Thanks to volunteers and activists like you, the Election Protection Coalition is pressing ahead and making progress. We have two major post-election objectives:
Ensure that the votes cast in 2004 are properly counted; and,
Prepare an election reform agenda to push at the federal, state and local levels.
As we get ready for 2005, here's a brief update on where we stand.
Preliminary Review of Election Problems and Reform Agenda Unveiled
We are shattering the myth that the 2004 election ran smoothly, a myth that has become the conventional wisdom for many pundits and politicians. To tell the real story, People For the American Way Foundation and other Election Protection partners released on December 8 a preliminary review of the election problems documented by our efforts. Based on an analysis of the nearly 40,000 written complaints and more than 200,000 phone calls taken by Election Protection volunteers, the report identifies the top five problems voters encountered in 2004 and outlines preliminary recommendations to fix them. Take a moment to read the report and help spread the word to friends: http://www.pfaw.org/go/EP/shattering_myths (.pdf) .
GAO Will Investigate 2004 Voting Process
Last month, thousands of Election Protection activists wrote Congress to demand a nationwide investigation of voting problems in this year's elections. Backed by those and other letters from constituents, members of Congress called for the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office to conduct a thorough investigation. The GAO has agreed to do so and will study a range of systemic election issues, including the accuracy of the vote count and the methods used to count the vote. We'll keep you posted as this investigation takes further shape. Election Protection activists will most certainly be needed again on this matter.
PFAW Foundation Files Suit to Protect Ohio Provisional Ballots
People For the American Way Foundation filed a lawsuit on November 24 seeking to overturn arbitrary rules that led election officials in Cuyahoga County (Cleveland) not to count one third, or more than 8,000, of the provisional ballots cast on November 2. The percentage of provisional ballots rejected this year is almost twice the percentage thrown out in 2000. Representing several individual voters whose ballots were among those not counted, PFAW Foundation's legal team is asking that election officials check the provisional ballots against voter registration cards, not electronic voting lists that are known to contain errors. The lawsuit also requests remedies for voters affected by poll workers who did not notify them of their correct polling place. You can stay current on this case, which is currently pending at the county appellate district court, and our other election-related legal efforts on our Casewatch page: http://www.pfaw.org/go/EP/casewatch.
Public Hearings Collect Voter Problems, Experiences and Ideas
Election Protection coalition members and allied organizations are conducting a series of public hearings to gather additional information on election inequities, irregularities, and voter suppression efforts, and to help build public support for a reform agenda in the states. Well-attended hearings have already been held in Ohio and Texas, bringing to light voting obstacles from the pervasive confusion among poll workers concerning provisional ballots to reports of authorities towing the vehicles of voters standing in long lines. Additional hearings, scheduled throughout January, will be held in at least six states (Florida, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Michigan, New Mexico and Colorado). Election Protection activists will be invited to attend hearings and help keep voting problems and the people affected by them before the media.
As you can see from just this short recap, the Election Protection team has been hard at work since November 2, and our efforts will only increase in 2005. Your participation, action and insight will lead our march toward a fair and reliable election system for every American.
Thank you for your incredible support. We hope you enjoy the holiday season.
Ralph G. Neas
People For the American Way Foundation