Making sure every vote is counted and that disenfranchisement does not keep eligible persons from casting a ballot is a concern in Florida that has gained national attention. On Tuesday, a national organization named CodePink rallied at the R.A. Gray Building, 500 S. Bronough St., in an effort to fire Florida Secretary of State Glenda Hood.
Hood, according to the organization, is the cause of many of the election problems as of late, including touch-screen voting (which does not provide a paper trail) and early voting in Jacksonville, where, until last week, only had one assigned precinct in all of Duval County.
The organization, which was joined by the Ladies Misbehavior Society, the League of Pissed off Voters, Students United for Peace and Justice (of Florida State University) among others, came equipped with pink sheets of paper to denote Hood should be fired and various members of these groups wore ladies’ pink dress slips chanting, “Pink slip Glenda Hood.”
The host of the event, CodePink member Andrea Buffa, commented further on the early voting in Jacksonville.
“Duval County is the size of Rhode Island, but there was only one voting precinct,” Buffa said. She said the precinct was not centrally located, nor was it in a part of town where a big percentage of blacks reside. Yet, after fighting and protesting, the county is receiving four to six more precincts.
“But we shouldn’t have to fight for precincts,” Buffa said incensed.
Those in attendance, including some men, stormed Hood’s office wearing the dress slips still chanting. They delivered the pink paper and requested to see Hood. Those who work in the Secretary of State’s Office said Hood was unavailable to speak. Protestors were sure inform employees if there any more problems voting, they would return.
However, James Doyle of the communications department in the secretary’s office said everyone there understands voters’ concerns. Still Hood has demonstrated a good work ethic.
“She (Hood) has a non-partisan demeanor. She knows this is a non-partisan position,” Doyle said. “She has never wavered from that.”
CodePink and other protestors stated Hood’s position should be an elected position instead of an appointed one. They said that way, voters have more assurance the secretary of state is not showing partisan favor. When asked if the position should be an elected position, Doyle had “no comment.”
Florida A&M University alumna Leandra Padgett was there on behalf of the League of Pissed off Voters. She said she was disenfranchised in 2000, and joined the organization shortly thereafter.
“We (the League) want to ensure every vote counts,” she said. “We’ve registered people. We are building blocks of 3000 people at the schools (FSU, FAMU and Tallahassee Community College) so we have our own database of who voted.”
Ed Timmons, member of the Service Employees International Union, said he was out in full support of the cause.
“It’s very important for each individual to vote…votes that our people fought and died for,” he said.
Timmons was also concerned about Hood’s position being one of selection.
“She’s supposed to be (non-partisan). How can she be if she’s appointed by the brother of the president?”
Contact Lindsay Pollard at firstname.lastname@example.org.