John Kerry Calls for Election Reform
Below is a statement from Senator John Kerry on election reform. Today, he will participate in a press conference on Capitol Hill at 12:45 in Russell 188 with Senators Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-Ohio).
Thursday, February 17, 2005
"Free and fair elections are the foundation of our democracy. In the last year, millions more Americans registered and went to the polls than ever before. We saw millions in Iraq and Afghanistan vote for the first time in their lives. Yet, thousands upon thousands of Americans still fear that when they walk into the polls to vote, there is a very real chance that their vote will not be counted or they will lose the opportunity to vote at all because they are forced to stand in line for hours due to a shortage of machines.
"Faulty voting machines have no place in the greatest democracy on earth. Barriers to voting are an insult to the freest, greatest nation in the world.
"Last month, I sent out an email to Americans urging them to ask the Republican leadership in the House and Senate to make election reform a priority this Congress. In just one day 35,000 people called Senator Frist and Congressman Hastert's offices and urged them to hold hearings on election reform. I'm committed to making sure their voices are heard and Congress and the Administration make electoral reform a reality this year.
"I am proud today to join with my colleagues, Senators Clinton and Boxer, Congresswoman Tubbs Jones and Congressman Conyers, and the nation's leading civil rights groups to advance comprehensive election reform.
"Congress must take action to ensure all Americans have faith in future elections that the votes they stood in line to cast are counted. "Today, I once again call on our Republican colleagues to make protecting voting rights a priority and to put election reform legislation on the legislative calendar this year. I call on Congress to keep its promise and fully fund the Help America Vote Act, fund the activities of the Election Assistance Commission, and help states invest in better voting machines with paper trails.
"We must put party politics aside and join together as proud American citizens to eliminate barriers to voting, encourage the greatest level of civic participation possible, and restore confidence in the notion that every eligible voter will have the opportunity to cast a ballot and have it counted."
Contact: David Wade or April Boyd