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Congress Certifies Electoral Votes Despite Congressional Black Caucus Protest

HeadlineJan 08, 2001

Congress met in joint session Saturday and certified the electoral college vote, which makes official the selection of George W. Bush as president. However, while congressional certification is usually quick and routine, Congressional Black Caucus members protested during the session that black voters had been disenfranchised, and attempted to block the counting of Florida’s 25 electoral votes. The first protest came shortly after 1:00 p.m., after a delegation from the Senate carried in the electoral votes in two wooden boxes bound in leather. With less than a third of the House members there, and under half of the Senate, representative Peter Deutsch, a Florida Democrat, tried to shut down the session for lack of a quorum. He also tried to speak, saying, “There are many Americans who still believe…” only to be drowned out by Republicans asking for him to be silenced for being out of order. Vice President Gore gaveled him down. Florida Democratic Congressmember Alcee Hastings was the first to object, speaking of “overwhelming evidence of official misconduct” before Gore gaveled him because of lack of support from a senator. Federal law requires a member of both the House and the Senate to question a state’s electoral votes in writing for a formal objection to be considered, but the House members had no Senate support, so Gore, who was presiding, slammed down the gavel to silence them. There are no black senators. Congressmember Jessie Jackson, Jr., said, “It’s a sad day in America when we can’t find a senator to sign this objection.” As Florida’s 25 electoral votes were accepted, members of the Congressional Black Caucus left the chamber in protest. Asked about the protest by members of the Congressional Black Caucus, George Bush replied, “I didn’t ever expect to get 100 percent of the vote.”

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