- TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) --
Florida Gov. Jeb Bush ignored advice to throw out a flawed felon voter
list before it went out to county election offices despite warnings from
state officials, according to a report published Saturday.
- In a May 4 e-mail obtained by the Sarasota
Florida Department of Law Enforcement computer expert Jeff Long informed
his boss that a Department of State computer expert had told him "that
yesterday they recommended to the Gov that they 'pull the plug'" on
the voter database.
- The e-mail said state election officials "weren't
comfortable with the felon-matching program they've got," but added,
"The Gov rejected their suggestion to pull the plug, so they're 'going
live' with it this weekend."
- Long, who was responsible for giving elections officials
his department's felon database, confirmed the contents of the e-mail
to the Herald-Tribune. He said he didn't remember the specifics, but that
Paul Craft, the Department of State's top computer expert, had told him
about the meeting with Bush.
- A software program matched data on felons with voter
registration rolls to create the list of 48,000 names. Secretary of State
Glenda Hood junked the database in July after acknowledging that 2,500
ex-felons on the list had had their voting rights restored.
- Most were Democrats, and many were black. Hispanics,
who often vote Republican in Florida, were almost entirely absent from
the list due to a technical error.
- Bush's spokeswoman, Jill Bratina, denied allegations
that the governor ignored warnings about the list.
- "It's also irrelevant because the list isn't being
used," Bratina said Saturday.
- Bush told the Herald-Tribune that Craft didn't call him,
and he denied that any meeting took place May 3 with Craft or other
- "Once it became clear after talking to the secretary
of state that there were problems with the list (in July), that's when
we decided to end it," Bush said.
- Craft hung up on a Herald-Tribune reporter seeking
Friday. A message left for a Paul Craft in Tallahassee was not immediately
- U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek, the Florida chairman of
Sen. John Kerry's presidential campaign, said the report shows the extent
Bush will go to ensure his brother's re-election.
- "Jeb Bush and the Bush campaign need to come clean
about their involvement in this sad spectacle," Meek said.
- Florida is one of few states that does not automatically
restore voting rights to convicted felons when they complete their
Purging felons from voter rolls has been a hot-button issue since the 2000
presidential election, when many citizens discovered at the polls they
weren't allowed to vote.
- Election officials have said that anyone who feels they
have been inadvertently removed from the voter rolls on Nov. 2 will be
allowed to use a provisional ballot that will be examined later to
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