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Thursday, January 06, 2005

74 to 1 

Barbara Boxer came through on the floor of the Senate this morning. Although several of her fellow Democrats used the occasion to bloviate about the need for election reform, she was the the only Senator to cast a vote against recognizing Ohio's slate of electors:
Democrats turned Congress' quadrennial counting of electoral votes on Thursday into a battle over Election Day problems in Ohio, forcing the House and Senate to consider a challenge to the presidential count for only the second time since 1877.

President Bush (news - web sites)'s re-election triumph over Sen. John Kerry (news - web sites), D-Mass., was not in jeopardy. But after Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones (news, bio, voting record), D-Ohio, and Sen. Barbara Boxer (news, bio, voting record), D-Calif., lodged a formal protest that the Ohio votes "were not, under all known circumstances, regularly given," the House and Senate recessed their joint session as required by law and held separate debates on the Ohio irregularities.

Democratic leaders distanced themselves from the effort, which many in the party worried would make them look like sore losers. Bush won Ohio by 118,000 votes and carried the national contest by 3.3 million votes, and Kerry himself — meeting with troops in the Middle East — did not support the challenge.

Even so, Boxer, Tubbs Jones and several other Democrats, including many black lawmakers, tried using the sessions to underscore the missing voting machines, unusually long lines and other problems that plagued some Ohio districts, many in minority neighborhoods, on Nov. 2.

"If they were willing to stand in polls for countless hours in the rain, as many did in Ohio, than I can surely stand up for them here in the halls of Congress," Tubbs Jones said . . . .

The Senate session lasted just over an hour and ended when the chamber voted 74-1 to uphold Ohio's votes, with Boxer the lone vote. The House used its full time and followed suit, 267-31.
Boxer claimed that in 2000 she had wanted to join members of the Black Congressional Caucus in challenging the Florida slate, but held back at Al Gore's request. (She later came to "regret her silence.") A few highlights from her statement earlier today:
We have fought for social justice. We have fought for economic justice. We have fought for environmental justice. We have fought for criminal justice.

Now we must add a new fight – the fight for electoral justice.

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 of their community, their vote has as much weight as the vote of any Senator, any Congressperson, any President, any cabinet member, or any CEO of any Fortune 500 Corporation . . . .

Why is it when 638 people voted at a precinct in Franklin County, a voting machine awarded 4,258 extra votes to George Bush. Thankfully, they fixed it – but how many other votes did the computers get wrong?

Why did Franklin County officials reduce the number of electronic voting machines in downtown precincts, while adding them in the suburbs? This also led to long lines.

In Cleveland, why were there thousands of provisional ballots disqualified after poll workers gave faulty instructions to voters?

Because of this, and voting irregularities in so many other places, I am joining with Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones to cast the light of truth on a flawed system which must be fixed now.

Our democracy is the centerpiece of who we are as a nation. And it is the fondest hope of all Americans that we can help bring democracy to every corner of the world.

As we try to do that, and as we are shedding the blood of our military to this end, we must realize that we lose so much credibility when our own electoral system needs so much improvement.
We don't want to wear out your typing fingers, but please take a moment to thank Sen. Boxer for her heroic efforts here. Today, in a roomful of cowards, she was Gary Cooper.

Thanks to Zemblan patriots K.Z., J.D., J.M. and B.K. for various links. Oh, by the way -- George Bush is officially president again.

UPDATE (via Zemblan patriot J.M.): The 31 "yea" votes from the House: Brown (Corrine), Carson, Clay, Clyburn, Conyers, Davis (IL), Evans, Farr, Filner, Grijalva, Hastings (FL), Hinchey, Jackson (IL), Jackson-Lee (TX), Johnson, E. B., Jones (OH), Kilpatrick (MI), Kucinich, Lee, Lewis (GA), Markey, McKinney, Olver, Owens, Pallone, Payne, Schakowsky, Thompson (MS), Waters, Watson, Woolsey. We hope you have the good fortune to be represented by one of the above.

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