Pubdate: Thu, 30 Nov 2000
Source: Illinois Times (IL)
Copyright: 2000 Yesse Communications
Contact:  PO Box 3524 Springfield, IL 62708
Fax: 217/753-2281
Author: Larry A. Stevens


To the editor:

In her November 22 letter to the editor, Janelle Clemens disputes the facts 
stated in my recent letter about Vice President Al Gore's electoral stumble 
in Florida. The facts, however, are clear. According to Human Rights Watch 
and The Sentencing Project, 31 percent of African-American men are 
permanently barred from voting in Florida. That's more than 200,000 
potential African-American votes, only a fraction of which Gore would have 
needed to win the state decisively. Florida is one of only thirteen states 
that deny the vote to ex-offenders who have served their sentences.

As for the Democrats' commitment to a war on drugs that unfairly targets 
African-Americans, the facts are also clear. Al Gore's political record is 
one of unwavering support for increasingly harsh criminal penalties for 
non-violent drug offences. According to the FBI Uniform Crime Reports, the 
Clinton/Gore administration has presided over record numbers of drug 
arrests, over 700,000 marijuana arrests in 1999 alone, far outpacing any 
previous administration. Human Rights Watch reported this year that 
African-American men are sent to state prisons for drug offences at 
thirteen times the rate of white men nationwide.  At this writing it is not 
yet known which candidate will be our next president, but it is clear that 
Al Gore's own disastrous war on drugs cost him a decisive and uncontestable 
win in Florida.

Larry A. Stevens, Springfield
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MAP posted-by: Larry Stevens