the American Way. "Why the rush to take more people off of the voting rolls when people who should not have been removed in 1999 and 2000 haven't yet been reinstated?"

Leon County election supervisor Ion Sancho said more than 10 percent of the names of voters in his county may be incorrect, but it will take a lengthy procedure to resolve issues.

Why do I get the feeling that 25 electoral votes are already in the Red column?

Posted by a Vet -- -- permanent link