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A Status Report of the
House Judiciary Committee Democratic Staff
Preserving Democracy: What Went Wrong in Ohio
Appendix A: Video the Vote, A Film by Linda Byrket
Text of Fundraising Letter from Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell
Eyewitness Accounts of Ohio Voter Disenfranchisement
Representative Bob Ney, Ohio: Mr. President, the certificate of the electoral vote of the well-known and great State of Ohio seems to be regular in form and authentic , and it appears therefrom that George W. Bush of the State of Texas received 20 votes for President and DICK CHENEY from the from the State of Wyoming received 20 votes for Vice President.
Dick Cheney: For what purpose does the gentlewoman from Ohio rise?
Representative Stephanie Tubbs Jones, Ohio: Mr. Vice President, I seek to object to the electoral votes of the State of Ohio on the ground that they were not, under all of the known circumstances, regularly given and have a signed objection, and I do have a Senator.
Cheney: Has the Senator signed the objection?
Jones: The Senator has signed the objection.
Cheney: An objection presented in writing and signed by both a Representative and a Senator complies with the law, chapter 1 of title 3, United States Code.
The Clerk will report the objection.
Clerk: We, a Member of the House of Representatives and a United States Senator, object to the counting of the electoral votes of the State of Ohio on the ground that they were not, under all of the known circumstances, regularly given. Signed Stephanie Tubbs Jones, State of Ohio, Barbara Boxer, State of California.
Cheney: The two Houses will withdraw from joint session. Each House will deliberate separately on the pending objection and report its decision back to the joint session.
The Senate will now retire to its Chamber.
"Mr. Speaker and members, I dedicate my objection to Ohio's electoral votes to Mr. Michael Moore..."
-- Representative Maxine Waters, California
Representative Maxine Waters, California: Mr. Speaker and members, I dedicate my objection to Ohio's electoral votes to Mr. Mike Moore, the producer of the documentary Fahrenheit 9/11, and I thank him for educating the world on the threats to our democracy and the proceedings of this House on the acceptance of the Electoral College votes for the 2000 Presidential election.
The Democratic Judiciary Committee Staff Report clearly establishes that the State of Ohio has not met its obligation to conduct a fair election. Ohio's partisan Secretary of State, Mr. Kenneth Blackwell, I am ashamed to say an African American man has failed to follow even Ohio's election procedures, let alone procedures that comply with Federal law and constitutional requirements. Our ancestors who died for the right to vote certainly must be turning over in their graves.
"...they've cast themselves in the role of Michael Moore, concocting wild conspiracy theories..."
-- Representative Deborah Pryce, Ohio
Representative Deborah Pryce, Ohio: But apparently some Democrats only want to gripe about counts, recounts, and recounts of recounts. So eager are they to abandon their job as public servants, they have cast themselves in the role of Michael Moore, concocting wild conspiracy theories to distract the American public. Such aspiring fantasy authors should note the facts before they let the ink dry on this tall tale.
"Why are we here wasting time on silly, Hollywood-inspired conspiracy theories?"
-- Representative Ric Keller, Florida
Representative Ric Keller, Florida: Mr. Speaker, my colleagues across the aisle have two sides to choose from, the John Kerry side that acknowledges the election is over and President Bush has won, or the Michael Moore side that defines democracy as Democrats going to the polls, and conspiracy as Republicans going to the polls. The election is over and the results could not be clearer. Why are we here wasting time on silly, Hollywood-inspired conspiracy theories? Well, since Hollywood likes conspiracy so much, here are some real facts.
On June 23, 2004, the Michael Moore movie Fahrenheit 9/11 premiered in Washington, D.C. According to U.S. News and World Report, the New York Times and the National Journal, one of the few Senators who attended its premier was Senator Barbara Boxer. In his movie, Mr. Moore said it was shameful that not one U.S. Senator objected to the electoral vote in Florida.
Two days ago on January 4, 2005, the same Michael Moore published a new letter to Senator Boxer and other senators, reminding them that they did not object to the electoral vote count 4 years ago, and he requested they rise and object to the vote count from Ohio today. Today, in fact, Senator Boxer objected to the vote count.
"...we are here because not a single election official in Ohio has given us any explanation for the massive and widespread irregularities in the state..."
-- Representative John Conyers, Michigan
Representative John Conyers, Michigan: Most of all we are here because not a single election official in Ohio has given us any explanation for the massive and widespread irregularity in the State. No explanation for the machines in Mahoning County that recorded Kerry votes for Bush. No explanation of improper purging in Cuyahoga County. No explanation for the lockdown in Warren County. No explanation for the 99 percent turnout in Miami County. No explanation for machine tampering in Hocking County.
Read on our Web page 101 pages of great staff work that takes this out of semantics, of partisanship; and I appeal to every Member of this body to sustain this objection.
"... there are irregularities across this country with regard to voting and we as a Congress have an obligation to step up to the plate..."
-- Representative Stephanie Tubbs Jones, Ohio
Representative Stephanie Tubbs Jones, Ohio: But be that as it may, the objection today is raised because there are irregularities across this country with regard to voting and we as a Congress have an obligation to step up to the plate and correct them. All voters ought to be allowed to vote early. There should be established a national holiday for elections to bring attention to the importance of voting. We should require those working at the voting booth to be fairly compensated, adequately educated, and sufficiently supported such that the job importance will be elevated. We need to provide them equipment, whether it is punch card, electronic, whatever it is, that it be fully tested, fully calibrated, and that there be a paper trail.
What happened in Ohio may well have been repeated across this country; yet that is no excuse for us to push the irregularities behind us and go on with the business of the day. This is an important enough issue that all the people across America want us to address it, they want us to deal with it, and they want us to correct it.
I thank all of my colleagues for giving me an opportunity to be heard, for giving us an opportunity to address the issue.
"...the centerpiece of this country is democracy, and the centerpiece of democracy is ensuring the right to vote."
-- Senator Barbara Boxer, California
Senator Barbara Boxer, California: Let me simply say to my colleagues: I have great respect for all of you. But I think it is key, whether it is Republicans or Democrats, that we understand that the centerpiece of this country is democracy, and the centerpiece of democracy is ensuring the right to vote.
I ask you, my friends from both sides of the aisle, when we get busy working within the next few weeks, let us not turn away from the things that happened in Ohio. Our people are dying all over the world. A lot of them are from my State. For what reason? To bring democracy to the far corners of the globe. Let us fix it here, and let us do it the first thing out.
"...the only place in the election of 2000 that you saw the Congressional Black Caucus going over there to the Senate to try to be recognized was in Michael Moore's documentary. No place else..."
-- Representative John Conyers, Michigan
Representative John Conyers, Michigan: Now, we owe a debt of gratitude to our judiciary staff, which worked on this document, because this tells the whole thing. It's on our Web page, and there are copies available. It's a tremendous document. And it's going into the congressional record as soon as I get back on the floor.
Let me say one other thing that I wasn't going to mention until Maxine Waters mentioned Michael Moore, who has been attacked as a propagandist and so forth. But the only place in the election of 2000 that you saw the Congressional Black Caucus going over there to the Senate to try to be recognized was in Michael Moore's documentary. No place else.
This press closed it down. And that's why the whole thing was to demonize Moore.
And what he was doing was not being a propagandist, he brought the truth to the American people, just as we bring the truth to the American people tonight.
Now, let me close with this thought: The arguments that the other side used were absolutely insulting. No member that supported these objections ever said that Kerry was the winner. No one ever claimed that there was fraud and crime committed.
We made many references to questions that were suspicious, but we never made the attacks to which they argued repeatedly, which were a straw man.
And so, I am so proud of everybody here for forcing this to a head because they know we can use it from now on.
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