Tuesday, January 11, 2005
Flying a flag upside-down is a distress signal. Some weblogs are displaying the inverted U.S. flag as a symbol of a nation in distress. Now mine is too.
Several new articles in the Free Press. I flaked on posting about them yesterday, and I need to leave for work in a few minutes. So, rather than taking a chance of forgetting again, I'll just post the titles, and anyone who is interested can find all of them in the Election 2004 section of the Free Press.
"Rally Continues Drive for Democracy"
January 9, 2005
"Estimated vote count in Ohio"
January 8, 2005
"January 6 Washington, D.C. rally report"
January 8, 2005
"Together, we moved three mountains"
January 8, 2005
"What the election challenge means"
January 8, 2005
Posted at 03:58 pm by Renee_in_Ohio
Blackwell wants to limit state spending
Two articles came to me via keyword news for Kenneth Blackwell today, one describing how he wants to limit state spending, and an editorial saying why he shouldn't:
Posted at 03:48 pm by Renee_in_Ohio
Sunday, January 09, 2005
Final Election Update from georgia10
From georgia10 on Kos:
I have a feeling many here are suffering from election fatigue. But I thought one last update, a post-mortem of sorts, was in order. Let's tie up some loose ends, shall we?
Click here for more.
Posted at 07:06 pm by Renee_in_Ohio
Saturday, January 08, 2005
Blackwell letter asks for illegal contributions
From the Ohio News Network website:
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The state's chief elections officer, already accused of mishandling the presidential vote in Ohio and criticized for backing President Bush, sent a fund-raising letter for his 2006 gubernatorial campaign in which he asks for illegal corporate contributions.
Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell, a Republican who co-chaired the Bush-Cheney campaign in Ohio, said the request for corporate checks was an oversight. His spokesman, Carlo LoParo, said on Saturday that any corporate donations would be returned.
In the five-page letter to GOP donors and activists, Blackwell said, "And with your help, I intend to provide fresh, new leadership and bold reforms to Ohio as our next Republican Governor." A pledge card accompanying the letter said "corporate and personal checks are welcome." Corporate donations are illegal in Ohio.
Jeff Ledbetter, fund-raising coordinator for Blackwell's gubernatorial campaign, blamed a printer for using a template for an issue committee, which is allowed to accept corporate donations.
He told The Columbus Dispatch for a story on Saturday that no corporate donations have been received in response to the letter.
Click here for the rest.
Posted at 09:02 pm by Renee_in_Ohio
Friday, January 07, 2005
Challenging the electors: what it meant
Yesterday was a historic day, the first time since 1877 that there was a challenge to the certification of electors in congress. Many people worked very hard to see that this challenge occurred with a senator signed on--to prevent a replay of the disgraceful day in 2001 when members of the Congressional Black Caucus were unable to get one senator to join in their objection.
It was a very emotional moment to watch the scene play out differently yesterday..."Has a senator signed the objection?" "Yes." Because the objection was signed by both a representative and a senator, the certification of the electors was interrupted, and members of the Senate and the House of Representatives retired to separate chambers to debate the challenge. The consistent theme of the individuals challenging Ohio's electors (as you will see in Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones' speech below) was that they did not expect to see Bush's Ohio win overturned. The speeches and statements of the Democrats who spoke highlighted the importance of electoral reform, giving example after example of American citizens (disproportionately African American) who were either deprived of their right to cast their vote, or who were subjected to unreasonable hardship. They discussed the many ways in which Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell threw up new roadblocks for Ohio citizens as they attempted to register to vote and cast their ballots.
Sadly, if you did not watch the proceedings, but only read about them later from a mainstream news outlet, you were very unlikely to get the same sense of "what this is all about."
Bush carries Electoral College after delay (Oh, what a nuisance--there was a "delay". There was also a DeLay, who, in an amazing show of chutzpah (or is it unmitigated gall? hypocracy?) for someone who is, himself, under investigation for ethics violations, called the effort "a shame" and its goal "not justice but noise."
Ohio Clash Starts Session on Partisan Note (Why should that have been partisan? Shouldn't fair elections be a nonpartisan issue?)
Dem Lays Out Case Against Bush's Ohio Win
Sigh. Some people just don't get it. But people who genuinely want to get it, and understand what yesterday was really about, are not being served by the mainstream media. Jon Stewart was right.
Below, you can find the words of some of the people who challenged the Ohio electors yesterday, and see what they said it was all about.
Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones' Congressional Speech
Mr. Speaker and ladies and gentlemen. I, Stephane Tubbs Jones, a Representative from the state of Ohio, and Senator Barbara Boxer, a Senator from California, have objected to the counting of electoral votes of the state of Ohio on the grounds that they were not, under all the known circumstances, regularly given.
I thank God that I have a senator joining me in this objection. And I appreciate Senator Boxer's willingness to listen to the plight of hundreds and even thousands of Ohio voters, that, for a variety of reasons, were denied the right to vote.
Unfortunately, objecting to the electoral vote from Ohio is the only immediate avenue to bring these issues to light. While some have called our cause foolish, I can assure you that my parents, Mary and Andrew Tubbs, did not raise any fools. They raised a lawyer, they raised a former judge, they raised a prosecutor and thank God they lived to see me serve as a member of the House of Representatives.
I am duty-bound to follow the law and apply to the law to the facts as I find them. And 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. If they are willing to stand at polls for countless hours in the rain, as many did in Ohio, then I should surely stand up for them here in the halls of Congress. Senator Barbara Boxer's Objection
Read the rest here.
For most of us in the Senate and the House, we have spent our lives fighting for things we believe in – always fighting to make our nation better.
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.
I am sure that every one of my colleagues – Democrat, Republican, and Independent – agrees with that statement. That in the voting booth, every one is equal.
So now it seems to me that under the Constitution of the United States, which guarantees the right to vote, we must ask:
Why did voters in Ohio wait hours in the rain to vote? Why were voters at Kenyan College, for example, made to wait in line until nearly 4 a.m. to vote because there were only two machines for 1300 voters?
Why did poor and predominantly African-American communities have disproportionately long waits?
Why in Franklin County did election officials only use 2,798 machines when they said they needed 5,000? Why did they hold back 68 machines in warehouses? Why were 42 of those machines in predominantly African-American districts?
Why did, in Columbus area alone, an estimated 5,000 to 10,000 voters leave polling places, out of frustration, without having voted? How many more never bothered to vote after they heard about this?Read the rest here
Congressman Frank Pallone Jr., in a guest post on Blog for America, wrote:
After four years of "improving" our system, the results remain ultimately the same as they did in 2000. It is clear that we have not done enough to fix the shortfalls in our voting system to ensure that segments of our population no longer feel disenfranchised. There can be no denial of these failures. Our government must work to ensure that voter's rights are protected and that all votes are counted, even if 100% of the citizens go to the polls on Election Day.
Since the 2000 election, our government has spent almost one hundred billion dollars trying to ensure all Iraqis have the right to vote, but only three billion dollars to ensure we Americans have the same right. We have ATM machines on every corner that keep our financial records, yet we can not provide an adequate number of voting machines capable of recording our votes accurately. Voting is the most fundamental aspect of our democracy; we must do everything in our power to protect it.
Today, the outcome of the election did not change. However, the voices of those citizens who did not have their votes counted on Election Day were finally heard. (Click here to read the whole statement.)
And finally, a brief attempt to explain what I felt as I watched the proceedings yesterday.
When I was growing up Catholic in the 1970s, the nature of "going to confession" was changing. When I went for the first few times, the assigned penance was the then-standard, "Say X number of Hail Marys/Our Fathers." Looking back, it reminds me of having kids write "I will not..." some large number of times.
I can't tell you when or why it changed--maybe it was when we got a new priest, but at one point I went to confession, and for my penance, the priest told me to do something to "make it better". So, for example, if I had told a lie, I was supposed to go back to the person and tell them the truth. If I had been mean to my younger brother, I was supposed to do something nice for him.
Gotta say, I would have preferred to knock out a dozen Hail Mary's or so. But I had to admit that "doing penance" by making amends in some way is much more meaningful.
Not a perfect analogy, I know, but I couldn't help but think of this when I watched yesterday's electoral challenge. The fight for fair elections is far from over, but at least some of the Democrats finally did their "penance".
Update: jmknapp at Kos has a diary with the names and pictures of those who stood for justice.
Posted at 11:21 am by Renee_in_Ohio
Thursday, January 06, 2005
Electoral College Debate on C-SPAN Now
ON CAPITOL HILL
Electoral College Debate
The House and Senate return to their respective chambers to debate the irregularities in Ohio during the November 2004 election. As always, sessions of each are airing LIVE in their entirety. Visit our Congress page for the gateway to our Congressional resources links.
THE HOUSE ON C-SPAN
THE SENATE ON C-SPAN2
Posted at 02:02 pm by Renee_in_Ohio
Democrats to Force Debate on Ohio Results
Democrats to Force Debate on Ohio Results
Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., signed a challenge mounted by House Democrats to Ohio's 20 electoral votes, which put Bush over the top. By law, a protest signed by members of the House and Senate requires both chambers to meet separately for up to two hours to consider it. Lawmakers are allowed to speak for no more than five minutes each.
"I have concluded that objecting to the electoral votes from Ohio is the only immediate way to bring these issues to light by allowing you to have a two-hour debate to let the American people know the facts surrounding Ohio's election," Boxer wrote in a letter to Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones, D-Ohio, a leader of the Democratic effort.
The action seems certain to leave Bush's victory intact because both Republican-controlled chambers would have to uphold the objection for Ohio's votes to be invalidated. But supporters of the drive hope their move will shine a national spotlight on the Ohio voting problems.
Underscoring that the outcome was not in doubt, Kerry, who conceded to Bush the day after the Nov. 2 election, said he would not join the challenge. The four-term Massachusetts senator was in the Middle East, thanking U.S. troops for their service.
In a statement, Kerry said there are "very troubling questions" about the Ohio voting and he would present a plan later to improve voting procedures.
Many Democrats oppose challenging the Ohio vote, concerned that it would do little but antagonize voters who consider the election over. The numbers are also politically daunting: Bush won an Ohio recount by more than 118,000 votes, and won nationally by more than 3 million.
Bush defeated Kerry by 286 to 252 electoral votes, with 270 needed for victory.
On Wednesday, Rep. John Conyers of Michigan, top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee , issued a report claiming "numerous, serious election irregularities in the Ohio presidential election."
The report, mirroring complaints from Ohio voters, cites machine shortages and extremely long lines in minority and Democratic precincts. It alleges intimidation of voters, a purging of registration lists and other irregularities.
Many problems stemmed from "intentional misconduct and illegal behavior" by Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell, the co-chair of the Bush-Cheney campaign in the state, the report argues.
Blackwell spokesman Carlo LoParo called the report "ludicrous" and a waste of taxpayer dollars.
Right. Somehow I see those claims as having much credibility, as Blackwell recently sent out a fundraising letter boasting that he had helped deliver Ohio to Bush.
Posted at 10:25 am by Renee_in_Ohio
Wednesday, January 05, 2005
Blackwell brags about delivering Ohio to Bush
From the Cobb/LaMarche web site
Ohio Republican Secretary of State Brags about Delivering Ohio for Bush in Gubernatorial Fundraising Letter
January 5, 2005, BlueLemur.com
By John Byrne, RAW STORY Editor
Excerpt from the blog diary:
Ohio's Republican Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell boasted of helping "deliver" Ohio for President Bush and said he was "truly pleased" to announce Bush had won Ohio even before all of the state's votes had been counted in his own fundraising letter, RAW STORY has discovered.
The letter, which was received by a Butler County resident Dec. 31, is a plea to support Blackwell's campaign for governor. The resident has asked to remain anonymous.
In apparent disregard for his nonpartisan role as Ohio's chief election official, the Republican Secretary and chairman of Bush's Ohio reelection campaign slammed Senator Kerry as a "disaster" who would have reaped "terrible" and "horrible" results on both Ohio and the United States.
We all knew Kenneth Blackwell was planning to run for governor. The only thing that is a bit surprising is that he actually has the unmitigated gall to send out a fundraising letter, in which he boasts about how well the election went. This in spite of the fact that Conyers and others are still working on getting a senator to join them in their challenge of Ohio's electors tomorrow. Some of the article in Raw Story can be seen below the fold.
Further, Blackwell's use of the word "deliver" finds striking resonance with another controversial fundraising letter sent by the CEO of voting machine manufacturer Diebold Walden O'Dell in the summer of 2003 when he said he was "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year."
Blackwell's campaign office confirmed that they that sent the letter but offered no further comment.
I hope anyone who has not yet written their senator and asked them to refuse to certify Ohio's electors will consider doing so now. If Blackwell's lie is reinforced by the challenge falling flat tomorrow, then we get to endure months of Blackwell campaigning on the way the 2004 election in Ohio, which some warned would be "another Florida", went off without a hitch thanks to the great job he did.
Posted at 11:15 am by Renee_in_Ohio
Tuesday, January 04, 2005
Bush campaigners want challenge dropped
The noive (channeling Cowardly Lion from the Wizard of Oz) of some people...
Bush Backers Want Charges Dropped (from BET)
Bush campaigners ask the Ohio Supreme Court to throw out challenges to vote result.
By Tracy L. Scott, BET.com Staff Writer
Posted Jan. 4, 2005 – President Bush’s campaign workers have countered the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court with one of their own: throw out the challenge.
Jackson repeatedly suggests that the Ohio presidential election was unfair and did not protect the voting rights of Black and poor voters. Paper ballots, many of which were discarded, were disproportionately provided for those voters. Long lines and voter intimidation kept some minority voters from the polls, Jackson and other voting advocates suggest. Thirty-seven Ohio voters filed a challenge with the Ohio Supreme Court requesting that the result, which deemed Bush the victor
Click here for the rest. Oh, okay, if Bush's people want the challenge thrown out, then who are we to argue. In other news, Fox Says, "No really! You can trust me! Who better to keep watch over the henhouse?" Please.
See also Rally in Columbus Monday for National Election Reform
Posted at 01:25 pm by Renee_in_Ohio
Monday, January 03, 2005
Blackwell, and why we're still fighting
Posted at 10:54 am by Renee_in_Ohio