Jesse Jackson questions Florida voting

He schedules a rally in Miami and plans to look into a possible undercount of minority votes.

By Alicia Montgomery

Published November 8, 2000 5:38PM (EST)

The Rev. Jesse Jackson is traveling from Nashville to Florida on Wednesday to hold a rally in North Miami to protest what he says were irregularities in the presidential vote count. Jackson told reporters Wednesday morning that he would first meet with community leaders and party officials who question the fairness of that state's vote, alleging that voting irregularities may have led to an undercount of votes that likely would have gone to Al Gore.

"It's not just recount, it's about investigation," Jackson told reporters in Nashville. Jackson said that missing ballot boxes and voter intimidation kept some minority members from voting, and some others who did vote were not counted. CNN has reported that a locked ballot box was discovered in Dade County, Fla., Wednesday morning, the voting location for a primarily minority community.

But while Jackson alleges that mistakes in voting procedure led to an undercount of minority voters, there was a substantial black turnout in Florida. According to exit polls, while African-Americans account for 15.1 percent of the state's voters, they represented 16 percent of voters Tuesday. And, according to those polls, Gore won 93 percent of the African-American vote.

"People whose votes have not been counted need to have their votes counted and their voices heard," Jackson said. He cautioned that the press and the American people should not be impatient or push for a decision in Florida that could ultimately be proved invalid. "There is no time limit on justice," he said. "The media talks about this like it's a horse race, but this isn't just about Gore and his staff and Bush and his staff. It's about the American people."

Clay Roberts, director of the Florida state division of elections, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Alicia Montgomery

Alicia Montgomery is an associate editor in Salon's Washington bureau.

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