e-mail from Senator Boxer

     Dear Benjamin:

     Thank you for writing to express your
     concerns about the electoral process.

     I thought that you would be interested in
     the following statement, which I made on the
     floor of the United States Senate on January 6:

     For most of us in the Senate and the House, we have
     spent our lives fighting for things we believe in   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

     Every citizen of this country who is registered to vote
     should be guaranteed that their vote matters, that their
     vote is counted, and that in the voting booth of their
     community, their vote has as much weight as the vote of
     any Senator, any Congressperson, any President, any
     cabinet member, or any CEO of any Fortune 500

     I am sure that every one of my colleagues   Democrat,
     Republican, and Independent   agrees with that
     statement.  That in the voting booth, every one is equal.

     So now it seems to me that under the Constitution of the
     United States, which guarantees the right to vote, we
     must ask:

     Why did voters in Ohio wait hours in the rain to vote?
     Why were voters at Kenyon College, for example, made
     to wait in line until nearly 4 a.m. to vote because there
     were only two machines for 1300 voters?

     Why did poor and predominantly African-American
     communities have disproportionately long waits?

     Why in Franklin County did election officials only use
     2,798 machines when they said they needed 5,000?  Why
     did they hold back 68 machines in warehouses?  Why
     were 42 of those machines in predominantly African-
     American districts?

     Why did, in the Columbus area alone, 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 about this?

     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   but how many
     other votes did the computers get wrong?

     Why did Franklin County officials reduce the number of
     electronic voting machines in downtown precincts, while
     adding them in the suburbs?  This also led to long lines.

     In Cleveland, why were there thousands of provisional
     ballots disqualified after poll workers gave faulty
     instructions to voters?

     Because of this, and voting irregularities in so many other
     places, I am joining with Congresswoman Stephanie
     Tubbs Jones to cast the light of truth on a flawed system
     which must be fixed now.

     Our democracy is the centerpiece of who we are as a
     nation.  And it is the fondest hope of all Americans that
     we can help bring democracy to every corner of the

     As we try to do that, and as we are shedding the blood of
     our military to this end, we must realize that we lose so
     much credibility when our own electoral system needs so
     much improvement.

     Yet, in the past four years, this Congress has not done
     everything it should to give confidence to all of our
     people their votes matter.

     After passing the Help America Vote Act, nothing more
     was done.

     A year ago, Senators Graham, Clinton and I introduced
     legislation that would have required that electronic voting systems
     provide a paper  record to verify a vote.  That paper trail would
     be stored in a secure ballot box and invaluable in case of a

     There is no reason why the Senate should not have taken up and
     passed that bill.   At the very least, a hearing should have been
     held.  But it never happened.

     Before I close, I want to thank my colleague from the House,
     Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones.

     Her letter to me asking for my intervention was substantive and

     As I wrote to her, I was particularly moved by her point that it is
     virtually impossible to get official House consideration of the
     whole issue of election reform, including these irregularities.

     The Congresswoman has tremendous respect in her state of Ohio,
     which is at the center of this fight.

     Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones was a judge for 10 years.
     She was a prosecutor for 8 years.  She was inducted into the
     Women's Hall of Fame in 2002.

     I am proud to stand with her in filing this objection.


     Barbara Boxer
     United States Senator

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