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  • Friday, December 31, 2004

    Conyers calls on senators to open debate on Presidential election

    Rep. Conyers calls on senators to open debate on presidential election The following letter was sent to all U.S. senators by Rep. John Conyers D-Mich this afternoon. A copy was released to RAW STORY by Conyers’ office. The letter was not available in image form because tech employees were not in today, a spokesperson said. The letter was first reported by Truthout, a progressive media site. December 30, 2004 Dear Senator, As you know, on January 6, 2005, at 1:00 P.M, the electoral votes for the election of the president are to be opened and counted in a joint session of Congress, commencing at 1:00 P.M. I and a number of House Members are planning to object to the counting of the Ohio votes, due to numerous unexplained irregularities in the Ohio presidential vote, many of which appear to violate both federal and state law. I am hoping that you will consider joining us in this important effort to debate and highlight the problems in Ohio which disenfranchised innumerable voters. I will shortly forward you a draft report itemizing and analyzing the many irregularities we have come across as part of our hearings and investigation into the Ohio presidential election. 3 U.S.C. §15 provides when the results from each of the states are announced, that “the President of the Senate shall call for objections, if any.” Any objection must be presented in writing and “signed by at least one Senator and one Member of the House of Representatives before the same shall be received."1. The objection must “state clearly and concisely, and without argument, the ground thereof."2 When an objection has been properly made in writing and endorsed by a member of each body the Senate withdraws from the House chamber, and each body meets separately to consider the objection. “No votes . . . from any other State shall be acted upon until the [pending] objection . . . [is] finally disposed of."3 3 U.S.C. §17 limits debate on the objections in each body to two hours, during which time no member may speak more than once and not for more than five minutes. Both the Senate and the House must separately agree to the objection; otherwise, the challenged vote or votes are counted.4 Historically, there appears to be three general grounds for objecting to the counting of electoral votes. The language of 3 U.S.C. §15 suggests that objection may be made on the grounds that (1) a vote was not “regularly given” by the challenged elector(s); and/or (2) the elector(s) was not “lawfully certified” under state law; or (3) two slates of electors have been presented to Congress from the same State. Since the Electoral Count Act of 1887, no objection meeting the requirements of the Act have been made against an entire slate of state electors.5 In the 2000 election several Members of the House of Representatives attempted to challenge the electoral votes from the State of Florida. However, no Senator joined in the objection, and therefore, the objection was not “received.” In addition, there was no determination whether the objection constituted an appropriate basis under the 1887 Act. However, if a State - in this case Ohio - has not followed its own procedures and met its obligation to conduct a free and fair election, a valid objection -if endorsed by at least one Senator and a Member of the House of Representatives- should be debated by each body separately until “disposed of". Please contact me at 225-5126 to appraise me of your thoughts on this important matter. If your staff has questions, that may be forwarded to Perry Apelbaum or Ted Kalo of my Judiciary Committee staff at 225-6504. Thank you. Sincerely, John Conyers, Jr.

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