Skip to comments.FREEP IDEA! (Florida)
Posted on 09/23/2002 6:30:48 PM PDT by katherineisgreat
|Posted on Sun, Sep. 22, 2002|
An 'Unprecedented' examination of Florida's flawed 2000 election
Herald Staff Writer
On Jan. 20, 2001, Joan Sekler and Richard Ray Perez watched George W. Bush take the oath of office to become the 43rd president of the United States.
It was the culmination of the most controversial and rancorous presidential election in American history. For the new administration, the issue was closed. But to many others, there were still disturbing questions.
Why were thousands of non-felons, most of them blacks, taken off the voter rolls as part of a felon purge list? Why were Republican staffers allowed to disrupt a legal recount in Miami-Dade County? Why did Al Gore seek a recount in only four counties instead of in the entire state?
The day after the inauguration, Sekler and Perez decided to seek answers to these and other questions. Using money from Sekler's retirement fund and frequent flier miles donated by friends, they packed their bags and headed to Florida to make a documentary.
The result is "Unprecedented: The 2000 Presidential Election," a report on what the directors call "the undermining of democracy in America." At 7 p.m. Monday, the 50-minute film will be screened at Manatee Community College's Neel Auditorium by the college's film club.
Sekler and Perez will introduce the film and answer questions, and BBC reporter Greg Palast, who broke the story about the felon list, will be a guest speaker. Congressional candidates Katherine Harris and Jan Schneider have been invited to attend.
The directors say their intention isn't to favor Democrats or Republicans. Of the more than 100 people interviewed for the film, few were affiliated with either party. What the directors want, they maintain, is to make people aware that the election process in the United States is flawed by money, power and partisan politics.
"Most Americans live relatively comfortable lives compared to citizens around the world, and that puts us in an area of denial that we have problems with our democratic system of government," Perez said. "(The film) is a wake-up call to say, the way we conduct our elections isn't necessarily democratic.
"We have problems with the machines, but there's also a manipulation of the process itself and a manipulation at the hands of political parties. We all assume that our votes are counted and that everyone plays by the rules, but in fact, people are massaging these different rules and laws and processes and affecting the outcome in a very undemocratic way."
Felon purge list
"Unprecedented" begins with a look at Gov. Jeb Bush's tumultuous history with Florida's black community sparked in 1999 by his ban of affirmative action, which resulted in a statewide voter registration drive among blacks.
Using Palast's work as a springboard, Perez and Sekler examine a felon purge list compiled by Database Technologies, ordered by Bush and administered by then-Secretary of State Katherine Harris, which they say removed anywhere from 57,000 to 91,000 voters from the rolls - more than half of them black Democrats, and most of them non-felons - without verifying the names.
DBT, which has been absorbed by ChoicePoint in a merger, said before the U.S. Civil Rights Commission that it warned the state that the list could be inaccurate, but it was ignored. The company recently settled a lawsuit with the NAACP; among the terms was an agreement to re-examine the purge list.
"(The NAACP) settlement calls for DBT to identify the names of the people who were falsely put on the list and give it to the Division of Elections, which will eventually give it to the 67 supervisors of elections, who will eventually go through the list and restore names," Sekler said. "But that's going to take a year, if not more."
One of the most stirring images of the film is taken from footage of protestors disrupting a manual recount in Miami-Dade County. The filmmakers freeze-frame an image and identify Republican staffers, including several who are now working in the White House. Documents released to the Internal Revenue Service in July revealed that the protesters were flown to Florida by the Bush campaign and rewarded for their actions with monetary payments.
"An online journalist, Robert Perry, drew an analogy to the Democratic convention in Chicago in 1968, where some activists were prosecuted for crossing a state line to provoke a riot," Perez said. Those defendants became known as the Chicago Seven.
"Well, this is a very similar circumstance, and these people weren't prosecuted at all. They were rewarded with (positions) at the White House and even paid money," Perez said.
"Unprecedented" also turns a critical eye toward the Democratic Party and Al Gore for making speeches about how every vote should be counted and then requesting recounts in only four counties dominated by Democrats.
"They wanted an easy victory, and that's why they just chose four heavily-Democratic counties," Sekler said. "They said, 'We're only interested in getting some more Democratic votes.' So strategically, it was a very bad mistake, and ultimately, it was a contradiction, because Gore was getting on television all the time talking about how we live in a democracy, and they need to count every vote."
Call for reform
One segment that ended up on the cutting-room floor because it would have made the movie too long was a piece on the media's coverage of the election. The directors say the American news media was lazy in its coverage and unwilling to perform investigative work. As evidence, they point to the fact that it took Palast, a reporter working in Britain, to break the story about the felon purge list.
"The media has problems calling a liar a liar," Perez said. "They'll report that just as the opposing view, whether it's obviously a lie or not. They can't call a liar a liar, and that's just their lack of gumption . . . it's a big problem with the media, and it was ultimately out of the scope of our documentary."
Not surprisingly, Gov. Bush's office isn't pleased with the film or the allegations made by its directors.
"A documentary implies there might actually be relevant and factual information for the viewers," said Elizabeth Hirst, press secretary for Gov. Bush. "This sounds more like a sequel to 'Conspiracy Theory.' Call me cynical, but I am fairly confident there is no mention in this film of the true election reform that took place under the leadership of Gov. Jeb Bush after the November 2000 election."
Katherine Harris said she hasn't seen the film, but from what she's heard, she's not going to "waste her time" by viewing it.
"I read some things about it that were just so outrageously untrue, I just don't think I'm going to bother (seeing it)," Harris said.
Sekler and Perez hope "Unprecedented" will help ensure that reforms are made so that the 2000 election will not set a precedent for future elections. They're trying to get voters who were illegally purged because of the felon list to re-register by the Oct. 7 deadline instead of waiting for the supervisors of elections to fix their lists.
And they want elected officials to ensure voters once and for all that their ballots will count - especially in light of the problems that occurred during the Florida primary.
"Fix it. Fix it once and for all," Perez said. "Don't pass the buck from top to bottom. Stop blaming other people. They have the power to fix it, so fix it. Unless their general intention is to not fix it, which is what people are starting to wonder."
WHAT:"Unprecedented: The 2000 Presidential Election"
WHEN: 7 p.m. Monday
WHERE: Neel Auditorium, Manatee Community College, 5840 26th St. W.
About the filmmakers Joan Sekler is a founder of the Los Angeles Independent Media Center, a worldwide network of independent journalists and videographers who produce media on political and social issues. She has been an associate producer and/or publicist for numerous political documentaries, including the Academy Award-winning film, "The Panama Deception." Richard Ray Perez is a producer, director, videographer and editor for the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. He has worked as technical director for the Fox Broadcasting Co. and as assignment editor and field producer for KCBS-TV News in Los Angeles.
I can't believe these guys are even trying to present this as a non partisan documentary. *BLECH!*
Never in our fair history has one party behaved so abominably, dishonorably, cowardly...downright un-American as today's Democratic Party.
For the record....
The MEMO to disqualify military ballots
The Dimples Prove Fraud
Unstatesmanlike Conduct, Human Events, good summary of Gore/recount/last minute court decision.
How the Gore Campaign Came Back for the Dead.
How Democrats Steal Elections
Gore, Chris Sautter-"A Recount Primer"
Knock and Drag: Ryan Lizza reveals how Dems. got out the black vote
Trial Lawyers try to litigate their man into the White House
John Lott's Florida Election Study: Black Republicans, NOT Democrats disenfranchised by Dems.
Did you know that Gore did better in Palm Beach county than in any other county in Florida? It was Bush's worst county.
And while the Dems. are still blaming those Votomatic punch card machines (like the one in Palm Beach), it was Bush who was hurt in the Votomatic counties...including my Republican Lee County (impeachment manager Bill McCollum received more votes for Senate than did George W. Bush for Pres in Lee....in Palm Beach, Charlotte also..think about the possibility of that happening) the 12 counties with Votomatics were in Gore's top 50% Dem. votes / registered Dems., Bush's bottom 50% for Republican votes. Gore did better overall in the punch card counties.
Oh, and those "hick" counties, the "red" counties in Florida with fewer than 20,000 voters....all but one in 25 voted for BUSH and they are ALL Democrat majority counties with Dem. election personnel..and ALL recounted (as did EVERY county in Florida (just not 2 or 3 times 'til ballots could be manipulated for Gore)- and the HONEST Democrats in the small Florida counties showed only single digit changes in the recounts, mostly insignificant. As one Freeper said, my Democrat neighbors are southern Democrats with family values and don't trust Gore.
Ask the left: Did you hear of a Republican voting twice? Republican felons voting in large blocks? Republican illegal immigrants? Republicans in nursing homes and hospitals "helping" incompetent patients vote? Republicans adding non-resident names to the voting rosters at the polling locations? Republicans poking holes in ballots/ eating chads? Writing books about recounts and how to win elections by manipulating ballots? Did Republicans have a GOTV center set up in a Palm Beach law office, with "ballot protest" forms and a telecom company set up in advance, as well as a team of lawyers ready to put the "recount' campaign in place? Did a Republican lawyer lie about an Illinois "dimple decision" to the national press and in court? Did a Republican put out a memo..to every one of 67 counties...not based on Florida law, telling poll workers that (over 1000 legitimate) military ballots should be tossed? Did Republicans misdirect military mail? Make it exceedingly difficult for military overseas to vote?
The false charge of "racism" was the most destructive lie of all...but of course the DNC knew exactly how that lie would play in the inner cities where they frightened young children so much, these children cried...fearing the President Bush would make them slaves. It was a topic of discussion at the UN Conference on Racism, thanks to Democrats in attendance and the extensive international DNC PR press version of the election. Over 180 nations railed against the "racist" American leadership...a week of Bush-American and Israel bashing, taking home the message to their respective countries. What enemy of America wouldn't be strengthened by this display of international enmity against US? The UN "racism" conference ended two days before 9-11-01. .
Algor made a fool of himself on national tv today until they cut away. I swear he drank his lunch. I think that's why MSNBC cut away from his remarks. He was on the verge of agreeing that Dubya is acting like Hitler. Oh, and even more effeminate than he was in 2000. I'm sooooooo glad he didn't win the election.
Algor is totally disgusting. If he runs again, he'll have to handle that substance abuse problem first. Not slander - that's exactly what I saw on tv today. Even MSNBC cut away. He was even embarrassing them!
Then maybe we can try and freep again!
So, this is a way to bash both Bushes and get people all suspicious about the upcoming election so they'll be ready to be instant-protestors when McBride loses. It's propaganda for their own kind to keep them riled up. McBride and the DNC will use anybody to taint minds to keep their people in line.
If it's traveling the state, perhaps we could find a schedule. We need to respond!
or at www.unprecedented.org
Losers. The schedules on there too :)