In a recent email to Louisiana officials, FEMA curtly turned down the state's request for funding to notify displaced residents that they could cast absentee ballots in the city's crucial February mayoral election. FEMA also declined to share data with local authorities about the current addresses of evacuees.
In the eyes of many local activists, FEMA's refusal to support the voting rights of evacuees is consistent with a larger pattern of federal inaction and delay that seems transparently designed to discourage the return of black residents to the city. As one Associated Press dispatch presciently warned, "Hurricane Katrina [may] prove to be the biggest, most brutal urban-renewal project black America has ever seen."
While I don't think it's in the FEMA mandate to provide funds for voting notification, I do think it is imperative that New Orleans residents be informed that absentee ballots are an option that they should all utilize.
But whether or not FEMA notifies displaced NO'ers, you do know what's going to happen next don't you? There will be charges of the nation's largest instance of voter fraud in the history of the US.