NEW YORK – They are four respected professionals – a doctor, a prosecutor, a journalist and a consultant – who were each counted twice in the 2000 presidential election.

All four are registered to vote in both New York City and Florida, a few of the 46,000 people who the New York Daily News recently found signed up to vote in both states, according to a database match.

But three who talked to The News insisted they only voted here and were unaware their Florida registration remained intact. Circumstantial evidence supports the contention.

They suspect either a sloppy vote tally in Florida or, far worse, that someone committed a fraud in their names.

“Maybe it’s just my ignorance, but it seems to me a crime has been committed in my name, possibly, and no one seems to care but me,” said Dr. Lester Bussey, after asking Florida authorities to investigate.

The 2000 election in Florida, which George Bush won by 537 votes, was one of the most controversial in the nation’s history.

The Sunshine State is again poised to play a pivotal role in this year’s vote.

Voting more than once is a federal offense punishable by up to a year in prison and a $10,000 fine. But it’s a crime the voting system does nothing to prevent.

Since The News revealed the snowbird-voting scandal in August, the U.S. Justice Department has begun looking into the matter, and Florida and city officials have traded databases to duplicate The News’ research.

Unlike earlier examples of apparent double voting uncovered by The News, these four never maintained homes in both places.

They each moved from Florida to the city in recent years.

Holly Haeseler, an assistant district attorney in Queens, shows up as having voted on Nov. 7, 2000, in both Manhattan and in Clearwater, Fla., where she grew up.

Haeseler, 30, said she was certain that she had voted only in New York for that election.

“I wasn’t aware that I was still registered there,” she said. “I’ve been here for almost five years.”

After talking to The News, she asked Florida authorities to investigate.

Bussey, 38, an obstetrician at Harlem Hospital, moved to the city in the late 1990s after finishing medical school at the University of Miami.

He said he was astonished that records show he voted twice, in two states, for the 2000 presidential election.

“Really? I’ve only voted twice in my entire life,” Bussey said.

He asked election officials in Miami to investigate, but felt he got the runaround.

“I got pushed from supervisor to supervisor to supervisor,” Bussey said. “And then, whoever it was said they would call me back, and no one ever called me.”

Getting to the bottom of what happened to those Florida votes could be complicated by the fact that many of the precinct sign-in sheets there have since been destroyed. Florida law requires that they be kept for only 22 months, according to election officials in that state.

Two of the four cast their New York votes in the 2000 presidential election via absentee ballots.

One was Mary Voboril, a writer at Newsday, who registered in Miami Beach when she worked for The Miami Herald. She registered in Manhattan when she joined Newsday in 1993.

Since then, she has voted 14 times in the city. During those years only one vote was cast in her name in Florida – for the 2000 presidential election. Her New York vote in that election was cast via absentee ballot.

Voboril did not respond to requests for comment in numerous e-mails, phone messages and in person.

Voting records show that Jonathan Aufzien, a consultant whose father, Alan, was an original owner of the New Jersey Nets, voted via absentee ballot in New York and at the polls in Tamarac, Fla.

But Aufzien, like the others, said he didn’t vote in Florida in 2000. He said he had tried in the past to get his Florida registration canceled, and tried again after hearing from The News.

“I guess that’s a concern,” said Aufzien, 35. “I used to be registered in Florida, but I haven’t been there in a long time. I vote in New York. It’s my residence.”



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