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CNN Today

Election 2000; Pardon My Vote

Aired December 5, 2000 - 1:41 p.m. ET

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

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: In the weeks since the presidential election, there have been many claims of voting irregularities in Florida, including charges that convicted felons have been allowed to vote.

CNN's David Lewis looks into that.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAVID LEWIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Butterfly ballots, dimples and chads -- now, voting felons. Under Florida law, felons are not allowed to vote after getting out of prison, but one Florida newspaper reports hundreds may have cast ballots.

RICHARD CARLBERG, ASST. SUPER. OF ELECTIONS: We view it as much ado about nothing.

LEWIS: Problems like this are normal, according to Richard Carlberg, the assistant supervisor of elections in Duval County, Florida.

(on camera): Do you have any doubt that, in fact, some felons did slip through the cracks?

CARLBERG: I would assume some did. So there probably have been some felons that have voted.

UNIDENTIFIED OPERATOR: Supervisor of elections.

LEWIS (voice-over): Duval County receives a list of felons from the Florida secretary of state. They then write to the registered voters, asking if the felony listing is accurate.

CARLBERG: If the voter states: No, I've never been a felon, then we believe them.

LEWIS: Why depend on identified criminals to be honest? Because the lists are not always correct.

CARLBERG: We don't want to arbitrarily delete people unless we know for sure that they should be deleted. We would like to have a list, a take it to the bank, bet the ranch, that these people are felons. If someone can produce that, we'll use it. LEWIS (on camera): Experts say election glitches -- such as the ones that have been pored over in such detail here in Florida -- are the norm, not the exception.

PROF. DARIO MORENO, FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY: The problem in Florida is the election came down to a one-hundredth of a percentage point difference between Mr. Gore and Mr. Bush.

LEWIS (voice-over): Political Science Professor Dario Moreno says, in a race this close, every small problem, no matter how routine, gets exaggerated.

MORENO: The voting, which is this sacred thing, we found out does have its pimples.

LEWIS: Blemishes in the process, like convicted felons finding their way into the voting booth.

CARLBERG: It's a big deal now because we've had a close election in the state of Florida and people are getting on various bandwagons and looking for trouble.

LEWIS: David Lewis, CNN, Jacksonville, Florida.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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