African American Voters

By: Mike Vasilinda
By: Mike Vasilinda

Minor problems have been reported across the state, but there has been no wholesale meltdown. Election officials say eligibility challenges were few and large early voter turnout kept problems to a minimum.

Polls across the state opened without major hitches, the biggest complaints coming into Republican or Democratic Party phone banks was over precinct locations. Numerous voters have been receiving bogus calls telling them that their precincts had changed.

Scott Maddox, Florida Democratic Party Chairman, says, “We’ve also seen automated calls telling people that they could vote by phone. Press one if you want George Bush, two if you want John Kerry, thank you, your vote has been recorded."

Sam Heyward voted without a hitch. He had been wrongly placed on the state's felon list of ineligible voters, but he was able to cast his ballot without a challenge.

Sam says, "Too much has happened in our past, too many have thought that we had this right to vote and I don’t think we need to take it for granted."

Ingrid Gale Taylor Grant got a minor scare. She just moved to Tallahassee and the poll worker couldn’t find her name. The problem was cleared up in minutes.

Ingrid says, "I was very scared. I was like, oh gosh, I can’t vote and I really wanted to get my vote in because it’s very important. I’m happy that they found my name."

Officials attribute the smoothness Tuesday to good preparation by all of the supervisors and to the large number of people who voted early. By midday there were fewer than a dozen voter challenges across the state.

Kerry legal team member Paula Saunders watched the voting from outside an African American precinct.

Paula says, "Things have gone very smoothly this morning."

And as the world watched, Florida is proving it learned a lesson from 2000 that it did not want to repeat. Both the Democrats and the Republicans have a battery of lawyers standing by, waiting for the votes to be counted Tuesday night.


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