[Congressional Record Volume 151, Number 2 (Thursday, January 6, 2005)]
[Pages S41-S56]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]


  The VICE PRESIDENT. Pursuant to S. Con. Res. 1 and section 17 of 
title 3, United States Code, when the two Houses withdraw from the 
joint session to count the electoral vote for separate consideration of 
an objection, a Senator may speak to the objection for 5 minutes and 
not more than once. Debate shall not exceed 2 hours, after which the 
Chair will put the question: Shall the objection be sustained?
  The clerk will report the objection made in the joint session.
  The assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

       Ms. Tubbs Jones, a Representative from Ohio, and Mrs. 
     Boxer, a Senator from California, object to the counting of 
     electoral votes of the State of Ohio on the ground that they 
     were not, under all of the known circumstances, regularly 

  The PRESIDENT pro tempore. Who seeks recognition?
  The Senator from California.
  Mrs. BOXER. Mr. President, thank you so much.
  For most of us in the House and in the Senate, we have spent our 
lives fighting for what we believe in, always fighting to make our 
Nation better. We may not agree from time to time, but we are always 
fighting to make our Nation better. We have fought for social justice. 
We have fought for economic justice. We have fought for environmental 
justice. We have fought for criminal justice. Now we must add a new 
fight: the fight for electoral justice.
  Every citizen of this the greatest country in the world who is 
registered to vote should be guaranteed that their vote matters, that 
their vote is counted, and that in the voting booth in their community 
their vote has as much weight as any Senator, any Congressperson, any 
President, any Cabinet member, or any CEO of any Fortune 500 
corporation. I am sure every one of my colleagues agrees with that 
statement, that in the voting booth everyone is equal. So now it seems 
to me that under our great Constitution of the United States of 
America, which we swear allegiance to uphold, which guarantees the 
right to vote, we must ask certain questions.
  First, why did voters in Ohio wait hours in the rain to vote? Why 
were voters at Kenyan College, for example, made to wait in line until 
4 a.m. to vote? It was because there were only 2 machines for 1,300 
voters when they needed 13.
  Why did voters in poor and predominantly African- American 
communities have disproportionately long waits?
  Why in Franklin County did election officials use only 2,798 machines 
when they needed 5,000? Why did they hold back 68 machines in 
warehouses, 68 machines that were in working order? Why were 42 of 
those machines in predominantly African-American communities?
  Why in the Columbus area alone did an estimated 5,000 to 10,000 
voters leave polling places out of frustration without having voted? 
How many more never bothered to vote after they heard this because they 
had to take care of their families or they had a job or they were sick 
or their legs ached after waiting for hours?
  Why is it when 638 people voted at a precinct in Franklin County, a 
voting machine awarded 4,258 extra votes to George Bush? Thankfully, 
they fixed it. Only 638 people had shown up, but George Bush got more 
than 4,000 votes. How could that happen?
  Why did Franklin County officials reduce the number of electronic 
voting machines to downtown precincts while adding them in the suburbs? 
This also led to long lines.
  In Cleveland, why were there thousands of provisional ballots 
disqualified when everyone knew that poll workers had given faulty 
instructions to the voters?
  Because of this and voting irregularities in so many other places, I 
am joining today with Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones, a 10-year 
judge, an 8-year prosecutor, a 6-year Member of Congress, a woman 
inducted into the Women's Hall of Fame. Folks, she has great 
credibility, and she asked just one Senator to take a couple of

[[Page S42]]

hours. I hate inconveniencing my friends, but I believe it is worth a 
couple of hours to shine some light on these issues.
  We passed the Help America Vote Act, which was important to help 
American voters, but then we did nothing.
  Senators Graham, Clinton, and I introduced a bill to ensure that a 
paper trail go along with electronic voting. We couldn't even get a 
hearing in the last Congress. In the House, it is the same problem. We 
need this kind of bill.
  Let me simply say to my colleagues: I have great respect for all of 
you. But I think it is key, whether it is Republicans or Democrats, 
that we understand that the centerpiece of this country is democracy, 
and the centerpiece of democracy is ensuring the right to vote.
  I ask you, my friends from both sides of the aisle, when we get busy 
working within the next few weeks, let us not turn away from the things 
that happened in Ohio. Our people are dying all over the world. A lot 
of them are from my State. For what reason? To bring democracy to the 
far corners of the globe. Let us fix it here, and let us do it the 
first thing out.
  Thank you very much, Mr. President. I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator from Pennsylvania.
  Mr. SANTORUM. Mr. President, I ask for the yeas and nays.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there a sufficient second?
  There is a sufficient second.
  The yeas and nays were ordered.
  The PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator from Ohio.
  Mr. DeWINE. Mr. President, I find it almost impossible to believe 
that I am actually standing on the floor of the Senate today engaged in 
a debate over whether George Bush won Ohio in the 2004 Presidential 
election. Clearly he did and did so by 118,000 votes.
  Because I am limited under the rules to 5 minutes, I will not have 
time to address all of the wild, incoherent, and completely 
unsubstantiated charges that have been made about the 2004 Ohio 
Presidential election. What might be a better way for me to explain the 
absurdity of the suggestion that Ohio did not go for President Bush is 
to quote from numerous editorials that have been written in Ohio 
  The Cleveland Plain Dealer, a newspaper that did not endorse either 
President Bush or John Kerry, said in an editorial this past Tuesday 
addressing those in Ohio and those from out of State still contesting 
Ohio's results:

       The election horse is dead. You can stop beating it now. 
     Not one ounce of political flesh remains on that carcass. 
     Ohio has counted and recounted: President George W. Bush 
     received 118,775 more votes than your man Sen. John Kerry.
       The senator had the good grace and sense to acknowledge the 
     abundantly obvious, go home, and resume his life. You might 
     consider emulating his excellent example, because what you 
     are doing now--redoubling your effort in the face of a 
     settled outcome--will only drive you further toward the 
     political fringe. And that long grass already is tickling 
     your knees.
       The 176 Democrats who sit on Ohio's 88 county election 
     boards pondered their jurisdictions' results, accepted their 
     subordinates' good work, and are turning their energies 
     toward the future. Are they all dupes in some Machiavellian 
     Republican scheme? Or do they simply have a firmer grasp of 
     reality than that displayed by the two of you and a handful 
     of unrelenting zealots still ranting in the January rain, 
     eight weeks after the November voting?''

  The headline for the Akron Beacon Journal's editorial from December 
24, 2004 was:

       We wish John Kerry would have won Ohio. He didn't.

  The piece went on to say:

       The allegations being thrown around are of the flimsiest 
     nature . . . Not one shred of evidence has been presented to 
     show that Ohio's strictly bipartisan system of running 
     elections was manipulated.

  The Columbus Dispatch, in an editorial dated December 12, 2004, said:

       On Monday, the 20 Ohio members of the Electoral College 
     will cast their votes to elect the next president of the 
     United States. When those votes are added to those from 
     electors in the other 49 states, George W. Bush's re-election 
     will be official.
       But that won't stop the conspiracy theorists who claim that 
     Bush stole his victory. Though they are small in number, 
     these naysayers are loud and repetitious. So the truth bears 
     repeating, too: Bush won because more Ohioans voted for him 
     than for Senator John Kerry.
       Kerry understands that George Bush legitimately won the 
     election, which is why he conceded on November 3rd. Those who 
     claim that Ohio's vote was rigged have produced nothing that 
     approaches credible evidence, nor have they explained how a 
     conspiracy could be carried out successfully in a 
     decentralized system involving 88 separate, bipartisan county 
     election boards.
       Such a conspiracy would have to involve scores, if not 
     hundreds, of Democratic election-board members actively 
     working against their own party and presidential candidate.

  It is terribly unfortunate that this body is meeting under these 
circumstances. I urge my colleagues to act unanimously in seating 
Ohio's electors.
  I ask unanimous consent to have the full text of the above-mentioned 
articles printed in the Record.
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

            (From the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Jan. 4, 2005)

  Please, let it go. Election was 2 months ago; inauguration is in 2 
  weeks; Jackson and Tubbs Jones should get on to something useful.''

       Memo to Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones and the Rev. Jesse 
     Jackson: The election horse is dead. You can stop beating it 
       Not an ounce of political flesh remains on that carcass. 
     Ohio has counted and recounted: President George W. Bush 
     received 118,775 more votes than your man, Sen. John Kerry.
       The senator had the good grace and sense to acknowledge the 
     abundantly obvious, go home and resume his life. You might 
     consider emulating his excellent example, because what you 
     are doing now--redoubling your effort in the face of a 
     settled outcome--will only drive you further toward the 
     political fringe. And that long grass already is tickling 
     your knees.
       The 176 Democrats who sit on Ohio's 88 county election 
     boards pondered their jurisdictions' results, accepted their 
     subordinates' good work, and are turning their energies 
     toward the future. Are they all dupes in some Machiavellian 
     Republican scheme? Or do they simply have a firmer grasp of 
     reality than that displayed by the two of you and a handful 
     of unrelenting zealots still ranting in the January rain, 
     eight weeks after the November voting?
       Yes, long lines built voter frustration. Yes, some 
     electronic machines malfunctioned. Yes, boards rejected more 
     provisional ballots than usual. But such things happen when 
     hundreds of thousands of new voters join the process and new 
     technology debuts under fire. Your doubts notwithstanding, 
     numerous nonpartisan election experts say Ohio did an above-
     average job.
       Americans treasure the right to be loudly mistaken--a right 
     you now freely exercise. But for two national figures whose 
     constituencies are among the poorest of the poor, it seems an 
     embarrassing waste of energies sorely needed elsewhere. Fold 
     your mildewed tents, collect your soggy cardboard and focus 
     on the poverty, single-parenthood and dropout rates that have 
     so impoverished those in whose names you protest too much. 
     Good causes await your serious advocacy. And what you are 
     doing now isn't serious.

             [From the Akron Beacon Journal, Dec. 24, 2004]

Still Chasing Conspiracies; We Wish John Kerry Would Have Won Ohio. He 

       The $1.5 million recount of presidential votes in Ohio is 
     almost finished. With all counties except Lucas reporting, 
     the results haven't shifted by more than a few hundred votes 
     for either candidate. George W. Bush's win in Ohio, which 
     gave him a majority of Electoral College votes, is safe.
       Still, die-hards are continuing to question. A challenge 
     filed in the Ohio Supreme Court by a group backed by the Rev. 
     Jesse Jackson alleges fraud, computer hacking and post-
     election vote-switching, among other things. John Conyers of 
     Michigan, the highest-ranking Democratic member of the House 
     Judiciary Committee, wants an FBI investigation. A lawyer 
     representing Sen. John Kerry's campaign now says some parts 
     of the recount in Cuyahoga County should be counted again.
       The allegations being thrown around are of the flimsiest 
     nature. Jackson and Conyers are, for example, seeking exit 
     polling data to compare with the official voting results. To 
     what end? Is the election to be handed to Kerry based on a 
     sampling of voters' opinions on Election Day, or the actual 
       Conyers based his request for an FBI investigation, in 
     part, on the fact that a vote-tabulating computer had 
     undergone routine maintenance before the recount in Hocking 
     County. A review of the procedure by the election board and 
     computer technicians showed the maintenance hadn't altered a 
       Not one shred of evidence has been presented to show that 
     Ohio's strictly bipartisan system of running elections was 
     manipulated. There isn't any. What happened on Election Day, 
     the long lines, tens of thousands of punch-card ballots that 
     failed to record a vote, confusion over provisional voting 
     and proper registration, can and should be addressed by J. 
     Kenneth Blackwell, the secretary of state, and local election 

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       The voters would be better served if those backing the 
     challenges backed off, concentrating on election reforms 
     instead of electoral futility.

              [From the Dayton Daily News, Dec. 20, 2004]

                   Did Votes Vanish in Miami Valley?

       Specific complaints about the Ohio vote count keep getting 
     aired--especially on the Internet--and keep getting laid to 
     rest, but then just keep on getting cited by some diehard 
       The supposed outrage in Republican Warren County? There the 
     authorities closed off the vote-counting site on election 
     night. Turns out, however, the local Democratic authorities 
     were there, inside the building, and were fine with what went 
     down, seeing no shenanigans.
       The fact that many ballots in Montgomery County showed no 
     vote for president? Turns out there was an electrical 
     malfunction, and the counts have been changed, with 
     Republicans benefiting.
       Votes showing up late in the process in Miami County? Turns 
     out the original state reports were wrong.
       Similar phenomena in other parts of the state have 
     similarly turned out not to amount to much.
       Yet 12 Democrats on the U.S. House Judiciary Committee have 
     posed questions about these alleged irregularities to 
     Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell. The strategy seems 
     to be throw everything at the wall and see what sticks.
       Several Miami Valley issues are at the center of this 
     national squabble.
       Some committee questions are just nonsense: How can the 
     secretary of state explain that Sen. John Kerry did no better 
     in Warren County than Al Gore did in 2000, even though Sen. 
     Kerry spent more money and Ralph Nader wasn't on the ballot 
     this time? Please. This is nothing. Republicans are leaving 
     central urban counties for places like Warren, making the 
     places they leave bluer and the new places redder.
       Perhaps the most intriguing question is the one about the 
     race for chief justice of the Ohio Supreme Court.
       Democratic challenger C. Ellen Connally ran worse than Sen. 
     John Kerry statewide, by about 3 percentage points. But in 
     some counties in Southwest Ohio--Miami, Darke, Butler, 
     Claremont, Brown--she ran ahead of him. Why?
       Is it possible, as has been charged, that some 60,000 Kerry 
     votes somehow disappeared in those counties?
       Consider: Party labels do not appear on the ballots for 
     judicial candidates. So, in these very Republican counties, 
     one would not expect Judge Connally to have the kind of 
     problem that Sen. Kerry had.
       But why did Judge Connally run behind Sen. Kerry statewide 
     if she ran ahead of him in these counties? Probably because 
     the Moyer campaign--the only well-funded one--focused its 
     commercials and mailings someplace other than small, 
     Republican counties.
       To ask the secretary of state to explain these things is 
     absurd. Any response he offers will be treated by the 
     Democrats on the House committee as partisan. Nonpartisan 
     think tanks could do this work more credibly and with more 
       The partisan Democrats know that. They're just playing 

            [From the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Dec. 15, 2004]

 Move On Now; The Zealots Who Refuse To Accept Ohio's Vote Count Risk 
              Undermining Confidence in the System Itself

       Most Americans, including the vast majority of those who 
     supported John Kerry for president, have grasped the most 
     basic reality of Election Day 2004:
       George W. Bush was re-elected. He won roughly 60.7 million 
     votes and carried 31 states with 286 electoral votes. Ohio's 
     20 Electoral College members formally cast ballots for the 
     president Monday in the Statehouse.
       Unfortunately, there is a small, but very vocal, group of 
     Americans who refuse to accept this reality. They argue that 
     what appear to be routine technical glitches and human errors 
     were in fact an elaborate conspiracy to skew the election 
     results. They claim that long lines at a few polling places, 
     the rather unsurprising result of high voter interest, were 
     evidence of a systematic campaign to discourage 
     participation. In short, having failed to get the outcome 
     they wanted at the polls, they have decided to mount an 
     irresponsible campaign aimed at undermining public confidence 
     in the electoral system itself.
       Ohio, arguably the most intensive battleground for Bush and 
     Kerry, has been the No. 1 target of these diehards.
       Since Election Day, they have seized on isolated problems 
     in a relative handful of this state's 11,366 precincts as 
     proof of greater ills or even criminal activity.
       One speaker in Columbus over the weekend likened Ohio to 
     Ukraine. The Rev. Jesse Jackson has complained of widespread 
     ``fraud and stealing.''
       The Green and Libertarian parties, whose presidential 
     candidates got a combined three-tenths of one percent of the 
     vote in Ohio on Nov. 2, have demanded a recount of the 
     state's 5.7 million ballots. That will cost taxpayers about 
     $1.4 million. A coalition of critics, led by a former Ohio 
     organizer for Ross Perot, has asked the Ohio Supreme Court to 
     overturn the presidential election, as well as the outcome in 
     the race for chief justice. The Kerry campaign, reflecting 
     its leader's maddening desire to have everything both ways, 
     has said it does not expect a recount to change anything--yet 
     has also issued a list of things it wants local elections 
     officials to double-check.
       Obviously, there were problems on Election Day. There 
     always are. Elections are run by imperfect humans. Many 
     individual polling places are in the hands of civic-minded 
     neighbors with a few hours of training. Machines malfunction. 
     Voters mess up ballots.
       But Ohio has already done its usual intensive post-election 
     audit and reconciliation, a process designed to spot 
     mistakes. That canvass resulted in Bush's unofficial 136,000-
     vote margin being reduced to the 119,000-vote edge that 
     Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell certified last week.
       Ohio's bipartisan elections system makes the kind of GOP 
     conspiracy that some allege all but impossible to execute. 
     Every county board of elections consists of two Democrats and 
     two Republicans. So when Jackson and other national Democrats 
     question Ohio's outcome, they demean their own allies. 
     William Anthony Jr., the African-American who chairs both the 
     Franklin County Democratic Party and its elections board, has 
     been personally stung by Jackson's slander: ``Why would I sit 
     there and disenfranchise my own community?'' he asks.
       The recount will go forward because by law it must; history 
     suggests few votes will change. But it is time to focus on 
     how to make future elections more efficient.
       Clearly it would help if groups that register new voters 
     did not deliver thousands of applications at the last minute. 
     Ohio also needs an early voting system to relieve at least 
     some of the pressure on Election Day. And rather than 
     retreating from electronic voting machines, the state needs 
     to find a secure system and back it up with a paper record.
       Common-sense solutions can make a difference. Endless sour 
     grapes will not.

            [From the Columbus Dispatch, December 12, 2004]

  Sound and Fury; Election-Conspiracy Theorists Do Nothing To Improve 

       On Monday, the 20 Ohio members of the Electoral College 
     will cast their votes to elect the next president of the 
     United States. When those votes are added to those from 
     electors in the other 49 states, George W. Bush's re election 
     will be official.
       But that won't stop the conspiracy theorists who claim that 
     Bush stole his victory. Though they are small in number, 
     these naysayers are loud and repetitious. So the truth bears 
     repeating, too: Bush won because more Ohioans voted for him 
     than for Sen. John Kerry.
       Kerry understands that Bush legitimately won the election, 
     which is why he conceded on Nov. 3. Those who claim that 
     Ohio's vote was rigged have produced nothing that approaches 
     credible evidence. Nor have they explained how a conspiracy 
     could be carried out successfully in a decentralized system 
     involving 88 separate, bipartisan county election boards.
       Such a conspiracy would have to involve scores, if not 
     hundreds, of Democratic election-board members actively 
     working against their own party and presidential candidate.
       The idea that Democratic election officials disenfranchised 
     voters in minority and Democratic precincts offends William 
     A. Anthony Jr., chairman of the Franklin County Democratic 
     Party and of the Franklin County Election Board, who was at 
     the center of planning for the Nov. 2 election.
       He was particularly incensed after the Rev. Jesse Jackson 
     recently repeated the allegations and called for an 
     investigation of the Ohio election.
       ``I am a black man,'' Anthony said. ``Why would I sit there 
     and disenfranchise voters in my own community? I feel like 
     they're accusing me of suppressing the black vote. I've 
     fought my whole life for people's right to vote.''
       Anthony's indignation is justified.
       The major problem with the Nov. 2 election was the long 
     lines at many polling places. But these were the result of 
     high turnout, not conspiracy. Republican and Democratic 
     voters alike were inconvenienced. In many precincts, the 
     problem was exacerbated by a long ballot containing many tax 
     and bond issues in addition to candidate choices.
       Ohio is in the midst of an effort to replace election 
     machinery throughout the state. Secretary of State J. Kenneth 
     Blackwell made a good-faith effort to have the new equipment 
     in place in time for the Nov. 2 election, but he was stymied 
     by political disputes over the security and verifiability of 
     the machines. County election officials wisely are waiting 
     until this issue is sorted out before moving ahead with 
     purchases of new machines.
       But before that, Ohio lawmakers can reduce lines by 
     rewriting election laws to allow voters to cast absentee 
     ballots instead of visiting polling places.
       Much work remains to be done to improve the state's voting 
     system. The conspiracy theorists are contributing nothing to 
     the effort but useless noise.

  The PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator from Nevada.
  Mr. REID. Mr. President, I advise Members on the minority side if 

[[Page S44]]

want to speak on this issue, I have been informed that when the 
speeches end there will be a rollcall vote. If people are waiting to 
come here an hour from now, they may not get the chance to speak. 
Members who want to speak should come here now. I have been informed on 
the majority side there may not be another speaker or, if so, maybe 
only one other speaker.
  For my side, I repeat, as I understand the rules, they should be here 
to speak for the 5 minutes when the time comes. That time is now.
  The PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator from Minnesota is recognized.
  Mr. DAYTON. Mr. President, I have the greatest respect and personal 
regard for my friend from the State of California. It is not often I 
find myself rising in disagreement, but I emphatically disagree and say 
respectfully that I believe those involved, citizens from around the 
country, with all their good intentions, are seriously misguided and 
are leading us into a very unfortunate precedent that was not in any 
way contemplated by the Constitution, by the law, or by historical 
  Obviously, the law, which was established in 1887, did not envision 
that our role would be to adjudicate in any State the results of an 
election for President. If it were the intent, it clearly would not 
have designed this kind of forum where an objection is raised, we each 
express our opinion for up to 5 minutes, and then vote on a whole array 
of facts and allegations and statements and contradictions that we 
could not possibly in this setting determine fairly and accurately.
  If we were to do so, if we were to hypothetically object on an 
inevitably partisan basis to the actions taken by the electorate of a 
certain State, certified by the election officers of that State and 
then brought to us today, if we were to overturn that process and in 
this instance throw the election into the House of Representatives, the 
damage it would do to our democracy, to the integrity of our system, 
would be incalculable. If it were to result hypothetically in an 
alteration of the publicly expressed electoral will in an election for 
President, the entire credibility of our system would possibly be 
  I am not the complete authority, but as I have read some of the 
assertions made about the conduct of the election in Ohio, I find 
serious imperfections. If we shed that spotlight on most States in this 
country, including my own State of Minnesota, we would find other 
  Democracy is not a perfect process, but it is a process that we have 
a responsibility, not in hindsight but with foresight, to try to 
structure and to continue to perfect so it is as close to perfect as is 
humanly possible. I share entirely the concerns expressed by my 
colleague from California and others who said despite our best 
efforts--and I was part of that collaborative effort in this body and 
under the Rules Committee in the last couple of years--we made some 
progress but we still fell short.
  I respectfully ask the chairman of the Rules Committee, Senator Lott, 
who is here today, if he would be willing to convene hearings in the 
very near future and look not just at Ohio but at the experience from 
this election and how it can instruct us to improve that process for 
the future.
  The Senator from California is absolutely right; every American 
should know he or she has a right to vote, that they can vote 
expeditiously, that their vote will be counted and it will be tabulated 
accurately, whether under Republican or Democratic election officials, 
whether it is for President from one party or another.
  Whether I agree or disagree with the judgment of the American people, 
I respect and agree more than anything else with that process and the 
integrity of the process that produces whatever result they determine. 
It is that which we must guard today. I regret we are in a position of 
possibly compromising it. It would be a fatal mistake to overturn it in 
the way suggested.

  The PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator from Illinois.
  Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, I say at the outset, this historic meeting 
in the Senate will end at some point in a vote. When the time comes to 
vote I would vote to certify the vote from the State of Ohio.
  I do not have personal knowledge of what occurred in the election in 
Ohio, but I have spoken to those who were present, who tell me that 
despite irregularities, which I will note, they do not rise to a level 
where we would challenge the outcome of the election in Ohio.
  In addition, the Democratic Party Kerry-Edwards campaign had more 
than 2,000 lawyers on the ground in Ohio on election day. That was 
replicated in many States across the Nation. I think what it says is 
that the nature of this debate and the challenges which we are raising 
do not go to the results of the election but rather go to our electoral 
  Some may criticize our colleague from California for bringing us here 
for this brief debate. I thank her for doing that because it gives 
Members an opportunity once again on a bipartisan basis to look at a 
challenge that we face not just in the last election in one State but 
in many States. Because of different electoral practices in States 
across America, voters who wish to cast a vote for President or Vice 
President cannot approach the polls with certainty that their vote will 
be counted or that they can vote in a fair and convenient manner.
  There are litanies of examples that could be cited. I do not 
challenge the legitimacy of the 2004 election outcome. I do not believe 
there is evidence of widespread fraud. I believe Senator Kerry was 
correct in announcing his concession, but let us concede on a 
bipartisan basis that we can and should do better.
  In the case of Reynolds v. Sims, the Supreme Court of the United 
States made it clear that we have a constitutional right to vote. Thank 
God. That decision which was handed down in 1964 appears clear and 
unequivocal. But wait. Four years ago that same Supreme Court, in the 
case of Bush v. Gore, reached a different conclusion and stated that 
the individual citizen has no Federal constitutional right to vote for 
electors for the President of the United States.
  It appears that this statement by the highest court in the land is 
inconsistent with a decision reached 40 years ago.
  So where do we stand today? There is great uncertainty. Congressman 
Jesse Jackson of my home State of Illinois is proposing a 
constitutional amendment to make it clear and unequivocal that we have 
a constitutional right to vote in America. I am loathe to jump on the 
bandwagon for constitutional amendments. I have seen some things done 
here that are not very proud moments in the history of the Senate when 
it comes to offering constitutional amendments, but I will take this 
one seriously.
  When you look at the results of the election in Ohio and in many 
other States, serious questions are raised. These have been documented 
by the House Judiciary Committee Democratic staff.
  Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the Executive Summary of 
this report, entitled ``Preserving Democracy: What Went Wrong in 
Ohio,'' be printed in the Record.
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

                        What Went Wrong in Ohio

                           Executive Summary

       Representative John Conyers, Jr., the Ranking Democrat on 
     the House Judiciary Committee, asked the Democratic staff to 
     conduct an investigation into irregularities reported in the 
     Ohio presidential election and to prepare a Status Report 
     concerning the same prior to the Joint Meeting of Congress 
     scheduled for January 6, 2005, to receive and consider the 
     votes of the electoral college for president. The following 
     Report includes a brief chronology of the events; summarizes 
     the relevant background law; provides detailed findings 
     (including factual findings and legal analysis); and 
     describes various recommendations for acting on this Report 
     going forward.
       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.
       This report therefore, makes three recommendations: (1) 
     consistent with the requirements of the United States 
     Constitution concerning the counting of electoral votes by 
     Congress and Federal law implementing these requirements, 
     there are ample

[[Page S45]]

     grounds for challenging the electors from the State of Ohio; 
     (2) Congress should engage in further hearings into the 
     widespread irregularities reported in Ohio; we believe the 
     problems are serious enough to warrant the appointment of a 
     joint select Committee of the House and Senate to investigate 
     and report back to the Members, and (3) Congress needs to 
     enact election reform to restore our people's trust in our 
     democracy. These changes should include putting in place more 
     specific federal protections for federal elections, 
     particularly in the areas of audit capability for electronic 
     voting machines and casting and counting of provisional 
     ballots, as well as other needed changes to federal and state 
     election laws.
       With regards to our factual finding, in brief, we find that 
     there were massive and unprecedented voter irregularities and 
     anomalies in Ohio. In many cases these irregularities were 
     caused by intentional misconduct and illegal behavior, much 
     of it involving Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell, the 
     co-chair of the Bush-Cheney campaign in Ohio.
       First, in the run up to election day, the following actions 
     by Mr. Blackwell, the Republican Party and election officials 
     disenfranchised hundreds of thousands of Ohio citizens, 
     predominantly minority and Democratic voters:
       The misallocation of voting machines led to unprecedented 
     long lines that disenfranchised scores, if not hundreds of 
     thousands, of predominantly minority and Democratic voters. 
     This was illustrated by the fact that the Washington Post 
     reported that in Franklin County, ``27 of the 30 wards with 
     the most machines per registered voter showed majorities for 
     Bush. At the other end of the spectrum, six of the seven 
     wards with the fewest machines delivered large margins for 
     Kerry.'' Among other things, the conscious failure to provide 
     sufficient voting machinery violates the Ohio Revised Code 
     which requires the Boards of Elections to ``provide adequate 
     facilities at each polling place for conducting the 
       Mr. Blackwell's decision to restrict provisional ballots 
     resulted in the disenfranchisement of tens, if not hundreds, 
     of thousands of voters, again predominantly minority and 
     Democratic voters. Mr. Blackwell's decision departed from 
     past Ohio law on provisional ballots, and there is no 
     evidence that a broader construction would have led to any 
     significant disruption at the polling places, and did not do 
     so in other states.
       Mr. Blackwell's widely reviled decision to reject voter 
     registration applications based on paper weight may have 
     resulted in thousands of new voters not being registered in 
     time for the 2004 election.
       The Ohio Republican Party's decision to engage in 
     preelection ``caging'' tactics, selectively targeting 35,000 
     predominantly minority voters for intimidation had a negative 
     impact on voter turnout. The Third Circuit found these 
     activities to be illegal and in direct violation of consent 
     decrees barring the Republican Party from targeting minority 
     voters for poll challenges.
       The Ohio Republican Party's decision to utilize thousands 
     of partisan challengers concentrated in minority and 
     Democratic areas likely disenfranchised tens of thousands of 
     legal voters, who were not only intimidated, but became 
     discouraged by the long lines. Shockingly, these disruptions 
     were publicly predicted and acknowledged by Republican 
     officials: Mark Weaver, a lawyer for the Ohio Republican 
     Party, admitted the challenges ``can't help but create chaos, 
     longer lines and frustration.''
       Mr. Blackwell's decision to prevent voters who requested 
     absentee ballots but did not receive them on a timely basis 
     from being able to receive provisional ballots likely 
     disenfranchised thousands, if not tens of thousands, of 
     voters, particularly seniors. A federal court found Mr. 
     Blackwell's order to be illegal and in violation of HAVA.
       Second, on election day, there were numerous unexplained 
     anomalies and irregularities involving hundreds of thousands 
     of votes that have yet to be accounted for:
       There were widespread instances of intimidation and 
     misinformation in violation of the Voting Rights Act, the 
     Civil Rights Act of 1968. Equal Protection, Due Process and 
     the Ohio right to vote. Mr. Blackwell's apparent failure to 
     institute a single investigation into these many serious 
     allegations represents a violation of his statutory duty 
     under Ohio law to investigate election irregularities.
       We learned of improper purging and other registration 
     errors by election officials that likely disenfranchised tens 
     of thousands of voters statewide. The Greater Cleveland Voter 
     Registration Coalition projects that in Cuyahoga County alone 
     over 10,000 Ohio citizens lost their right to vote as a 
     result of official registration errors.
       There were 93,000 spoiled ballots where no vote was cast 
     for president, the vast majority of which have yet to be 
     inspected. The problem was particularly acute in two 
     precincts in Montgomery County which had an undervote rate of 
     over 25% each--accounting for nearly 6,000 voters who stood 
     in line to vote, but purportedly declined to vote for 
       There were numerous, significant unexplained irregularities 
     in other counties throughout the state: (i) in Mahoning 
     county at least 25 electronic machines transferred an unknown 
     number of Kerry votes to the Bush column; (ii) Warren County 
     locked out public observers from vote counting citing an FBI 
     warning about a potential terrorist threat, yet the FBI 
     states that it issued no such warning; (iii) the voting 
     records of Perry county show significantly more votes than 
     voters in some precincts, significantly less ballots than 
     voters in other precincts, and voters casting more than one 
     ballot; (iv) in Butler county a down ballot and underfunded 
     Democratic State Supreme Court candidate implausibly received 
     more votes than the best funded Democratic Presidential 
     candidate in history; (v) in Cuyahoga county, poll worker 
     error may have led to little known third party candidates 
     receiving twenty times more votes than such candidates had 
     ever received in otherwise reliably Democratic leaning areas; 
     (vi) in Miami county, voter turnout was an improbable and 
     highly suspect 98.55 percent, and after 100 percent of the 
     precincts were reported, an additional 19,000 extra votes 
     were recorded for President Bush.
       Third, in the post-election period we learned of numerous 
     irregularities in tallying provisional ballots and conducting 
     and completing the recount that disenfanchised thousands of 
     voters and call the entire recount procedure into question 
     (as of this date the recount is still not complete):
       Mr. Blackwell's failure to articulate clear and consistent 
     standards for the counting of provisional ballots resulted in 
     the loss of thousands of predominantly minority votes. In 
     Cuyahoga County alone, the lack of guidance and the ultimate 
     narrow and arbitrary review standards significantly 
     contributed to the fact that 8,099 out of 24,472 provisional 
     ballots were ruled invalid, the highest proportion in the 
       Mr. Blackwell's failure to issue specific standards for the 
     recount contributed to a lack of uniformity in violation of 
     both the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clauses. 
     We found innumerable irregularities in the recount in 
     violation of Ohio law, including (i) counties which did not 
     randomly select the precinct samples; (ii) counties which did 
     not conduct a full hand count after the 3% hand and machine 
     counts did not match; (iii) counties which allowed for 
     irregular marking of ballots and failed to secure and store 
     ballots and machinery; and (iv) counties which prevented 
     witnesses for candidates from observing the various aspects 
     of the recount.
       The voting computer company Triad has essentially admitted 
     that it engaged in a course of behavior during the recount in 
     numerous counties to provide ``cheat sheets'' to those 
     counting the ballots. The cheat sheets informed election 
     officials how many votes they should find for each candidate, 
     and how many over and under votes they should calculate to 
     match the machine count. In that way, they could avoid doing 
     a full county-wide hand recount mandated by state law.

  Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, the irregularities were not confined to 
the State of Ohio. Let me give you an Illinois example. In DuPage 
County, IL, 26 percent of provisional ballots were counted, but in 
Chicago, a few miles away, 61 percent were counted. That is more than 
twice as many. That is largely because Chicago allows provisional 
ballots to be cast by a voter who turns up in the wrong precinct on 
election day. DuPage County does not, the county right next to Cook 
  How is it that the fundamental right of an American citizen to have 
his or her vote counted can vary dramatically--not just from State to 
State but from county to county? We need to address this on a national 
  The PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator's time has expired.
  Who seeks recognition?
  The Senator from Michigan is recognized.
  Ms. STABENOW. Mr. President, I rise today to talk about the most 
fundamental right in our democracy, the right to vote. Every election 
day, millions of people in America from different social, economic, and 
ethnic backgrounds converge on polling stations to cast their ballots. 
And as they leave the polling booths, they emerge, one by one, as 
  They are equals because the power of our Constitution resides with 
the people who delegate power to the Government. Our Constitution 
guarantees the right of every American to be heard equally about whom 
they want to lead their Government. We, as their elected leaders, have 
a responsibility to ensure that those constitutional freedoms are 
honored and protected.
  We have heard from some voters in Ohio and across the country about 
the election in November. They feel that their voices were not heard.
  Thousands of voters waited in line for up to 10 hours to cast their 
ballots. Some waited until 4 in the morning, and some waited for hours 
in the rain. Many voters with job, family, and other responsibilities 
simply could not wait any longer, and they left without voting. It is 
unreasonable to expect voters to wait 10 hours to exercise their 
constitutional right to vote.
  Some soldiers and other Americans living overseas believe their 

[[Page S46]]

were not counted. Without question, every legal ballot should count, 
whether it is cast overseas or here in the United States.

  Many precincts across the country continue to use outdated punch-card 
ballots and decades-old voting machines that are more prone to error or 
simply do not work properly. That is disturbing enough--machines from 
the 1950s being used in 2004--but even more disturbing is that urban 
areas are disproportionately affected. More urban areas do not have the 
modern voting machines and equipment that is available in other areas 
of the country. This disparity affects voting for a large number of 
minorities, and that is unacceptable.
  Even those precincts with electronic voting machines had problems. 
Some machines malfunctioned, causing votes to be counted more than once 
or not at all. Anyone who has used a computer at home or at work knows 
that even saved data can be lost. Yet most electronic voting machines 
do not have a paper record to back up the system. It could be as simple 
as a paper receipt like the one you get when you withdraw money from an 
ATM machine.
  In Nevada, electronic voting machines have a paper trail, and we need 
it for all electronic voting machines. We must ensure the integrity of 
our voting process.
  Many voters felt intimidated at the polls. When they went to vote, 
so-called election observers demanded that they provide more than the 
required form of identification. Others read flyers that directed them 
to the wrong polling places.
  These are real people with real concerns, and we need to listen to 
them. Our Constitution requires that we listen to them. As elected 
leaders of these people and all of those in our States who have 
delegated to us the power to represent them, we have an obligation to 
  After voters experienced similar problems in the last election, we 
addressed many of those issues. Congress passed, and I supported, the 
Help America Vote Act, which required the use of provisional ballots 
for voters who went to the wrong location so ballots would be sealed 
and counted later in the proper precinct, and each State received 
funding to update their voting systems.
  But in Ohio, the provisional ballot was rendered virtually worthless 
in the November 2004 election. Ohio's Secretary of State ruled that 
provisional ballots were valid only if they were cast in the proper 
  So today we talk about the problem, but I think we also need to talk 
about the solution. Voting is fundamental to our democracy. The process 
should be fair, honest, and easy.
  I do not support holding up the results of our November election to 
address the concerns many voters have raised about the process because 
I believe we need to move on with the business of the country. But I do 
support the GAO investigation into these concerns. When we find out 
what the GAO has to say, we have an obligation to address the problems 
they uncover.
  I do support true election reform that will create a 21st century 
voting system that we can all be proud of.
  The PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator's time has expired.
  The Senator from Massachusetts is recognized.
  Mr. KENNEDY. First of all, I commend and thank our friend from 
California, Senator Boxer, for giving us this opportunity to address 
the Senate on this issue.
  On November 3, John Kerry conceded the 2004 Presidential election to 
George Bush. While we do not question the outcome, many of us remain 
deeply concerned that for the second time in a row, in a closely 
contested election, there were so many complaints about the ability of 
voters to cast their votes and have them counted fairly.
  The right to vote is the cornerstone of our democracy. Every Member 
of Congress has a duty to protect and uphold that right. When that 
right is threatened, Congress must act to protect it. Clearly, the 
legislation we enacted to do so after the 2000 election was not 
adequate for the 2004 election.
  Forty years ago this year, after the Selma-Montgomery march, many of 
us in the Senate and House worked hard to pass the landmark Voting 
Rights Act of 1965, to guarantee that racism and its bitter legacy do 
not close the polls to any citizen.
  After the 2000 election, we passed the Help America Vote Act in an 
effort to correct the serious problems that undermined the right to 
vote in that election.
  Unfortunately, last November, we learned that we still have work to 
do. As in 2000, the votes of many who wanted to vote were not, in fact, 
counted. The reasons are many and varied. Some voters gave up in the 
face of endless lines and waits of many hours at polling places unable 
to handle the large turnout of voters. In other cases, voting was 
frustrated by broken or ancient voting machinery, by confusion over 
applicable rules for voting precincts, or because States decided that 
certain votes did not comply with arbitrary and inflexible State or 
local procedures. We saw all those problems in Ohio. It is far from 
clear the extent to which these serious problems were the result of 
intended manipulation or widespread incompetence, but either way, the 
voting process did not live up to the standards worthy of our 
  Today's debate is an opportunity for all of us to admit that the 2004 
election was flawed and to pledge action in this new Congress to fix 
the festering problems once and for all.
  Citizens must have faith that they will be able to cast their votes 
efficiently and with complete confidence that their votes will be 
fairly and accurately counted. We cannot go through another election 
wondering whether a patchwork of unequal and outdated procedures--
whether by accident or design--have yet again denied so many of our 
fellow citizens the right to vote.
  I commend the many thousands of citizens in Massachusetts and other 
States who insisted that treating today's electoral vote count in 
Congress as a meaningless ritual would be an insult to our democracy 
unless we register our own protest against the obviously flawed voting 
process that took place in so many of our States. We are hopeful that 
this major issue that goes to the heart of our democracy is now firmly 
implanted on the agenda for effective action by this Congress.
  Few things are more important to the Nation and to each of us, both 
Republican and Democrat, than a genuine guarantee that the people's 
will is heard through the ballot. No democracy worth the name can allow 
such a flawed election process to take place again.
  Mr. President, I yield the floor.
  Mr. BYRD. Mr. President, today, the Congress gathers to exercise the 
role laid out by the Framers in the Constitution of the United States. 
The past two national elections have been surrounded in controversy, 
not just controversy over issues and ideas--which is important and 
healthy in a democratic system of government--but also controversy over 
the mechanics of the election and the counting of the votes.
  The 2000 election left citizens across this country with a belief 
that not every vote was fairly counted. In response, Congress passed a 
much-needed reform legislation. States worked to modernize their 
equipment and procedures. We had high hopes that the 2004 election--
under much closer scrutiny than the election of 2000--would provide the 
public with confidence that everyone who registered would be able to 
vote, and that every vote cast would be counted accurately.
  Yet, despite the legislation and the more than $2 billion dedicated 
to fixing the election problems, the election of 2004 was marred with 
reports of irregularities and, as a result, there is a significant 
group of our citizenry that seriously questions the results of the 
vote, and particularly the vote in Ohio.
  There are several groups and organizations that are investigating the 
reported irregularities in the Ohio election. That is important work 
and it should and will continue. When the investigations conclude, 
should there be solid evidence of criminal activity, those responsible 
should be prosecuted, no matter how high that responsibility may reach. 
But the Senate should not prejudge the results of those investigations.
  I applaud the efforts of the Senator from California, Mrs. Boxer, and 
the Congressional Black Caucus to defend the integrity of the electoral 
process. But the question before us today is

[[Page S47]]

whether we uphold the objection to the certification of Ohio's electors 
in the count of the electoral vote. The Senate must vote, based on the 
information available to us at this moment, and absent the clear 
conclusions of the ongoing investigations into reported irregularities 
in Ohio, I shall vote to allow the electoral count to proceed.
  In this session of Congress, I hope that we can take the lessons 
learned from November and continue to improve the integrity of 
elections and encourage greater faith in the results. The legitimacy of 
our government rests upon the confidence of the people. We, in 
Congress, must get serious about crafting legislation aimed at 
restoring confidence in the most fundamental characteristic of a 
representative democracy, the Constitutional right and duty to vote.
  Mr. INOUYE. Mr. President, although there were voting irregularities 
in Ohio, I will not vote in support of the objection. I do respect the 
result of the recent Presidential election, but I do not respect the 
process. Several thousand voters believe they were discouraged or even 
prevented from voting, and several thousand who did vote believe that 
their votes were not correctly reported. The inequitable allocation of 
voting machines, the lack of instruction for the review of provisional 
ballots, and the questionable activities surrounding the recount of the 
electronic ballots call into question the final results in Ohio. 
However, I am unconvinced that it would have made a difference in the 
final outcome of this Presidential election.
  I had hoped that we would not have the electoral college votes called 
into question again. After the 2000 Presidential election, we worked 
together to pass election reform legislation, the Help America Vote 
Act. That legislation set Federal requirements for provisional ballots 
and for voter information, registration, and identification. 
Unfortunately, that legislation has not yet been fully implemented and 
does not go far enough.
  I would like to work with my colleagues craft legislation to ensure 
that all of our citizens are encouraged to vote and participate in our 
democratic process. Our citizens must believe their vote will count. At 
a time when we are risking lives of our service men and women to spread 
democracy throughout the world, we cannot ignore the threats to the 
democratic process here at home. I do not relish the vote I am forced 
to cast today, but I as I do, I look forward to being able to cast 
future votes on Federal election reform to ensure that we are not in 
this position again.
  Mr. KOHL. Mr. President, serious allegations have been raised about 
voting irregularities in Ohio during the 2004 presidential election. I 
agree with many of my colleagues that these allegations must be 
investigated to the fullest extent possible because every eligible 
citizen in this nation must have an equal opportunity to exercise the 
constitutional right to cast a vote in Federal elections. That said, I 
do not believe there is anything to be gained by sustaining the 
objection to the ballot certification with regard to the state of Ohio. 
Senator John Kerry has already conceded the election and there are no 
pending investigations that will result in sufficient votes being 
changed so as to alter the outcome of this election.
  However, the last two elections have revealed a glaring need for us 
to rethink how we conduct elections in our Nation. With more and more 
voters needing to cast their ballots on Election Day, we need to build 
on the movement which already exists to make it easier for Americans to 
cast their ballots by providing alternatives to voting on just one 
election day. Twenty-six states, including my own state of Wisconsin, 
now permit any registered voter to vote by absentee ballot. Twenty 
three states permit in-person early voting at election offices or at 
other satellite locations. The state of Oregon now conducts statewide 
elections completely by mail. These innovations are critical if we are 
to conduct fair elections for it has become unreasonable to expect that 
a nation of 294 million people can line up at the same time and cast 
their ballots at the same time. And if we continue to try to do so, we 
will encounter even more reports of broken machines and long lines in 
the rain and registration errors that create barriers to voting.
  That is why I have been a long-time advocate of moving our federal 
election day from the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November 
to the first weekend in November. Holding our federal elections on a 
weekend will create more opportunities for voters to cast their ballots 
and will help end the gridlock at the polling places which threaten to 
undermine our elections. I look forward to introducing legislation to 
this end in the 109th Congress and I urge my colleagues to join me in 
this effort.
  Ms. CANTWELL. Mr. President, we meet in historic session today. The 
twelfth amendment to the Constitution sets forth the requirements for 
casting electoral votes and counting those votes in Congress. The 
electors are required to meet, cast and certify their ballots and 
transmit them to the Vice President in his capacity as President of the 
  With the exception of objections to the electoral votes from the 
State of Florida in the 2000 election, objections to an entire slate of 
votes from a State have been rare. But we have had one today, which 
gives us the opportunity to discuss and debate a very important issue 
for our country and for the citizens of my State--the issue of whether 
we have ensured that every vote is counted.
  I will vote to uphold the outcome of this most recent election.
  However, I think we have more work to do in the area of election 
reform, and I think the discussion we are having today is appropriate 
and overdue.
  In 2001, I supported the passage of the Equal Protection of Voting 
Rights Act. That law was designed to protect voting rights and ensure 
the integrity of the electoral system in our nation. I did so because I 
feel that making certain that each citizen's vote is counted and 
promoting public trust and confidence in our election process is 
  The job is far from over. We may need to have additional hearings and 
we may need to take additional legislative action. There have been 
troubling reports from this most recent election.
  Representative John Conyers and the minority staff of the House 
Judiciary Committee have conducted their own hearings and 
investigations of instances of voter disenfranchisement, flawed or 
corrupted voting machinery, and inappropriate procedures for counting 
and recounting votes in Ohio. They have produced a compelling report 
itemizing and analyzing the irregularities.
  A 2-hour debate on the matter, when people across the country waited 
in 4, 6 and 12-hour lines to vote all over this country in November, is 
the least we can do.
  The debate we are having focuses attention on legitimate concerns 
that have been raised regarding the Ohio vote and count, and on broader 
concerns about America's inconsistent and sometimes flawed election 
processes which vary so radically from State to State that genuine 
equal protection concerns arise.
  I will certify the election results, because I don't think we should 
sacrifice the greater good of the continuity of Government at this 
time. We need to govern. But, what we should be doing is using this 
debate to get this Congress, and this country, talking about the steps 
that must be taken to ensure that American elections provide a true 
representation of the people's will.
  Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, while I was pleased at the large number of 
Americans who turned out to vote in last year's Presidential election, 
I am deeply concerned about the many credible allegations of voting 
irregularities that surfaced in the weeks following the election.
  I cannot, however, support an objection to the certification of 
Ohio's electoral votes. Although I believe this debate is worthwhile, I 
am not persuaded that the alleged fraud was sufficient to change the 
outcome of either the Electoral College or the popular vote. Senator 
Kerry conceded the election more than 2 months ago, and he does not 
support a challenge. Moreover, the practical effect of discounting 
Ohio's electoral votes would simply be to allow the election to be 
decided by the House of Representatives.
  In the months leading up to Election Day, I joined with Senator 
Kennedy in

[[Page S48]]

writing with great frequency to Attorney General Ashcroft about our 
concerns about voter suppression and possible partisan activity by the 
Department of Justice. It is with dismay, then, that I have learned 
about the secret counting of votes in Warren County, OH, allegedly 
prompted by an FBI terrorism warning that the FBI denied making. I have 
read also of the nearly 4,000 votes President Bush was mistakenly 
awarded in a Franklin County precinct with only 800 voters. Although 
this mistake was corrected, such a malfunction suggests the possibility 
that other problems with the vote count may have been missed.

  Finally, I would point to the shocking misdistribution of voting 
machines in Ohio. Voters from minority and urban communities frequently 
waited in line for four to five hours to cast their votes, while 
suburban voters faced far more manageable waiting times.
  We cannot know the effect this may have had on vote totals, but we 
can and should work with State and local officials to prevent this from 
happening in future Presidential and other Federal elections.
  I commend Representative Conyers and many of his Democratic 
colleagues on the House Judiciary Committee for their tireless pursuit 
of a goal that all of us--Republicans and Democrats alike--should 
desire: a free and fair election in which every vote counts.
  I look forward to the results of the Government Accountability 
Office's investigation of election irregularities called for by 
Representative Conyers.
  Mrs. LINCOLN. Mr. President, I accept the decision voters made on 
November 2 to elect George W. Bush as the President of the United 
States. I do not come to the floor today to challenge the outcome of 
the election. However, I do have concerns about the process. I believe 
there are some valid issues raised with the Ohio electoral votes 
regarding the legitimacy of our Nation's voting procedures, and I take 
these issues very seriously. In this modern, computerized age and in 
our magnificent, democratic country, there is absolutely no excuse for 
database errors, lack of polling-place education and training, 
equipment malfunctions, or voter disenfranchisement.
  I supported the Help America Vote Act, HAVA, and have consistently 
supported adequately funding this law so that States can achieve its 
requirements and improve voting procedures to ensure every valid vote 
is counted. In addition, I helped introduce the Restore Elector 
Confidence in Our Representative Democracy, RECORD, Act, S. 2313, last 
year. This act contains a provision to strengthen security measures for 
electronic voting devices to prevent outside tampering and requires a 
paper printout of votes cast at electronic voting machines.
  The right to vote freely and without intimidation is the foundation 
of democracy and we must do all we can to ensure every vote is counted 
and recorded accurately. I believe voters must have faith in the 
electoral process for our democracy to succeed, and I look forward to 
working with my colleagues in the coming year to ensure that our 
Nation's election system is fair and effective.
  Mr. JEFFORDS. Mr. President, we are here today in this extraordinary 
session to discuss a challenge to Ohio's electors.
  It was gratifying to see the high level of interest in the election 
create such a large voter turnout. However, it was discouraging to hear 
of the problems that affected the election in many parts of the 
country, including Ohio.
  Representative Conyers, other House Democrats, and individuals across 
this country deserve our thanks for the important work they have done 
to document the issues that arose from the 2004 election.
  I would also like to thank Senator Boxer and Representative Tubbs 
Jones for their diligence in bringing this issue to the forefront.
  All voters deserve to get answers, and corrective actions, to the 
reported irregularities and flaws of the 2004 election.
  As my colleagues may know, the Government Accountability Office, GAO, 
is currently conducting a comprehensive investigation of many of the 
issues raised in the 2004 election.
  I am very supportive of this investigation, and believe that through 
a complete and full investigation by the GAO, answers to the questions 
raised regarding the 2004 election will be obtained.
  The information the GAO obtains will allow the Congress to take 
appropriate action to address the problems uncovered.
  At a minimum, there are two changes to our election system that 
should be implemented by the Congress: requiring a paper trail for 
electronic voting machines and creating a national standard for 
provisional ballots.
  I will work with my colleagues in the Congress to enact these 
important reforms. We must work to maintain, and indeed improve, the 
confidence in and integrity of the election process.
  I am under no illusion that the actions taken on this challenge will 
change the outcome of the election. Senator Kerry has conceded the 
election. The events of today will not change this result, and I fear 
they will only further polarize our political landscape.
  The solutions to the irregularities of the election will not be found 
or enacted in this 2-hour process today. They will come from a complete 
investigation, like the on-going GAO one.
  Because I believe that contesting the slate of Ohio electors is not 
the way to achieve the needed reforms of the election system, I will 
vote against this challenge today.
  However, I want to put my colleagues on notice that I will be 
vigorously pursuing reforms of the election system to enact much needed 
improvements in the system.
  We have to make sure our elections are a solid reflection of the 
voters' intent. Given the resources of our great Nation, there is no 
reason why we should not be able to achieve this goal.
  Mr. FEINGOLD. Mr. President, I appreciate this opportunity to comment 
briefly on voting irregularities that occurred during our most recent 
presidential election. While some steps were taken after the 2000 
election to help rectify a number of problems with our voting process 
that were identified across the country, the election in November 
demonstrates that more needs to be done.
  The outcome of the November election will not change because of the 
current process underway in both the Senate and the House, but I 
certainly understand the goal of those who have initiated this debate 
with their written objections to certifying the election results. While 
I understand that the Senator from Massachusetts (Mr. Kerry) has 
indicated that his campaign's legal team was unable to find evidence 
that would change the outcome of the election, enough questions have 
been raised to justify a thorough examination by Congress and the 
administration. Of course, the rules governing this debate are highly 
restrictive, and do not afford any meaningful review of potential 
voting irregularities, let alone the consideration of possible 
solutions to any problems. That effort will have to be done outside the 
confines of the specific work we have today, and to that end, I 
strongly hope the Senate Rules Committee will make this the very 
highest priority, and that the Senate's leadership will schedule any 
legislation that comes from such a review for prompt floor action.
  Since the election, I have heard both Democrats and Republicans 
pledge to work together to tackle some of our most pressing issues. We 
are 3 days into the 109th Congress and it is time to put that promise 
to the test. I look forward to working with all of my colleagues to 
help ensure that in future elections every eligible citizen who wishes 
to vote is able to do so and all votes are counted.
  (At the request of Mr. Reid, the following statement was ordered to 
be printed in the Record.)
 Mr. CORZINE. Mr. President, as we prepare to commemorate the 
40th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, we are called on to 
look back and reflect on whether we have fixed the systemic problems 
that this historic legislation sought to address. Have we ensured that 
all citizens are provided equal access to the ballot, regardless of 
race, ethnicity, or language-minority status? Have we created the 
proper safeguards and procedures that make certain that every vote is 
counted? Have we done enough to protect our democracy's most sacred 
right--the right to vote?

[[Page S49]]

  The accounts from our most recent Presidential election suggest that 
we have not yet met our goal of securing a free and fair election for 
all Americans. Driving this point home is yesterday's 102-page report 
published by the House Judiciary Committee's Democratic staff. The 
report goes into great detail describing the voting irregularities that 
arose in Ohio last November. The allegations include accounts of voter 
registration barriers, voter intimidation, voting machine shortages and 
failures, and confusion over the counting of provisional ballots. These 
accounts raise serious doubts about whether Ohio electors selected on 
December 13, 2004, were chosen in a manner that conforms to Ohio law or 
Federal requirements and constitutional standards.
  The most troubling revelation from the committee staff's report is 
the seeming disproportionate impact these voting irregularities had on 
minority voters. And so I ask, 40 years later, have we done enough to 
make sure the letter and spirit of the Voting Rights Act is being 
  I ask my colleagues to join me in pushing for congressional hearings 
on the alleged voting irregularities witnessed in Ohio and elsewhere 
this past election season. I also ask them to join me in examining 
whether we need to reform our election laws to ensure that we have free 
and fair elections for all Americans, regardless of race or ethnicity. 
Only then can we be sure that we have adequately protected the 
constitutional right of all qualified citizens to participate in our 
democracy's most cherished right.
  I am traveling overseas on a humanitarian mission to Southeast Asia 
to visit the areas most affected by the recent tsunami and regret that 
I will not be available to participate in this afternoon's debate. I 
nonetheless commend my colleagues who are raising these important 
issues, and applaud their efforts to give a voice to those who were 
disenfranchised last November.
  Ms. MIKULSKI. Mr. President, today I rise to discuss an issue that 
Congress tried to address after the 2000 election nightmare. Frankly, I 
am stunned to be standing before you 4 years later to take up the same 
issues of voting irregularities and uncounted votes. And I thank my 
colleague from California for bringing this important issue before the 
Senate for debate. Her opposition serves as a call upon the Congress to 
take action this year to address the ongoing problems in our electoral 
  Today, I will vote to certify the result, but once again we see that 
the election system in the United States does not work to provide 
absolute confidence in the results. Today, I am voting to certify the 
results because I do not believe that the voting problems changed the 
outcome of the election. Certification should not be delayed further 
under such circumstances. I believe the majority of voters in Ohio have 
spoken and that result should be certified.
  But while I do not question the result, I rise today to call 
attention to what went wrong, to the disenfranchised voters, the broken 
machines and problems people had casting their ballots on election day.
  This should not be happening in the United States of America. When we 
vote for President, we should all have total confidence that every vote 
counts and that every vote is counted.
  There simply should be no questions or problems when we vote for the 
President of the United States. But, here we are, again, talking about 
voting problems and talking about lost or uncounted votes.
  Like many Americans, I was shocked in 2000 to see how outdated the 
voting systems in America were. I was also shocked to see how easy it 
was to manipulate those voting systems and how easy it was for votes to 
be lost or go uncounted.
  It was literally unbelievable. I asked myself, how could such things 
happen here in the United States? In 2000, we all learned that many 
ballots, many people's votes, were thrown out, lost, misplaced, or 
  We saw election officials who did not know the rules and some who 
appeared to ignore the rules.
  We witnessed innocent mistakes, machine mistakes, ballot mistakes and 
mistakes that were not so innocent.
  The result was that many votes simply did not count.
  The Presidential election of 2000 was an eyeopener. Our election 
systems in this country, the World's oldest democracy, were broken and 
needed to be fixed.
  Republicans and Democrats agreed this had to be done. It was 
important. It was vital.
  And we did something. We passed the Help America Vote Act. We set 
standards. We authorized money for the states to help them get new 
machines, new technology and fix their electoral systems. We provided 
for provisional ballot systems so that if there was a question about a 
voters registration they could still cast a ballot.
  We thought that our voting systems were well on their way to being 
fixed. We thought that we would never have another election like 2000. 
We thought that all votes were going to count and all votes were going 
to be counted.
  We were wrong.
  We now see, in 2004, 4 years after the 2000 election debacle, we have 
people standing in lines for hours because polling places could not 
handle the turnout, people being given the wrong information, machines 
breaking down, too few machines in some precincts, ballots being lost 
or misplaced, and voters being told to go to the wrong place to vote. 
That is simply not right.
  It is not clear if these problems by accident or intended, but the 
result was that again people were not able to cast their votes or their 
votes simply were not counted. That's just wrong. That is not suppose 
to happen in the United States.
  And where did much of this happen? In minority neighborhoods, in 
cities, in economically distressed areas, in primarily Democratic areas 
across the Nation. I ask myself, is this just a coincidence? Those 
communities do not think so. And it is critical that we let them know 
that we take their concerns seriously.
  What happened in the last election is less important than making sure 
that it never happens again. These communities need to know that the 
Congress is taking action to meet their concerns and will work to 
correct the abuses that were documented in many States in 2004.
  This is not a Republican or a Democratic issue. Ensuring that every 
registered voter who wants to vote can vote is not a partisan issue. It 
is an issue of what it means to be an American. In 2004, everyone 
should agree that every vote should count and we have to do whatever is 
necessary to make sure that happens.
  I call on the Congress to renew its efforts to ensure that there is 
true electoral reform that every American who casts their ballot can be 
sure it is counted and that every American who wants to cast their 
ballot has that opportunity. This Congress should take three steps:
  We should fully fund the Help American Vote Act so that all States 
have the resources that they need to truly reform their electoral 
  We need to pass legislation to ensure that there is a voter verified 
paper trail on electronic machines so voters can verify that they cast 
their ballot and who they cast it for.
  We need to re-examine the issue of electoral reform to see what steps 
the Congress needs to take to ensure that the voting rights of all 
Americans are protected. So that we have uniform standards. So that 
provisional ballots work, people do not have to wait in long lines, 
machines are operative and voters can get to the polls on election day.
  And, we must do it now, before this issue fades from view again. The 
media will move on to other issues. We will move on to other issues. 
There are many important issues that this Congress will address this 
year, but as we look forward, and this year celebrate the 40th 
Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, we must make this a priority 
issue. We must act to protect those vital rights and protect our 
democracy. There is no better way to honor this historic Act than to 
ensure that we fix the problems in our electoral system that continue 
disenfranchise voters.
  I thank my colleague, Senator Boxer, from California for giving us 
the opportunity to debate these important points and focusing the 
spotlight on the voting problems still facing our democracy. And while 
I vote today to

[[Page S50]]

certify the election, I do not certify how our electoral system works 
in the United States and on that front we must now act.
  I look forward to working on this with other members of the Senate. 
But, we must not be here in 2006 or 2008 talking about how shocked we 
are to see yet again votes not counted, ballots missing, lost and 
misplaced, and confused election officials. We must act this year, 
while the spotlight is still on, to do more to ensure that all voters 
will have confidence in our electoral system.
  Mr. LEVIN. I will vote against objecting to counting Ohio's electoral 
votes. Of course I am concerned by reports of irregularities across the 
country during the 2004 presidential election. The 109th Congress 
should address these problems this year as part of election reform 
legislation. But voting to throw out the electoral votes of a State in 
the absence of clear evidence that voting fraud in that State changed 
the outcome would set a dangerous precedent for future elections in 
which the majority party of Congress could overturn the outcome of a 
presidential election.
  (At the request of Mr. Reid, the following statement was ordered to 
be printed in the Record.)
 Mr. KERRY. Mr. President, free and fair elections are the 
foundation of our democracy. Thanks to the efforts of tens of thousands 
of citizens, millions more Americans registered and went to the pools 
this year. But despite this dramatic expansion in public participation, 
many voters faced barriers to casting their ballot. Disenfranchisement 
and barriers to voting are fundamentally undemocratic and should be 
unacceptable in the freest nation in the world.
  On November 3, I conceded the Presidential election to George Bush 
and also expressed my commitment to ensuring that every vote in this 
election is counted. The questions being raised by my colleagues in 
Congress about the vote in Ohio are important. As evidenced by the 
media and Congressman John Conyers' report of the vote in Ohio, there 
were many voting irregularities in the November election that led to 
the disenfranchisement of voters. These included long lines at 
predominantly minority polling places resulting from the failure to 
provide sufficient number of voting machines; voter intimidation and 
misinformation; the restriction of provisional ballots in a fashion 
that likely disenfranchised voters; and instances in which 
malfunctioning voting machines transferred Kerry votes to Bush.
  I strongly believe that we need to investigate this election and 
reform our system. However, while I am deeply concerned about the 
issues the questions and issues being raised by this objection and 
think they are very important, I do not believe that there is 
sufficient evidence to support the objection and change the outcome of 
the election and I am not joining their protest of the Ohio electors.
  Despite widespread reports of irregularities, questionable practices 
by some election officials and instances of lawful voters being denied 
the right to vote, our legal teams on the ground have found no evidence 
that would change the outcome of the election.
  It is critical that we investigate and understand any and every 
voting irregularity anywhere in our country, not because it would 
change the outcome of the election but because Americans have to 
believe that their votes are counted in our democracy.
  We must take action this Congress to make sure that the problems 
voters encountered in Ohio and elsewhere never happen again. We must 
make sure there are no questions or doubts in future elections. It is 
critical to our democracy that we investigate and act to prevent voting 
irregularities and voter intimidation across the country.
  I strongly support the efforts of the civil rights and voting rights 
groups across the country that continue to investigate what happened in 
2004 and how we can ensure it will never happen again. A Presidential 
election is a national Federal election but we have different standards 
in different States for casting and counting votes. We must have a 
national Federal standard to solve the problems that occurred in the 
2004 election.
  I am calling on my Republican colleagues to put election reform on 
the congressional agenda this year. The Republican leadership in the 
House and Senate must commit to make protecting voting rights a 
priority and commit to adding election reform legislation to the 
legislative calendar this year. One goal must be to eliminate barriers 
to voting, to encourage the greatest level of civic participation 
possible, and to restore confidence in the notion that every eligible 
voter will have the opportunity to vote and to have their vote counted.
  I have spoken with Democratic Senate Leader Harry Reid and my 
colleagues in the House and Senate about my intention to introduce 
legislation this year to ensure transparency and accountability in our 
voting system and the need for the Democratic Caucus to make voting 
rights and electoral reform one of our top priority pieces of 
legislation. Election reform will be one of my top agenda items.
  I will be meeting in coming weeks with key leaders on both sides of 
the aisle and from civil rights and voting rights groups across the 
Nation. I plan to use the information gathered by Representative 
Conyers in his report, and information from other investigations 
underway, to guide my legislation.
  We must invest resources in our country to help State and local 
communities purchase modern voting machines and do research and 
development on safe and secure forms of voting. We must ensure that our 
voting machines enable voters to verify their vote.
  No American citizen should wake up the morning after the election and 
worry their vote wasn't counted. No citizen should be denied at the 
polls if they are eligible to vote. As the greatest, wealthiest nation 
on Earth, our citizens should not have to be forced to vote on old 
unaccountable voting machines. And, as the greatest, wealthiest Nation 
on Earth, our citizens should never be forced to vote on old, 
unaccountable and nontransparent voting machines from companies 
controlled by partisan activists.
  Together we can put the critical issue of electoral reform on the 
front burner in Washington and across the country.
  Mr. WYDEN. Mr. President, I believe it is extraordinarily important 
for both sides to be gracious when an American election is over. But I 
also believe it is extraordinarily important not to ignore urgently 
needed election reform, such as requiring a paper trail for every 
single ballot that is cast in our country. Such a paper trial is 
required in my home State. In this last election, record numbers of 
Oregonians voted. There were no allegations of fraud. The system 
worked, and it worked well. Unfortunately, that is not the case in too 
many communities in our country.
  When the Senate last debated the issue of election reform, this body 
spent weeks debating whether one dog in the Midwest was an illegal 
voter. I worked with colleagues on a bipartisan basis. We made sure 
that dog, Mitzi, would not be allowed to vote again. Now, in the name 
of justice, when hundreds of thousands of Americans feel they have been 
disenfranchised, I don't think their concerns ought to be swept under 
the rug.
  Credible journalists have now documented voting irregularities across 
the country, and that ought to trouble every Member of the body. 
Incredible reports come from the States of North Carolina, Indiana, 
Washington, Florida, and Ohio. In my view, while not proving to be of a 
volume that would have changed the outcome of the Presidential 
election, when you take these findings together, they raise very 
significant and troubling matters that this body should be tackling on 
a bipartisan basis. I do believe there is critical work ahead of this 
body with respect to election reform. So I did write in November to 
Representative Conyers to ask that he examine these voting 
irregularities. The problems with provisional ballots in the State of 
Ohio particularly concerned me because I was one of the principal 
authors of the section of the Help America Vote Act that involved 
provisional ballots. The decision of the Ohio Secretary of State to 
restrict the ability of voters to use provisional ballots, I thought, 
was troubling. His decisions raised serious questions with respect to 
whether they were consistent with what the Senate had in mind as we 
wrote that provision.

[[Page S51]]

  I was also concerned about the reports from Ohio, where in one county 
only 800 citizens were registered to vote and more than 4,500 votes 
were counted. This just defies common sense, and it is one of the 
reasons why I have come to the floor to make the case for a continued 
focus on the issue of election reform.
  The problems of election abuse are not ones that can be given short 
shrift if we are to keep faith with our citizens and ensure that their 
fundamental belief that our democratic system is sound is maintained. 
Otherwise, we will see a growing lack of confidence in the conduct of 
our elections, and that lack of confidence will come to overshadow some 
of our elections altogether. We will see many more Members of this body 
come to the floor demanding to know what has happened.
  I end my statement with the plea that, on a bipartisan basis, this 
body return to the issue of election reform, correct the abuses that 
have been credibly documented over the last few weeks, and that we do 
it in a bipartisan fashion.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator from New Jersey is recognized.
  Mr. LAUTENBERG. Mr. President, I rise to support the contention of 
the junior Senator from California that we have to take a very hard 
look at this. We are trying to demonstrate the virtues of democracy to 
Iraqis and Ukrainians and other people around the world who are 
struggling to be free. People must have confidence that our election 
results are unassailable.
  Unfortunately, questions have been raised in the Presidential 
election of 2000 and in the Presidential election of 2004. At this 
point, I want to be clear: I am not challenging President Bush's 
victory in the State of Ohio. Neither has Senator Kerry. But there have 
been reports of systematic voter disenfranchisement and other problems 
in Ohio, such that we would be derelict in our duty if we failed to 
investigate it.
  Yesterday, Congressman John Conyers, ranking Democrat on the House 
Judiciary Committee, issued a report of problems that occurred in Ohio. 
Some of the problems he reported include problems with voting machines 
in predominantly minority, Democratic-leaning wards, which caused 
people to wait 10 hours or more in the rain. One precinct was forced to 
close at 9:25 in the morning because its voting machines were not 
working. The Ohio Republican Party suppressed the turnout of minority, 
Democratic-leaning voters by engaging in preelection caging tactics, 
tactics which were declared illegal by a Federal court.
  Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, a Republican, deviated from 
election law by severely restricting voters' access to provisional 
ballots. He went so far as to reject voter registration applications 
based on paperweight and texture. Those actions and his complete 
unwillingness to cooperate with Congressman Conyers' investigation are 
deeply troubling. His actions are troubling, particularly because he 
didn't just serve as the chief election official of his State; he also 
cochaired the Bush-Cheney campaign in Ohio.
  Allowing a State official to oversee a Federal election and 
simultaneously serve as a partisan campaign official for a candidate in 
that election is a blatant conflict of interest and we have to put a 
stop to it. That is why later this month I am going to introduce the 
Federal Election Integrity Act, a bill to prohibit State election 
officials from overseeing Federal elections in which they play a 
partisan role on behalf of one of the candidates.
  Secretary Blackwell is now running for Governor. He recently sent a 
fundraising letter to potential Republican donors. I think his letter 
underscores the need for my bill. The first page of his letter tells 
the story. In part, it says:

       I have no doubt that the strong campaign we helped the 
     President run in Ohio . . . can easily be credited with 
     turning out record numbers of conservatives and evangelicals 
     on election day.

  It is not surprising that many people have no doubt that Secretary 
Blackwell also ran a strong campaign against other voters, namely 
minorities and Democrats.
  Americans need to believe their election officials are beyond 
reproach. Allowing such officials to serve simultaneously in a partisan 
campaign capacity seriously undermines that confidence. That is why, 
regardless of what happens today, I will introduce the Federal Election 
Integrity Act. It is a step we can and should take to restore 
confidence that our elections are fair and the results are accurate.

  I don't believe the objection the junior Senator from California has 
raised will be sustained this afternoon, but that doesn't mean we 
should not discuss the problems that precipitated the objection and do 
something about them in the future to assure that when the votes are 
counted, we know everybody has had a fair chance to cast their ballots 
and that there hasn't been any tinkering with them.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDENT pro tempore. Who seeks recognition?
  The Senator from New York is recognized.
  Mrs. CLINTON. Mr. President, this is obviously a difficult debate for 
many reasons. I commend the Senator from California for joining with 
members of the House, most particularly Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs 
Jones, in raising the objection, because it does permit us to air some 
of these issues--something I believe is necessary for the smooth 
functioning of our democracy and the integrity of the most precious 
right of any citizen, namely, the right to vote.
  As we look at our election system, I think it is fair to say there 
are many legitimate questions about its accuracy and about its 
integrity, and they are not confined to the State of Ohio. They are 
ones that have arisen throughout our country and certainly because of 
the election of 2000 have been given high relief in the last 4 years. 
Then questions were raised additionally with respect to this election 
which deepened the concern of many people about whether we can assure 
the continuity of our democratic process by ensuring the consent of the 
governed and the acceptance of the results of elections.
  Several weeks ago, we stood in great admiration as a nation behind 
the people of Ukraine as they took to the streets to demand they be 
given the right to an election where every vote was counted.
  In a few weeks, we are going to see an election in Iraq. We know 
there are people literally dying in Iraq for the right to cast a free 
vote. I am very proud of our country, that we have stood with 
Ukrainians, Iraqis, and others around the world, but increasingly, I 
worry that if this body, this Congress does not stand up on a 
bipartisan basis for the right to vote here at home, our moral 
authority will be weakened.
  I take that very seriously because freedom is our most precious 
value, and we have for 225-plus years worked to form a more perfect 
Union. At first, not everybody was permitted to vote in our own 
country, but through constitutional changes, a civil war, and a civil 
rights movement, we expanded the franchise. This year we will celebrate 
the anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, and it will be an opportunity 
for us to take a look at this landmark legislation and determine how we 
are going to move it into the 21st century so it really stands for what 
it was intended to do when it was first passed.
  I would be standing here saying this no matter what the outcome of 
the election because I still think the best rule in politics is the 
golden rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. I 
worry, whether it is a Democratic or Republican administration or a 
local county, State, or Federal election, that we are on a slippery 
slope as a nation.
  My colleague, Senator Boxer, and I, along with former Senator Bob 
Graham of Florida, introduced legislation last year to try to assure a 
verifiable paper audit. We did not get anywhere with that. We did not 
get a hearing before the Rules Committee, and I hope the distinguished 
chair of the Rules Committee will hold such a hearing this year because 
if we can buy a lottery ticket or go to a bank and make an ATM deposit, 
then we know we can use an electronic transfer mechanism that gives us 
a record. That is just one of the many issues we can deal with 
  Last spring, India, the largest democracy--we are the oldest 
democracy, so in that way we are real partners in this great enterprise 
of democracy--had an election. Mr. President, 550 million or

[[Page S52]]

so people voted, from the dot-com billionaire to the poor illiterate 
peasant. They all voted. They voted on electronic voting machines. They 
voted in a way that guaranteed the safety, security, and accuracy of 
their vote. They had uniform standards. They had a nonpartisan board 
that oversaw that election, and the result was shocking. They threw out 
the existing government. Nobody had predicted that. Yet they did it 
with integrity.
  Surely, we should be setting the standards. I hope in this body, and 
thanks to the objection of my friend from California, this debate which 
started today will continue.
  Thank you, Mr. President.
  The PRESIDENT pro tempore. The distinguished Democratic leader.
  Mr. REID. Mr. President, I spoke on a procedural matter earlier. I 
ask unanimous consent that not be deemed to be my speech in regard to 
this matter.
  The PRESIDENT pro tempore. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. REID. Mr. President, today great men and women of our Armed 
Forces are working to bring the right of free and fair elections to 
Iraq. In less than a month, there will be elections in Iraq. The 
sacrifice of our military demands that we work to ensure our own 
elections are fair. That is why today's debate is here, and I applaud 
my friend from California for allowing us to talk a little bit about 
elections generally.
  A constitutional right that can be said to help secure all other 
rights is the right to vote. History has shown us that the right to 
vote demands constant vigilance and attention. While secured by our 
Constitution, widespread disenfranchisement of African Americans and 
other Americans led to the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the 
amendments in 1970, 1975, and 1982.
  Constitutional protection was not enough. We needed tough new laws 
and took action. More recently, the abuses in Florida 4 years ago 
demonstrated the need for change and led to reform--and it was reform--
in the Help America Vote Act of 2002.
  I spread on the Record today the good work of Senator McConnell, 
Senator Dodd, and Senator Bond. There were others, but those are the 
three who stand out in my mind.
  While the literacy tests and poll taxes of the past are gone, a more 
insidious form of disenfranchisement continues to taint our electoral 
  In this past election, in the State of Nevada, phone calls were made 
to heavily African-American parts of Las Vegas to try to trick those 
voters into not voting. The same happened in the Hispanic areas of our 
State, especially in Clark County. These calls, which we were unable to 
trace, told voters election day was November 3, not November 2.
  Our registration process in Nevada is also tainted by the proven 
destruction of Democratic voter registration forms. This is clear. It 
happened. There was a company hired by the Republican National 
Committee to register only Republicans. We had people come forward and 
say they destroyed Democratic registration forms. That investigation is 
still underway.
  In some of my earliest elections in Nevada, private individuals 
dressed in uniforms meant to resemble police officers stood around 
polling places in minority voting spots to frighten people from coming 
to vote, and it worked. These officers were posted, as I indicated, at 
the polls to intimidate these minority voters.
  In this past election in Ohio, we heard a lot about what appeared to 
be wrong there, and I hope there will be more done to determine what 
went on in Ohio.
  Legal challenges to restrict provisional voting, a provision of HAVA, 
which is the Help America Vote Act which I talked about earlier, meant 
to cure the widespread disenfranchisement of minorities in Florida and 
around the rest of the country.
  These problems damage our system, deny our citizens equal protection, 
and undermine the right to vote. Rooting out this corruption requires 
not only strong laws but I believe strong hearts. It relies upon the 
integrity of our election officials in every State and each one of us 
to speak up when abuses occur.
  It is my hope the debate today will once again lead to action to cure 
some of the more glaring defects of the 2004 election. One of the most 
significant problems in Ohio and in many other States was the lack of 
measures to ensure the integrity of electronic voting machines. While 
we have made improvements that are historic with HAVA, one important 
omission is in this area; that is, electronic voting, how to ensure the 
integrity of it.
  In the last election, of all 50 States, Nevada was the only State 
where we had total electronic voting with a paper trail. When you voted 
in Nevada, you did your electronic voting and you could look right 
there to see for whom you voted. No mistakes. You did not take it with 
you, of course, but it was in the machine, and if there was a recount, 
it could be determined easily.
  This is the way it should happen all over America, an electronic 
machine with a paper trail.
  Last year, my colleague, the distinguished junior Senator from 
Nevada, Mr. Ensign, and I introduced a measure to require paper trails 
for electronic voting machines every place. We will introduce our 
bipartisan Voting Integrity and Verification Act in this Congress.
  I hope that as we consider the 2004 election today--I ask unanimous 
consent for one additional minute, Mr. President.
  The PRESIDENT pro tempore. The statute allows no more than 5 minutes 
to any Senator, I regret.
  Mr. REID. I will end by saying we look forward to enacting 
commonsense measures such as the Voting Integrity and Verification Act 
which Senator Ensign and I will introduce in a few days to continue to 
improve the integrity of our elections.
  I do not view the need to consider these additional reforms as a sign 
that our electoral system has failed. That we learn, investigate, and 
reform demonstrates its strength. The only failure following the 2004 
election would be to not acknowledge and act to strengthen the right to 
  I hope my colleagues on the other side of the aisle will join with me 
in that effort.
  The PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator from Iowa.
  Mr. HARKIN. The Senator from California is performing an important 
service for American democracy today, along with her partner in this 
effort on the House of Representatives side, the Congresswoman from 
Ohio. Their challenge allows a needed debate in the Senate, as well as 
in the House of Representatives. This debate is short today. We are 
limited to 5 minutes. I hope this debate will continue in the future, 
at least this year, to try to reach some better conclusions as to how 
we operate voting in America.
  I want to be clear that I do not question the legitimacy or outcome 
of our 2004 Presidential election. Nor will I vote to overturn the 
result of the vote in Ohio. The irregularities and the 
disenfranchisement that took place in that State and elsewhere, which 
are real and deeply worrisome, do not appear to me to have determined 
the outcome, either nationally or in Ohio.
  But the right to vote and the need for citizens to have confidence 
that their votes will be counted correctly are basic to our democracy. 
That is why I believe there can be no more appropriate time to talk 
about problems in our electoral system than today, the day on which we 
officially confirm and proclaim the results of our recent election. So 
I thank Senator Boxer, as well as Representative Tubbs Jones, who is a 
former judge in the State of Ohio, for this responsible action.
  I say to my friend Mr. DeWine from Ohio, whom I listened to briefly a 
little bit ago, this is not about whether George Bush won the election. 
It is about taking a hard look at the voting structure in America, 
asking how we can make it better. How can we make it better and more 
equitable for people?
  Now we tried, through the Help America Vote, to fix some of the 
problems, but there is evidence we did not do enough. We know that 
massive lines at the polls in Ohio likely led to thousands of voters 
giving up on voting. People had to wait 4, 5, 10 hours in line. 
Standing in line for 10 hours in America is like throwing acid in the 
face of democracy. It mars it. It scars it permanently.
  Now, why the long lines? They did not have an adequate number of 

[[Page S53]]

machines. Where were the lines? Many of them were in urban areas and 
minority communities because there was an inequitable distribution of 
machines between urban and suburban areas.
  According to the New York Times, in Columbus, OH, there was an 
average of 4.6 machines per voter in Bush's strongest precincts while 
there were only 3.9 machines in the so-called Kerry precincts.
  What we saw in Ohio was a concerted effort by an official, the 
Secretary of State, to try to minimize the ability of Ohioans to cast 
their vote. The Secretary of State was also the Chairman of the Ohio 
Bush re-election campaign. For example, in the weeks leading up to the 
election, the Secretary of State of Ohio tried to argue that thousands 
should be denied the right to vote because the forms they used to 
register were printed on the wrong weight of paper.
  The Secretary of State also argued that absentee voters who had not 
received their ballots should not be allowed to vote, another concerted 
effort to suppress votes.
  We also have reports of electronic voting machines not voting 
properly. A system where software is kept secret has been allowed to be 
the norm. This is an inappropriate practice that could result in 
serious fraud. Clearly, we need a Federal statute requiring independent 
review of the software used in electronic voting machines, as well as 
providing both sides access to the software in these machines.
  What we saw in Ohio, what we likely would see in many States if they 
came under this type of scrutiny, is continuing problems with the whole 
election process that need to be fixed. We need to make changes in 
Federal law to make it clear that election officials are to work to 
maximize the right of people to vote rather than finding technicalities 
to disenfranchise them.

  It is curious to note that in the Constitution of the United States, 
there is not a provision guaranteeing the right to vote. There are a 
number of amendments, the 14th, the 15th, 19th, 24th, 26th, that expand 
the concept, say people cannot be denied the right to vote on the basis 
of poll taxes, race, color, gender, and age.
  Perhaps what we need is a constitutional amendment guaranteeing the 
right of every citizen of the United States a secret ballot and to have 
that ballot counted. I think it would come as a shock to most Americans 
to know that it is not in the Constitution of the United States that we 
have that right to vote.
  This debate is needed to fix a system that is broken.
  The PRESIDENT pro tempore. Is there any Senator who has not spoken 
who wishes to speak on this matter?
  The Senator from Illinois.
  Mr. OBAMA. Mr. President, I did not anticipate speaking today, but 
the importance of this issue is enough for me to address this body.
  During the election, I had the occasion of meeting a woman who had 
supported me in my campaign. She decided to come to shake my hand and 
take a photograph. She is a wonderful woman. She was not asking for 
anything. I was very grateful that she took time to come by. It was an 
unexceptional moment except for the fact that she was born in 1894. Her 
name is Marguerite Lewis, an African-American woman who had been born 
in Louisiana, born in the shadow of slavery, born at a time when 
lynchings were commonplace, born at a time when African Americans and 
women could not vote. Yet, over the course of decades she had 
participated in broadening our democracy and ensuring that, in fact, at 
some point, if not herself, then her children, her grandchildren, and 
her great-grandchildren would be in a position in which they could, 
too, call themselves citizens of the United States and make certain 
that this Government works not just on behalf of the mighty and the 
powerful but also on behalf of people like her.
  So the fact that she voted and her vote was counted in this election 
was of supreme importance to her and it is the memory of talking to her 
and shaking her hand that causes me to rise on this occasion.
  I am absolutely convinced that the President of the United States, 
George Bush, won this election. I also believe he got more votes in 
Ohio. As has already been said by some of the speakers in this body, 
this is not an issue in which we are challenging the outcome of the 
election. It is important for us to separate the issue of the election 
outcome with the election process.
  I was not in this body 4 years ago, but what I observed as a voter 
and as a citizen of Illinois 4 years ago was troubling evidence of the 
fact that not every vote was being counted. It is unfortunate that 4 
years later we continue to see circumstances in which people who 
believe they have the right to vote, who show up at the polls, still 
continue to confront the sort of problems that have been documented as 
taking place not just in Ohio but places all across the country.
  I strongly urge that this Chamber, as well as the House of 
Representatives, take it upon itself once and for all to reform this 
  There is no reason, at a time when we have enormous battles taking 
place ideologically all across the globe, at a time when we try to make 
certain we encourage democracy in Iraq and Afghanistan and other places 
throughout the world, that we have the legitimacy of our elections 
challenged--rightly or wrongly--by people who are not certain as to 
whether our processes are fair and just.
  This is something we can fix. We have experts on both sides of the 
aisle who know how to fix it. What we have lacked is the political 
  I strongly urge that, in a circumstance in which too many voters have 
stood in long lines for hours, in which too many voters have cast votes 
on machines that jam or malfunction or suck the votes without a trace, 
in which too many voters try to register to vote only to discover that 
their names don't appear on the roles or that partisan political 
interests and those that serve them have worked hard to throw up every 
barrier to recognize them as lawful, in which too many voters will know 
that there are different elections for different parts of the country 
and that these differences turn shamefully on differences of wealth or 
of race, in which too many voters have to contend with State officials, 
servants of the public, who put partisan or personal political 
interests ahead of the public in administering our elections--in such 
circumstances, we have an obligation to fix the problem.
  I have to add this is not a problem unique to this election, and it 
is not a partisan problem. Keep in mind, I come from Cook County, from 
Chicago, in which there is a long record of these kinds of problems 
taking place and disadvantaging Republicans as well as Democrats. So I 
ask that all of us rise up and use this occasion to amend this problem.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The time of the Senator has 
expired. The Senator from Connecticut is recognized.
  Mr. DODD. Mr. President, I commend and thank our colleague from 
California who, as a result of her objection, has allowed us to have a 
couple of hours here to debate and discuss the events that occurred on 
election day this year. I thank her for doing that. Whatever occurred 
during the day, I think it is important that this body take a moment 
now and review what has occurred since election 2000 and this election 
as well. I recognize we are still operating under a very imperfect 
system when it comes to the Federal elections in this country. I thank 
the distinguished minority leader, Senator Reid, for commending this 
body for its support of the Help America Vote Act that we adopted 
almost unanimously in this body a couple of years ago, through the work 
of Senators McConnell and Bond and others.
  It was certainly not a perfect piece of legislation, but it was the 
first time in the history of this country, outside of the Voting Rights 
Act, that this body, the Congress of the United States, spoke 
comprehensively about the conduct of Federal elections.
  I point out to my colleagues that while certainly things need to be 
done to improve even that effort, there were 119,000 provisional 
ballots cast in the State of Ohio that never would have been counted 
had we not adopted provisional ballot requirements.
  There are certainly legitimate questions about what does and doesn't 
constitute a ballot. I am drafting for my colleagues' approval a 
comprehensive piece of legislation that deals with the shortcomings in 
the HAVA bill itself.

[[Page S54]]

The fact is we are going to have access to statewide voter 
registration. The fact is we are making it possible for 20 million 
disabled Americans to cast a ballot independently and privately.
  I know personally what this is like, having watched a sibling of mine 
having to cast a ballot with the help of someone else, despite two 
master's degrees and being a teacher for 40 years. We also put into 
HAVA the requirement that every voter have the right to see his or her 
ballot before actually casting their ballot. HAVA required that all 
voters who are challenged, for any reason, have the right to cast a 
provisional ballot. The Federal Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit 
of the United States affirmed the absolute right to receive a 
provisional ballot, without any additional requirements.

  We have made great progress here. More needs to be done, clearly, if 
we are going to make a Federal election system exist where every vote 
will be counted and every eligible person will have an equal 
opportunity to vote.
  I appreciate the opportunity here to talk about this. My hope would 
be that we would build bipartisan support, just as we did 2 years ago 
in adopting the Help America Vote Act, in both bodies, and get the kind 
of bipartisan support necessary so the conduct of elections, Federal 
elections, will have a system that has the confidence of the voters of 
this country.
  I think it was Thomas Paine who, more than 200 years ago, said the 
right to vote is the right upon which all other rights depend. If you 
don't get this right, every other right is in jeopardy, and that is the 
business we need to be about.
  Obviously events in Ohio and elsewhere raise legitimate and serious 
concerns. In this country we are still operating Federal elections on 
the basis of a voluntary work, pretty much, of local people. It worked 
pretty well for many years. It doesn't work any longer. It has to be 
changed. We have to do a better job. It is important that this body, 
the Congress of the United States, say to the American public we are 
going to do everything we can to see to it that you have an equal 
opportunity to vote and that your vote will be counted, and we are 
going to have the people, the technology, and the resources in place to 
make that happen.
  We have made great strides. More needs to be done. The Senator from 
California has given us an opportunity today to highlight the 
importance of this. I regret that the Senate finds itself in this 
situation today where we find that the American public still lacks 
confidence in the legitimacy of the process and the results of our 
presidential elections.
  But as painful as this debate today may be, this discourse is 
necessary to ensuring the American public that we, here in Congress, 
hear their concerns and frustrations, and will continue to fight to see 
that their most basic of all democratic rights--the right to vote--is 
  Sadly, the concerns we are hearing expressed today are all too 
familiar to those we heard exactly 4 years ago following the debacle of 
the 2000 presidential election.
  Following the 2000 presidential election, Congress responded to the 
problems which arose in Florida and other states by enacting bipartisan 
legislation, the Help America Vote Act, which I was pleased to 
coauthor. The goal of that bill was to ensure that every eligible 
American would have an equal opportunity to cast a vote and have that 
vote counted, regardless of race, gender, disability, language or party 
or precinct; and, that it would be easier to vote, but harder to 
defraud the system.
  The Help America Vote Act--or HAVA--had the support of countless 
civil rights, disability, language minority and voting rights groups, 
and organizations representing state and local governments. HAVA has 
been hailed as the first civil rights law of the 21st century and I am 
committed to ensuring that it is fully implemented as such.
  While the results of the 2004 presidential election may not have been 
contested in the same manner as those of the 2000 election, the jury is 
still out on whether HAVA successfully addressed all the problems that 
arose in the 2000 election. While I believe there is still much work to 
do to ensure the franchise for all Americans, I am confident 
that without HAVA, thousands of eligible American voters would not have 
been able to cast a vote, nor have their vote counted, in the November 
2004 presidential election.

  It is important to remember that HAVA is not yet fully implemented. 
In some respects, the most important reforms have yet to be implemented 
by the States.
  These reforms include:

       mandatory uniform and nondiscriminatory requirements that 
     all voting systems provide second-chance voting for voters;
       full accessibility for the disabled and language 
       a permanent paper record for manual audits;
       uniform standards for what constitutes a vote and how such 
     a vote will be counted for each type of voting system used by 
     a State; and
       a computerized statewide voter registration list which must 
     contain the name and registration information for every 
     eligible voter in a State and be electronically available to 
     every State and local election official at the polling place 
     on election day.

  Had these additional reforms been in place on election day this 
November, many of the Election Day problems that arose across the 
country could have been avoided or resolved at the polling place.
  But one of the HAVA reforms that was in place this November did make 
a difference: the requirement that all States provide a provisional 
ballot to voters who are challenged at the polls, for any reason. This 
requirement ensured the franchise for thousands of Americans on 
November 2 last year.
  In Ohio alone, 155,000 voters cast provisional ballots, of which an 
estimated 77 percent were counted. That represents over 119,000 
American voters who otherwise might not have been able to cast a vote 
or have their vote counted, but for HAVA.
  Some States, including Ohio, attempted to restrict the right to a 
provisional ballot, but were ultimately unsuccessful. The Federal Court 
of Appeals for the 6th Circuit of the United States affirmed the 
absolute right to receive a provisional ballot, without any additional 
requirements, in the decision of Sandusky vs. Blackwell decided on 
October 26, just one week prior to the election.
  More importantly, that decision upheld the right of an individual 
voter to seek judicial redress of the rights conferred by HAVA and 
upheld HAVA as a civil rights law enforceable as such in the courts.
  As with any comprehensive civil rights legislation, HAVA's reach and 
effectiveness will have to be hammered out by the courts. As that 
process plays out, coupled with the States' implementation of the 
remaining HAVA reforms, we will be in a better position to assess 
whether this landmark legislation hit the mark or needs further reform.
  But it is already clear, based on the November election, that it will 
take further reform to ensure that all eligible Americans have an equal 
opportunity to cast a vote and have that vote counted. We already know 
that States are implementing the provisional ballot requirements in 
significantly differing manners. It is simply unacceptable that a 
Federally-guaranteed provisional ballot, cast for President of the 
United States, may not be counted simply because of the local precinct 
that the otherwise eligible voter was standing in at the time he or she 
  We know from the November elections that election officials did not 
provide sufficient numbers of machines to ensure that all voters could 
vote in a timely manner. We also know that many voters, such as those 
in Ohio, were still forced to vote on antiquated equipment such as the 
punch card which disenfranchises minority voters at greater rates than 
other voters, or use ballots that are confusing. And we know that some 
states still insist on purging voters based on inaccurate lists and 
refuse to reinstate the voting rights of felons, even after they have 
completed their debt to society.

  It is time to consider whether, for Federal elections, there is a 
national responsibility to ensure that no matter where and how a ballot 
is cast for the office of the President of the United States, all 
Americans will have confidence that their vote was cast and counted in 
a uniform and nondiscriminatory way.
  I will be introducing comprehensive election reform legislation when 
we reconvene which will build on HAVA and address these and other 
issues. My proposal will:

[[Page S55]]

       require states to provide enough machines, and ensure they 
     are geographically distributed;
       ensure that the provisions of HAVA that require that voters 
     have a chance to verify their ballot before it is cast and 
     that an audit trail exists to establish that such ballot was 
     counted are implemented;
       require states to offer extended voting times to ensure 
     that single parents, the disabled, and those who simply 
     cannot get to the polls on the one day can still cast their 
       ensure that only eligible voters can vote, but that no 
     voter who is eligible will be barred from the polls simply 
     because he or she did not check a box on a form; and
       require the reinstatement of felons for the purpose of 
     casting a Federal ballot.

  And my legislation will provide the Federal funds necessary to ensure 
that the states can timely implement the reforms.
  The Help America Vote Act is an historic landmark legislation that 
comprehensively defines, for the first time in this Nation's history, 
the role of the Federal government in the conduct of Federal elections. 
It was an important first step, but our work is not done.
  The real test, however, will be not so much on how we vote in the 
next few minutes on some resolution here, but whether in the coming 
days we are willing to pass legislation to fill in the gaps that are 
left vacant as a result of our inability to get more done with the HAVA 
  I believe we can do it. We did it in the last Congress. We ought to 
do it in this one, so we never again have questions raised about the 
legitimacy of the election process or results, in any State, of a 
Federal election.
  I look forward to working with my colleagues, and the civil rights, 
disability, language minority, and voting rights communities, as well 
as State and local election officials, to continue our work to ensure 
that all Americans have access to the most fundamental right in a 
representative democracy: the right to cast a vote and have that vote 
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDENT pro tempore. Is there a Senator who has not spoken who 
wishes to speak on this matter?
  The Senator from Ohio.
  Mr. VOINOVICH. Mr. President, I rise today as a Member of the body 
who recently was sworn in for his second term. In my first 6 years as a 
Senator of the United States in this institution, I faced challenges 
unprecedented in this country's history.
  While we have made tremendous progress making our Nation more secure, 
increasing America's competitiveness in the global marketplace, and 
upholding the Federal Government's promise to seniors by enacting a 
prescription drug benefit through Medicare, we still have serious 
problems confronting our Nation.
  On November 2, voters across this Nation chose their Government that 
will face these forthcoming challenges. The voters of Ohio and our 
Nation chose President George W. Bush. Even with a recount in Ohio, 
President Bush won my State by over 118,000 votes. As a Republican from 
Cleveland who has been reelected as a Republican from Cleveland, 
elected to Federal, State, county, and municipal offices, I am living 
proof Ohioans know how to count ballots and, more importantly, we count 

  (Disturbance in the Visitors Gallery.)
  The PRESIDENT pro tempore. There will be order in the galleries, 
please. The Sergeant at Arms will remove people from the gallery if 
there is no order in the gallery.
  Mr. VOINOVICH. It is clear that those who persist in beating a dead 
horse are attempting to create uncertainty where none exists. That is 
why I am so disappointed that this body is squandering its time playing 
Monday-morning quarterback when the result of Ohio's Presidential 
election is clear. President George W. Bush won my home State and its 
20 electoral votes.
  Frankly, I am proud of how the election went in Ohio. Hundreds of 
thousands of new voters took part in their democracy this past 
November, increasing Ohio's voter participation rate to 72 percent, up 
from 64 percent in 2000. Unfortunately, prior to November 2, 
unsubstantiated allegations were being made about the electoral process 
in Ohio. But, at the end, on election day, and at the end of the 
recount, Ohio's Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell and the bipartisan 
election boards across the State did a tremendous job to ensure that 
the election was fair and the results were without question. I want to 
publicly applaud the good work of those dedicated public officials.
  It is time to put this election to rest. Editorial boards from Ohio 
newspapers, many of which endorsed Senator Kerry, agree as well. The 
so-called recount effort is a circus that needs to pack up and leave 
town, is what one of them said.
  The Akron Beacon Journal, a newspaper that endorsed Senator Kerry, 
stated on December 24:

       The allegations being thrown around are of the flimsiest 
     nature. . . . Not one shred of evidence has been presented to 
     show that Ohio's strictly bipartisan system of running 
     elections was manipulated. There isn't any.

  The Cleveland Plain Dealer, on December 15:

       Ohio's bipartisan elections system makes the kind of GOP 
     conspiracy that some allege all but impossible to execute. 
     Every county board of elections consists of two Democrats and 
     two Republicans. So, when (Jesse) Jackson and other national 
     Democrats question Ohio's outcome, they demean their own 

  William Anthony Jr., the African American who chairs both the 
Franklin County Democratic Party and its election board, has been 
personally stung by Jackson's slander. ``Why would I sit there,'' Mr. 
Anthony said, ``and disenfranchise my own community?''
  The Columbus Dispatch on December 12, 2004, states:

       [John] Kerry understands that Bush legitimately won the 
     election, which was why he conceded on November 3rd. Those 
     who claim that Ohio's vote was rigged have produced nothing 
     that approaches credible evidence.

  An editorial that appeared on Tuesday, January 4, just this week, in 
my hometown newspaper, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, said:

       The 176 Democrats who sit on Ohio's county election boards 
     pondered their jurisdictions' results, accepted their 
     subordinates' good work, and are turning their energies 
     toward the future.

  Across the country, people are moving forward after nearly 2 years of 
a continuous political campaign for the Presidency.
  This country deserves to be able to put this undisputed election to 
rest. We need to stop wasting time and move on to the serious issues 
facing our Nation.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDENT pro tempore. Is there any Senator who has not spoken 
who wishes to speak?
  The Senator from Mississippi.
  Mr. LOTT. Mr. President, realizing that I have the 5-minute 
allocation, I make a parliamentary inquiry about where we are. If there 
are no further speakers, is the Chair going to be prepared to put the 
question so that there would be a recorded vote?
  The PRESIDENT pro tempore. The yeas and nays have been ordered and 
the question will be placed before the body.
  Mr. LOTT. Mr. President, I think the case has been made. I think this 
was an unfortunate procedure. This process which we have been through 
was an inauspicious and unfortunate beginning of our session. I hope it 
does not have a lasting negative impact. But the Senator from 
California, Mrs. Boxer, made her case, others have responded, and I 
don't think it merits any further response. I, therefore, think we 
should be prepared to vote.
  I yield the floor.
  Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, 204 years ago, Thomas Jefferson took 
the oath of office as President of the United States in this very 
Capitol. He was the first President ever to do so. As he walked from a 
boardinghouse on Pennsylvania Avenue toward this building on the 
morning of his inauguration, he must have marveled at what was about to 
take place.
  For the first time in American history, power was changing hands from 
one party--the Federalists--to the other, the Democratic-Republicans. 
John Adams willingly left office. No shots were fired, and no monarchs 
were hanged. Unlike their brethren in Europe, Americans, under our 
glorious Constitution, had mastered the peaceful transfer of authority 
from one faction to another. Jefferson called his election the 
``revolution of 1800,'' brought about ``by the rational and peaceful 
instruments of reform, the suffrage of the people.''
  But America's tradition of this peaceful transfer of power is now 
being challenged.

[[Page S56]]

  The obstruction of the counting of the electoral vote undermines the 
tradition that Jefferson and Adams established. By blocking this vote 
when there is no possibility whatsoever of overturning the result, the 
legitimacy of our republican form of government is questioned. I am 
sure that is not the intention of my colleagues who have forced us to 
debate this. Yet it is undoubtedly the result.
  I understand that a minority of a minority protests the presidential 
vote in the State of Ohio. But President Bush has indisputably won that 
State by over 118,000 votes, and the votes have been counted twice.
  Some of my colleagues have claimed that, even though they agree that 
President Bush has won Ohio, they must take this opportunity to speak 
about the need for electoral reform. I submit that hijacking a 
presidential election to use as a personal soapbox is shameful.
  Electoral reform may very well be desirable--for as long as people 
administer elections, elections will be imperfect. There will always be 
some irregularities, most due to innocent mistake, some to outright 
fraud. We should absolutely do everything possible to combat this.
  But if electoral reform is needed, Senators should introduce 
legislation. They should not obstruct a legitimate count of the 
electoral votes where there is an unequivocal victor. They should not 
trample on the proud republican government our Founding Fathers 
bequeathed us. They should not mock the beautiful concept that 
sovereignty lies with the people, while our troops are fighting and 
dying to plant that concept in the soil of Iraq.
  Even the junior senator from Massachusetts has not endorsed the 
radical scheme that a minority of a minority has unleashed on us today. 
In an e-mail to supporters yesterday, Senator Kerry said that he would 
not participate in this petulant protest but, rather, will propose 
legislation to address perceived deficiencies in our electoral system. 
This is the only proper route to take, and history will applaud Senator 
Kerry for disavowing what is happening here today.
  This is an ignominious beginning to the 109th Congress. Last month I 
spoke about the desire on this side of the aisle to work with our 
colleagues in the other party to get things done for the American 
people in a spirit of bipartisanship. I'm still holding onto that hope. 
I appeal to cooler heads on the other side of the aisle: Don't let a 
fraction of your number march you down a dead end.
  The words that we say here today amount to little against the fact 
that in 2004, the President won an overwhelming victory in Ohio and 30 
other States, and received 286 electoral votes. Years from now, that 
fact will still be obvious. I hope that the damage done from this 
assault on our traditions is not.
  Mr. President, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDENT pro tempore. Is there any Senator who has not spoken 
who wishes to speak on this issue?
  If not, the question is, Shall the objection submitted by the 
gentlewoman from Ohio, Ms. Tubbs Jones, and the Senator from 
California, Mrs. Boxer, be sustained?
  The yeas and nays have been ordered, and the clerk will call the 
  The assistant legislative clerk called the roll.
  Mr. McCONNELL. The following Senators were necessarily absent. The 
Senator from Virginia (Mr. Allen), the Senator from Kentucky (Mr. 
Bunning), the Senator from Montana (Mr. Burns), the Senator from Idaho 
(Mr. Craig), the Senator from Nevada (Mr. Ensign), the Senator from 
Tennessee (Mr. Frist), the Senator from Texas (Ms. Hutchison), the 
Senator from Arizona (Mr. McCain), the Senator from Alaska (Ms. 
Murkowski), the Senator from Alabama (Mr. Shelby), the Senator from 
Rhode Island (Mr. Chafee), the Senator from Indiana (Mr. Lugar), the 
Senator from Florida (Mr. Martinez), the Senator from Wyoming (Mr. 
  Further, if present and voting, the Senator from Louisiana (Mr. 
Vitter), the Senator from Oklahoma (Mr. Inhofe), the Senator from 
Arizona (Mr. Kyl), and the Senator from Arizona (Mr. McCain) would have 
voted ``nay''.
  Mr. DURBIN. I announce that the Senator from Hawaii (Mr. Akaka), the 
Senator from Indiana (Mr. Bayh), the Senator from New Mexico (Mr. 
Bingaman), the Senator from New Jersey (Mr. Corzine), the Senator from 
California (Mrs. Feinstein), the Senator from Massachusetts (Mr. 
Kerry), the Senator from Louisiana (Ms. Landrieu), and the Senator from 
Washington (Mrs. Murray) are necessarily absent.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Crapo). Are there any other Senators in 
the Chamber desiring to vote?
  The result was announced--yeas 1, nays 74, as follows:

                      [Rollcall Vote No. 1, Joint]




     Nelson (FL)
     Nelson (NE)

                             NOT VOTING--25

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The objection is not sustained.
  Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I move to reconsider the vote and to 
lay that motion on the table.
  The motion to lay on the table was agreed to.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Secretary will notify the House of the 
action of the Senate, informing that body that the Senate is now ready 
to proceed to joint session with further counting of the electoral vote 
for President and Vice President.