This letter was sent by Rep. Wu (D, Ore) on December 23, 2004.
Rep. David Wu Congress of the United States
House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515-3701
December 23, 2004
Dear Mr. Batko:
Thank you for contacting me regarding your concerns about allegation of voting irregularities and fraud in our elector process. I appreciate hearing from you on this important issue,
The right to vote in a free election, and the right to have your vote counted, is an indispensable right. Without it, our democracy would not be possible. More than that, the public must have the confidence that the system is fair, and that the results of that process can win broad acceptance.
Unfortunately, recent elections, marked by the closeness of the results, have highlighted some serious problems. In a 50-49 nation, questions about qualified voters not being able to vote, about valid votes not being counted, about equipment failing to function, or being unable to verify the results, threaten the stability as well as the fairness of our system of government.
Since Election Day, thousands of Ohio citizens have reported difficulties and barriers in casting their vote. These reports include: long lines at polling places; electronic voting machines which malfunctioned; precincts reporting more voters than they had, or inexplicable numbers of votes cast; and disenfranchisement, particularly in high-population areas. I also understand concerns about the conflict of interest of having an official in charge of running elections in a key state also heading a presidential campaign. I agree that Ohio Secretary of State Blackwell’s dual role calls into question any election decision he made that favored Republicans.
I agree that we have an obligation to investigate the facts, to get a clear understanding of what happened, and to do everything we can to make sure that those problems are fixed. With just two short years until our next federal elections, Congress must act expeditiously to ensure that we correct any problems that may need fixing.
In response to widespread reports of voting irregularities, including faulty equipment, voter suppression tactics, and other problems, House Democrats have asked the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to undertake a systematic and comprehensive review of election irregularities throughout the nation. Also, the Election Assistance Commission will hold hearings on the 2004 electoral process. And on December 8, 2004, Congressman Conyers held a hearing to address the voting irregularities in Ohio.
The integrity of our democracy is at stake. We need to give the American people confidence that each and every vote will be properly counted and that the democratic electoral process is respected. Continuing to improve our election procedures will aid the work of restoring the people’s trust in our democratic process. What is at stake here is not just a single presidential election but the right of all Americans to vote and to have those votes counted in all future elections.
Please know I care deeply about this issue, and I will work with my colleagues to ensure that our electoral system is above reproach. Thank you again for your letter.
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