As we talk about the importance of DNA evidence in the central park jogger case, we’re going to take a close look at one of the technology companies involved.
ChoicePoint operates the nation’s largest private DNA database. It has offered its DNA testing services to the Innocence Project, which works to free wrongly convicted individuals on death row. It has also led the campaign to help police departments to test backlogged rape kits. The company’s database contains over 15 billion public records. The company has been described as "society’s ultimate search engine."
But ChoicePoint doesn’t just work to free innocent people from prison. ChoicePoint is also the private company behind the Stolen Election of 2000, and has recently reached a settlement with the NAACP over its role in illegally purging African-Americans from the Florida voter roles.
Florida’s top elections officials and the NAACP announced on Tuesday they have settled a lawsuit over voting rights violations during the 2000 Presidential election.
The class-action lawsuit alleged Florida election officials systematically kept African-Americans away from voting booths by illegally purging them from voter rolls, improperly handling their registrations so they did not appear on voter lists or by simply turning them away from polling places. The suit also alleged the private company ChoicePoint knowingly mislabeled innocent voters as felons. Under Florida law, convicted felons cannot vote.
The two sides say the settlement will build on the Florida Election Reform Act of 2001, which included changes in registration list maintenance, provided funding for improved voter education and poll worker training, and created alternative voting and registration procedures.
But tens of thousands of voters who were illegally purged from the voting rolls two years ago will still have problems voting this fall, because the voter rolls haven’t yet been corrected.
We’re joined right now by a number of people to talk about DNA evidence, the stolen election, and the company ChoicePoint.
- Greg Palast, author of 'The Best Democracy Money Can Buy' and investigative reporter with the BBC and the London Guardian
- Anita Hodgkiss, lead plaintiffs’ attorney in NAACP v. Harris case; Director of the Lawyers’ Committee’s Voting Rights Project.
- Karen Pomer, rape survivor and founding member of Rainbow Sisters Project