A July 12 New York Post editorial informed readers that there was no evidence Florida voters were disenfranchised in the 2000 presidential election. The paper -- owned by media mogul Rupert Murdoch -- editorialized: “There is no credible evidence that a single voter was disenfranchised in 2000 for any reason whatsoever. Not one.”
But a June 2001 U.S. Commission on Civil Rights report documented the widespread disenfranchisement of African American voters in Florida in the election. The report found that a disproportionate number of spoiled ballots originated from African American voters and that the misuse of felon purge lists had a similarly disproportionate impact on African American voters. The report concluded:
Accordingly, the Commission is duty bound to report, without equivocation, that the analysis presented here supports a disturbing impression that Florida's reliance on a flawed voter exclusion list, combined with the state law placing the burden of removal from the list on the voter, had the result of denying African Americans the right to vote. This analysis also shows that the chance of being placed on this list [of felons ineligible to vote] in error is greater for African Americans. Similarly, the analysis shows a direct correlation between race and having one's vote discounted as a spoiled ballot. In other words, an African American's chance of having his or her vote rejected as a spoiled ballot was significantly greater than a white voter's. Based on the evidence presented to the Commission, there is a strong basis for concluding that section 2 of the VRA [Voting Rights Act] was violated.
In a December 15, 2000, post-election Orlando Sentinel article, the newspaper's Tallahassee bureau chief, John Kennedy, reported, "[Florida Secretary of State Katherine] Harris's office, in its attempt to cleanse the rolls of felons, mistakenly purged thousands of voters who did not have criminal records. A disproportionate number of them were black." And according to a December 15, 2000, Associated Press article, Governor Jeb Bush (R-FL) voiced the same concerns following his appointment of a panel to address election irregularities: ''There have been allegations that felons voted and people's names were removed from the voter rolls,'' Bush said. ''These are issues that must be addressed.''