The Guardian November 22, 2000


United States of America:
"The People's voice must be heard"

"The historic, hard-fought struggles of the American people to win the 
right to vote hangs in the balance. This is a fight for the rights of 
working people, for people of color, for the women of our nation. It is a 
fight for fairness, honesty and justice. It is a fight to uphold the 
constitutional right to vote", Communist Party USA (CPUSA) said in a 
statement as the hand recounting of votes continued at the weekend.

"The thousands of Floridians demonstrating in the streets and in the courts 
for a re-vote are taking a stand on behalf of the rights of every voter in 
our country", the CPUSA said. 

"The right to be counted for thousands of senior citizens and others given 
a flawed ballot is at stake. The right to be counted for African Americans, 
Haitian Americans, Puerto Ricans and Latinos, victims of racial profiling 
at the polls, is at stake.

"The right to be counted for those whose ballots were not initially 
included are at stake....

"The widespread irregularities, intimidation and confusion in Florida 
voters must be corrected and any violations by officials must be 
prosecuted."

"The irregularities that have surfaced in Florida expose the tip of an 
iceberg of obstacles placed in the way of working class voters. Complaints 
in St Louis, Mo. and other states are part of this pattern. The Electoral 
College is also an obstacle.

"This case can be won if it is fought in the courts, in the streets, in 
union halls and in the halls of the legislature. The voice of the people 
must be heard", said the CPUSA.

"We join with all those engaged in this momentous battle to demand a 
recount by hand, and a new election for those voters in Florida whose 
voting rights were illegally and unjustly denied."

Thousands of people protested in round the clock demonstrations outside the 
Palm Beach Country office building, as county election officials conducted 
a hand recount inside.

"... 28,036 ballots in Palm Beach County  7 percent  were thrown out 
because voters voted twice or made other mistakes in punching holes in the 
infamous `butterfly ballot'", Tim Wheeler reports in People's Weekly 
World, the paper of the CPUSA. "The confusing ballot payout is blamed 
for 3,400 casting votes for Reform Party candidate Pat Buchanan, a 
notorious anti-Semite, in this heavily Jewish enclave of Florida."

John Yorganjin, a systems analyst in the sheriff's office was one of the 
many who were confused by the ballot.

"At first, I was confident I had voted for Gore. Then I looked more closely 
and saw Buchanan's name on the right hand side of the ballot", he said.

"I said to myself, `Oh my God!' I voted for Buchanan!' So I punched the 
hole right under it, Gore's punch hole. Mine is one of the ballots that was 
thrown out. The only solution is another vote in Palm Beach County."

The Palm Beach County ballot lists candidates' names in two columns with 
the punch holes running down the middle. It violates a state law that 
requires the punch hole to be right of the candidate's name.

The ALF-CIO, the peak trade union body, is processing thousands of 
telephone calls from outraged voters.

They are preparing affidavits from these voters in preparation of a lawsuit 
charging that the entire election in Palm Beach County was tainted. The 
AFL-CIO has appealed for a nationwide outpouring of solidarity for the 
disenfranchised Palm Beach voters.

"Before a president-elect is declared, reports of voting irregularities 
must be looked into fully so that every citizen's vote is counted," said 
the AFL-CIO.

Union retirees in Century Village, a mostly Jewish retirement community of 
15,000 in West Palm Beach, have spearheaded the fightback. The Rev Jesse 
Jackson addressed hundreds of seniors at the Century Village clubhouse last 
week.

He recited the litany of ballot irregularities that resulted in nearly 
30,000 ballots being thrown out in Palm Beach County and other Democratic 
strongholds.

"Keeping those ballots in the trash can is not an acceptable option because 
that means putting our dreams in the trash basket", said the Rev Jackson.

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