Yesterday I posted a copy of John Conyers’ letter to Kerry/Edwards regarding the Ohio Voter Fraud cases. Unfortunately Conyers’ letter started a firestorm. Anyone on PDA’s email list or frequents DU, knows what I am talking about. Today John Conyers’ posted a piece on his blog about Paul Krugman’s OP/ED, which Ron posted about earlier today. I found that post from John Conyers’ to be particularly helpful in sorting this mess out (more on that below).
I tried to get clarification on this issue yesterday from Kerry’s Senate office, after posting the letter and was directed to Kerry’s PAC, who I have been told, handle all correspondence regarding the Kerry/Edwards campaign. John Kerry was in Seattle today for a fundraiser for the 2006 cycle, so I hope to hear more soon on this subject.
Other concerned friends of Kerry/Edwards stepped up to the plate as well, to try to quell the firestorm. Please see this post from Karen on Democracy Cell Project: “Posted by: karen at August 19, 2005 05:38 PM (scroll down to the timestamp linked to the thread)” Here’s part of Karen’s post:
There were, apparently, three lawsuits in Ohio. The one that PDA is asking people to complain about is the first–the Badnarik-Green lawsuit. It is not a strong case. Lawyers have advised that this one is not winnable.
There are TWO MORE LAWSUITS and THEY are going forward. The second and third lawsuits are, according to my sources, based more on the civil rights issues and Kerry-Edwards are indeed part of these suits
What I got from reading John Conyers’ letter yesterday was that he was trying to verify some rumors. Unfortunately his letter was blown out of proportion and in my opinion, he as much as says so in his post today regarding Paul Krugman’s column.
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.”* Is there an exact number? No. Was it potentially a net loss of more than 100,000 Democratic votes? I think so. I continue to investigate what happened in Ohio and in the rest of the nation in the 2004 election and maybe someday the evidence will be sufficiently irrefutable to convince every fair-minded person of the extent and effect of electoral wrongdoing in 2004.
In the meantime, my fellow progressives and I, agreeing with each other on so many things, could go back and forth arguing with one another — not about whether the GOP played dirty — but about whether there was ENOUGH fraud to shift the outcome of the election. I see this happen over and over between progressives, sometimes in a civil tone and sometimes not.^ In doing so, however, we would be losing sight of the fact that we actually disagree about very little. Krugman’s column brings that home.
Most telling of all from John Conyers today was his final comment about this subject which has been blown out of proportion on many blogs…
On some blogs, my staff advises me that the critique of allegations of irregularities has been so angry and accusatory, and allegations of irregularities so wild and unsubstantiated, that I could be banned for posting this entry — the topic itself is forbidden.
In a nutshell, friends, we need to all come to the table and work together for the future. Something else that John Conyers stressed in his post today and something that John Kerry has stressed over and over again since the election. Squabbling over this or any subject or issue is more harmful to the Democratic Party, than helpful.
Sure we can all disagree on things, but there comes a time when we all need to put our disagreements aside and work towards the greater good. This is one of those times. The 2006 elections are critical to the Democratic Party.
Rest assured that Kerry/Edwards and John Conyers are STILL investigating the voter fraud issue and as John Conyers said “maybe someday the evidence will be sufficiently irrefutable to convince every fair-minded person of the extent and effect of electoral wrongdoing in 2004.”