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RECOUNT: My own Florida election day 2000 nightmare

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Lorien Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-26-08 01:16 PM
Original message
RECOUNT: My own Florida election day 2000 nightmare
As always, I volunteered with my local Democratic party (Orange county, FL in 2000) during the election year. I was appalled by the attitude of the director of our downtown HQ "Jared" towards Gore: "We won't be focusing on the Presidency here because we can't win it. We'll work for our local candidates instead". Jared stated. He didn't even order more than a handful of Gore bumper stickers or lawn signs to give away to supporters because "signs don't win elections", and what we did have on hand he charged the public for. $5 for a bumper sticker, $10 per lawn sign. Many Democrats who came in left empty handed and grumbling "well, if they are going to take THAT attitude then why bother? I don't have to go anywhere on election day". Despite my hectic schedule as a self employed illustrator and animator, I volunteered to man the front desk and phones just to improve relations and slip good Democrats a few free stickers and signs.

But those annoyances were NOTHING compared to what I experienced on election day. I was taken into an all minority section of town to distribute Democratic voter guides (lists of candidates and our positions on the issues) outside of the polling place. I had to stand 20 feet or more from the front door and was eyed warily by the only other white person there, a cop. Once voters started arriving the cop started intimidating them-especially the elderly and women. "What ya gonna do when your boy loses, huh? Ya gonna CRY when your boy loses"? he sneered in their faces. I was absolutely shocked by his behavior ;I had grown up in a liberal college town in the midwest and had never seen such unprofessional and stereotypical "southern white cop" behavior in action before. Hell, I had never even heard a white person utter the "N" word! I turned to my team leader who was there with me (thirty something African American guy) and asked what we can do. He said that all we could do is file a complaint later, and that would probably go no where.

I went back to HQ during lunch and told Jared what was happening. "We're getting a lot of complaints from every minority precinct about police intimidation, but there are so many other problems right now we can't deal with it" he didn't elaborate. I went back into a storage room for bottled water and found the 20' canvas overpass sign I had worked on for a week laying in a corner with my "For I-4 overpass-election day" sign still attached. I asked Jared why it hadn't gone out with the volunteers who were rallying for Gore at strategic areas in the city, and he once again said "nobody cares about signs". Two young male volunteers who were headed out to the overpass heard the conversation and grabbed my massive sign on their way out, thank goodness.

I went back to the polling place. The cop was still there, still getting in the voters faces. By 5:30 the traffic had really picked up, and suddenly we were being told that our poll would close at 6 instead of 7 like every other poll. My team leader was on his walkie talkie and cell phone, and he persuaded the poll workers to stay open another hour as REQUIRED BY LAW. Near 6PM all hell broke loose. Suddenly he and I were swarmed with voters who looked desperate. They had all been told by the poll workers that they had come to the wrong place to vote, and that the "right" place was across town. Since most had either come on foot or used public transportation, it was unlikely that they would get there in time. Dozens were heading home. My team leader and I told them all to stay with us, that their votes were important and we would find a way to fix this. He made many more calls and within minutes a fleet of church busses arrived. They were loaded up and took off, but didn't get far; the cops pulled our buses over and demanded to see their "taxi licenses". They forced the passengers off the buses when the drivers couldn't produce any.

I went home for dinner, very discouraged, and found a message from one of my students on my voicemail. He sounded very upset and asked that I call back before the polls closed . It was 9pm, but I called anyway. He answered in a tense, tired voice. His story was just a capper to the day. He's was in his mid 20s, white, and registered as a Democrat for the first time eight months earlier (he had been an independent). He received his voter card in the mail, which told him to go to the same polling place where he had voted in the past. When he arrived at 9am they asked to see his ID. His name and address matched their records, but the woman signing him in stopped, then gave him an odd smile and said "you won't be voting today"." Why not"? asked my student "I have my voter card, my ID, all the information is correct on that sheet of paper in front of you-why can't I vote"? "You just can't Not today". she repeated, then nodded towards a cop who was standing by the door. The cop came over and said "Time to leave, son. You won't be voting today" My student protested so the cop took him by the arm and escorted him out of the building "Don't come back. It ain't worth your time". the cop said as he pushed him out the door. My student simply couldn't believe what had just happened. He went home and called everyone he could think of, but every voter, state official and democratic office line was busy. At eight PM he had been able to leave a message on a machine for the Orange county elections board. Days later he was asked to sign an affidavit about his experiences, but of course there was no way for him to vote at that point.

Naturally I wasn't surprised by what followed. I was shocked, however, that NONE of these local stories made it into the Orlando Sentinel or any other Florida papers or news outlets. Thousands of affidavits had been signed, but the media didn't give a crap. I marched on Tallahassee on inauguration day with thousands of others. I had made many protest signs, some of which called out the media for their GOP bias, and I handed them out to my fellow protesters from Orlando. We were at the head of the march and very visible to the media, so I was pulled aside by several reporters and asked about my signs. I repeated to them what I told you here, and I asked them to look into all those signed affidavits by disenfranchised voters. Days later I could find only one significant story on page 14 of the Orlando Sentinel that even mentioned our march. I could be seen with my sign in the photo that accompanied it, but there was no mention of voter fraud, just "voter anger". Fed up, I started to send out our story to political websites. BushWatch made it into a feature story, and soon I was contacted by Greg Palast of the BBC. He documented everything and followed up with several emails. He is still the ONLY reporter who has shown any real interest in it.

So understandably I get very, very pissed off whenever I hear someone say " Florida went for Bush in 2000". Even during the hellish hurricanes of 2004-three of which hit my home- I was told BY DUERS that I and every other Floridian deserved to be wiped off the map because we "gave" the election to Bush. I still hear this crap spewed on DU from time to time. If my story doesn't reinforce the realities of that day, maybe the movie "RECOUNT" will; Florida went for Gore but was stolen By BushCo. Many, many of us fought for our party and our country, and we don't deserve disrespect or outright hostility because they had the media and the Supreme Court in their pockets. Let's do all we can to not allow it to happen again
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yardwork Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-26-08 01:21 PM
Response to Original message
1. The fix was in.
I hope that someday the stories of you and millions of others will be collected and published and actually reported by journalists.
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Lorien Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-26-08 01:26 PM
Response to Reply #1
5. Palast wrote a book about it. I didn't read it, so I don't know if our stories
were included-but no journalists on American shores seem to care. My next door neighbor is the news director for our local PBS station, and even she won't do a story about it because her boss-a repug-won't allow those kinds of stories. Neither she nor her top reporters even knew that these things had happened!
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yardwork Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-26-08 01:36 PM
Response to Reply #5
9. It's horrible. My mother and sister have similar stories from Ohio in 2004.
Gore Vidal talks about it. The story was suppressed and Congress sat on their hands. Both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have done nothing about it.
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Lorien Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-26-08 01:42 PM
Response to Reply #9
12. Ohio is my home state, and I had several friends who volunteered there in
2004.I could hardly believe that it was all happening again-and in the only OTHER state that I've called "home"! Like you, I still can't get over the fact that our elected officials seem to have nothing to say about such outright criminal activity. Do they care about democracy AT ALL? If it's not addressed then it will happen again and again and again...
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Kajsa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-26-08 01:21 PM
Response to Original message
2. Bravo, Lorien!
The Supreme Court Justices handed Bush
the election.

Thanks for posting this and for your hard work
during this election.

:)
It was a nightmare, but must have been especially
hellish for those, like you, who were right in the middle
of the storm.

:(
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librechik Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-26-08 01:24 PM
Response to Original message
3. thanks for this post, Lorien
Edited on Mon May-26-08 01:25 PM by librechik
America was screwed that day. And the media and our own beloved representatives helped. Now they whine that they just can't hold impeachment hearings, it's just too hard.

It's enough to make anyone lose faith.

Loved your last paragraph.
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Richard Steele Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-26-08 01:24 PM
Response to Original message
4. K&R
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Jack Bone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-26-08 01:26 PM
Response to Original message
6. Thanx for all that you've done & are doing!
K&R
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KT2000 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-26-08 01:31 PM
Response to Original message
7. Good reminder
Edited on Mon May-26-08 01:32 PM by KT2000
history gets garbled - even here on DU, so thanks for the post.
I think of Florida as being stolen by the efforts of Jeb and the Supreme Court putting their stamp of approval on it.
Thanks for your efforts that day too.
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barbtries Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-26-08 01:32 PM
Response to Original message
8. thank you for sharing your story
what an injustice, that has stood unanswered for all of these years.
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magellan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-26-08 01:40 PM
Response to Original message
10. Can't recommend your OP enough
I too am sick of hearing the blame for 2000 being placed on the entirety of FL and particularly those who voted Nader. I live in FL now and know there are many good people here who voted for Gore like me and detest Bush**. Many more WOULD have voted Gore if they hadn't been erased from the voter rolls by the Repubs or been burned in the butterfly ballot fiasco.

The Dems did not fight for the FL disenfranchised in 2000 and I submit are still not doing much to ensure every possible vote counts...And of course the SCOTUS screwed us all. I will never "get over" either of these facts.

Same goes for OH 2004. The rampant election fraud by the Repubs under Blackwell was whitewashed by the likes of Donna Brazile.

NOTHING will change until the truth is acknowledged.
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truedelphi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-26-08 01:41 PM
Response to Original message
11. Your eloquent account of what went on in Florida is one reason
Edited on Mon May-26-08 01:59 PM by truedelphi
Why both Mr Delphi and I hated the moveie "Recount"

They bent over backwards to make the story as bland as possible. And the only people complaining are Baker, who doesn't like being portrayed as being so assertive, and the Secretary of State Warren Christopher, for being portrayed as such a wimp. it was so dialectical in its approach that you didn't get the sense of outrage that fueled the black caucus as they stood before the Senate some weeks later and asked that a Senator join them to not certify the vote.

"Recount" should have included the drama surrounding your type of experience. To really tell it like it is - that in every single voting jurisdiction in the land,** the people in the top are Repuglicans or might as well be Repuglicans. Reading yr account of "Jared" -- I see in him so many Registrars of Voters, They explain to their contituents that they are registered as independents - yet they employ people to carry out the exact tactics that the cops outside the polling place took to intiomidate the voters. They afind it very easy to lie but they are not Indies but Repugs.

Please send this off as an OP to as many newspapers as you can think of. It is an important experience and we need to keep shoving it in front of the American public's collective face.

**perhaps this doesn't happen in progresive college towns - but everywherelse
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Lorien Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-27-08 11:43 AM
Response to Reply #11
44. Thanks truedelphi!
I was glad that "Recount" reminded so many voters of what can happen in a "Democracy" when all the power is in only one set of hands, but yes, there were many, many omissions to the story. I think that it should have at least been a two part series; there were SO MANY criminal acts that happened that day (boxes of ballots were later found in election workers basements, vans, and even hidden away in churches) that a two hour movie could only scratch the surface. Had they done a more through job of representing all of that criminal activity then maybe mainstream voters would come to realize that this is NOT the "land of the free".
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mamalone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-26-08 01:44 PM
Response to Original message
13. Wow... I am so naive....
I am 51yo.. this kind of thing shouldn't shock me... but it does.:cry:

I think someone should make a collection of these recollections for publication. Everyone needs to hear about these stories.
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Lorien Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-26-08 04:50 PM
Response to Reply #13
27. I think that a few books came out about it
I know that Palast wrote one,but the MSM has never really talked about it in earnest. Unfortunately most people who bring it up are labeled "conspiracy nuts".
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Mabus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-26-08 01:49 PM
Response to Original message
14. I know there were a lot of you on the ground fighting in 2000
I met a number of you online before, during and after those 36 days. Thank you for what you did. I have a great deal of respect and admiration for what you all went through, what you did and what you have had to endure since then from idiots who believe whatever the media tells them. You guys fought and fought hard.

And thank you for sharing your story. I know there are a lot more stories that can be told.
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Benhurst Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-26-08 02:00 PM
Response to Original message
15. And just what have our "leaders" done to make certain 2008 won't be stolen?
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Lorien Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-26-08 02:04 PM
Response to Reply #15
16. Nothing. I guess that it's still up to us. n/t
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Madrone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-26-08 02:10 PM
Response to Original message
17. Your story literally brings tears to my eyes.
The last 8 years have left me numb. I can't even bring myself to get fired up over the upcoming election. I'm just going through the motions at this point. :(
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snappyturtle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-26-08 02:10 PM
Response to Original message
18. K&R Florida was manipulated...the SC gave bush the election.
I think the country was struck dumb! Prison sentences should have come out of the "selection". May it never happen again.....but it probably will.
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Radical Activist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-26-08 02:15 PM
Response to Original message
19. Signs don't win elections.
I very much appreciated that you wrote this post but the guy was right about that part. If people want a sign that bad then they can make a campaign contribution for it.
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Lorien Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-26-08 02:22 PM
Response to Reply #19
20. The real reason he wasn't giving out the signs was because he gave up on
Edited on Mon May-26-08 02:29 PM by Lorien
Gore before the election. We had PILES of signs for Sen. Nelson and those were given out for free.

Signs DO make a difference. People want to vote for a winner, and if they see six times as many signs for a candidate then they will assume that he/ she is a "winner"-especially if they never bother watching the news.

Edited to add: Jared was a proud member of the DLC and was jockeying for a position on Nelson's staff.
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Radical Activist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-26-08 02:32 PM
Response to Reply #20
21. He probably got the Nelson signs for free.
The Gore campaign wasn't giving out many free signs. Campaign cash was too scarce for frills like that.

Money and volunteer time putting up six times as many campaign signs means time and money isn't spent on things that do win elections like contacting voters door to door, ads, and GOTV. Signs help when you have a little known candidate without name recognition but everyone knew who Gore was and everyone knew it was going to be a close election.
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Lorien Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-26-08 02:40 PM
Response to Reply #21
22. His attitude about it pissed off a lot of voters who made a special trip
Edited on Mon May-26-08 02:41 PM by Lorien
just to get a sign or bumper sticker to show their support for their candidate. In the final weeks he jacked up the price to $8 for a sticker and $20 for a sign. Democrats aren't the wealthiest lot, so that was a bit uncalled for. It turned voters off, and that, I believe was a very bad thing indeed. I personally bought muffins and other bakery items from Costco and sold them at the front desk, using the money to buy stickers and signs for those who wanted them but couldn't pay. It was a matter of public relations and gaining support, not merely an issue of how effective signs are.


I find it interesting that your primary comment about my post centers around the sign issue.
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Radical Activist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-26-08 02:47 PM
Response to Reply #22
23. I'm glad you find my post interesting.
Edited on Mon May-26-08 02:48 PM by Radical Activist
If you want to insinuate something about me then come right out with it.

It sounds like the guy should have had a better attitude with people. However, I understand his perspective. A Presidential campaign could spend millions of dollars on signs to hand out and you'd still have people pissing and moaning about how they don't get a free one but they don't want to knock on doors or do any of the things you really need a volunteer to do. If someone really wants a candidate to win then they'll ask what they can do instead of acting indignant about a sign they feel they're entitled to get for free.

What other campaign activities and expenses do you think should be cut out in order to hand out free goodies?
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Lorien Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-26-08 03:25 PM
Response to Reply #23
24. I'll say it: I think that you are simply in "attack mode" today
Tell me about the election HQ that you worked for that year; didn't they have the t-shirts, mugs, ball caps and other fundraising "goodies" for sale? Our t-shirts were $35 each, ball caps $25, Mugs $10- a steep profit margin and we could barely keep them in stock (they, like the signs, were often out of stock for weeks at a time). TRADITIONALLY election signs, stickers and buttons ARE free promotional tools for supporters. What made me give up my working hours to work that front desk were two things:

A.) The elderly woman working the front desk told callers and people coming in that the promotional items were expensive "cause that's just what they cost". No other explaination. No comment about donations needed, no comment that they aren't free to produce, just "Because that's just what thy cost". It made us look like profiteers.

B). I was standing by the front desk one evening when a middle aged couple came in for signs and button. They were told that that would be $25.00 for one of each. When the wife was given the "because that's just what it costs" explaination, she said "it DOES NOT cost that much to make signs and buttons! We just want a sign because our neighbors have Bush signs up all over the place. Our neighborhood doesn't have a single Gore sign in it"! "Well, that's what it costs. You'll have to talk to Jared if you have a problem with it". They went in the back to talk to Jared, and when they came out they were talking to one another "Well, it is pretty expensive" said the husband" "They don't care about Gore here! They care about MONEY!" exclaimed the wife "If they don't care then why should we?? This is so stupid..." obviously Jared had made a very bad case for our operations and turned off at least one voter. We can't afford that. Losing a voter is more costly than producing promotional items and selling them for what they cost to produce, or giving them away for free. Promotional items spark debates, and hopefully fence sitters will join our team if engaged in a positive debate. EVERY tool needs to be employed during a close election, and public relations are of the utmost importance. Jared was a piss poor leader who was disorganized, rude,and unimaginative when it came to fund raising (early on concerts, bake sales, BBQs, and rummage sales were proposed to raise funds. He nixed every idea). He had a clear personal agenda. It cost us votes.
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Wiley50 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-26-08 03:31 PM
Response to Original message
25. It was our local rank and file Fascists that stole 2000 and 2004
Edited on Mon May-26-08 03:39 PM by Wiley50
And how they were all co-ordinated, I'll never know I guess.

The cop, the election worker, even the do nothings in local dem management, the religious righties.

They must have been under instructions to foul up things however they could

because they are the ones who were at fault for most of it

Sure, the voters were caged and the machines were rigged

but it seemed like the rank and file zombies in our midst

they were the ones who robbed us


Thanks for telling your story. I worked full time in a HQ in 2004. Saw much the same.
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Lorien Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-26-08 03:37 PM
Response to Reply #25
26. They sure as hell help with the theft. I still think that "Jared" was a mole
while the rest of us were making phone calls, stuffing envelopes, delivering absentee ballots, etc. he was always there reading CNN online or surfing the net. He wouldn't place orders for supplies for weeks at a time. He pissed off voters who came in to volunteer. I locked horns with him many times, but he would never take any kind of significant action personally to help the cause. I wonder who the hell had put him there.

The cops and election workers were quite obviously organized by someone, but who? We may never know how many agencies were in on it. :grr:
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Philipsanchez Donating Member (35 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-26-08 04:56 PM
Response to Original message
28. Gore won fair and square
Democracy died that day.
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FlyingSquirrel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-26-08 05:56 PM
Response to Original message
29. k&r... I can't bring myself to watch "Recount" but I don't have to.
I know what happened in FL.
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IndyOp Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-26-08 06:28 PM
Response to Original message
30. I am very, very sorry to hear that people here at DU got in your face and blamed
Florida for "giving" the election to Bush. The election was obviously stolen, but even if Bush had won Florida I find it horrible that people would blame an entire state -- including, particularly, those of you who worked your hearts out for Gore. :(

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Lorien Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-26-08 10:45 PM
Response to Reply #30
33. It happens to most posters who admit to being from Florida or Ohio
Edited on Mon May-26-08 10:48 PM by Lorien
the worst was during hurricane Charley. My power went out and the eye of the storm wasn't even here yet, so I was tracking it on DU. It was headed straight for me and I wrote that I was totally freaked out and scared (my first major hurricane). A long time DUer said that all of us derserved what we got after 2000, so she didn't give a fuck what happened to me. I told her that I always had volunteered for the party (didn't bother giving her the story I put in the OP-was too rattled) and asked if she REALLY thought that I deserved to have my property damaged or destroyed, or possibly be killed-because I had failed to stop what happened here in 2000. She said yes, I did.

Soon after I read her post my last remaining power went out, trees started falling all around me, my ears were popping, the wind was screaming, and the floorboards under my feet were pushing upwards with air rushing between them as if a massive hair dryer was under the house. I was alone and worried that the house might come down on me, and someone out there -a fellow democrat-would be PLEASED about it! Thankfully, though there were at lot of lost trees and we lacked power (in August) for weeks, the house remained intact. Still it was something I'll never forget!





:-(

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nashville_brook Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-26-08 07:13 PM
Response to Original message
31. OMG -- fellow Orlandoans very angry here. I just read your story to the b/f...
we too are sick and tired of the anti-Floridian bullshit that goes on everywhere and especially here on DU. the b/f wasn't aware of any of this election manipulation until we started dating. i've been filling him in on the manner of manipulation, but this story REALLY did it for him. he's a lawyer, maybe we can get him out on election day. maybe we could get teams of lawyers out to intimidate them right back.

here's another bullshit Orange county story -- i mailed my voter's registration THREE TIMES NOW, and they still don't have me registered.
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Lorien Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-26-08 10:20 PM
Response to Reply #31
32. It would be great if he could do what I do every time; pass out the literature
at a polling place in a minority neighborhood. It's very helpful on it's own because many voters don't know the names of other Dems on the ballots (and the don't always have a (D) after their names) and they don't know the DNC positions on the issues. Now if he can come with a CAMCORDER all the better! The police might try to say it was illegal to film them-who knows. But it might help to keep them a little more honest.

I don't know what to say about the registration issue. Maybe there's a state office that you could send a complaint to? The local group here in town is still a model of disorganization. It's pretty sad. :-(
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nashville_brook Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-27-08 01:00 PM
Response to Reply #32
49. THANK YOU for the invite!
More than anything, we just need the opportunity to get out there and meet people. please let me know who i can contact now, over the summer, b/c i'm unemployed and can volunteer. I'm going down to the Orange County Supervisor of Elections office this week and getting this straightened out in person.

I have a camcorder (i'm a designer/marketing schmoe) and have taken video at polling places in TN when I lived there. It is dicey taking footage on election day even under the friendliest circumstances, but I would feel quite comfortable with "counsel" present. I would like to network with his larger social circle of legal professionals to get "counsel" out in numbers. We have a very good friend who was in the prosecutor's office and is now a defense atty, who i'd like to specifically speak with b/c he'd have insight into the psychology/sociology of Orlando's "finest."

We are totally lost in terms of finding affinity-peeps here in Orlando. I'm a native Floridian, but spent the last 20+ years in middle and east tennessee where i had a wonderful social network. My family and ex's family were both very active Dems -- my fianc's family is not. My childhood friends/network are all in Brevard County. Orlando is a complete cipher to me.

There's a Meetup-in-the-making of DU'ers that i've signed up for. 22 people in the Orlando area have signed up to start a DU meet-up. One person has offered a room to meet at. Maybe we could organize election "watch" with fellow DU'ers? Here's the link to Orlando DU'ers-in-waiting for a meet-up -- as someone who has organized groups in the past, i can say with certainty, that having a goal/activity in mind will greatly increase a group's success:
http://du.meetup.com/cities/us/fl/orlando/?list=1&ic=en23

Just a thought vis a vis the crappy experience you had with local Dem leadership. The Nashville/Davidson County Dems used Meet-ups to GREAT success starting in 2004 when Dean encouraged using the meet-up format. the new blood really invigorated the existing structure.

Please keep in touch.

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shireen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-27-08 12:37 AM
Response to Original message
34. thank you, Lorien
it's chilling to read your words. watching recount last night was very hard, so i can't imagine how painful it must have been for you and other Floridians who worked so hard for Gore in 2000, right where the presidency was stolen.


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AzDar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-27-08 01:01 AM
Response to Original message
35. K & R...
:kick:
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Razorblade02 Donating Member (52 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-27-08 04:23 AM
Response to Original message
36. I am Tired of the Right Telling Me "To Get Over It!"
We must never forget that we all got screwed by Bush and co! I won't ever"get over it!" I know if we get over it that it will happen again and again.
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Echo In Light Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-27-08 05:44 AM
Response to Original message
37. K&R Greg Palast nailed it, our media was complicit in covering it up
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janet118 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-27-08 06:19 AM
Response to Original message
38. Many local Democratic town committees are run by hacks
I ran into the same problem of disengaged local Democrats in my state. Many of the local town committees have such tunnel vision and clubby attitudes that they don't want to make waves and refuse to get involved in national elections. Issues like voter disenfranchisement are considered paranoid and dismissed with "it can't happen here" type statements. As a result, they do not give out information on who to call in case of voting problems or instructions about provisional ballots, etc. They do not welcome new members, especially activists who are involved with non-local candidates. The local parties are very lax about connecting members to national (and even statewide) candidates' organizations and put most of their effort toward district and county elections. The general feeling is that since we committee members may be supporting different candidates, we shouldn't talk about them. That needs to change. And there are some very activist town committees in my state because new members have joined and stuck it out.

I joined my town committee in 2003 at the suggestion of several people from the Dean campaign. It was tough going. I am now the secretary of the committee, but the cadre of "good old boys" (and I do mean "old" and "boys") that run the show make change sporatic and difficult. I would love it if more activists joined my committee, but they often get frustrated. I can see their point, but persistence is the key to change. Please join your local committee. Ask your activists friends to join. Often local committees can get credentialed to oversee vote counting and other duties that allow an inside view of election day. You can also get things published in the local newspaper more easily if you represent a group rather than one person.

At my polling place in 2004, one which is includes the town's largest low income housing project, there were long lines and a shortage of parking that forced potential voters to wait nearly 45 minutes to vote. I was holding a sign for Kerry most of the day so I had more than the snapshot view most voters saw. Many people drove right by when they saw the long lines. When I mentioned my observations to the town committee leadership, they just shrugged. If there had been more members who cared we could have written and signed a letter on behalf of the committee asking for an explanation of the slow down and for suggestions on how to remedy it for the next election cycle. As it was, we could only ask as individuals and got a lame explanation about elderly poll workers and unpredictably high turnout. No explanation was forthcoming about why we were the only precinct with such problems. As a committee, we could have pressed for more accountability.

Join your Democratic town committee today. Bring a few friends to back you up. Think nationally, act locally.
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knitter4democracy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-27-08 09:19 AM
Response to Reply #38
41. I have had very similar problems with our county party.
They've forced out wonderful union activists who were just a little too loud and a little too liberal, and they've done their best to silence anyone who disagrees with the favored politician (who's now running for the House seat). They talk about incorporating us liberals, but I have yet to see any real change. It's discouraging, that's for sure.
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Lorien Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-27-08 10:00 AM
Response to Reply #38
42. Spot on Janet118, and welcome to DU!
You've described our local group as well, though it has gotten a bit better in recent years. Back in 2000 it did feel like a "closed club". If you didn't come to specifically volunteer for a local candidate, Jared and his friends weren't interested. In fact, the first few times I came in they had me cleaning the break room, bathrooms, and emptying waste baskets. Often I would just sit by the front desk for a half hour or more waiting for instructions. It was a chaotic, disorganized mess-and they seemed to like it that way. After a month or two I just started taking charge where I could; I'd spent so much time sitting waiting-and observing- that I knew how to perform most of the tasks around the HQ and would sign volunteers up myself and put them to work when they came in. It really wasn't rocket science, but there were so many members with tunnel vision there that they couldn't see the bigger picture; more volunteers meant getting more done-for ALL the candidates and issues. The head of the Orange County Democrats was the worst example of this; he held all meetings in his home, so he really only wanted his personal friends to attend. I suggested moving them to the local YMCA and opening them up to new members, but he refused. At 34, I was the youngest person at those meetings (and we have many colleges in this area). He had been doing things the same way for years and wasn't about to change. Even with all of the problems in 2000, he really didn't want to mobilize to ensure that it didn't happen again. I remember once meeting his cat while washing some items in his kitchen. The poor animal was skin and bones, and unsteady on her feet. I asked him what was wrong with her, and he said "who knows? She's a cat. Cat's get sick". I asked "then why not take her to a vet and find out"? he shrugged and said "I just believe in letting nature take it's course". And that seemed to be his attitude towards EVERYTHING. No wonder nothing was changing for the better! I think that someone new was elected to that position a few years later. I will be signing up again after the convention is over, so I'll keep my fingers crossed that things have improved. I would give more time if I could, but I'm single and run my own business, so I never have free time as it is (no weekends-heck, no vacation in eight years)! Thank YOU for doing all that you can to change your group and get things done. The party needs more like you!
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mainer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-27-08 08:59 AM
Response to Original message
39. VIDEO -- next time, we need cameras at every polling place
Whenever something like this happens, it needs to be taped. And blasted to the media.
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flvegan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-27-08 09:05 AM
Response to Original message
40. Everyone should have a camera with them this time around.
Up the memory in your phone cameras if it is indeed expandable, carry extra media with you if you can. We can't let this happen again, and this time around, our candidate is either black or female. It's going to be a wild ride.
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Lorien Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-27-08 10:39 AM
Response to Reply #40
43. The more discreet the better
the cop that was giving everyone trouble was looking for any excuse to go after my team leader and myself. Every time either of us drifted within 25 feet of the building he would grab his night stick and scream at us to move back. I think it would be good to know our rights in such a situation and have a print out of the laws regarding such before taping anything-just in case an over zealous cop decides to use his nightstick-or worse- on any of us for exercising our rights.
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Uncle Joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-27-08 12:10 PM
Response to Original message
45. Thank you for sharing, Lorien.
Kicked and recommended.
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Lorien Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-27-08 12:15 PM
Response to Reply #45
46. Thanks Uncle Joe!
:hi:
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Pooka Fey Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-27-08 12:47 PM
Response to Original message
47. Florida went for Gore. The SOTUS gave * the presidency.
I see that HBO has polluted Google with this new "Recount" film and I'm having trouble finding many responsible links showing that Gore won. 3 months ago this info was easy to find. Now I'm seeing pages of junk seeming to say that Bush won it fair and square. I must admit I can't find the same energy to pursue this that I had 4 years ago. I still never let anybody say that the USA elected Bush in 2000. I always correct them. However the misstatement gets treated like historical fact. 'History is written from the perspective of the victor, not the vanquished, ...' as they say...

I did find this from November, 2001; when everyone was too much in a state of shock from 9/11 to really pay attention:

http://www.consortiumnews.com/2001/112101a.html

Thanks, Lorien. :-) Nice to see a post by a veteran DUer.
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mahina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-27-08 12:53 PM
Response to Original message
48. My aunt registered Dem for the first time and went to vote where she has voted for 25 years,
Edited on Tue May-27-08 01:06 PM by mahina
and was not allowed to vote. It was a crime of such epic proportions, with such catastrophic consequences, that we are still stunned to this day.

To prepare for the next one and the next one, there is a book available for download for free or for purchase at the link in my sig line called "the Anti-Coup" by Gene Sharp. I reccomend it to all who wish to prevent another American election theft. The publication page: http://www.aeinstein.org/organizationsde07.html


From the page, "As coups are one of the primary ways through which dictatorships are installed, this piece details measures that civilians, civil society, and governments can take to prevent and block coups d'tat and executive usurpations. It also contains specific legislative steps and other measures that governments and non-governmental institutions can follow to prepare for anti-coup resistance." It's only 64 pages long and it is a manual for preventing the same tragedy, hope all DU'ers take an evening to read it. Please!!

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The Onyx Key Donating Member (121 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-27-08 01:17 PM
Response to Original message
50. OMG! These pricks need to be prosecuted!!
Name names! What are the badge numbers? We should spread the word all over the internet and beyond!! This won't die if we don't let it!
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Not_Longer_Than_20_C Donating Member (11 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-27-08 04:27 PM
Response to Reply #50
52. The Freepazoids agree:
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The Onyx Key Donating Member (121 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-28-08 11:43 AM
Response to Reply #52
54. So what? This could wind up blowing up in their faces! n/t
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enough already Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-27-08 04:37 PM
Response to Reply #50
53. If the nazi is still on the force he needs to be removed NOW n/t
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swimmernsecretsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-27-08 01:26 PM
Response to Original message
51. I watched it twice this week.
I must be masochistic. It hurt all over again. I recall the evening of the elections when my sister and I stayed up until 3:45. I need some ice cream...
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