We've been receiving reports via Email all morning concerning the possibility of Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) joining Rep. John Conyers' announced intention to challenge to the Electoral College results when the Congress meets in joint session to ratify (or not) those results this Thursday.
Only one member of the House and one member of the Senate is required to begin debate on an Electoral challenge. More info on those statutory Congressional procedures here.
A source in Bill Nelson's office has informed The BRAD BLOG that Nelson is seriously taking a look at the issue, and is currently amidst meetings and phone calls on the very topic.
As it is their "first day back to work since the holidays," as the staffer who wished to keep their name off the record told us, much is currently "up in the air" for the moment. Therefore, the source told us, they "cannot confirm anything as of yet."
The staffer was willing to tell us off the record, in regard to whether Nelson will join the challenge, that "I am hoping that he will. And so is he...There are many of us in the office who are hoping he will do so."
Pressed about the "so is he" comment, the staffer explained that Nelson has been a long time campaigner for "higher voter accountability" and is troubled by many of the reports he's seen concerning the results of Election 2004.
The staffer told The BRAD BLOG that Nelson has been in communication with Sen. John Kerry, and is currently "waiting to hear back" from him. They could not, however, tell us what the results of those communication have been so far.
Senator Nelson can be contacted via Phone, Fax or Email at this page.
UPDATE 2:30pm PT: Conflicting information has now been giving to us by Nelson's Press Secretary...And additional info from a source on the Judiciary Committee... Both reports updated here shortly!
UPDATE 3:03pm PT: The BRAD BLOG has now been contacted by Bryan Gulley, the Press Secretary for Senator Bill Nelson. Gulley has said in an email to us that our report is "completely false".
While we are pleased to report the information from Gulley, we stand by our original report of what we were told this morning by a Nelson staffer as being 100% accurate. We reported precisely what we were told.
Gully, however, understandably takes issue with the information that we were told and reported above. He has given this statement to us via email within the last hour:
Meantime, he's awaiting the findings by several government agencies that are investigating allegations of voter irregularities. And in the upcoming session of Congress, he intends to file legislation to further improve our election process.
After having been given similar information from a RAW STORY reporter earlier (which is now being reported here), in regards to our story, we spoke with a source on the U.S. House Judiciary Committee staff to inquire whether or not they have had any contact with Nelson's office on this matter.
Our source reported that, "To my knowledge, we haven't had any contact with him or his staff".
After we read Nelson's Press Secretary's statement to our source, they told us --- "with all due consideration to Senator Nelson, who has been incredible in fighting for voter-verified paper trails and other important election reform causes in the past" --- that perhaps Nelson's office was currently "setting the bar too high" for what is constitutionally required to challenge the Electoral votes in Congress.
According to our source, "I think that what he's articulated as what it'll take to challenge the Electors is higher than the Constitituion requires. It does not require evidence that will overturn the election. It simply requires evidence that the Electors were not legally appointed, which means that there were substantial illegal actions within a state."
That information would seem to be borne out by information on the Constitutional and statutory implementations concerning the challenge of Electors, which our article had previously pointed to.
"What it means," our source continued, is that "The threshold question for a Senator is not whether Sen. Kerry would have won Ohio...The threshold question is whether there is substantial and credible evidence that there were significant illegalities in the conduct of a state's election. In other words: Did Ohio follow it's own law and the Federal law and the Constitution in implementing it's election. That's the question that needs to be answered when considering the challenging of Electors."
To that end, The BRAD BLOG has been told that Rep. John Conyers' office and the U.S. House Judiciary Committee staffers, "anticipate" in the next day that they "will release a major report that will detail that full body of evidence. And will be sending it to every Senator."
The source added, "It will make it absolutely crystal clear what the standard is for challenging Electors."
The BRAD BLOG will, of course, continue to follow these developments throughout the week as the January 6th date nears for ratifying (or not) the Electoral College votes in a joint session of Congress.