About an hour ago, I got the following email from John Kerry (pasted in full below) confirming that he won't be taking part in the formal protest.
Okay, I already knew that he planned to be absent from the process and I respected his decision, but these two paragraphs really rubbed me the wrong way to the point that that "respect" I had prior to my getting his message has dissolved.
"Tomorrow, members of Congress will meet to certify the results of the 2004 presidential election. I will not be taking part in a formal 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."
His email in full:
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. And, as the greatest, wealthiest nation on earth, our citizens should never be forced to vote on old, unaccountable and non transparent voting machines from companies controlled by partisan activists.
Tomorrow, members of Congress will meet to certify the results of the 2004 presidential election. I will not be taking part in a formal 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.
But, that does not mean we should abandon our commitment to addressing those problems that happened in Ohio. We must act today to make sure they never happen again.
I urge you to join me in using this occasion to highlight our demand that Congress commit itself this year to reforming the electoral system. A Presidential election is a national federal election but we have different standards in different states for casting and counting votes. We need a national federal standard to solve the problems that occurred in the 2004 election. I will propose legislation to help achieve this.
Florida 2000 was a wake up call. But the Republicans who control Congress ignored it. Will they now ignore what happened in 2004?
There are nearly 3,000,000 of you receiving this email. We accomplished so much together during the campaign. Now let's use our power to make sure that at least one good thing comes from the voting rights problems of the 2004 election. If we want to force real action on election reform, we've got to demand that congressional leaders hold full hearings. Make sure they hear from you and help hold them accountable.
Speaker Dennis Hastert: 1-202-225-0600 Leader Bill Frist: 1-202-224-3135
And please report that you've made your call right here: http://www.johnkerry.com/signup/electoral_reform.php
I want every vote counted because Americans have to know that the votes they stood in line for, fought for, and strived so hard to cast in an election, are counted. We must make sure there are no questions or doubts in future elections. It's critical to our democracy that we investigate and act to prevent voting irregularities and voter intimidation across the country. We can't stand still as Congressional leaders seek to sweep well-founded voter concerns under the rug.
Please join with me in calling Speaker Hastert and Leader Frist and telling them that you want action on election reform now.
A recent report from Representative John Conyers (D-Michigan) reveals very troubling questions that have not yet been answered by Ohio election officials. I commend the Democratic National Committee for its announcement this week that the DNC will be investing resources and reaching out to non-partisan academics in a long term study of Ohio voting irregularities. I am only sorry that we haven't seen the same from Ohio Secretary of State Blackwell and GOP officials.
Congress must play a positive, proactive role on this issue. That's why I will soon introduce legislation to reform our election system, ensuring transparency and accountability in our voting system and that all Americans have an opportunity to vote and have their vote counted.
Please remember to let us know that you made your call when you're done. We're hoping to ensure House and Senate leaders' offices hear our demand for action on election reform in meaningful way. Please take a moment to let us know you have made your call here: http://www.johnkerry.com/signup/electoral_reform.php
I agree with Kerry about reforming our elections, but unfortunately, he has missed the point.
The protest is not about changing the election, it's about standing up for the people.
Those "widespread reports of irregularities, questionable practices by some election officials and instances of lawful voters being denied the right to vote" should be reasons enough for him to join his fellow senators.