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Special Event

Jesse Jackson Delivers Statement on Florida Voter Complaints

Aired November 28, 2000 - 10:53 a.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: The Reverend Jesse Jackson, with Florida voters behind him, giving a news conference in Tallahassee. Let's listen in.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

JESSE JACKSON: ... for the affirmative action Representative Hill and Senator Meek sent in, and there was a statewide mobilization. And the students on that occasion said we will remember in November, and they began to register and vote in mass. And then the very last night of the campaign, October the 10th, we registered nearly 3,000 students at Florida A&M on the night.

We traveled across the state, Liberty City in Broward County, and Rivera Beach in West Palm, and Fernadino (ph) and St. Lucie, and Fort Pierce, and Bel Glade (ph), as well as Jacksonville and Orlando and Tallahassee and Daytona. So we knew that we had created a tremendous interest in this campaign.

We begin to get, all day long on November the 7th, these various calls about problems. One set of calls had to do with the police and our deputy sheriffs stopping people, asking them for their voter registration, their ID or their driver's license, forms of intimidation.

Others of them called that day because in West Palm, the difference between the ballot, the sample ballot, and the real ballot was confusing to them. They were protesting before 11:00 on that date. By 3:00, and the tension -- warning was given that for those who are punching twice, you should only vote once, and here is how. A testament to the confusion before the polls closed on that day. In that case, it was for 4,000 punched two by two did not mean to have meant Buchanan. And when 19,000 punched twice in the confusion, another 10,000 did not punch. They simply wrote names in about 33,000 people.

By day's end, we found that in Seminole County, in Sanford, where we had a midnight rally, that there were people who had gone in and begun to fill in absentee ballots, which was tampering, which was illegal, which was alluded to by Mr. Baker, just today.

Students to be registered in Florida A&M here in Tallahassee, and Bethune Cookman in Daytona, and Waters (ph) in Jackson Beach, many of them had their voter registration cards, but names not on the books. So they could not vote. And because it was their first time around, they did not have the presence of mind to demand affidavits and vote anyhow.

So what you begin to see emerging here, a lot of debate about the chad, whether it's pregnant or not, and the dimpled chad, you are look at African-Americans who are fundamentally targeted. And it is too widespread to have been accidental, whether it's Liberty City, or Miami-Dade, or Broward, or Fort Pierce, or St. Lucie, or whether it is Sanford, or Cocoa Beach, or Rivera Beach, or inner-city Jacksonville or Tallahassee. There is a disproportionate amount of disenfranchised votes for African-American, maybe as high as 85 percent of those that we are discussing are African-American voters.

Add to that, the Jewish survivors in West Palm, who were confused by the ballot, immigrants and students. Now Section 2 of the Voting Rights act...

PHILLIPS: The Reverend Jesse Jackson, surrounded by Florida voters, talking about fairness and democracy in the voting process, hoping to have disenfranchised voters reenfranchise, as he said, to make sure the Voting Rights Act of 1965 is protected and enforced.

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