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For release
Monday, November 10 , 1997

For further information contact:
Deborah M Phillips (888) 578-4343

Voting Integrity Project Releases
Report on 1996 Florida Election

The Voting Integrity Project, Inc. today released the long-awaited report of its investigation into the 1996 Polk County Florida Commission race between Democrat incumbent Marlene Young and Republican challenger Bruce Parker. The report finds no evidence of conspiracy, but cites numerous weaknesses in the count procedures. VIP concludes that "...we may never know the truth about the actual vote counts in this election."

VIP President Deborah Phillips said, We are deeply troubled by several lapses in the election process in Polk County, but especially unresolved questions about discrepancies in vote counts and conflicting vote count information supplied to us by the Supervisor of Elections. We feel this raises new doubts as to the validity of the election certification. We recommend additional investigation of procedures used by the Supervisor of Elections Office in this election.

The Voting Integrity Project (VIP) is a national, non-partisan citizens coalition organized to protect the integrity of the American electoral process. VIP is best known for conducting the first voting fraud investigation of the Jenkins-Landrieu U.S. Senate race in Louisiana last year (highlighted in the The Readers Digest Theyre Stealing Our Elections," August 1997) and its current investigation of the San Francisco 49'ers stadium referendum. VIP uses retired FBI agents to perform its field investigations. VIP also educates and equips citizens to safeguard the electoral process in their own community and conducts research on vote fraud patterns.

VIP was approached by numerous parties requesting an independent investigation of the 1996 election. The election initially certified the challenger as winner. That outcome was reversed following a court-ordered recount. A subsequent Grand Jury presentment found no basis for allegations of vote fraud or conspiracy to commit vote fraud, but criticized the election process as flawed.

VIP endorses the recent establishment of a citizens task force to review Polk County election procedures and equipment as a positive step to correct what it found to be fundamental weaknesses in protecting election integrity. In its report, ten recommendations are offered to improve Polk County elections in the future. VIP has offered to remain available to the task force as a resource.

The report commends the Canvassing Board which supervised the counts and came under criticism from the Grand Jury. Phillips added, Regardless of the outcome of this election contest, VIP applauds the citizen activists who have remained insistent upon revealing the truth and correcting any problems in Polk Countys elections.

A copy of the full report is available upon request.

Copyright 1998 Voting Integrity Project. All rights reserved.
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