"Dear Secretary Ridge,
"We are deeply troubled by reports that the Department of Homeland Security has asked the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel to analyze what steps would need to be taken to postpone the presidential election in November of this year. We are also concerned that this important issue was not raised last week when Homeland Security Under Secretary Asa Hutchison, FBI Director Robert Mueller, and Terrorist Threat Integration Center Director John Brennan briefed Members of Congress on the possibility of terrorist attacks affecting the upcoming election.
"Any action taken by the Department of Homeland Security to postpone a federal election, including requesting an informal review by the Justice Department, would present the greatest threat to date to our democratic process - and would invite terrorists to disrupt the selection of our highest leader. The mere consideration of postponing an election - the very basis upon which our American democracy is founded - is a capitulation to terrorism. Wars, droughts, floods, and hurricanes haven't stopped elections, and the possibility of a terrorist attack must not stop one either.
"This move would be unprecedented for a presidential election - not even the Civil War stopped the 1864 presidential election. In 1864, President Lincoln stated: 'We cannot have free government without elections; and if the rebellion could force us to forego or postpone a national election, it might already fairly claim to have conquered or ruined us.'
"Moreover, such a proposal suggests that state officials responsible for elections in their region are incapable of deciding for themselves what steps to take in the event of a catastrophe. The legislative branch of the government has always held the authority to regulate elections. Now is not the time to transfer this authority to the executive branch. In the event of a terrorist attack, we trust that the respective legislatures across the nation will make the right decisions to ensure that our democratic process remains intact.
"Fighting terrorism, and preventing terrorists from changing our democratic process is the greatest fight we face in America today. But postponing an election due to the possibility of a terrorist attack, or in the event of an actual terrorist attack, would represent the greatest possible loss for democracy and a victory for terrorism. Let's make sure that in the fight against terrorism we don't sacrifice the very values we're fighting for in the first place. We urge you to take no further steps to postpone this year's presidential election."
The 191 Cosigners of the letter to Secretary Ridge are:
Abercrombie, Ackerman, Alexander, Allen, Andrews, Baca, Baldwin, Becerra, Bell, Berkley, Berman, Berry, Bishop (GA), Bishop (NY), Blumenaur, Boswell, Boyd, Brady (PA), Brown (FL), Brown (OH), Capps, Capuano, Cardin, Cardoza, Case, Chandler, Christensen, Clay, Clyburn, Conyers, Cooper, Costello, Cramer, Crowley, Cummings, Davis (AL), Davis (IL), Davis (FL), Davis (TN), Davis (CA), DeFazio, DeGette, Delahunt, DeLauro, Deutsch, Dicks, Dingell, Doggett, Dooley, Edwards, Emanuel, Engel, Eshoo, Etheridge, Evans, Farr, Fattah, Filner, Ford, Frost, Gephardt, Gonzalez, Gordon, Green (TX), Grijalva, Gutierrez, Harman, Hastings (FL), Herseth, Hill, Hinchey, Hinojosa, Hoeffel, Holt, Hooley, Honda, Hoyer, Inslee, Israel, Jackson, Jackson-Lee, Jefferson, John, E.B. Johnson, Jones (OH), Kaptur, Kennedy (RI), Kilpatrick, Kind, Kleczka, Kucinich, Lampson, Langevin, Lantos, Larsen, Larson, Lee, Levin, Lewis (GA), Lipinski, Lowey, Lynch, Lucas, Maloney, Markey, Marshall, Matheson, Matsui, McCarthy (NY), McCarthy (MO), McCollum, McDermott, McGovern, McIntyre, McNulty, Meehan, Meek, Meeks, Menendez, Michaud, Millender-McDonald, Miller (NC), George Miller, Mollohan, Moore, Moran, Nadler, Napolitano, Neal, Oberstar, Olver, Ortiz, Owens, Pallone, Pascrell, Pastor, Paul, Payne, Pelosi, Peterson, Pomeroy, Price, Rahall, Rangel, Rodriguez, Ross, Roybal-Allard, Ruppersberger, Rush, Tim Ryan, Linda Sanchez, Loretta Sanchez, Sanders, Sandlin, Schakowsky, Schiff, Scott (GA), Scott (VA), Serrano, Sherman, Skelton, Slaughter, Smith (WA), Solis, Spratt, Stark, Stenholm, Strickland, Stupak, Tanner, Tauscher, Taylor (MS), Thompson (MS), Thompson (CA), Tierney, Towns, Turner, Udall (CO), Udall (NM), Van Hollen, Velazquez, Visclosky, Waters, Watson, Watt, Waxman, Weiner, Wexler, Woolsey, Wu, Wynn.