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Miami-Dade activists call for election oversight

By CHARLES RABIN Miami Herald  04 August 2004


Fortified by Miami-Dade Commission Chairwoman Barbara Carey-Shuler's call for voting reform, political activists gathered at County Hall Wednesday to urge voter turnout and demand proper oversight during upcoming elections.

One group called for the immediate return of County Manager George Burgess, who is midway through a three-week vacation. Another called Election Supervisor Constance Kaplan's explanations for the way her office has handled electronic voting machine problems, ``patronizing.''

Tangela Sears, president of the African American Grass Roots Coalition, demanded commissioners hold a special session even before Kaplan and Burgess are to report back to Carey-Shuler on Aug. 16.

''We're not seeking explanations,'' Sears said. ``We're demanding every vote be counted. The commission can not be on vacation at a time like this.''

On Tuesday, Carey-Shuler issued a memo to Burgess and Kaplan listing four steps she wants taken prior to the Aug. 31 mayoral election, and asking them to submit a report by Aug. 16. She also called for an independent assessment of the county's electoral process by the Audit and Management Department and the Office of Inspector General.

The commission chairwoman also plans a special election workshop on Aug. 26, saying it would provide enough time to make changes before the Aug. 31 primary.


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