Ready or Not?

We are just six months away from the big election day and area leaders want to know if we're ready and hoping to avoid a repeat of the 2000 presidential elections.

Ion Sancho, supervisor of elections for Leon County, says one of the biggest hurdles is actually voter education, and without that we very well could see a repeat of what happened here almost four years ago.

A press conference was held in the office of the Leon County supervisor of elections. The purpose: to promote election protection, arming voters with knowledge so that this time around, more of their ballots will count.

"In 2001, the Florida Legislature did take some bold initiatives to insure that we had standardized ballot, we had voter education, money, we had money that would not disenfranchise voters when they tried to use it properly,” Sancho says.

One local leader says voter education is fine, but a bigger issue is voter mobility.

"We have to motivate them and let them know what happened before will not happen again. We don't want them staying home and using that good old standard term that ‘my vote don't count,’” says NAACP president, Dr. Charles Evans.

Sancho says within the period between the March 9 presidential primary and last week, over 5,400 new voters registered in Leon County, the biggest surge in new voter registration since 1992.

An area student in attendance at the press conference says many young voters remain skeptical even with all that's being done to insure voter protection.

FAMU student Kristen Jackson says, "Many of the students feel their vote will not count due to the previous 2000 election. They don't know what exactly is going to happen with their vote when they actually go out and vote."

Ion Sancho says the state of Florida does not have a uniform balloting system. The state is actually divided over two kinds of technology, and so the election protection program is aimed at making sure voters know the correct way to cast their ballot.