Saturday, October 23, 2004
Where's Eric Holder?: Eric Holder is the Kerry campaign's point man on preventing (Democrat) voter intimidation. At least in Florida, it appears that he's been successful -- Democrats aren't feeling intimidated, Republicans are.
Republican Party senior adviser Mindy Tucker Fletcher said she had more than a dozen affidavits from voters around the state that would be forwarded to Hood's office.
According to the affidavits Fletcher released:
One woman who voted early in Boca Raton, at the Southwest County Regional Library, complained that as she stood in line, two men behind her were "trashing our president," Fletcher said, declining to identify the woman. She tried to ignore them. Then the man touched her arm and said, "Who are you voting for?"
"I said, `I don't think that's an appropriate question,'" the woman said she responded.
"Uh oh! We have a Bush supporter here," screamed the man behind her.
For the 2 1/2 hours she had to wait in line, she was heckled by the man. As they neared the voting room, someone in the rear of the line yelled, "I sure hope everyone here is voting for Kerry!" she reported.
That's when the man behind her held his hand over her head and screamed, "We have a Republican right here!" There were "boos and jeers" from the crowd.
"I felt intimidated, harassed and threatened!" the woman wrote in her complaint to the Republican Party.
Elaine Fandino complained to the Republican Party that she took her mother to vote on South Military Trail in Palm Beach County and was confronted by 25 people supporting John Kerry for president. The crowd was "very angry and used foul language," she reported. She said the man next to her said, "Where's my shotgun?"
In Broward County, at the regional library in Pembroke Pines, a voter complained that Kerry supporters used abusive language about President Bush and had signs and banners within 50 feet of the entrance.
Kerry supporters were "shoving anti-Bush propaganda at us," complained the voter, who said he shouted back "Vote President Bush!"
A woman who voted in Plantation at the West Regional Courthouse said she was offended to see five or six people with "huge stick on badges" for Kerry/Edwards, standing near the voting machines.
"Never in all the years of voting do we remember being allowed to show a badge or poster or literature while inside the area where the voters are standing ready to cast their vote," she wrote.
Juan D'Arce of Miami complained to the Republicans that he tried early voting in downtown Miami. He was wearing a Bush pin, but he couldn't stand the taunting, so he turned away and did not vote.
Howard Sherman complained about his voting experience at North Shore Branch Library in Miami-Dade County. He found a crowd of Kerry supporters blocking the door.
"They were positioned directly in front of the entrance to the library in such a manner that it would be impossible to avoid them while entering the polling place," he reported.
Sherman said he tried to slip through the thinnest part of the crowd, but a woman in a Kerry T-shirt grabbed his arm and asked if he was voting for Kerry.
"I seem to recall from civics class that this sort of electioneering is illegal," Sherman complained to the Republicans.
Republican Lawrence Gottfried, who became a poll watcher in Delray Beach after what he thought was inappropriate behavior at the polls, said the things he saw upset him.
Gottfried said that while working at the Delray poll, actor Danny DeVito and his wife, actress Rhea Perlman, showed up. Gottfried is a fan, but he didn't ask for an autograph.
"I said, 'Look Mr. DeVito, I'm a big fan of yours and Rhea's, but you are blocking the entrance. You're campaigning, you've got a Kerry-Edwards button on, and it's not appropriate."
Gottfried, who used to be a Democrat, said the things he saw were "ridiculous."
"There is a time for partisanship and it's OK to have a different point of view, but don't violate the sanctity of the polling area," he said.
Of course, none of this would concern Holder, because it's happening to Republicans. This sort of behavior is ridiculous and inappropriate whoever does it. Florida election officials and local law enforcement need to ensure that people can enter polling places whenever they are open -- not just on election day.
Of course, these stories also demonstrate how hollow Democrat complaints are of Florida 2000. One individual complained that a traffic stop set up several miles from a polling place was an attempt to prevent people from voting. That's laughable compared to what's been reported this time around.