|November 23, 2004|
14 House Dems Demand GAO Election Probe
Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) has asked to become the
As of this writing, Schakowsky's signature has not been submitted to the GAO.
However, the GAO has received letters of concern with 13 signatories thus far:
Also, Congressman Barbara Lee of California issued the following statement on November 15th:
The right to vote and the right to have our votes counted are both fundamental to our democratic system of government, said Lee.
As elected representatives of the people, we hold a sacred responsibility to every voter across this nation to ensure that their vote is counted and recorded properly. We cannot, and we should not accept any flaws in our election process.
Julie Nickson, press secretary for Barbara Lee, added, "She signed it because she was aware of the situation. We got some phone calls from constituents."
The letter, or set of letters, is addressed to The Honorable David M. Walker, Comptroller General of the United States, General Accountability Office.
The first letter begins, "We write with an urgent request that the GAO immediately undertake an investigation of the efficacy of voting machines and new technologies used in the 2004 election, how election officials responded to the difficulties they encountered, and what we can do in the future to improve our election systems and administration."
Particular concerns brought up are:
One notable Progressive Caucus member who has not signed on is House Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who is also the current House Minority Leader.
Another curious absence is Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), former presidential candidate, who otherwise is taking a prominent role in the Ohio voter testimony hearings currently taking place.
Most mainstream media accounts actually still list there being 3 signatories, but that was only the first, original letter. CBS and others have been reporting 6 signatories.
But, don't be sad. America isn't so far into hell in a handbasket that we couldn't come up with more than 6 Representatives. We now have 14.
The chronology has been as follows. First, Congressman Conyers, Wexler, and Nadler wrote a letter to the GAO on November 5. This letter is available at: http://www.house.gov/judiciary_democrats/gaoinvestvote2004ltr11504.pdf
The names of Scott, Watt, and Holt, were added
in a second letter sent
November 8, which outlined additional voting
problems as well as
the number of congressional signatures to six
(6). This letter is
November 17, two additional letters were sent. First, a letter
the signatures of Tammy Baldwin, Louise Slaughter,
and George Miller,
sent, increasing the number of signatures
to nine (9). A copy of this
letter is available at:
A second letter dated November 17--fourth letter overall--was sent to the GAO which added John Olner, Bob Filner, Gregory Meeks, and Barbara Lee.
This brought the number of signatures to thirteen (13). Which, adding today's announcement by Schakowsky, brings the total to fourteen (14) signatures. A scanned copy of the second letter from November 17th is available at: http://www.house.gov/lee/releases/04nov15.htm
One senator and one House Representative are required to contest an election result prior to inauguration.
But, certainly, the more Congresspeople the merrier. The questions remains, however, which, if any, Senator will stand up for democracy? Will it be Barbara Boxer, the so-called 3rd-most vote getter in the 2004 election? Or will we have another terrible scene like the one from Fahrenheit 911 where not one Senator will contest?
Only time will tell, but my guess is that the progressive community has done so much organizing in the past four years that, even if there isn't a change in the election outcome, there will at least be some serious hearings and reform legislation to mend and improve our flawed, flawed process.
A BUZZFLASH READER CONTRIBUTION
Matthew Cardinale is a freelance writer, activist, and graduate student at UC Irvine in sociology and democracy studies. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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