Presidential Candidate Becomes First to Join Growing Movement When Queried About Issue at Campaign Event in California
Edwards Becomes Second Politician in a Week to Announce Support for the Election Integrity Movement After Being Asked About it at Public Event
By Brad Friedman on 3/3/2007, 11:05pm PT  

While it's unlikely to get as much attention as Ann Coulter calling him a "faggot" during her speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) last night, The BRAD BLOG has learned that John Edwards is the first Presidential Candidate to announce his support for a growing movement calling for a ban on the use of all Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, usually touch-screen) voting systems in American elections.

The BRAD BLOG was contacted late last night by Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) Board Chair Mimi Kennedy with the news that during a campaign event in Los Angeles Edwards agreed to join her organization in calling for an end to electronic ballots in American elections.

PDA has been one of many groups calling for the ban and other important amendments to Rep. Rush Holt's (D-NJ) new Election Reform bill (HR 811), recently introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Kennedy, an activist and actress well known for her role as Dharma's mother on ABC's Dharma and Greg, told The BRAD BLOG that during a Q & A period following his address last night, she asked Edwards whether he would join PDA in their campaign calling for "the complete removal of all Touch-Screen Direct Record Electronic voting machines from U.S. elections, with or without a paper trail."

Drawing an "X" in the air as the question was being asked, Edwards --- who was reportedly upset at Sen. John Kerry's decision not to contest the 2004 Presidential Election count, or lack thereof, in Ohio --- answered with a definitive "Yes!"

"Yes!" echoed Kennedy in response as the audience reportedly cheered and applauded.

Edwards's public support for a ban on DRE voting systems follows just over a week after Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) was asked a related question by an Election Integrity advocate at a public event at the University of California/Santa Cruz. Waters announced, in response to the query, that she would be withdrawing her co-sponsorship of the Holt bill in the wake of the growing concerns about several troubling shortcomings in the proposed legislation.

Kennedy attended the event, sponsored by the Pacific Palisades Democratic Club, with friend and former TAXI co-star Rhea Perlman, who unsuccessfully tried to video tape the Q & A session on her cell phone. The BRAD BLOG is attempting to locate a complete video of the event and we'll update this item if and when we do.

Before an audience estimated at 400, Kennedy rose and said to the former Vice-Presidential candidate...

"I'm not going to ask a question about the war," referring to PDA's anti-war campaign calling for withdrawal and diplomacy which Edwards had previously stated support for, "I'm going to ask about election technology."

"I'm going to try not to make people's eyes cross with the technical stuff," she said in recounting her question to Edwards. "You, of all people, know what has happened to our elections under some of this new technology and after working two years on these issues, Progressive Democrats of America and other groups have identified the worst offender as the touch-screen Direct Record Electronic voting machine."

As she spoke, Edwards reportedly nodded and drew a "large and vigorous 'X'" in the air in front of him with his free hand.

"So I'm going to ask you now --- Do you support the complete removal of all Touch-Screen Direct Record Electronic voting machines from U.S. elections, with or without a paper trail?"

Edwards's answer was an unequivocal and well-received "Yes!" according to Kennedy.

PDA has joined a growing list of Election Integrity advocates and organizations (including The BRAD BLOG) in calling for an end to DRE voting systems and demanding amendments to Holt's Election Reform bill as currently written.

The bill, while calling for a number of much-needed improvements to the current electoral mess in America, stops short of calling for a ban on DRE/touch-screen voting machines. Such systems have been proven over the last several years to be inaccurate, extremely vulnerable to tampering, and prone to failures and breakdowns which, during the 2006 election cycle, denied thousands if not millions of legally-registered voters from being able to cast a vote.

PDA's campaign calling on citizens to insist that Congress amend Holt's bill to require a full ban on DRE voting systems is here...

An earlier campaign, launched by more than 40 non-partisan Election Integrity organizations and endorsed by PDA, calling on Congress to require a paper ballot --- not a "trail" or "record," and one that is actually tabulated --- for every vote cast in America, is here...

The BRAD BLOG's "Special Coverage" page documenting the debate for a DRE voting ban and other needed amendments to Holt's legislation is available at:

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