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Time to End the Blackout

Floor Statement on January 6, 2005

Never have the issues been so clear as they are for all of us today. Our country is at war, ostensibly to bring democracy to a far off country on the other side of the planet; at the same time, a significant chunk of the American people protest in their own humble ways, for democracy at home.

They see:

Unequal protection of the precious right to vote, blantant in Ohio, but not only in Ohio;

Voting machines that can’t be trusted – casting votes for candidates not intended by the voter – that happened in my own race in my own State of Georgia;

Provisional balloting made absurd by seemingly purposefully drafted arcane rules that in some cases rendered the right to vote moot;

Our democracy entrusted to privately owned software run on computers that can be hacked, that overheat, break down, or have their batteries die in the middle of the voting process;

And moreover, voting on machines that don’t even tell us after we’ve voted, who it is, exactly, that our vote was counted for!

When Congress passed the Help America Vote Act, it hoped to correct the blatant irregularities and purposeful disenfranchisement that occurred in Florida in the 2000 election.

It is clear from the work of the Judiciary Committee, Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs-Jones, and the tireless efforts of people across Ohio and our country, that this Congress has a lot of work to do if we are to move beyond what is clear we have today–faith-based voting.

Our Vice-President has told us to expect war for the next generation. Over 1,000 Americans and countless Iraqis have died trying to take democracy abroad. It is not only our responsibility, but our right to demand, full democracy at home. We do that by our actions today.

And we will continue to fight for an America that guarantees the right to vote and the right to have that vote counted.

This is not merely about bitterness or a recount. This is about a blackout.

It is time to end the blackout and shine the lights on our precious right to vote.

 

 

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