Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Conyers on 2004 in Ohio, and 2006 everywhere

Rep. Conyers has posted a long piece discussing the 2004 Ohio presidential election, as well as what progressives need to do in the 2006 congressional election. His discussion of what happened in 2004 in Ohio is excellent:
I know that many of my fellow progressives think the official margin of victory for Bush in Ohio, well over 100,000 votes, is too large a margin to be entirely reversed by proof of fraud or malfeasance. For them to believe that to be the case, they need to see some reasonable quantification of the actual voters who were disenfranchised and, in turn, the actual votes that were lost. After all, unlike the Republicans who still think Saddam Hussein possessed WMD when we invaded Iraq and believe we are winning the war, who think that tax cuts for the wealthy will grow the economy and reduce the deficit, who think a grieving mother and an Ambassador's wife are "fair game," and who think that the way to fix Social Security is to destroy it, we progressives are a "reality based community."

The problem with answering my fellow progressives' challenge for numbers is that so much of what happened in Ohio centered on unquantifiable events that makes counting the number of disenfranchised voters impossible. How can we determine exactly how many Kerry voters turned around and went home facing hopelessly long lines at the polls? Or how many voters were never registered, and were turned away on election day, because of bizarre and conflicting Ken Blackwell edits about the weight of voter registration forms? Or how many votes were lost because of machine defects or manipulation?

What I can say is what the House Judiciary Committee Democratic Staff said best in the Conyers report: "We have found numerous, serious election irregularities in the Ohio presidential election, which resulted in a significant disenfranchisement of voters. Cumulatively, these irregularities, which affected hundreds of thousand of votes and voters in Ohio, raise grave doubts regarding whether it can be said the Ohio electors selected on December 13, 2004, were chosen in a manner that conforms to Ohio law, let alone federal requirements and constitutional standards."
But his piece is not about rehashing the 2004 election; it's about looking forward to the 2006 election, and realizing that positive change can occur. For instance:
Republicans find themselves with plunging poll numbers and an uncertain electoral landscape in 2006. Failure for them in their drive to keep control of the House of Representatives, and one party rule in Washington, means that, if reelected, I will become Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Henry Waxman will become Chairman of the Government Reform Committee, Louise Slaughter will become Chair of the Rules Committee, Charlie Rangel will Chair the Ways and Means Committee, and Nancy Pelosi will be the first woman to be Speaker of the House. That means accountability for this Administration with a stiff dose of the truth.

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