Friday, 1 November 2002

Jeb Bush's secret weapon

by Greg Palast

94,000 people on a voter "purge" list -- half of them African-American -- continue to be banned from voting in Florida, even though the state knows the list is wildly inaccurate.

In December 2000, we reported that Florida's use of a faulty and politically questionable list of felons and dead people "scrubbed" from voter rolls -- half of them African-Americans -- may have cost Al Gore the 537-vote margin of victory claimed by George W. Bush in Florida.

Fast-forward two years. There's another close race in Florida. This time, younger brother Jeb is fighting to fend off a challenge from Bill McBride for the governor's race. The Nov. 5 face-off could again come down to thousands, if not hundreds, of votes.

And even though the list has been widely condemned -- the company that created it admits probable errors -- the same voter scrub list, with more than 94,000 names on it, is still in operation in Florida. Moreover, DBT Online, which generated the disastrously flawed list, reports that if it followed strict criteria to eliminate those errors, only 3,000 names would remain -- and a whopping 91,000 people would have their voting rights restored.

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