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Carolab Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-20-04 09:06 PM
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40. Find links to ACCENTURE

Gov. Jeb Bush has repeatedly denied any partisan motive in how the list was developed. Bush spokeswoman Jill Bratina said Thursday that the governor was concerned about the felon list's failure to include Hispanic felons and has asked Secretary of State Glenda Hood to do an audit. Hispanics in Florida tend to lean Republican.

``Our No. 1 goal is to have integrity in our elections, to have a smooth and fair election process,'' Bratina said. ``There are people out there who have an agenda, and that agenda includes eroding confidence in Florida's elections.''

The rights commission has a contentious history with Florida leaders, especially former Secretary of State Katherine Harris. After the 2000 presidential election, commissioners released a draft assessment of the election in Florida that called Harris and Bush ``grossly derelict in fulfilling their responsibilities.''

The commission toned down its language in the final report, but Commission Chairwoman Mary Frances Berry made it clear Thursday that she hasn't forgotten - or forgiven - recent history.

``The whole reason why we're having these proceedings is to keep alerting the country to the fact that there are problems, and to try to put people's feet to the fire to make sure they try to solve the problems,'' Berry said. ``So far what we have from Ms. Hood is just a sliding away from the problems.''

Jenny Nash, a spokeswoman for Hood, said the secretary of state was ``disappointed with the partisan tone'' of the commission meeting. Hood sent a letter to the commission detailing the state's decision on the felon list, but did not attend.

``If they're going to investigate, we would welcome the Department of Justice and work diligently with them,'' Nash said. ``We feel that we have followed the law and what the Florida statutes mandated.''

The commission also called on Accenture, the company that helped develop the database of potential felons, to defend its work.

The state paid the firm nearly $2 million to develop the central voter file and to create a way to screen rolls for felons who haven't had voting rights restored.

Accenture took on the contract after a similar list released before the 2000 election removed thousands of voters from the state rolls. An NAACP lawsuit helped establish new list guidelines.

Accenture executive Meg McLaughlin said the company was unaware of the flaw that failed to spot potential Hispanic felons.

She also said that state officials were well aware that the list could be flawed. That's why individual county election supervisors were ultimately given the task of vetting the list, McLaughlin said, and her company's job was merely to help develop the database.

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