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election fraud | government

Sen Wyden endorses Rep Conyers' Report, but certifies election

Here is Ron Wyden's speech regarding the electoral college and Ohio vote fraud.
Statement on the Electoral College Vote Certification
Senator Ron Wyden

January 6, 2005

M. President, it is extraordinarily important for both sides to be gracious when an American election is over. But I also believe it's extraordinarily important not to ignore urgently needed election reforms such as requiring a paper trail for every single ballot that is cast in our country. Such a paper trail is required in my home state. In this last election, record numbers of Oregonians voted. There weren't allegations of fraud. The system worked, and worked well. Unfortunately, that is not the case in too many communities in our country.

M. President, not long ago the United States Senate spent weeks debating whether one dog in Missouri was an illegal voter. I worked for months back then on a bipartisan basis to make sure Mitzi would never be allowed to vote again.

Now, in the name of justice, when hundreds of thousands of Americans feel they have been disenfranchised, I do not think their concerns should be swept under the rug.

Democracy cannot succeed unless voters are confident at the end of the election that the outcome is accurate and fair. Unfortunately, the fiasco in Florida in 2000 has now been followed by a large number of irregularities in 2004 in a variety of states. These continuing problems threaten to further erode voter confidence -- to the point that all future elections may be subject to accusations of stolen elections. In my view, that would strain the fundamental relationship between the government and the people, and place at risk the future of our democracy.

On December 1 of 2004, the Boston Globe detailed voting irregularities across the country that should trouble every member of this body. In North Carolina, Indiana, Washington, Ohio, and Florida, the Globe found significant problems with the vote. While not proving of a volume of irregularities that would have changed the outcome of the Presidential election, when you take their findings together with other documented problems, it raises significant and troubling questions. I believe these questions can only be answered if this Congress finishes the job of election reform.

On November 22, 2004, I wrote to Representative John Conyers, to lend my support for an investigation into voting irregularities in Ohio. In the letter I urged him "to address voting irregularities and possible fraud in Ohio in the 2004 election." I had heard from hundreds of my constituents in Oregon who are concerned that the 2004 election in Ohio may have been tainted by systemic voting irregularities.

Representative Conyers' report was released yesterday. The report is a detailed examination of evidence of serious abuse of the voting process. The report concludes "there are ample grounds for challenging the electors from Ohio," and calls for "additional and more vigorous hearings into the irregularities in the Ohio presidential election and around the country."

Two years ago Congress passed the Help America Vote Act to prevent polling places across the country from looking like Dodge City before the marshals showed up.

I fought hard to make sure every registered voter who cast a provisional ballot would have their vote counted. I worked for months to make sure Oregonians who vote by mail didn't have to drive by the Xerox store to make a copy of their utility bill before sending in their ballot.

The Help America Vote Act worked well in many places. It worked well in my own state of Oregon, where voters set a few records last November. More than 2.1 million registered to vote, the most in state history, and 86.5 percent of registered voters participated - the most since the l960 Kennedy-Nixon presidential race. And because of the provision protecting Oregon's vote-by-mail system, Oregonians were able to cast a record number of votes by mail in the presidential race.

But the Help America Vote Act didn't work well in Ohio. As documented in the Conyers report, the evidence there raises deeply troubling questions about whether everyone in Ohio had an equal opportunity to vote and to have their vote count.

The Washington Post, New York Times, Cincinnati Enquirer and other papers reported that election officials shifted electronic voting machines from traditionally low income, urban precincts to wealthier suburban precincts, or skimped on the number of machines needed in some college towns. This forced voters to spend hour upon hour waiting in line, or to give up voting entirely and go home.

In one county, where only 800 citizens were registered to vote, more than 4,500 votes were counted. In another precinct, where only a few hundred votes were cast for presidential candidates, lesser known candidates received tens of thousands of votes. That left me scratching my head. Why would voters wait hours in line to cast a vote for a state Supreme Court candidate but not for president of the United States? That defies common sense.

The Washington Post reported that in Youngstown, dozens of electronic voting machines actually "flipped" or switched votes from one presidential candidate to another. This was confirmed by a veteran reporter for a local newspaper, the Buckeye Review, who said she pushed the button for Kerry and watched her vote jump to the Bush column. Voting machines in a precinct in Youngstown recorded a negative 25 million votes.

The decisions made by Ohio officials about who could and could not use provisional ballots were also disturbing to me. As a principal author of the HAVA section allowing provisional ballots, I found the Ohio Secretary of State's decision to restrict the ability of voters to use provisional ballots a clear violation of the spirit if not the letter of the law.

I do not seek to judge the motivation behind these incidents or whether there was any motivation at all involved. The fact is that when they are added together, these incidents represent a disturbing pattern and they disenfranchised voters.

HAVA was a good first step in enfranchising more Americans, but clearly the law fell short. The one lesson that should have been learned from Florida was that the elections process has to be made more simple and less complicated. Ohio shows this lesson has yet to be learned.

I have profound respect for my friend and colleague, Mr. Conyers. He is a thoughtful and hard working member of the House, and a long-time champion for truth and justice in America. I do not agree with his recommendation that Congress should vote against certifying the election because no one has yet shown adequate evidence of widespread fraud and abuse that might have changed the outcome. To fail to certify the election absent proof of this level of error would inflict far greater damage to our democracy and future elections than anything that has occurred to date.

That having been said, I do agree with and endorse two of the three recommendations from the Conyers Report. The second recommendation asks that Congress engage in further hearings regarding the Ohio allegations and goes so far as to ask for a joint House-Senate committee to investigate the matter. I believe that this would help uncover the problems, dispel any myths, and focus our attention for the difficult work ahead. That work is the subject of the third recommendation of the Conyers Report. That recommendation calls for a legislative response to the problems in the 2004 election, such as quote "more specific federal protections for federal elections, particularly in the areas of audit capability for electronic voting machines and casting and counting of provisional ballots."

Again, the Conyers report does not find sufficient evidence of fraud and abuse to change the outcome of the presidential election in Ohio. But there is one simple step that I and others have worked on for years, that would go a long way to restoring confidence in election results. That is to require a paper trail for every ballot. If this one requirement had been in place, there would be far fewer questions today.

The problems of abuse and fraud found in Ohio last November must be addressed before the next election so that all the American people believe the result is legitimate. I ask my colleagues to begin working with me today on a bipartisan basis to make sure that the problems in Ohio and elsewhere are fixed before the next elections. Otherwise, the growing lack of confidence in the conduct of our elections will begin to overshadow the elections, and there will be many more members of the Senate reluctantly compelled to the floor demanding to know what happened.

M. President, I yield the floor.

homepage: homepage: http://wyden.senate.gov/media/speeches/2005/01062005_electoral.html

add a comment on this article

NEVER again! 06.Jan.2005 18:27

an angry critter

So why didn't Wyden vote with Boxer? I will NEVER vote for this sleaze bag again nor will any of my family.

Talk is cheap. 06.Jan.2005 18:44

Helen Wheels

Yada yada yada. Enough hot air already.

A life-long Democrat, I've been voting for 29 years. I've finally come to the conclusion that many have come to long ago. The Democrats don't represent us either. What we have in D.C. is a constituency of D and R politicians who represent not the people but themselves, and their only purpose and goal is to reelect themselves. How do they do that? By compromising and never sticking their necks out on any issue.

We'll NEVER ave fair elections again. Did Wyden say anything about getting rid of the electronic machines with their proprietary software from 2 companies that openly support asshole Bush?

Paper trail? Big deal.

Dissapointed 06.Jan.2005 19:54

ChrisPDX

I almost cried when I heard him say no on C-span. There you have it. Now I really know where I stand. Let's stop paying our Fed taxes. Just claim 10 allowences to not be detected. Save all that money. Take out your retirement, then MOVE OUT, before bush closes the boarders. This has gotten way out of control. I shake my head in disbelief. These people are insane and sick.

Why Not Go To Mail-In Ballots Countrywide? 06.Jan.2005 20:00

Cadbury

I can't understand why the entire country doesn't conduct elections as we do here in Oregon. It would probably cost less if states and counties didn't have to contract with Diebold and its ilk and it would remove the taint of real or perceived impropriety in giving over control of elections to a company owned by people affiliated with one party or another. AND there would be a paper trail.

I agree that the Demos totally folded today. The only bright spot was Barbara Boxer's willingness to stand with the black caucus and Ohio's voters. Utterances by the likes of Tom DeLay were nauseating in their content of spleen and misinterpretation. Who are they fooling? They would have been the first folks on the "voter fraud" bandwagon if the results hadn't gone their way and it would NOT be about the rights of the American voters, but about their candidate winning at all costs. But when they win, everyone else is a "poor sport" and "get over it." Bush's historic "win", my ass.

DeLay is totally corrupt and simply poisonous. He's so full of shit, he squeaks. Compared to him, many of the pests he annihilated while bug spraying in Texas are Mother Theresa.

True colors showed today 06.Jan.2005 20:01

District of Criminals

There have been past and present bills in Congress that would require e-voting machines to record a paper trail. Republicans like Tom Delay and Denny Hastert have fought relentlessly to keep them from getting out of committee, now we know why. Regardless of ones party affiliation, you should find this disturbing.
Tom Delay was heard stating with umbrage that we the people would never be allowed a paper trail. Any doubters out there as to the state of our "Republic"?

Time for Cascadia! 06.Jan.2005 20:49

we MUST be Free

this is just more proof we NEED to break away from this fascist system. And to be honest I would like to see Wyden kicked out of even Cascadia.

true evil 06.Jan.2005 20:49

Oueen of the Rebellion

They will call us conspirasy theorists,crazy,nutters,publicty seekers whatever. This is thier agenda and they are going to play it out. Read David Ickes " The Biggest Secret " I fear for my country and my people and I will resist this government. I am no longer a Democrat and this is no longer a democracy. It is a hipocracy!

wyden is a scumbag 06.Jan.2005 21:43

x

look at his voting record. it reads like he's looking for a bush appointment. he's enjoyed a 'progressive' mask in this state for too long.

his statement is set to play to us so we think he's still the same ron wyden his image has portrayed, but his vote, as many many others he's cast, shows he's truly just another scumbag working for the neo-cons.

this is his usual tactic. vote one way, then make a statement saying he plans to work to reform the very thing he just confirmed.

fuck wyden, I don't care if bill o'reilly is running against him next term, I'm voting against him.
because there's no difference when it comes to the actual voting.

Succeed? 06.Jan.2005 23:13

ChrisPDX

Can we really succeed? What would it take? Could it happen? I will stay if it's possible. Let me know soon.

secede yes! Cascadia 07.Jan.2005 00:58

-|

I believe it is time to not just talk of secession or annexation to Canada ... its time to act upon it! This is our real hope for those states with a majority of rational people. If we do not act now we will be slowly undermined, divided, picked off or out right removed. I know some will say this is not a red-blue state divided and that it is a coup by a right wing group. I believe you are right this is not the typical democrat-republican dispute we normally see. We must rise about the limited political system that was thrown on our shoulders. We must not see things in red and blue, but as plutocracy versus the masses. Secession or annexation could potentially save the lives of millions. You may ask "save from what?"
Many could tell you from FEMA camps and prolonged wars, but the reality is it will be poverty, inadequate health care, lack of choices because of lack of education, symptoms post traumatic stress such as alcoholism or substance abuse, suicide, violent crime, mal-nutrition and many other things associated with the developing world. I ask you who read this is this what we want our children to face? is this what we wish to see our parents and sisters and brothers go through? You may argue is it right for those left in the "red" states after secession to suffer? no its not right, but those of use in predominant rational thinking states or regions can best help them by dissolving this empire and by removing the fangs of this monster. I know the world would join us iin such an endeavour. It is really only up to you.
We need to start networking and that must not be done with prying eyes upon us. We need to start talking in each neighborhood, workplace, shop, store, classroom, lunchroom, bus stop, cafe and all those other lovely places people socialize.

Mail-In Ballots Won't Save You... 07.Jan.2005 06:36

alsis38 alsis35@yahoo.com

...if a major party hates your candidate enough to force him/her off the ballot through highly selective application of petition signature rules. That's what happened vis-a-vis Bradbury's machinations against Nader in Oregon. No one will ever know how many votes Nader received in the state as a write-in: Ten ? One hundred ? One thousand ? Bradbury effectively "disappeared" his political enemy and no one cares, because some votes are more equal than others. [clears throat]

I will never forgive the Democratic Party for that kind of manipulative, anti-democracy shit. Never.

We CAN secede 07.Jan.2005 08:28

cascadian believer

Yes, we CAN secede. It will take time, It will take will. It will take risk, both personal and societal. But we can do it. Read the last lines of the Declaration of Independence. If they could break away from a major world power, and fight their way to freedom, then so can we. But to do so, we must, like those long-ago rebels, pledge our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor on the cause. We must be willing to risk everything that we have, even our lives, in order to achieve our dreams.

Who's ready for that?

secede? 07.Jan.2005 09:22

succeed

im not from oregon, but i thought that oregon gave its electoral votes to bush. is this true? if so, how the hell are you planning on seceding? who will secede? portland?

What!!! 07.Jan.2005 09:35

Den Mark, Vancouver WA

Oregon is a BLUE state! Where the hell are YOU!

MoveOutUSA 07.Jan.2005 16:41

BilBo


It's probably too late 07.Jan.2005 18:13

Anarchy-nonymous

I do what I can, but I tell you it is probably too late for our Democracy, which effectively died in 2000. The key was the telecommunications act back in 1996 that allowed Neocons in the know to gain a chokehold on what America sees. As William Kristol once said, "what gets on television is reality."

There is hope, because despite this incredible grip on information, the brainwashed masses only make up 50% of America. The stimuli you put before someones eyes and eyes will never trump the hunger in their bellies, the pain from inadequate health care, or the cold in the air around them. Control of the media has been mostly lost, but it's not the end game. Idealogical control of the legal system itself is the ultimate goal, because then political dissidents can be silenced and alternative media turned off.

MOVE out dot org is a crappy website......dont be fooled 08.Jan.2005 01:40

ChjrisPDX

Fuck YOu

No reflection on Bilbo but 08.Jan.2005 05:03

-

That's what they want us to do. They want us to move out and make it even easier for them to take over the country. We're already so lame, but if we go it will be much easier. Don't move to Canada. Stay and fight these evil bastards. Visit Canada though. It's a great place!

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