Conyers: "Substance of the testimony alleging 'voter fraud' was a fraud itself"!
By Brad Friedman on 4/18/2005, 11:15am PT  

The office of Congressman John Conyers (D-MI), ranking minority member of U.S. House Judiciary Committee and longtime Election Reform champion tells The BRAD BLOG that Conyers has expressed outrage at the tenor of today's hearings and the morphing of election irregularities/fraud issues into voter registration/fraud issues!

We'll note that, despite having compiled 102 pages of evidence on Election Irregularities in OH, Conyers was not invited to participate in these hearings though he has recently written a letter to Carter [PDF] volunteering to help in any way while expressing disappointment about Baker's position as co-chair.

UPDATE: Conyers' full no-holds-barred statement, condemning today's hearing in no uncertain terms has now been released! A few highlights here, but the whole thing is well worth the read!...

The first meeting of the Baker-Carter election commission was disappointing and, at times, outrageous and tainted with racially-charged innuendo. Let me make absolutely clear that I greatly admire former President Jimmy Carter and believe he was insightful and on-target throughout the hearing. However, given the incredible lack of balance and profound lack of good faith demonstrated by some of Carter's fellow commissioners and many of the witnesses at this hearing, at times he seemed to be a very lonely voice of sanity.

The remarks of Mr. James Baker, III, which were echoed by a number of right wing political operatives called as witnesses, seemed to have a singular purpose of spreading hoaxes and conspiracy theories about ineligible Democratic voters being allowed to cast votes. The remedy was cleverly repeated like a broken record, "photo ID, photo ID, photo ID." Right wing pundit John Fund was called as an "expert" witness by the hearing and offered racially charged proposals with racially charged rhetoric.

The substance of the testimony alleging "voter fraud" was a fraud itself.
At the outset, Mr. Fund laid bare the nasty, racial underbelly of these proposals. The right-wing has been long engaged in tactics to suppress minority votes, but rarely lets slip about such tactics, as Fund did today. In a discussion about provisional ballots, Mr. Fund said that Congress should allow precinct workers to determine whether a provisional ballot should count because they would know who "looks as if they belong in the neighborhood." Wonder what he meant by that?
For a moment, I was encouraged when someone appeared to have bumped the phonograph and the broken record of "voter id" suddenly stopped. Instead, a new broken record began repeating "no voter verified paper ballot, no voter verified paper ballot, no voter verified paper ballot."

On a panel supposedly designed to address "voting technology," only one of the four witnesses, Professor David Dill, spoke of the need for a voter verified paper ballot. Two of the witnesses on this panel spoke in total opposition to such a proposal.

The pattern of the hearing was clear: Republican political operatives, with little or no track record of involvement in voting rights issues, facing non-partisan advocates for civil rights. Predictably, this hardly was a fair fight. The deck was stacked from the beginning.

What can be said of a commission that holds such a hearing? What hope is there for the recommendations of such a Commission? I am scheduled to meet with Commission officials this week and I am trying very hard to have an open mind. But, frankly, at this point - seeing this first hearing - I think we should all be very wary of this Commission's objectives.

BRAD BLOG's LIVE BLOGGING of today's hearings can be read in this previous item...

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