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Letter To Senate Committee On Rules And Administration Heads; Senator Dianne Feinstein and Senator Robert Bennett

Letter

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

U.S. Senator Barack Obama today sent a letter to the heads of the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration requesting a hearing on election fraud in response to a report in the New York Times that the Election Assistance Commission may be altering or delaying the release of reports for political reasons.

The text of the letter is below:

The Honorable Dianne Feinstein
Chairwoman
Committee on Rules and Administration
331 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

The Honorable Robert Bennett
Ranking Member
Committee on Rules and Administration
431 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Chairwoman Feinstein and Ranking Member Bennett:

I am writing to express my concerns regarding recent reports that the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) might be altering reports or delaying the release of reports for political reasons. I ask that the Committee on Rules and Administration conduct a hearing on this troubling issue.

Specifically, an article in the New York Times, dated April 11, 2007, indicates that the EAC may have unduly delayed the issuance of its report, "Election Crimes: An Initial Review and Recommendations for Future Study," as well as altered the report to satisfy partisan demands. The original draft of the report, as written by expert researchers Job Serebrov and Tova Wang and based in part on interviews with a bipartisan group of election experts, indicates that there is strong agreement that there is little voter fraud occurring at the polling place on Election Day. However, the report, as released by the EAC in December 2006, indicates instead that there is "a great deal of debate on the pervasiveness of fraud."

Moreover, the New York Times article indicates that the EAC also refused to release another report, "Best Practices to Improve Voter Identification Requirements Pursuant to the Help America Vote Act of 2002, Public Law 107-252." That report, which was dated June 28, 2006, was only recently released. Its findings in part indicate that there might be a statistically significant correlation between increased voter identification requirements and reduced voter turnout.

As you know, the EAC has been entrusted with an important mandate. The integrity of our electoral process is the foundation of our democracy, and the EAC has been tasked with monitoring the implementation of robust, trustworthy voting standards and systems. Unfortunately, this recent episode is just the latest example of a disturbing trend indicating that the EAC is not fulfilling its mandate under the Help America Vote Act. If this Commission falls prey to partisan politics, then it cannot fully execute its duties to the American people.

I hope that the Committee on Rules and Administration will hold a hearing on these issues so that the Congress can learn more about the EAC's recent activities. Thank you both for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Barack Obama
United States Senator


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