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Jeb Bush Testifies on Hands-Off Role in Election

Investigation: The Florida governor tells the civil rights commission that he had no authority or reason to make provisions for large minority turnout.

January 12, 2001|MIKE CLARY | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The Rev. Willie D. Whiting, 50, said he was mistakenly told by a poll worker that he was ineligible to vote because his name was on a list of convicted felons. "I was slingshotted into slavery," said Whiting of Tallahassee. "That's how I felt."

And Jefferson County resident John Nelson, 52, said he was unnerved on election day by the sight of Highway Patrol cars parked near the polls in places where he had never seen them before.

"We have not concluded that there was any kind of conspiracy," said Berry, a professor of history at the University of Pennsylvania. "But we are hearing that some bad things happened."

The civil rights commission also will hold public hearings in Fort Lauderdale, Orlando and Jacksonville before issuing an interim report within a few months.

Also testifying were experts on voting demographics and the problems faced by minorities and citizens who do not speak English. Expected before the panel today are officials of the Florida Highway Patrol, local election supervisors and Harris.

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