Saying, "Every Vote Must Be Given Equal Weight," Coalition Files Major Voting Rights Suit in Florida

January 10, 2001 12:00 am

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WASHINGTON–The American Civil Liberties Union is proud to join with our colleagues in the civil rights community in bringing this extraordinarily important voting rights lawsuit.

We appreciate the work the NAACP and others have done to help bring to light the massive voter disenfranchisement that took place in Florida and elsewhere on Election Day.

What we witnessed in Florida during the past election was a national embarrassment. It is simply no longer possible for the nation to ignore the deep, disturbing, and discriminatory flaws in the electoral system that have now been revealed to all of us in excruciating detail.

Our constitutional democracy rests on certain core principles: every vote should be counted accurately, every vote should be counted equally, and no one should be denied the right to vote based on the color of his or her skin.

We now know that each of these principles was violated by what occurred in Florida during the past election. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court’s decision halting the manual recount focused more on dimpled chads than disenfranchised voters. But despite its limited focus, the Court nonetheless made clear that every vote must be given equal weight under the Constitution. By bringing this lawsuit, we are doing nothing more than taking the Supreme Court at its word.

Finally, this lawsuit should serve as an important reminder that the Voting Rights Act of 1965 is not a history lesson, it is living history and we are living it right now.

The complaint is online at:

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