Ms. McKINNEY. Mr. Speaker, I mentioned awhile ago a fact of what happened in the elections in Florida, which I would like to take an opportunity to revisit, and I am glad that the gentlewoman from Florida (Ms. BROWN) has agreed to stay here so that she can respond to this information.
An enterprising journalist by the name of Gregory Palast who operates out of London and works with BBC-TV has provided some very interesting information to me. I have got a list here, and the list is about those people who were put on the voter file that said that they could not vote because they were convicted felons. I have got the list here.
For instance, number 354 on the list is Johnny Jackson, Jr., who is a black male from Texas, and then, unfortunately, John Fitzgerald Jackson. They said that those two people were the same people, so John Fitzgerald Jackson in Florida was denied the right to vote because a list from Texas that had the name of Johnny Jackson, Jr., on it, said that Johnny Jackson, Jr., was not eligible to vote.
I have got on this list, for example, Thomas Alvin Cooper, who is a white male from Ohio. Thomas Cooper is a pretty common name. There is more than one Thomas Cooper, I am sure, in all of the people in Florida. But Thomas Cooper was denied the right to vote in Florida, and Thomas Cooper in Florida, who was denied the right to vote, was a black man.
I have got here Michael Rodriguez from New Jersey, and I am sure Michael Rodriguez is a common name. But in Florida, Michael Rodriguez was denied the right to vote. In New Jersey it was Michael A. Rodriguez.
What this list shows is that there were about 2,800 people who were not allowed the right to vote because the State of Florida said that they were convicted felons in other states, and, therefore, they could not vote in Florida.
Mr. Speaker, 57,700 people, innocent people, I might add, were targeted for removal. Ninety percent of the people on the list that was purged so that these people could not vote in Florida, 90 percent of the names were wrong. At least 54 percent were black. 80 percent of those who finally were purged were black, and 93 percent of the people who were targeted to be purged vote Democratic.
Ms. BROWN of Florida. If the gentlewoman would yield for one minute, let me give you the rest of the story. Florida used $4 million of taxpayer money that they gave to a firm, it was not bid out, to a firm from Texas. Katherine Harris' office did that to the people of Florida, and they came up and purged people. There was no procedure, none whatsoever.
In fact, when I went to the poll on election day, I went downtown and there was some young black guys there saying they are not letting them vote because they said they were felons, and they had never been arrested.
Ms. MCKINNEY. It was a procedure, all right, but the procedure was that if you were black, then you had your name on this list and you were denied the right to vote.
Ms. BROWN of Florida. There is no question. But I am going back to how it came about. There was a bid, a non-solicited bid, where a contract was given to a firm, and all this is in the record, and the firm told the State of Florida that this system that you are using will identify people that are not convicted felons. The State of Florida says, oh, that is okay. That is okay.
Ms. MCKINNEY. That is exactly what happened. The name of the firm was Database Technologies, which was later absorbed by ChoicePoint, which has its headquarters right outside of
Atlanta. The gentlewoman is absolutely right, that they told Katherine Harris, for whom a Congressional District I understand is being specially carved, that the information we are going to give you, according to your specifications, is wrong. We want you to know that the information that we are going to give you, the information that you have requested, is wrong. Do you want us to give you wrong information? And Katherine Harris and company, said yes, we want the wrong information.