Tuesday, January 4th, 2005
Dear Members of the U.S. Senate,
Welcome back! The 109th session of Congress has just begun. I'm watching you on C-SPAN right now and you all look so snap-happy and clean-faced. It's like the first day of school all over again, isn't it?
I have a favor to ask of you. Something isn't right with the vote from Ohio. Seems a lot of people didn't get to vote. And those who did, thousands of theirs weren't counted.
Does that seem right to you? I'm just asking. Forget about partisan politics for a moment and ask yourself if there is a more basic right, in a democracy, than the right of the people to vote AND have ALL their votes counted.
Now, I know a lot of you wish this little problem of Ohio would just go away. And many of you who wish this are Democrats. You just want to move on (no pun intended!). I can't say I blame you. It's rough to lose two elections in a row when the first one you actually won and the second one you should have won. And it seems this time around, about 3 million more Americans preferred to continue the war in Iraq and give the rich more tax breaks than those who didn't. No sense living in denial about that.
But something isn't right in Ohio and more than a dozen members of the House of Representatives believe it is worth investigating.
So on Thursday at 1:00pm, Rep. John Conyers of Detroit will rise and object to the vote count in Ohio. According to the laws of this land, he will not be allowed to speak unless at least one of you -- one member of the United States Senate -- agrees to let him have the floor.
A very embarrassing moment during the last session of Congress occurred in the first week when none of you would allow the members of Congress who were black to have the floor to object to the Florida vote count. Remember that? You thought no one would ever notice, didn't you? You certainly lucked out that night when the networks decided not to show how you shut down every single member of the Congressional Black Caucus.
No such luck this year. Everyone now knows about that moment of shame. Thank you? You’re welcome.
But this Thursday, at 1:00pm, you will have a chance to redeem yourself.
Congressman Conyers and a dozen other members of Congress have some serious questions about how the Republican secretary of state in Ohio (who was also the state’s co-chair of Bush’s reelection campaign) conducted the election on November 2. The list of possible offenses of how voters were denied access to the polls and how over a hundred thousand of their votes have yet to be counted is more than worthy of your consideration. It may not change the outcome, but you have a supreme responsibility to make sure that EVERY vote is counted. Who amongst you would disagree with that?
If you would like to read more about the specific charges, I ask that you read these two links: “Senators Should Object to Ohio Vote” —by Jesse Jackson and “Ten Preliminary Reasons Why the Bush Vote Does Not Compute, and Why Congress Must Investigate Rather Than Certify the Electoral College”. I am asking everyone on my mailing list to send you a letter joining me in this call to you to do your job and investigate what happened before you certify the vote.
It only takes one member of the House and one member of the Senate to stop the acceptance of the Electoral College vote and force a legitimate debate and investigation. Do you know why this provision is set in stone in our nation’s laws? I mean, why would we allow just two officials in a body of 535 members to throw a wrench into the works? The law exists because nothing is more sacred than the integrity of the ballot box and if there is ANY possibility of fraud or incompetence, then it MUST be addressed. Because if we don't have the vote, what are we left with?
C'mon Senators! Especially you Democrats. Here is your one shining moment of courage. Will you allow the gavel to come down on our black members of Congress once again? Or will you stand up for their right to object?
We will all be watching.
P.S. My whereabouts this week: I will be on the Today Show Thursday morning, Jay Leno on Friday night. And... the People's Choice Awards are this Sunday night, live on CBS at 9pm! Can we defeat the superheroes Spiderman, Incredibles and Shrek for best picture? A documentary??? Whoa... tune in...