The Evidence to Date

On November 11, 2000, about a year and a half ago, the national NAACP conducted a hearing about discriminatory practices surrounding Election Day in Florida. Over 6,000 people had called their office with reports. The names of properly registered citizens disappeared from precinct rolls. Registration forms were mysteriously "never processed." African-American voters were singled out for "criminal background checks." 12,000 voters were cut from voting rolls by being mistakenly identified as felons, and a totally disproportionate number of these voters were African-American. Black voters who requested absentee ballots and never received them weren't permitted to vote when they went to the precinct in person on election day.African-American, Haitian-American, and Puerto Rican-American voters were denied assistance at the polls, assistance they were legally entitled to. African-American voters weren't told that their polling place was closed and weren't directed to the new polling place. And so on, and on. Similar reports came from many other states. o maybe it shouldn't have surprised me-- although it did-- when I began to hear and see information coming out of my home state, Tennessee. I guess we all want to think it can't happen where we live.

The Tennessee Voter Empowerment Team met on November 17th to discuss the information they'd been receiving. According to evidence gathered by me, NAACP branches statewide, the Tennessee Voter Empowerment Project, Nashville Pride,and the Tennessee Tribune, vote fraud may have happened here. Here are the reports that have been received, keeping in mind that you must insert the word "reportedly" in front of each one:

  • In Wilson county just outside of Nashville, African-Americans were told to remove NAACP signs from their cars, or leave. Nashville students from Tennessee State University, a historically black college, also state that they weren't permitted to vote even though they were registered.
  • In Chattanooga, Brown, and Maury Counties, African-Americans found out only on election day that the designated voting sites where they'd always gone to vote suddenly were closed.
  • In Memphis, many voters who registered through the DMV program weren't allowed to vote. In Nashville, many of these voters found out only on election day that they weren't registered even though they had filled out all the proper forms. They were then sent to stand in a 5 hour line with 3 voting booths and no election officials present for a minimum of one hour (this is illegal!). These voters are disproportionately African-American, Hispanic, and/or poor.
  • African-American voters were sent to the Election Commission for voting-related errors that weren't the voters' fault. They were then told, after several hours of waiting in line, that the errors disqualified them from voting.
  • The DMV problem (people believing they were properly registered to vote with all forms filled out, only to find on election day that they weren't) was statewide,not limited to Nashville and Memphis. Nobody has yet been able to find out why this happened. The DMV blames voters. However, there is no regulation of any kind when registration forms are sent from the DMV to counties-- no laws, no rules, nobody watching, nothing. Not only that, but in Illinois and Florida, where exactly the same thing happened but there's been a lot more investigation, it's been determined that "voter error" had nothing to do with it.
  • In many areas, such as Columbia and Brownsville, the poll opening times were changed from 7:00 a.m. to 8 or 9 a.m. No notification was sent to voters. This is completely illegal. I found out that this was far more widespread than I'd previously believed and involved many areas in West Tennessee.
  • According to the Motor Voter Bill, names cannot be purged from voting rolls for any reason besides death of the voter. But they were.
  • Many African-American neighborhoods in Memphis had exactly the same problem as Hadley Park and Antioch Middle School.
  • People who'd served jail time in Nashville but had the legal right to vote fought an attempt to illegally purge their names on election day.
  • In Bolivar City, people who'd served their time in jail were actually illegally kept from voting, the first year this had ever happened. Officials with the local Black Chamber of Commerce are filing a complaint with the EEOC. Apparently, this problem also happened in Shelby County (Memphis.) In Maury County, the polling place was changed without properly notifying voters. According to the Maury County NAACP, this has happened every election since 1992. A Maury County NAACP official was told that he would not be allowed to be a poll volunteer. The members of his community circulated a petition in his favor, and he was told he would be allowed. On election day, election commission officials at the polling place ordered him out of the building. They then looked outside a few minutes later and said, "You're not far enough away," forcing him into the street.
  • U.S Department of Justice Attorney Bruce Gear is currently investigating these reports, and many more. I've also received some new information from him and will be receiving more. According to Mr. Gear, he has found that about seven hundred people in Davidson County alone were disenfranchised by the DMV disaster only. This does not include any other type of disenfranchisment or any other reports. Well, guess what. The DOJ FINALLY decided to investigate.Then, they decided to file a lawsuit against areas in only three states: Florida, Missouri, and Tennessee.

    We don't know how many other reports have never emerged. We don't yet know how many people may have been affected by all this-- although according to the latest information, the number is likely to be in the tens of thousands. We don't know who may ultimately be found at fault. We don't even know how the presidential vote for this state may have swung if these alleged incidents had not taken place. We may never know. But we must learn. In our search for knowledge, we make history.

    To learn the latest news and find out about the situation in the upcoming November 2002 elections, click here.

    To return to the main page, click here.