Electors across US break traditional pro forma ritual to use electoral college to protest election
by : Joseph Lopisi
Saturday December 18, 2004 - 21:04
Massachusetts Coalition against Election Fraud accomplished having some Electoral College Electors submit a unanimous Motion calling for a complete investigation of this presidential election. We are now working on having United States senators join a group of United States Representatives in not certifying the electoral College vote on January 6.
Across the US electors in at least five states, for the first time in history, turned the heavily scripted and ritualized electoral college proceedings into a forum for political action. Frustrated by the relative inattention to wide spread real voting violations now numbering in the tens of thousands, Electors called for congressional investigation and legislative action.
Vermont electors, on the record and in front of TV cameras and a number of statewide media outlets, expressed their concerns for our democracy with "57,000 complaints already received by the Congressional Judiciary Committee, we call on Congress and especially our Vermont Congressional delegation to investigate." They enumerated credible violations affecting hundreds of thousands of voters across the US, Elector Jeffrey Taylor reports.
Opening the traditional statement of thanks for being introduced at the beginning of the Massachusetts Electoral College 2004 session, Elector Cathleen Ashton of Wayland, took the opportunity to demand "Every vote be counted and every vote count."
As described in local news reports, for the first time in history, Electors in Maine also went on the record using the voting process to "call for national voting reforms." Their statement pointed to the kind of electoral reforms Maine has that lead to more genuine elections, such as same day registration, allowing ex-felons to vote, and clean election reforms "but our four electoral votes are held meaningless if our sister states cannot hold elections that are fair, accurate and verifiable," Elector Lu Bauer said after the brief ceremony at the State House.
Most extraordinarily, one elector in California cast his ballot provisional upon "all votes being counted " provisional, absentee, under- and overvotes, computerized without paper ballots, even getting valid votes from those turned away illegally, intimidated, discouraged by incredibly long waits, etc.? This incredible act as a creative attempt to get this message read on the floor of Congress when they open the ballots on January 6 to consider whether to certify the vote.
"Never has such a vote been cast by an elector and without a parliamentarian to rule it in or out at the electoral college level, we await whether Congress will acknowledge this type of provisional vote and address the issues this elector sought to raise or whether they too will ignore provisional votes," said Grace Ross, an organizer of the national effort to support electors to take action and a member of Truth in Elections.
Even in North Carolina where lack of "swing state" status left local voting violations relatively invisible, Democratic Electors and local activists spoke out about local problems while Republican Electors voted inside. Elector Mary Roe spoke of problems she herself witness as an election observer in her own county as well as saying that ?everyone deserves to have their votes counted? while deploring the 4,500 votes NC election officials acknowledged disappeared in a computerized voting machine crash.
Massachusetts Electors who introduced the motion said they will use this to lobby Congressional members to take action now such as objecting to the vote. The motion passed by acclimation called on Congress to: "Act to commit Congress to investigate all voting complaints that might have any validity that they receive; Act to commit Congress to remedy any voting rights violations or electoral fraud verified by its own agents or through the courts; File in Congress and commit their resources to passage of systemic remedies."
In speaking at their Mass. press conference afterwards, one Elector, Tom Barbera spoke of personally having his life threatened during get-out-the-vote efforts. Another spoke of being targeted for intimidation such as being immediately accosted as an African American entering a Florida polling place by whites telling her "your kind is not wanted here", "we don’t want your kind voting here", "leave"; such threatening behavior meant as get-out-the-vote volunteers they frequently had to follow intimidated voters of color out of polling places and convince them to reenter and agree to accompany them through the voting process..
Tom Barbera, in presenting the Massachusetts’ Electoral College motion, acknowledging that many whose voting rights violations were most widely violated were African American, referenced the Civil Rights struggle in saying "we believe that as electors, we have a unique opportunity and obligation to ensure that justice does not again become so delayed as to be denied (as happened in 2000)" (END)
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