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22 October, 2008

Steal the election once, shame on me …

Steal the election once, shame on me, steal it twice … steal it thrice!

A Message from Congressman Robert Wexler

I saw it with my own eyes: The Bush and GOP machine stole the 2000 election and the presidency in Florida (not to mention Ohio in 2004) and the results have been catastrophic for our nation and the world.

Don't take my word for it - read the dissent of Supreme Court Justices Stevens, Breyer and Ginsberg in the absurd legal decision of Bush v. Gore: "Although we may never know with complete certainty the identity of the winner of this year's Presidential election, the identity of the loser is perfectly clear. It is the Nation's confidence in the judge as an impartial guardian of the rule of law."

Back in 2000, in Florida, I witnessed the votes of World War II veterans thrown away and GOP thugs bully the Miami Dade elections office into stopping a recount. I swore to myself that never again would the votes of Americans be thrown away and replaced by the votes of appointed judges. Following the 2000 election, I spent 7 years fighting to remove the DIEBOLD electronic machines from Florida and to install a voter verified paper trail which we accomplished last year.

I have bad news: They are trying again to silence our votes.

Most people associate the 2000 election with paper "chads" and the Supreme Court's tragic decision. Yet the voter suppression in 2000 went way beyond not counting votes – from illegal roadblocks near minority precincts to the complete purging of legitimate voters from the rolls through what is called "voter caging "– the practice of using databases to improperly delete voters.

Now, we are seeing signs of voter caging again in both Michigan and Florida.

In Michigan, the state is using a list of foreclosures to purge voters (many of which are still legitimate voters in their districts).

In Florida, my home state, the Republican led Supervisor of Elections is aggressively applying a new law designed to limit voter fraud by summarily deleting voters who might have – as part of a clerical error – a different driver's license or social security number than was put in the database.

If legitimate, legal voters are denied access to the voting booth – we risk a repeat of 2000, in multiple states.

We must remain vigilant, not just in defense of our economy, but in defense of our rights as Americans.

I am working with my colleagues in Congress to call attention to this matter, but I encourage you to contact your state elections supervisor and demand that they allow every person who claims to be a legitimate voter to submit a provisional ballot.

There is a system in every state to deal with provisional ballots – to verify their legitimacy after the fact.

Voter caging is a threat to our (already challenged) democratic principals. Please join me and pass this email along to spread the word.

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