For years, Tim Griffin, the former aide to Karl Rove whoâs been at the center of the U.S. attorney controversy, has been dogged by allegations that he was a part of a 2004 scheme to block African-Americans in Florida from voting.
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As Greg Palast first reported for the BBC, an August, 2004 email sent to a number of Republican National Committee operatives contained a spreadsheet of the names and addresses of more than 1,800 voters in Duval County, Florida, a mostly white county that includes the city of Jacksonville. Palast reported that the addresses were located in mostly black neighborhoods, and his story, followed by others posted this year on his website and the Brad Blog, alleged that the list was compiled in order to challenge African-American voters at the polls. We sought to test that conclusion through our own analysis of the data.
The result? Our comparative analysis of the spreadsheet with Duval County voter rolls shows that most names were of African-Americans. (For more on the analysis, see below.) Such a finding, voting rights experts told me, strengthened allegations that Griffin, working for the Republican National Committee, was involved in an effort to target African-American voters. âIt is difficult to explain other than an effort to target Democrats and by extension, minority voters,â Toby Moore, a former political geographer with the Justice Department, said.
Michael McDonald, an Associate Professor at George Mason University and an expert on elections statistics, said that the chance that the list is randomly so different from the population is less than 1 in 10,000. It is illegal to target voters based on their race under the Voting Rights Act. Griffin resigned earlier this month as the U.S. attorney for Little Rock after a six-month stint.