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POSTED: 11:31 pm EDT July 5, 2004

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Dario Cruz has lived in the United States for 16 years, but just became a citizen last week as he and about 200 other immigrants were naturalized.

One of the things he had always wanted to was register to vote, but when he was offered the chance to do that right outside the ceremony, he knew something wasn't right -- the place on the form where you're asked to choose Democrat, Republican or independent was already filled out.

"It's like one side," Cruz said. "You don't get to choose."

According to Cruz and his family, every form was checked off Republican.

It was something his wife, Linda Cross, first noticed. She said she asked what was going on, and was told the woman registering voters said they were with a Republican organization.

"I am Republican," she told Channel 4's Jim Piggott. "I was very angry with that if they want to register whatever party, you shouldn't try to dictate to people what party they are going to register; who they are going to vote for, because then you don't have any freedom."

The couple left without registering, but they did tell local Democratic Party officials what happened.

"These new citizens that were coming out and maybe did not know much of what was going on were all registering Republican," Cross said. "Not by choice, but by someone else's choice."

Clyde Collins, who runs the local Democratic Party, says this practice is not right, and as informed federal officials about the incident. They told him an investigation is underway.

"First of all, it violates your fundamental right," Collins said. "You have right to decide which political party you wish to enroll."

Collins says those who were sworn in last week will be contacted and told they have the right to register for the party of their choice.

For Cruz, that is what's important.

"I think you should be able to choose who you want to vote for," he said.

For the record, any registered voter can vote for any candidate of any party in a general election, but in most primaries in Florida, people can only vote for candidates of their own party.

Channel 4 has tried contracting federal officials about this issue since last Friday and have not received a response, nor have local Republican leaders responded. Folio Weekly will have more on this story in this week's paper.

Copyright 2004 by News4Jax.com.

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
keshaphim
Jul. 26th, 2004 06:10 pm (UTC)
THAT SOOOO PISSES ME OFF.

I hope that you don't mind me re-posting this. ugh.
la_biscuit
Jul. 26th, 2004 07:04 pm (UTC)
The thing about it that gets me is whoever thought about setting up the table there probably saw it as a GENIUS idea, and saw absolutely nothing wrong with it from an ethical standpoint.

growr...
k00kaburra
Jul. 26th, 2004 07:24 pm (UTC)
That is absolutely disgusting.
t3andcrumpets
Jul. 26th, 2004 07:25 pm (UTC)
*blinks*

That's like what happened to me when I first went to get my non-driver's ID. And I told the evil lady running the thing that if she wasn't going to get a clean form, I was going to go downtown to the MO-DOT offices and speak to her supervisor.

That being said, if I was forced to become a Republican for any reason, I'd probably lop off my own head with a rusty hacksaw.
birdofparadox
Jul. 26th, 2004 08:35 pm (UTC)
rats, i can't get a direct link to the article, else I would post it to linktank
mmlaser
Aug. 6th, 2004 11:12 pm (UTC)
That is....
....disgusting!!
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )