Wednesday, April 05, 2006
BY JESSE MUHAMMAD
NEW ORLEANS (FinalCall.com) - With less than a month before New Orleans’ first elections since the massive flooding caused unprecedented destruction, great controversy surrounds what many see as the most pivotal mayoral race in the city’s history. Several civil rights organizations and countless residents are critical of the upcoming Apr. 22 election date because too many Black residents will be unable to vote because they are displaced in over 40 states.
“This is unjust. The barriers are substantially greater for Blacks to vote in this election versus Whites because we are the ones mostly displaced,” shared Jacques Morial of the Katrina Cooperative.
“The Honorable Elijah Muhammad spoke about how flood waters would come and cause snakes and rodents to come out of their hiding places. Hurricane Katrina provided the White elite of this city the opportunity to come out of their hiding places and reveal their desire to place this city openly back in the hands of Whites,” argued local Nation of Islam Minister Willie Muhammad.
The state of Louisiana is implementing an election plan that includes polling stations set up in 10 Louisiana cities, a national advertising campaign to inform displaced voters, and an adjustment to voting rules to allow displaced residents to cast ballots. But civil rights organizations have spoken out against the plan and have stated that the plan will not be effective in reaching displaced Black voters outside of the state.
Texas ACORN sued, unsuccessfully, to get polling places set up in Texas cities. A spokeswoman for Secretary of State Al Ater, the state’s top election official, said out-of-state voting operations are not legal under Louisiana law. The organization now plans to take three busloads of residents displaced in Houston to Lake Charles, La., to vote Apr. 10, the first day of early voting.
“This is a Florida in the making,” said Urban League President Marc Morial, a former New Orleans mayor, referring to the controversy of the 2000 presidential election. “If you see an election train wreck coming, why not do something to prevent it?”
HOW DID THE CANDIDATES FOR MAYOR RESPOND TO A DEBATE QUESTION IN SUPPORT OF OUT OF STATE SATELITTE VOTING?:
Wilson: "Absolutely not."
SOURCE: TIMES PICAYUNE (4/04/2006)