January 6, 2001
Congresswoman McKinney moved for the House of Representatives to
from the Joint Session of both houses in order to allow for
the facts surrounding the slate of electors from Florida.
Congresswoman McKinney today moved for the Vice President,
sitting as the
Chairman of the Joint Session, to permit a motion for the House to
from the joint session. Title 3, Section 18 provides for a question to
put to either House on a motion to withdraw.
Congresswoman McKinney noted that the Florida elections were
violations of the Voting Rights Act and demanded that the House of
Representatives be given the opportunity to examine the full
surrounding the suppression of the minority vote in Florida before
certification of the state electors.
Congresswoman McKinney said, "It's not the act of voting that is
instead it's the counting of those votes that measures the value of
democracy. Similarly, it's not the attendance of elected officials in
Washington, D.C. to rubber stamp corrupt election results that is
in action. Rather it's the unquestioned ability of elected officials to
represent fellow citizens in the House and Senate chambers with
open and free
debate, debate which includes spirited dissent; only that kind of
representation is democracy in action."
The Florida elections were notable because of the large number of
American men who were unable to vote. While the Florida Secretary
Office and the combined legal teams of Governor Bush and Vice
poured over hanging chads and dimpled ballots in just a few
cards, an estimated one-third of the State's African American male
were unable to vote because of the felony conviction rule. In fact,
every 13 African American males in Florida are permanently
Nationally that number is estimated to be as high as one in seven
American men. The Florida elections were also marred by
police harassment of African American and Latino voters.
Other egregious allegations of acts in Florida committed against
Congresswoman McKinney noted that "We all thought that the Voting
and other civil rights legislation would end discrimination in this
and set black America on a firm and equal road to recovery. Yet
while we make
up fully ten percent of this nation, our communities have been
destroyed by drugs, violence, and poverty. Our African American
overrepresented in prison, on death row and among the homeless
on our streets. Our children suffer disproportionately higher infant
mortality rates and drug abuse. Our families continue to suffer from
levels of poverty and unemployment."
- voters who had never been to jail being listed as felons and
therefore prevented from voting;
- a second ID was requested of immigrants even though it was not
- voters who needed translation assistance were not provided it;
- minorities being stopped frivolously by the police to impede
efforts to ensure a full turnout of black voters
"Today, democracy was trampled upon in this Joint Session of the
States Congress. The Florida election results are representative of far
serious voting irregularities for black and Latino voters across this
that must be addressed. Unless people of color in this nation can be
that their votes count then there is a risk that the pressure valve
become the streets of America and not the House and Senate
Chambers, as it
should be," said McKinney.