While all eyes are on Palm Beach and Broward counties in Florida, where manual recounts of presidential ballots are under way, another Florida county may have experienced even greater voting irregularities. Nearly 27,000 Duval County votes for president were nullified, many after voters chose more than one candidate, resulting in an unusually high strikeout rate. The ratio of discarded votes was particularly high in the predominantly black areas of Jacksonville, where support for Democrat Al Gore was high.
Supervisor John Stafford and his spokeswoman, Susan Tucker Johnson, attributed the voided presidential votes to a ballot listing 10 presidential candidates over two pages. Voters, they said, probably picked a president on page one, then voted again on the second page.
Another nearly 5,000 Duval presidential votes didn’t count in the race because they “undervoted,” Johnson said, meaning a candidate wasn’t selected or voters didn’t punch a hole in the ballot hard enough to mark their choice. The ballots tossed were more than found in Palm Beach County.
Dozens of residents have picketed in front of the Duval County elections office.
Stafford and other officials met with leaders of the local NAACP chapter to discuss complaints but offered no change for the nullified votes.
- Todd Cox, Assistant Counsel with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
- Isaiah Rumlin, President of the Jacksonville chapter of the NAACP.
- Rev. CT Vivian, Board Chair and founder of the Center for Democratic Renewal (formerly the Anti-Klan Network). He was a key figure in the civil rights movement and a close associate of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.