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COUP WATCH: FBI To Probe More Minority Disenfranchisement

by Paul H. Rosenberg Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2000 at 6:41 PM

According to a report by the Sun-Sentinel, the FBI is investigating allegations that so-called “palm cards” were handed out to Haitians at Precinct 153 in Miami-Dade County that were presented as a vote for Gore, but gave Bush's number on the Miami-Dade ballot instead. It’s perhaps the most novel approach yet that the GOP has discovered to reach out to minority voters--and kidnap them.

According to Sun-Sentinel reporters David Cázares and Ellis Berger, the FBI has begun looking into charges that “unscrupulous campaign operatives” might have handed out “palm cards” listing endorsed candidates that were presented as pro-Gore, but that actually instructed voters to punch Bush’s number on the ballot. Palm cards list the names of endorsed candidates paired with the number that voters need to punch to select them.

So far, the accusaations focus only on Precinct 153, where Haitian-Americans who don’t read English were apparently tricked into voting for Bush by Republican operatives posing as Democrats, but other precincts may also be involved. The announcement of the investigation came form Ivy Korman, Miami-Dade supervisor of elections' liaison with law enforcement, who told the reporters that she spoke with the FBI on Monday.

The story cites Haitian activist Margaret Armand of Plantation, a delegate to the Democratic National Convention and worker on the Gore campaign, who reported seeing the phony palm cards being handed out at Precinct 153, with Bush’s number instead of Gore's. According to Armand, the cards were touted as a vote for Gore and the people handing out the cards claimed to be campaigning for Gore.

"I feel like people were taken advantage of," Armand reportedly said. "They wanted to confuse the Haitian people. They knew they were going to vote for Gore. The only way to (prevent) that was to change the number and confuse us. Ninety-nine percent of Haitians vote for Democrats."

It’s perhaps the most novel approach yet that the GOP has discovered to reach out to minority voters--and kidnap them.

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