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United Methodist Women Join Democrats To Create Fears Of A False Voting Crises Before Election

From: Don Wildmon [mailto:contact@afa.net]
Sent: Wednesday, October 20, 2004 6:00 PM
To: John Warrener
Subject: Women's Division supports election monitoring - October 20, 2004

Dear John,

I thought you would find this information informative.


In Christ,


Donald E. Wildmon, Founder and Chairman
American Family Association
(Sponsor of TheMethodistChurch.com website)



Oct. 20, 2004

News media contact:
Linda Bloom
New York 04487

NOTE: Related reports - UMNS stories #485 and #486 - are available at HYPERLINK http://umns.umc.org.
By Linda Bloom

STAMFORD, Conn. (UMNS) - To help counteract possible voter disenfranchisement, the Women's Division of the United Methodist missions agency is supporting voter-monitoring projects this election season.

The division, a unit of the Board of Global Ministries, has been working with "Count Every Vote 2004," a nonpartisan project that has sponsored training for monitoring in some 10 states, according to Elmira Nazombe, the division's staff executive for racial justice. This model of human rights monitoring "is a good thing that people can do at the local level," she explained.

A division grant to the Women of Color Resource Center in Oakland, Calif., will help local women participate in regional and state election monitoring.

On Oct. 16, during their annual meeting, division directors observed a "national day of action to get out the vote" and held signs in a silent noontime vigil in front of the downtown Stamford Marriott.

According to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, black voters in Florida were nearly 10 times more likely than non-black voters to have their ballots rejected during the 2000 presidential election. Puerto Ricans and other Latino voters in Florida also were disproportionately excluded.

In states such as Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia, "the reality of things like voter intimidation is something that never stopped," Nazombe said. "This isn't from 2000, this is from 1964."

Native Americans also have complained about voting obstacles. For Chinese or Korean voters, translation problems remain an issue, despite amendments to the Voting Rights Act that provided for translation needs.

While not every instance of voter disenfranchisement is intentional, Nazombe pointed out, "there are so many places where the system can make a mistake."

The division wants members of United Methodist Women to:

- Learn about the Help America Vote Act and its rules.

- Be trained as election monitors and work with groups involved in election monitoring.

- Report their experiences with monitoring after the Nov. 2 election.

Information about election monitoring can be found at www.commoncause.org and www.votewatch.us online. On Election Day, anyone with concerns about procedures at a particular polling place can contact the Election Protection hotline, toll free, at 800-687-9683.

*Bloom is a United Methodist News Service news writer.

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