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Congressional Black Caucus Protests FL Electoral Votes

During a joint session of Congress in which electoral votes were officially tallied, ten members of the Congressional Black Caucus submitted their opposition to the 25 electoral votes from the state of Florida cast for George W. Bush and Richard Cheney. Representatives Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL), Carrie P. Meek (D-FL), Corrine Brown (D-FL), Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Elijah E. Cummings (D-NC), Maxine Waters (D-CA), Cynthia McKinney (D-GA), and Eva M. Clayton (D-MD) presented a letter stating that Florida’s 25 electoral votes “were not regularly given in that the plurality of votes in the State of Florida were in fact cast for” Gore and Lieberman. Lacking the required Senate signature, the letter did not successfully block the counting of the electoral votes, which were eventually tallied in favor of Bush and Cheney. But, for 20 minutes, members of the Congressional Black Caucus, most of them women, took to the floor to voice their opposition and to expose the voting irregularities, tactics of intimidation, undercounting, and other strategies used to disenfranchise black voters in the 2000 presidential election. Twelve members walked out of the proceedings, including the ten who submitted the protest letter and Jesse Jackson JR (D-IL). “I want America to understand that African Americans were not given process in this election,” Florida Representative Carrie Meek asserted. “[African-Americans] exercised what we thought was our legal right, only to have it nullified by faulty and defective voting machines distributed discriminatorily, targeted in our neighborhoods, nullified by purge of voting lists, and on and on.” Georgia Representative Cynthia McKinney spoke of false felony charges, purged voter registration lists, lack of translators at the polls, and other “gross violations of the Voting Rights Act.” “Let the world know that we failed in upholding our democratic principles,” stated Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA), “and that it was the Reagan-Bush Supreme Court, not the people of the United States, who decided the outcome of this election.”

Sources:

New York Times - January 7, 2001 and Congressional Record _ January 6, 2001

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