Reported on Page 17.
Jimmy Carter expresses concern that 'electoral process' may be 'shot through with fraud'
By Brad Friedman on 4/19/2005, 2:23pm PT  

A not too bad article on yesterday's Election Reform Commission hearing buried on page 17 of today's Washington Post. Amongst the quotes used from Carter and Baker --- seemingly taken from their unbroadcast press conference held after the hearing --- is this one from Carter:

"[W]e want to make sure that the electoral process has integrity --- that it is not shot through with fraud."

...Well, that's somewhat encouraging to hear. Though a pity that more such discussion did not actually occur in yesterday's hearings (Live Blogged here).

We've also heard from a reliable source that Carter spoke about "paper ballots" a number of times at that same press conference, and of using them as the counted ballot of record as they are overseas. That's also encouraging...if true...and if he can climb over the mountain of hard-right Bush/Cheney/GOP partisans and voting machine representatives who comprise and stack the commission against such real reform.

Also of note from the WaPo article was this little turn o' phrase:

Much of the testimony was anecdotal, with many bemoaning the lack of hard evidence that would indicate how widespread the problems are.

We're not sure who "many" refers to in the above, nor which "hard evidence" was lacking. We do know that the mountains of existing hard evidence of Election Irregularities from '04 was not presented at all in yesterday's hearings, and that John Conyers --- who presented 102 pages of same --- was not invited to share that evidence with this commission.

The evidence that was presented, specifically on the strawman argument of "Voter Fraud" and "Voter Registration Fraud" and even "Provisional Voting Fraud" was indeed anectodal, and yet that was the "evidence" that was allowed to be presented to the commission yesterday. We hope that things will change in the next (and presumably last) meeting of the commission, but we are dubious at best.

The WaPo piece, however, did manage to offer add small bit of refreshing light to the mainstream media blackout on this issue. A few notable passages from the article:

[T]he first hearing yesterday of the Commission on Federal Election Reform made it clear that the 2004 election was not without problems.
[T]he academics, advocacy group leaders and politicians invited to testify yesterday provided a dizzying list of electoral problems that might make some wonder how any ballots were counted in November.

They told of absentee ballots that were never delivered. Of voters who were arbitrarily struck from the rolls. Of confusing and poorly designed ballots. Of long lines at the polls. Of inadequate funds to train poll workers.

Some complained that polls are frequently inaccessible to wheelchairs. That bilingual assistance is lacking. That there are too few voting machines, especially in minority communities.

Others asked whether partisan officials ought to be in charge of elections. Whether the country needs a voting holiday to improve turnout. Whether the nation should adopt uniform poll closing times so elections called in the East do not depress turnout in the West. Whether photo identifications ought to be required to vote. And whether to create a "paper trail" for electronic voting machines.

"Years of inattention and, yes, complacency at all levels of government have given us an election management system that is not up to the task," said Kay Maxwell, president of the League of Women Voters. "We must look more closely at the next steps that need to be taken to bring our election system back to health."
"In the 2004 presidential election, the United States came much closer to electoral meltdown, violence in the streets and constitutional crisis than most people realize," professor Richard Hasen of Loyola Law School said in his written comments. "Less than a 2 percent swing among Ohio voters --- about 100,000 voters --- toward Democratic candidate for president John Kerry and away from incumbent Republican President Bush would have placed the Ohio --- and national --- election for president well within the 'margin of litigation,' and it would have gotten ugly very quickly."

Hmmm...It's almost as if the WaPo is suggesting that the '04 Election didn't go quite as smoothly as they, and the other corporate media outlets, have led Americans to believe up until now. Who knew?

Perhaps they'd like to begin investigating and reporting to the American people on some of the items in that "dizzying list of electoral problems"? America is still waiting...Perhaps we can bump it up to page 15 when that happens. As we like to say, it's only democracy at stake.