Several members of Congress, including Representative John Conyers (D-MI), Ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, plan to challenge the Ohio presidential election results tomorrow during a joint session of Congress to certify the results of the presidential election, and there is a possibility that a Senator will join them. A similar challenge occurred in the 2000 election, when one by one, the members of the Congressional Black Caucus rose to challenge the results of the presidential election in Florida. However, according to Congressional rules, it takes one Representative and one Senator to reject the Electoral College’s vote and force a debate. In the 2000 election, no Senators would join the members of the Congressional Black Caucus in their challenge, but this year, there is a possibility that at least one Senator will step forward.
Many voting irregularities have been observed in Ohio, from lines as long as 11 hours to vote in some polling locations, to voting machine flaws, to intimidation of voters, to ballot-counting problems, to insufficient voting machines, to exit poll disparities, to concerns about provisional ballot distribution and counting, to inexplicable purging of voters in the years prior to the election. “Our work and analysis of 2004 voting data by county and voting equipment has resulted in many concerns about the conduct of our national elections,” said Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority Foundation, in her comments at the Congressional Forum on Election Irregularities in Ohio in December.
For example, in regard to purging of the voter rolls, Smeal found that from 2000-2001, 64 percent of the voters who were purged were in counties that Kerry won. “Ohio counties appear to have no standardized purging procedure,” she testified. “Needless to say, the results may be punitive to voters who are purged unnecessarily. For example, one of our student [activists] observed in East Cleveland that many people who came to the Ôwrong’ polling location were not given provisional ballots. Was it a Ôwrong’ location or were these voters simply purged? Either way, they should have been given a provisional ballot.”