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2000-12-06

Gore Addresses Black Voter Disenfranchisement

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Justice Department representatives arrived in Florida yesterday to look into allegations that some African Americans there were deprived of their right to vote in the presidential election. [includes rush transcript]

The NAACP has been pressing the Justice Department since the November 7th election to investigate complaints of voting irregularities in Florida. The civil-rights group says it has gathered 486 complaints and taken more than 300 pages of sworn testimony from people who say they were blocked from voting.

Many have been critical of Vice President Al Gore and the Democrats for not addressing these irregularities. Yesterday, Gore was asked about them during a Q&A session.

Tape:

  • Punch It Twice, It’s All Right, song by Ross Altman. For more information about the song contact: greygoosemusic@aol.com
  • Vice President Al Gore, Speaking at a Q&A with reporters yesterday.

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: Justice Department representatives arrived in Florida yesterday to look into allegations that some African Americans were deprived of their right to vote in the presidential election.

The NAACP has been pressing the Justice Department since the November 7th election to investigate complaints of voting irregularities in Florida. The civil-rights group says it has gathered 486 complaints and taken more than 300 pages of sworn testimony from people who say they were blocked from voting.

Yesterday in a question-and-answer session with the media, Vice President Al Gore was asked about these complaints.

VICE PRESIDENT AL GORE: Yeah?

REPORTER: What about your thoughts about the black votes being discounted there?

VICE PRESIDENT AL GORE: Excuse me, say that — what?

REPORTER: The black votes that were discounted. Reverend Jesse Jackson and the NAACP are saying —

VICE PRESIDENT AL GORE: Yeah.

REPORTER: — that black votes were discounted in Florida, as well.

VICE PRESIDENT AL GORE: Well, I am very troubled by a lot of the stories that have been reported about a roadblock on the way to one precinct, questions raised about various activities there. I do not have any personal or first-hand knowledge of those events. But whenever there are problems of that kind alleged, they are deserving of attention.

REPORTER: Will you meet with Jesse Jackson [inaudible] —

VICE PRESIDENT AL GORE: Oh, I talk with him regularly, of course. And I work — I have worked with him closely. I have spoken with Kweisi Mfume and Julian Bond. Penda Hair, who is a head of the efforts by the NAACP against voter suppression, has been in touch with our people. But I have no knowledge of those activities. I just — I want to say to you clearly that in my opinion, whenever you have allegations of those kind, that is a matter that the entire country ought to take seriously. They are not part of the ongoing court action. And I don’t want to mislead you on that. But I certainly want you to know that I think that they’re serious allegations.

AMY GOODMAN: The Vice President speaking yesterday in a question-and-answer period. Many are asking why a Voting Rights Act civil lawsuit has not yet been filed, though it’s said the NAACP is working on it.

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