Sunday, May 18, 2008

Voters Demand All Votes Be Counted

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) will meet May 31st to resolve the question of seating delegates from Florida and Michigan, two states which to date the DNC has refused to count delegates because the date of their primaries was earlier than the DNC voted for primaries. A national outcry against refusal to seat the delegates from these two states has prompted the DNC to reconsider the question. Some point out that with many caucus states having numerous problems in their precinct and senatorial convention, numerous party rules have been broken yet delegates elected in those conventions are have elected delegates despite broken party rules.

Demonstrators are flying and driving to DC the weekends of May 24 and May 31st to demonstrate in solidarity with the voters of Michigan and Florida, demanding that the DNC allow the delegates from those state's Democratic primaries be seated at the Democratic National Convention. Refusal to count Florida and Michigan delegates in the distribution of delegates for presidential preference at the Democratic National Convention is disenfranchises voters in two states from their vote being counted in the nominee of the Democratic candidate for president.

This announcement appears on websites in Florida. Marches will occur on the weekend of May 24th and May 31st.

Floridians Demand Representation

Come with us to Washington!

Our goal is to deliver 1.5 Million petitions to the Democratic Nation Committee Headquarters in June.

Contact Jim at 888.599.1586 or by email at
to join us in presenting our petitions and demanding that our voices be heard, our
delegates be seated, and our votes be counted in this election.

Demonstrations outside the DNC are already in progress. Some of the newscoverage includes:

Florida Democrats protest in Washington, call for primary to be counted
Group demands party count Florida primary

By MARK K. MATTHEWS - Washington Bureau South Florida Sun-Sentinel - May 1, 2008
WASHINGTON - A group of Florida Democrats marched on party headquarters Wednesday demanding that Democratic leaders reverse a months-old decision to deny the state a say in the party's presidential nominating process.

Waving miniature Florida flags, the group called on Howard Dean, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, to speak and to count the results of the state's Jan. 29 primary. The party has ignored the results because the primary was too early under party rules.

Party spokesman Luis Miranda told the protesters that "there will be representation from Florida in Denver," site of the party's national convention in August. He did not elaborate.

Roxana Zender, a massage therapist from Boca Raton, was among the hundreds outside the party offices.

"I really wanted them to hear my voice," said Zender.

The national party stripped Florida of its 211 convention delegates for holding the primary election before Feb. 5. One Florida delegate has appealed the penalty, and the party has set a hearing for May 31. At the same time, the party will consider what to do about Michigan, which lost its delegates for the same reason.

But the demonstrators want their votes to count before a nominee is selected, not after the party settles on either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama.

Speakers on Wednesday brought back memories of the state's problems at the polls going back to the 2000 presidential election. The five weeks of recounts in Florida at that time made many Democrats fear their votes were not counted in the close election that brought George W. Bush to the White House.

"We've been through eight long years of trying to restore the voters' confidence in the state of Florida," U.S. Rep Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston, told the crowd. "Our nerves are very raw from the Florida recount in 2000. We are not going to allow our voters to be disenfranchised again."

Yvonne Linsinbigler, 69, of Greenacres, said the past frustrations motivated her to make the 17 1/2-hour bus trip."Florida has had enough humiliation," Linsinbigler said. "We're not here to favor one candidate over another. It's just making sure Florida's votes are counted, this time as well as in the future."

Event organizers estimated more than 300 protesters attended. They came from Miami, West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale and other Florida cities aboard at least a half-dozen buses.

"It's unthinkable they wouldn't count our votes," said Jennifer Kirkpatrick, 62, a nurse from Apopka.

Clinton and Obama followed party rules and did not campaign in Florida and Michigan before the primaries. Obama also had his name removed from the Michigan ballot.

Clinton won both states handily and has pushed to count the results of both primaries. Obama opposes that, and his supporters have floated other plans, such splitting the delegates evenly.

Once a nominee is selected, he or she is expected to reinstate all Florida and Michigan delegates.

Washington Bureau Chief William E. Gibson contributed to this report.
Mark K. Matthews can be reached at 202-824-8222 or

Texas Group Sues to Stop Border Fence

By Stewart M. Powell - The Houston Chronicle - May 16, 2008

WASHINGTON — A drive by the Bush administration to build 70 miles of fencing along the Texas-Mexico border before leaving office could be sidetracked by a lawsuit filed by 19 border communities on Friday.

The Texas Border Coalition, citing what it called lawless conduct by Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, asked a U.S. District Court judge here to force the federal government to halt construction of the barrier and land acquisition.

The lawsuit accused Chertoff and others of failing to notify landowners of their rights; failing to negotiate a reasonable price for access to their lands, and of exempting some wealthy owners from having the fence built across their properties.

Chertoff "has gone too far in his zeal to build this feel-good, yet ineffective Great Wall of Texas," said Eagle Pass Mayor Chad Foster, the chairman of the border coalition, which represents cities from Brownsville to El Paso.

Brownsville Mayor Patricio M. Ahumada Jr. charged that federal officials "are determined to build a wall to appease mid-America."

Peter Schey, lead counsel in the case and executive director of the Los Angeles-based Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law, said Friday's lawsuit would be followed within days by a request for a temporary restraining order to block land seizures and fence construction.

The case is handled by U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton, named to the federal bench by President Bush in 2001.

The Bush administration is pressing to complete construction of 670 miles of physical barriers and high-tech virtual fencing along the 1,972-mile U.S.-Mexico border. But the legal wrangling could delay construction of the fence in Texas, pushing decisions on completion of the barriers into next year when a new president and a new Congress will take office.

Laura Keehner, a Homeland Security spokeswoman, called the lawsuit a delaying tactic and said construction will continue.

"There should be no uncertainty about our commitment to border security, and we've made no secret that fencing is a key part of our efforts at the border," Keehner said. "We're building 670 miles of fencing by the end of this year and are well on our way to meeting this goal."

The lawsuit was designed to force federal officials to restart a protracted survey process as a first step to federal purchase.

Chertoff has run "roughshod over the rights of property owners to build a border wall on a foundation of lawlessness," Schey said. "We hope that we are able to bring this lawless conduct to build this wall into conformity with federal statutes and the United States Constitution."

Federal officials intimidated some landowners along the border by sending Homeland Security officials and agents of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Border Patrol to try to arrange access to survey their properties, Schey contended.

The suit also noted that fence construction would bypass the River Bend Resort and golf course, in Brownsville, and border lands owned by Dallas billionaire Ray Hunt and his relatives.

Keehner, Chertoff's spokesman, rejected the lawsuit's allegations.

"We've nearly bent over backward to work with landowners," she said in a statement.

Keehner noted that yearlong discussions had taken place with landowners and state and local officials "about the placement of fencing."

Federal officials, she said, contacted more than 600 landowners, held dozens of town hall meetings and mailed hundreds of letters to property owners "requesting access to private property so that we could make operational and environmental assessments of the area prior to making any decisions."

Border fence construction has become increasingly contentious in Texas, with landowners' resistance forcing federal authorities to file lawsuits against nearly 100 owners in four states in an effort to gain court-ordered access to the land.

A family from Los Ebanos, Texas, awaits a hearing on July 7 before the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans on its attempt to block access by federal authorities.

The Texas officials' legal challenge is the latest high-profile effort to prevent construction of the fence.

The U.S. Supreme Court is weighing a request by environmentalists and members of Congress to hear a case challenging Chertoff's constitutional authority to waive compliance with three dozen federal laws in order to speed construction of the barriers.
Read more in the Houston Chronicle

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