ST. JOHNS COUNTY SUPERVISOR OF ELECTIONS VICTORIA OAKES a/k/a "VICKI" OAKES (right): No early voting in St. Augustine, 2014-date
GOVERNOR RICHARD LYNN SCOTT (left): On March 17, 2016, RICK SCOTT vetoed West Augustine sewer grant, $200,000, while approving $2.885 million for Summer Haven River dredging for rich vacation homes
TWO CIVIL RIGHTS VIOLATORS -- BOTH REPORTED TO JUSTICE DEPARTMENT
As our late civil rights leader, Dr. Robert S. Hayling, D.D.S., often said, "Never give up."
Subject: Fifteenth Amendment civil rights complaint re: No early voting locations in St. Augustine, Florida
Dear Assistant Attorney General Gupta:
A. Thank you for promptly referring my March 22, 2016 civil rights complaint against Governor RICHARD LYNN SCOTT'S invidiously discriminatory veto of $200,000 in matching grant funds for West Augustine sewers to the United States Attorney for the MIddle District of Florida (which promptly called and wrote me on the morning of March 31, 2016). It was good to hear from you.
B. I write today about another critical St. Augustine, Florida civil rights issue, this one under the Fifteenth Amendment, Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title VI and Voting Rights Act issue involving our community -- one that has persisted since 2004 -- denial of equal early voting opportunities within the territorial limits of our City of St. Augustine:
1. Please begin a civil, criminal and administrative investigation -- hopefully in conjunction with the FBI and a federal grand jury -- of voter suppression and the repeated racist refusal of the St. Johns County, Florida Supervisor of Elections to allow early voting anywhere within some 12.3 square miles of land area of our nation's oldest European-founded city, St. Augustine Florida, during our 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016 primary elections, and without DOJ's prompt action, for the 2016 general elections.
2. Without a remedy, that will have been since 2004 a total of sixteen (16) elections without an early voting location within the territorial limits of our Nation's Oldest City, founded on September 8, 1565. This is a Fifteenth Amendment violation.
3. St. Augustine, Florida is where the first African-Americans lived, free and slave. This is where the Underground Railroad first ran, starting in 1671, with the Spanish freeing British slaves, leading to the British burning down our town. This is where the first American community founded by freed slaves was founded after the Civil War (Little Africa, now known as Lincolnville, 1866).
4. This is where segregationist city and county law enforcement officers arrested Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1964, the only place where Dr. King was arrested in Florida and the very last place he was arrested before the 1964 Civil Rights Act was enacted. History teaches that President Lyndon Baines Johnson was able to break a formidable Senate filisbuster as a result of the KKK and law enforcement racist violence on our streets, seen on national and international news, with 180 accredited reporters here covering the events of June, 1964.
5. On June 11, 1964, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. called this "the most lawless" place in America., writing Rabbi Israel Dressner about the segregationist bullies who ran this place, to include Sheriff LAWRENCE O. DAVIS, a KKK member who deputized KKK members and incarcerated Dr. King and other civil rights activists.
6. The current Sheriff, DAVID BERNERD SHOAR, f/k/a "HOAR, who is under FBI investigation, is the head of the local political machine. Sheriff DAVID SHOAR actually published a paen to Sheriff LAWRENCE O. DAViS on his website, inter alia falsely stating that Sheriff DAVIS was "exonerated" of corruption charges (he was removed by the Florida State Senate by vote of 44-2) and falsely stating that Sheriff DAVIS "held the town together" when in fact the KKK and law enforcement officers who were KKK members rioted, requiring relief from United States District Court Judge Bryan Simpson. Sheriff SHOAR's website even said that Dr. King was arrested by "federal agents," but that error was corrected after I wrote him on August 28, 1964, the anniversary of Dr. King's "I have a dream" speech.
7. There were 41 African-American owned businesses in Linoclnville in 1964. None survive.
8. African-American Florida Memorial University was run out of town by the KKK by 1968 because it was a center of desegregation activism.
9. Meanwhile, the then-racist City government here annexed land, resulting in intentional diminution of African-American voting strength in St. Augustine from 25% to 12.5%, 1964-2005, in probable violation of the Fifteenth Amendment.
10. When I publicly objected to this pattern of annexations at a City Commission meeting on April 9, 2005, then-City Manager WILLIAM B. HARRISS threatened me with "arrest" for "disorderly conduct." I presented an affidavit from Ms. Sue Neely, who heard his threats -- the members of the City Commission did nothing about it. HARRISS left office in 2010, going to work for Sheriff SHOAR.
11. Intentionally diminishing minority voting strength and disenfranchising African-Americans who had elected Commissioner Moses "Coach" Floyd, our St. Johns County Commission redistricted itself in 1998, eliminating civil member districts, changing from seven elected from districts to five elected by all voters but required to live in districts. Tellingly, the County Commission redistricted itself in this manner -- in probable violation of the Fifteenth Amendment --- without a consultant, without a decennial census and outside the ordinary course of business. Again, it did so for the purpose of eliminating single member districts, which had resulted in election of an African-American.
12. After the very unexpected election of an African-American to County Commission in 2008, Sheriff DAVID BERNARD SHOAR and his henchmen campaigned against him. SHOAR thus succeeded in defeating J. Kenneth Bryan, an African-American Justice Department retiree, who was our County Commission Chairman, using developer funding and advertisements on Fox News in defeating him in 2012.
13. Sheriff SHOAR and his henchmen also campaigned against Benjamin Rich, Sr., a retired federal agent, whom they defeated in 2008.
14. Sheriff SHOAR and his allies campaigned against both of these ethical, honorable retired federal employees, in 2008 and 2012, at least in part as retaliation for their First Amendment rights and their support of Fifteenth Amendment rights.
15. While Respondent VICKI OAKES is nominally a constitutional officer under Florida law, the record will support the inference that she and her predecessors met with and often did the bidding of, and took advice and instructions from Sheriff DAVID BERNARD SHOAR and his predecessors.
16. The result is that African-Americans here still live in fear, in a a milieu where voting is discouraged and disempowered.
17. Despite repeated respectful requests and moral suasion from citizens, elected officials and our St. Johns County Democratic Executive Committee in 2012 -- and the helpful compromise suggested by our County Attorney, Patrick McCormack -- Respondent ST. JOHNS COUNTY ELECTION, FLORIDA SUPERVISOR of ELECTIONS (SoE) VICKI OAKES (OAKES) adamantly refused to allow early voting at the St. Augustine Public Library for the 2012 General Election. Why?
18. Respondent SoE OAKES is a very partisan Republican in a county dominated by Republicans, a county with a long sordid history of Jim Crow segregation, whose actions helped President Lyndon Johnson persuade Congress to enact our 1964 Civil Rights Act. The majority of voters within city limits are Democrats.
19. The closest early voting location to the African-American communities of West Augustine and Lincolnville is several miles north of downtown, next to the Sheriff's office, along US 1 (which lacks proper sidewalks, reportedly resulting in deaths and injuries to pedestrians and bicyclists).
20. In 2012, Florida cut nearly in half the number of early voting locations, to which DoJ rightly objected.
21. With the number of days of early voting reduced in 2012, OAKES should have been open to and friendly about adding additional early voting locations. Instead, OAKES has been overt in her hostility and animus to early voting within city limits. While holding.a military voter registration drive dozens of miles away in another county, outside the ordinary course of business and outside her constitutional role, OAKES has been insouciant and insolent about the early voting rights of residents of St. Augustine.
22. Respondent SoE OAKES' private attorney never responded to my telephone messages in 2012.
23. Respondent OAKES was rude, deceptive and other-directed, irationally rejecting County Attorney Patrick McCormack's excellent compromise suggestion of the Library (as opposed to my initial suggestion of St. Augustine City Hall, to which OAKES raised parking space questions).
24. Please investigate the SJC SoE and the SJC machine and its now twelve-year old St. Augustine early voting discrimination voter suppression scheme, pursuant to our 14th and 15th Amendments, the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871, 18 U.S.C. 241 and 243, 42 U.S.C. 1983 and 1985, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VI) and the Voting Rights Act.
25. For weeks in 2012, OAKES emitted pretexts, excuses and even an undated belated justification for the SoE's wretched twelve-year voter suppression record of "redlining" and discriminating against our city, once called the "most lawless city in America" by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1964.
26. Respondent VICKI OAKES no longer even bothers to emit excuses. See below.
27. No City, County of State official has spoken out.
28. While OAKES now offers red boxes within which to deposit absentee ballots, this is not the same as a fully-staffed early voting location, able to help persons with disabilities and assist voters.
29. This unequal, second-class, second rate "red box" system was apparently adopted in the wake of my prior complaints to your predecessors, every single one of which went without response or action.
30. Since Dr. King's arrest in 1964, we've made progress in our city, but our county remains tainted by racism. Respondent OAKES does not respect African-American rights and the rights of people within the City limits of the City of St. Augustine, a majority of whom are Democrats and 12.5% of whom are African-American.
31. Please investigate VICKI OAKES and the political machine of which she is a part, headed by Sheriff DAVID BERNARD SHOAR. For more on SHOAR and his record of violating citizens' constitutional rights, please consult the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals decision in the Gennusa v. Canova case: http://www.ca11.uscourts.gov/opinions/ops/201213871.pdf , and the 14,000 word New York Times investigation and the PBS Frontline and NBC Dateline investigations at:
http://www.nytimes.com/projects/2013/two-gunshots/ "Two Gunshots on a Summer Night," by Walt Bogdanich and Glenn Silber
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/death-in-st-augustine/ PBS Frontline documentary, "A Death in St. Augustine"
http://www.nbcnews.com/dateline/full-episode-two-shots-fired-n84816 NBC News Dateline documentary, "Two Shots Fired"
32. Please empower the DoJ Community Relations Service (CRS) to help persuade OAKES to allow early voting at the St. Augustine Public Library for the 2016 General Election on November 8, 2016.
33. Otherwise, please investigate and bring a lawsuit or indictment against OAKES, et al. for civil rights violations.
Let justice be done.
Let freedom ring.
Let every vote count.
Thank you for all that you do.
And thank you in advance for helping solve this problem.
With kindest regards,
St. Augustine, Florida 32084
Sent: Fri, Jun 13, 2014 3:26 pm
Subject: Re: List of early voting places for City of St. Augustine
NONE ARE WITHIN THE TERRITORIAL LIMITS OF THE CITY OF ST. AUGUSTINE, AŠ IN 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010 AND 2012. WHY? THIS VIOLATES THE FIFTEENTH AMENDMENT. PLEASE REVISE YOUR LIST. THANK YOU.
From: Wayne Fusco
Sent: Fri, Jun 13, 2014 3:14 pm
Subject: RE: List of early voting places for City of St. Augustine
A list of our early voting locations can be found on our website. Here is the link, http://www.votesjc.com/election-information/early-voting/
Wayne E. Fusco
Assistant Supervisor of Elections
St Johns County Supervisor of Elections
4455 Avenue A – Suite 101
St. Augustine, FL. 32095
From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Friday, June 13, 2014 12:31 PM
To: Vicky Oakes
Subject: List of early voting places for City of St. Augustine
Please send. Thank you.