2001 PRESS RELEASES, ADVISORIES AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS

U.S. CIVIL RIGHTS COMMISSION EMPHASIZES PUBLIC TESTIMONY IN CONTINUING EXAMINATION OF FLORIDA VOTING PROBLEMS

February 16 Hearing at Wyndham Miami Focuses on South Florida Counties

Washington, DC - Continuing its investigation into voting problems in Florida during the presidential election, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights will devote the morning of February 16 to airing the experiences of registered South Florida voters who had difficulties reaching the polls or casting their ballots. In addition, at the conclusion of the formal agenda, members of the public will have the opportunity to share their stories at an open public forum.

The Commission has scheduled a one-day hearing at the Wyndham Miami, 1601 Biscayne Boulevard, Miami, FL. As is its customary practice, the Commission has subpoenaed witnesses and documents for the Miami hearing, which will focus on Broward, Miami-Dade, Monroe and Palm Beach Counties. The Commission will take sworn testimony from registered voters, poll workers, elected and appointed county officials, an administrator of the Department of Motor Vehicles and representatives of Choicepoint, the firm contracted by the state to help it ensure that felons did not participate in the November 7, 2000, election.

The Commission's investigation into Florida voting problems began last month with a two-day hearing in Tallahassee featuring testimony by Gov. Jeb Bush, Secretary of State Katherine Harris and registered voters from that area who had encountered problems at the polls.

Among the allegations to be examined in Miami: persons were improperly purged form voter roles due to erroneous reports of felony convictions; voter lists did not include names of persons who had registered; properly filed voter registrations were processed too late for names to appear on voter rolls; polling places were closed early; polling places were moved without notice; some ballots were defective and confusing; officials failed to provide language assistance as requested; and officials failed to provide access to the polls for persons with disabilities.

The Commission is an independent, bipartisan, fact-finding agency of the federal government with authority to hold hearings and subpoena both witnesses and documents. It has very broad investigative authority in the area of voting rights, even when alleged abuses do not involve discrimination, fraud or other malicious intent.

 

WHAT:

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights ongoing probe of Florida voting focuses on Broward, Miami-Dade, Monroe and Palm Beach Counties

WHO:

Registered voters, poll workers, public officials, Choicepoint officials

WHEN:

Friday, February 16

9 am - 5:20 pm

Public forum: 6:30

WHERE:

Wyndham Miami, Bahama Room, 1601 Biscayne Boulevard, Miami, FL

 

02/06/01