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Voters claim abuse of electoral rolls
Students say they were conned into registering twice
Greg Palast in New York
Sunday October 31, 2004
An Observer investigation in the United States has uncovered widespread allegations of electoral abuse, many of them going uninvestigated despite complaints of what would appear to be criminal attempts to manipulate voter lists.
The allegations, which come just two days before Americans go to the polls in one of the most tightly contested elections in a generation, threaten to plunge Tuesday's count into a legal minefield and overshadow even the elections of 2000.
The claims come as both Republicans and Democrats put in place up to 2,000 lawyers across the country to challenge attempts to manipulate the vote in swing states.
Although allegations of misconduct have been leveled at both parties recently, the majority of complaints that have been identified in The Observer' s investigation involved claims against local Republicans.
The claims, made by the BBC's News night, follow alleged attempts by Republicans to illegally suppress the votes in key states. Republican spokesmen deny these allegations.
[Watch the BBC broadcast at news.bbc.co.uk... ]
One of the more serious claims is that no action has been taken in a complex fraud, where more than 4,000 Florida students were allegedly conned into signing a form which could lead them to be doubly registered and void their votes. The Florida Law Enforcement Department has told the complainants that it is too busy to investigate.
In Colorado too, Democrats are complaining about an attempt to remove up to 6,000 convicted felons from the electoral roll, at the behest of the state's Republican secretary of state, Donetta Davidson, despite a US federal law that prohibits eliminating a voter's rights within 90 days of an election to give time for the voter to protest.