December 08, 2004
Report on Congressional Hearing!!!
Preliminary report on hearing:
Just completed a 3 hour hearing held by the House Judiciary Minority Members (all present) with 15 television cameras and C-Span in attendance on the election irregularities in Ohio. Finally -- the story breaks! (Although this is the hearing that we needed within a week of the election):
Two panels of witnesses brought out the numerous/prevailing instances of voter fraud and suppression throughout Ohio in Democratic precincts. Some of the major points:
Jesse Jackson: requested an immediate Congressional hearing in the state of Ohio -- and Ranking Chair John Conyers immediately agreed. (Melody -- what about the Senator?)
Ralph Neas, president, People for the American Way: "Long lines are the key to understanding voter suppression and should lead the investigation." Sec. of State Blackwell has earned "the Katherine Harris Award for 2004." Proscecution should be considered after the investigation.
Cliff Arnebeck, counsel, Alliance for Democracy and Common Cause, Ohio: "Rigging" of election in OH and FL must be "investigated and fixed" before election is really considered over. Two categories of fraud: 1. open and conspiculous (long lines, broken and unavailable machines) and 2. hidden, statistical anomolies, which can only be explained by expert analysis (state-wide little known judge got more Democratic votes across the state in Dem. precincts than John Kerry, yet she ran behind him in her own district where she is best known.)
Steve Rosenfeld, senior producer for Air America radio show: They "systematically shorted the machines in minority precincts."
Prof. Bob Fitrakis: no exit polls in red states were wrong, only those in the big blues states.
Susan Truitt: Citizens Alliance for Secure Elections in Ohio: Corporations and partisans "privatized our public elections."
Rev. William Moss, former judge in Columbus, with his wife, currently a judge, described going to vote in the morning and being turned away by the long lines, then returning in the afternoon to even longer lines, waiting 3 1/2 hours to vote (in the rain). Has now filed a personal suit against the Secretary of State.
John Bonifaz, non partisan Voting Rights Institute, asked for recount in "timely" fashion so it could be completed by time of Electors meeting on 12/3. Federal judge refused, but allowed the count to go forward. Blackwell, therefore took 34 days -- 34 days! -- to certify the election, which would leave only a few days before the Electors meet. (Suppose Afghanistan had taken 34 days; what would the world have thought?) Intentionally delaying the process so it could not proceed within the time limit. He should be stopped. If the final recount has a different result --meaning Kerry -- then another set of Electors will meet and cast their votes. Then on Jan. 6th, Congress will have to contend with two different set of Ohio Electors.
Shauna Walcott, Zogby, International: There was an "unprecedented level of suspicions as to the election outcome." Asked for Blue Ribbon panel to investigate the results.
Steve Freeman, University of PA computer scientist: exit poll discrepancy was not possible as a result of random error. The full exit poll data has not ever been released, but should be. No red state showed any discrepancy in exit polls, only FL And OH. No reasonable explanation for that.
Kenyon College student: only 2 machines for 1300 student voters; one broke. Therefore lines lasted until 11 PM that night. Usually, ratio is one machine to 100 voters.
Rep. Wexler: In neither OH nor Fl were there any complaints of electronic machines jumping from Kerry to Bush -- ONLY the other way around. Thousands of votes were "lost." Fitrakis: in one Hispanic district, the numbers claim that only 7.1% of the district turned out to vote. In a Republican precinct, the claim was that 95 % turned out.
Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr: We need a constitutional amenment guaranteeing the right to vote. Now, the Constitution only "construes" the right, but it isn't "explicit."
Rep. Hillary Sheldon: voters in minority districts were told they could not vote if they had unpaid driving tickets or unpaid child support. Many were told their voting day was on the 4th.
Rep. Jackson, Jr: System is irretrievably broken. We need a federal standard for every precinct and a federally mandated voting machine with non partisan people running elections and counting the results. He asked: Can Congress ask the Ohio Electors to hold off until after the recount?
Rep. Watt: Noted that the Chair of the Judiciary Committee and all Republican Members were invited to attend today but declined. Said "this should not be a Democratic effort, it should be a democratic effort."
Rep. Scott: We can't have an "official" investigation or hearing without republican leadership, but we can show the anomolies until it embarrasses them not to be involved."
Office of Representative Louise M. Slaughter
2469 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515