Subject: ON CHALLENGING THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE VOTE FOR GEORGE W. BUSH: FROM THE CENTER FOR THE ADVANCED STUDY OF AMERICAN INSTITUTIONS AND SOCIAL MOVEMENTS,
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9 January 2005
Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,
The confrontations which occurred in two
special sessions of Congress last Tuesday (6 January) ended with a defeat for
democracy, despite heoric resistance on the part of a
few elected representatives. The alternative press in
Below, in item A., we have from
Item B. is an account published in The New Standard in which investigative reporters, from Brian Dominick and Ariella Cohen, give a blow-by-blow account of the violent debate which took place at the special sessions in both houses of Congress last Thursday.
Item C. Linda Burnham writes of the challenge that the 2004 elections present to American feminists, who have for too long ignored the social class divisions within women's groups, and who have not effectively addressed issues of racism and other social prejudices which have divided women as a group.
Francis McCollum Feeley
Professor of American Studies
Director of Research
from Monty Kroopkin
Subject: my comment on Electoral College vote & links to reports
Dear friends and family,
As you may have already heard,
Senator Barbara Boxer joined with House members on January 6 to object to
certification of the Electoral College vote for
I have received more than one appeal for letters of support to be sent to Senator Boxer, Senator Reid, and the members of the House voting for the objection. I am not passing those appeals on in the form they were written.
I do not share the enthusiasm of those that think their stand was courageous. Had they really wanted to be courageous, they might have objected to the Electoral College vote in every state where problems were reported, especially those with paperless electronic voting machines, thereby delaying the final Republican majority rubber stamp of the results by days, not just hours. They could have bluntly declared they/we cannot accept the validity of the results unless and until the raw data from the exit polls is released and all other investigations of "irregularities" have been truly concluded. Or they could bolt the corrupt One Party "2 Party" sham and join the Green Party or the I.W.W. or do countless other things that might warrant the word "courageous".
The investigations continue, including the one in the House, and we really do not yet know who won this election, or if it was won by illegal means, worthy of prosecution or even impeachment. But raising at least some objection was simply the moral thing to do, and, in an arena of rampant immorality like Congress, that alone may deserve some comments of support.
Therefore, I have put the contact information at the bottom of this letter. I plan to send them a copy of this letter.
Links to Articles and broadcast
Democracy Now (Pacifica Network TV news):
CSPAN complete coverage of house and senate debate on the objection:
PLUS a few related background articles:
The senior Democrat on the House
Judiciary Committee, Rep. John Conyers of
The top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee has asked The Associated Press
and five broadcast networks to turn over raw exit poll data:
TV Networks Officially Refuse to Release Exit Poll Raw Data
The Unexplained Exit Poll Discrepancy t r u t h o u t | Report
PLUS MORE ARTICLES ON THE OBJECTION:
New York Times:
San Diego Union-Tribune:
San Francisco Chronicle:
CONTACT INFORMATION FROM SAN DIEGO UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST ACTION GROUP:
Email Senator Boxer at: http://boxer.senate.gov/contact/webform.cfm
Contact information from MoveOn:
"Sen. Boxer and Sen. Reid need to hear a big thank you from all of us now
that we've begun this public debate. Please let them know that you support them
by signing our thank you letter at the link below.
"Thousands of us called our Senators to encourage them to step forward and open this debate. We know that that support was important in making this leadership possible.
"Unfortunately Sen. Boxer is already under attack from the conservative forces who approve, through their inaction, the voting problems that shut out large numbers of voters -- disproportionately minority voters. After you sign the thank you letter we need you to help get the word out through the media by writing letters of support for Sen. Boxer to the editors of your local newspaper. Please click below to get started.
"As we've written before, the winners of these tainted elections assert that their outcomes didn't depend on the fraud. But even in sports, referees call penalties and enforce the rules, whether or not the game is at stake. Nowhere in the Constitution does it describe some acceptable level of denying Americans their votes. That's why Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), Rep. Stephanie Tubbs
Jones (D-OH) and other Democrats have been working so hard to investigate what happened.
"Hundreds of thousands of concerned Americans have been speaking out for weeks about the voting problems. Today Democratic representatives and senators listened and stood up for voting rights.
"Thanks for everything you do.
"--The MoveOn PAC Team
from Brian Dominick and Ariella Cohen
Electoral Vote Challenge Meets Venomous Response in Congress
by Brian Dominick and Ariella Cohen
In special sessions of both chambers
of Congress Thursday, Republican lawmakers met a handful of Democratic
colleagues with vitriolic diatribes when the latter raised concerns about
electoral irregularities that took place during
In a departure from traditional
procedure, the joint session of Congress convened to certify the electoral vote
count and officially recognize George W. Bush as president elect broke up for
two hours of separate debate among senators and representatives. The special
session was activated when Senator Barbara Boxer (D-California) joined
Representative Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-Ohio) and other House members in
challenging the certification of
Rather than an attempt to overturn the outcome of the 2004 election, Democratic legislators said they wished to use their protest as a means of highlighting what they consider ongoing election problems that stand little chance of correction unless the status quo is confronted.
"This objection," Tubbs Jones said on the House floor, "does not have at its root the hope or even the hint of overturning the victory of the president but it is a necessary, timely and appropriate opportunity to review and remedy the most precious process in our democracy. I raise this objection neither to put the nation in the turmoil of a proposed overturned election nor to provide cannon fodder or partisan demagoguery for my fellow members of Congress."
Speaking to the press Thursday morning, Boxer announced her decision to co-sign Tubbs Jones' objection. "Every citizen of this country who is registered to vote should be guaranteed that their vote matters, that their vote is counted and that in the voting booth," Boxer said, "their vote has as much weight as any senator, any congressperson, any president, any cabinet member, or any CEO of any Fortune 500 corporation."
The chief concerns raised by dissenting politicians were mostly straightforward, like the alleged misallocation of voting machines that affected primarily Democratic districts.
Voters waited "hours and hours and hours in the rain to vote," Boxer said. "Why did an estimated 5,000 to 10,000 voters leave polling places in frustration without having voted? How many more never even bothered to vote after they heard about this?"
Boxer also asked, "Why did
To punctuate the urgency of her appeal, Boxer said the time has come to "cast the light of truth on a flawed system which must be fixed now. Not in years from now, but now."
The fiercest debate took place in
the House, where visibly frustrated Republicans unleashed verbal attacks on
their Democratic colleagues. Representative Deborah Pryce (R-Ohio) said she
regretted that so early in the 2005 session, Congress was "bogged
down" in "frivolous debate." She warned the American public not
to be deceived by dissenters, whom she called "aspiring fantasy
authors" of "wild conspiracy theories," possessing "no
credible agenda for
Florida Republican Ric Keller distilled his message down to three simple words: "Get over it," he told Democratic detractors. Rep. David Hobson, an Ohio Republican, called the proceedings "outrageous."
House Majority Whip Roy Blunt
(R-Missouri) said questions about
In an apparent attempt to argue against the Democratic challenges, Blunt continued: "People do have to have confidence that the process works in a proper way. They don't need to believe that it is absolutely perfect because after all it's the greatest democracy in the history of the world. And it's run by people who step forward and make a system work in ways that nobody would believe until they see it, to produce the result of what people want to have happen on election day."
Calling the proceeding "an assault against the institutions of our representative democracy" and "a threat to the very ideals it ostensibly defends," Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) denied that any voter disenfranchisement took place anywhere in 2004 or 2000. He accused Democrats of crying wolf, and wondered "what will happen" when a future election is actually stolen.
Rep. Tubbs Jones, one of the members
of the Congressional Black Caucus, that spearheaded the challenge, preempted
Republican attacks by setting the tone of the admittedly symbolic protest.
"It is on behalf of those millions of Americans who believe in and value
our democratic process and the right to vote that I put forth this objection
today," she said. "If they are willing to stand at polls for
countless hours in the rain, as many did in
North Carolina Democrat Mel Watt
couched his objection in terms of the
The handful of Democrats who
acknowledged the voter disenfranchisement made clear that while
In the end, each house had to vote
on whether to accept
Staff Report Details Voter Disenfranchisement
Thursday's challenge was bolstered
by a report on
Entitled Preserving Democracy: What
Went Wrong in
The report also recommends immediate appointment of a joint committee to investigate election irregularities.
"Votes weren't counted and
there was possible machine tampering," Judiciary Committee staffer Dena Graziano told The NewStandard
Thursday. "Clearly, election law wasn't carried out the way it was
supposed to be in
Even the third party-sponsored
Problems found in the investigation
of the recount included insecure storage of ballots and machinery, the counting
of irregularly marked ballots, and a failure of counties to allow witnesses for
candidates to observe the recount -- a right guaranteed in
The report concludes that the Ohio Secretary of State's failure to set specific standards for the recount yielded a lack of uniformity that may violate the Due Process Clause and the Equal Process Clause of the Constitution.
Federal law states that all
controversies regarding the appointment of electors must be resolved at least
six days prior to the seating of the electors on December 13. The judiciary
report points out that the official recount of the
Bush/Chaney 2000 Campaign may have intentionally delayed the certification of the electors in order to make a complete recount impossible before the December 13 seating.
Today on Capital Hill, protesters rallied in support of the election challenge taking place in Congress and calling for further investigation into the election.
"The hope is that we can create some new legislation to fix the problems we saw this election," Graziano said, adding that members of Congress plan to create laws to fix problems that the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) did not address.
Following the 2000 election, the
senior Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, John Conyers Jr.
(D-Michigan), drafted the Help America Vote Act. Since last November, the
The Judiciary Committee Democrats cited sources ranging from New York Times articles to Board of Elections records and voter testimonies in their report. The 102-page document relies on experiential and statistical data, as well as extensive legislative foregrounding, to prove that the misallocation of voting machines in minority and low-income precincts resulted in mass, illegal disenfranchisement.
The long poll lines in
According to state funding records
contained in the report, the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) processed
$32,562,331 for the fiscal year 2003 and $58,430,186 for 2004 election costs. A
lack of public information on how
Under election policy, voter history and past turn-out statistics decide how many machines will go out to each polling location, a deployment strategy that discriminates against voters in areas with a shorter or less steady history of electoral participation.
Last month, the Washington Post reported that "in Franklin County, '27 of the 30 wards with the most [voting] machines per registered voter showed majorities for Bush...[while] six of the seven wards with the fewest machines delivered large margins for Kerry.'" Quoting this data, House Democrats say that patterns of machine deployment in the state violate legal codes.
"A conscious failure to provide sufficient voting machinery violates the Ohio Revised Code which requires the Board of Elections 'to provide adequate facilities at each polling place for conducting the election,'" the report states.
Committee investigation also found the process surrounding the casting and counting of provisional ballots deeply problematic.
In the report's analysis,
Blackwell's decision to restrict the use of provisional ballots was
"critical in the election," and the restriction may have resulted in
the "disenfranchisement of tens of thousands of voters." The report
mentions that one polling place in
"In our judgment, Mr. Blackwell's restrictive interpretation violates the spirit, if not the letter of HAVA," the report says.
According to their investigation, other states with broader readings of the federal code did not report the "chaos and confusion that Mr. Blackwell claimed to be the rationale for his decision."
from Linda Burnham
No Mandate from Women of Color
by Linda Burnham
Millions of people worked as hard as they possibly could to turn the country onto a different path and still the village idiot was elected.
What to make of such an outcome? What do we know about the participation of women of color at the polls? Did women of color and White women move in the same political direction? And how do the results inform women's rights and racial justice activists about the critical tasks ahead?
It's an exceptionally bitter pill, but we must swallow it whole. The November balloting, a referendum on an aggressively militaristic foreign policy, defiant of the most basic human rights norms, was a stunning setback for peace and progress. No real alternative course of action was offered by a cowed and strategically bankrupt opposition party. But it is still the case that, given the choice between delusional, reckless empire building and the faint possibility of a more measured approach to world affairs a majority of the electorate chose the former. They also chose to reinstate an administration that promotes massive disinvestment from communities of color, a bold assertion of patriarchal values in public policy, and privatization of every last scrap of social capital.
are nearly as many theories about how we arrived at this outcome as there are
voters. But we can be clear about at least one thing. Had it been up to
women-of-color voters, the current resident of the White House would be packing
his bags and heading back to
According to CNN exit polls based on over 13,000 respondents, Bush received 62 percent and Kerry 37 percent of the vote from White men. Fifty-five percent of White women voted for Bush, while 44 percent voted for Kerry. Only thirty percent of men of color voted for Bush, while 67 percent of them voted for Kerry. Most significantly, 75 percent of women of color voted for Kerry, which means less than one-quarter of women of color supported the current administration's policies.
The voting patterns of women of color led the trends in our communities, which voted heavily Democratic. Bush received only 11 percent of Black votes. Unsettled controversies remain regarding the Asian American and Latina/o vote, but Bush received a decided minority of votes in these communities as well. An estimated 24- 34 percent of Asian American voters and 33 percent - 40 percent of Latina/o voters supported Bush.* A substantial majority of Arab American voters also cast their ballots for change. Native American figures are not available.
has been made of the gender gap in US elections. Organizations stake their
political strategies and their income streams on the margins between male and
female voters. The gender gap refers to the difference in the percentage of
women and men who vote for a given candidate, and to the tendency of women to
vote more heavily Democratic than men. On
some statistics talk to us, others virtually scream out for interpretation.
Let's contemplate, for a moment, the
Does it make sense for feminists to give their entire attention on the 5-10 percent electoral gap between women and men and none to the 30-80 percent gap between women of color and white women? What are the strategic consequences of that focus?
If we are striving for reality-based politics, and we certainly cannot afford to do otherwise at this moment in history, we will conduct a deep inquiry into why and how women's political thinking diverges so profoundly along the colorline. What motivated a majority of White women, especially in the South, to identify their interests so thoroughly with those of the Republican Party? How we can begin to bridge the racial chasm in US politics to further a progressive agenda?
There are no ready answers to these lines of inquiry. But perhaps pursuing them honestly will jog us out of denial for long enough to think creatively about how to approach the bleak four years ahead.
* Figures for Black vote from CNN exit polls. Latina/o vote from the Willie C. Velasquez Institute and NBC. Asian American vote from Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund and APIAVote. Arab American vote from Arab American Institute.
figures categorize 61% of
Women's Voices, Women Vote: http://www.wvwv.org/
Votes for Women 2004: http://www.votesforwomen2004.org/
Center for American Women and Politics: http://www.cawp.rutgers.edu/
Willie C. Velasquez Institute: www.wcvi.org
Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund: www.aaldef.org
Arab American Institute: www.aaiusa.org
* Linda Burnham is the Executive Director
of the Women of Color Resource Center in