Joint Session Concludes to Debate Issue in Both Houses!
BRAD BLOG LIVE BLOGS DEBATE! SINCE CABLE NETS NOT COVERING HISTORIC DEBATE!
By Brad Friedman on 1/6/2005, 10:24am PT  

Moments ago, in the joint session of Congress, the Electors from the state of Ohio were formally challenged by Rep. Stephanie Tubbs-Jones of Ohio and Senator Barbara Boxer of California...

Dick Cheney, presiding over joint session: "The two houses will withdraw from the chamber and will deliberate separately and report back after Debate."

All cable "news" nets...Even Fox...now covering... (Though Fox's Major Garrett incorrectly informs us that "all 88 counties were fully recounted" and adds other apologies on behalf of the Republican Party.)

...MORE...

Most "news" nets back to commercials and occassional coverage. C-SPAN carries full coverage. Tubbs-Jones speaking now...

...CONTINUING...LIVE BLOGGING IN LIEU OF COVERAGE BY "NEWS" NETWORKS...

Rep. Deborah Pryce (R-OH) quotes Kerry's concession speech. Says, "Their challenges is no more than an excercise to obstruct, destroy and divide..." FIRST MENTION of "Conspiracy Theories"! And "Michael Moore" as a bonus!

Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) asks and receives unaminous consent request to include the full 102-page report, "Preserving Democracy: What Went Wrong in Ohio?" into the record. Is speaking now..."Not a single official in Ohio has given us an explanation for the many irregularities in Ohio...Read the full report on our website..."

Flipping back and forth between House Hearings (on C-SPAN) and Senate Hearings (on C-SPAN2)...Both live streaming at C-SPAN.org...

..."Attny Jimmo" --- a BRAD BLOG commenter/troll --- is thoroughly discredited today and any credibility (if any existed in the first place) for the Freeper is lost....His Tuesday comment, "What are you going to drum up on Friday, the day after ZERO Senators and ONE nutty Representative challenge the electoral votes?" and Wednesday's comment, "After you get cold shouldered tomorrow by the Democrats; you are welcome to join us in the light of the GOP"...demonstrate "Jimmo's" lack of knowledge on, well...anything...that dispute, if there was one, is now over...

In Senate...Durbin and Kennedy speak in support of Tubbs-Jones/Boxer challenge...

...MORE LIVE BLOGGING CONTINUES...

Kennedy: "The voting standards did not live up to standards worth of our democracy."..."I commend the many thousands of citizens in Massacheusettes and other states" who insisted that we challenge this..."No democracy worth the name can allow such a flawed election process to take place again".

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) demands a paper trail...

Rep. Nancy Pelosi in House: "Rule of law is sacred...Today's electoral challenge is not to overthrow the election...it is about Election Reform...not about the Election Results. The members today are speaking up for their constituents who may have been disenfranchised...This is the only opportunity to do that...The right to vote is the foundation of our democracy...A discussion of that foundation should not be considered frivilous."..."Supreme Court: 'Other rights, even the most basic, are illusory if the Right to Vote is forsaken'"...

More Pelosi: "We are a nation of laws...we must never forget our example as a beacon of freedom to the rest of the world...By sending a message to the world that we are truly, truly protective of our constitution and we honor the oath of office that we take to protect and defend the constitution"...

CNN Reports: "Republicans are completely flabbergasted by this"...

Back to Senate, Hilary Clinton: "Increasingly I worry that if this body...this congress...doesn't stand up on a bipartisan basis for our right to vote here at home, our moral authority will be weakened...Freedom is our most precious value...This year we will celebrate the anniversary of the Voting Rights Act. It will be an opportunity for us to look at this landmark legislation and make sure it does what it was intended to...I would be saying this no matter who won the election...We are on a slippery-slope as a nation...My colleagues introduced legislation last year to call for a voter-verified paper ballot...we didn't get anywhere with that. It didn't even get a hearing...That is just one of the many issues that we can deal with technologically"...

Minority Leader Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV): "Today our armed forces are working to bring free and fair elections to Iraq...The sacrifice of our military demands that we work to ensure that our own elections are fair...History has shown us that the Right to Vote demands constant vigilance and attention"...

More Reid: "While the poll-taxes and Jim Crow laws are gone...More incidious disenfranchisement continues to threaten our system...Calls were made to Democratic voters to tell them Election Day was on a different date....There was a company hired by the Republican National Committee to register only Republicans, and they threw away Democratic registrations. That investigation is still under way...

More More Reid: "Last year my colleague and I introduced legislation for a voter-verified paper trail...We look forward to action on a bill that we will reintroduce again in a few days"...

Sen. Tom Harkin: "The Right to Vote and the need for citizens to have confidence that their votes were counted is basic to our democracy...So I thank Senator Boxer as well as Rep. Tubbs-Jones for this responsible action...This is not about whether George Bush won the election or not...It's about taking a hard look at the voting system in America...Figuring out how we can make it better...People had to wait 4, 5, 10 hours (in Ohio) to vote...Standing in line for 10 hours is like throwing acid in the face of Democracy"...

More Harkin: "4.6 machines per precinct in Bush districts, and 3.9 in so-called Kerry counties. Now who made that decision? The Secretary of State made that decision...Mr. President, a system where software is kept secret has been allowed to be the standard...clearly we need legislation that requires the review of the software used in these machines...What we saw in Ohio are continuing problems with the whole election process that need to be fixed...We need to find ways to maximize the way for citizens to excercise their right to vote...not find new ways to keep them from voting...We need a Constitutional Amendment guaranteeing the Right to Vote...It would come as a shock to most Americans to find that this is not a Right in the Constitution"...

Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL): "What I observed as a citizen of Illinois four years ago that not every vote was counted...What I find is troubling is that folks who show up to the polls four years later are still being kept from voting...This body must take it on itself once and for all to reform this system...At a time that we are encouraging Democracy in Afghanistan and Iraq...This is something that we can fix. We have experts on both sides of the aisle who know how to fix it. What we've lacked is the political will...Too many voters have had political partisan officials throw up obstacles to keep them voting...We have an obligation to fix the problem...It is not a partisan problem...I would ask that all of us rise up to address this problem"...

Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-CT) speaking in support...

Back to House...

Rep. Candace Miller (R-MI): "Fantasy and conspiracies..."

Rep. (Missed his name, but Republican): "The objection today is about undermining our election process and our President. Our boys are fighting in Iraq...and we hear complaints about how long it took to vote."...

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD): "What we are trying to do is make sure that every single voter has the Right to Vote and that there vote is counted...This is not a black and white issue, not a Republican/Democrat issue. This is a Red, White and Blue issue...When we take away our right to vote, we are destroying our democracy...I wonder if it was your wife or child who had their right to vote taken away if you would have a problem with that...It upsets me that you keep saying these things about 'denying Bush his opportunity to be President' and all those things...It's not about that."...

Rep. (Missed name) (D-GA): "It is clear from the work of the Judiciary Committee...that this congress has a lot of work to do...It is not only our responsibility but our right to ask for democracy here at home...And we do that here today...It is time to shine a light on our precious Right to Vote..."

Rep. David Drier (Allegedly Gay Republican from CA): "The votes from Ohio has already been recounted" (ed note: That is untrue. Drier still, however, allegedly gay)...Still speaking...

More from the allegedly homosexual Republican, Drier: "Small imperfections do not a conspiracy make...'The fact is the system worked pretty well' that came from the most liberal paper in Ohio, and one that endorsed John Kerry...There is no evidence whatsoever that suggest this election was anything other than legitimate... (ed. note: Other than 102 pages from the house we guess)...This objection is without any merit whatsoever, Mr. Speaker...We should look forward together as we move towards the Inauguration."...

Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL): "It's about an election system that's broken and needs to be fixed...As we try to spread democracy in Iraq and Afghanistan it's appropriate to examine our own democracy...Americans do not have the explicit Right to Vote in their constitution...From Bush v Gore, the Supreme Court said, 'The individual citizen has no constitutional right to vote for Electors for the President of the United States of America'...The right to vote is a states right, not a Federal right"...

More Jackson: "The United States is one of 11 nations that does not have an affirmative Right to Vote in the Constitution...The bible says if you build a house on sand when the wind and rains come it will not stand...As a result, the people of America are gradually losing confidence in the system...We need to build our democracy on the individual citizen right in the Constitution for the Right to Vote...So we don't have so many separate and unequal system"...

Rep. Bobby Jindal (R-LA) in his first speech to House after being newly elected: "We diminish this house by the discussion we are having. We are not hear to talk about these issues, we're hear to talk about the fact that George W. Bush did indeed win this election. I'm glad that my father and daughter aren't here to watch these proceedings...Even CBS News says the election is over...We're the only body debating this issue...What sort of message are we sending when you can hire a lawyer to challenge any election." (ed. Note: Is that a message for Republicans in WA state? Just asking...) ... "This is not a good day for our country, not a good day for our democracy"...

Rep. from Ohio (Republican) Quotes a Board of Elections official as saying "this is a band of conspiracy theorists" (Starting to sound familiar? See previous prediction from this morning about the "conspiracy theory" language as organized, systematic, Republican party-line defense.)

MSNBC running Andrea Yates' attorney Press Conference LIVE...while historic debate in both houses NOT covered...

SENATE VOTING ON OBJECTION BY ROLLCALL VOTE NOW...(MSNBC: Andrea Yates conviction of murder several years ago thrown out)...

Back to HOUSE...

Republican Rep. (Missed name): "Does the Michael Moore wing of the Democrat party think we are so stupid we can be tricked into objecting to this?"... (at least 4 more "Michael Moore" mentions in speech)...

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA): "I dedicate my objection today to Michael Moore!...Our ancestors who died for the Right to Vote surely must be turning over in their graves"...

More Waters: "It is clear that Ohio has failed to run a fair election...When a county shows more votes than voters...When a minor supreme court candidate gets more votes than the Presidential candidate...When Sec. Blackwell in violation of his statutory duty refuses to investigate and remedy the hundreds of instances of disenfranchisement reported to him...it is clear the election system in Ohio is broken"...

More More Waters: "If an ATM machine can give each user a receipt that user can rely on, why can't our voting machines?!...We must not allow these egregious violations to be trivialized...When a voter casts his vote in the right county, but wrong precinct, why can that vote not be counted?"...

Rep. John Boehner (R-OH): "I think John Kerry was very graceful in beginning his healing process for our country...Well, that healing process has been interupted by an activity without merit...The proceedings today will cause great damage to our institution and our country...and I regret that...If we want to have a debate, that should occur in the 50 state legislatures...The elections officials are doing the best they can...so let's get this behind us quickly."...

Rep. Michael Oxley (R-OH): "Indeed our election laws [in Ohio] are quite adequate despite the fact that we had a huge number of new voters and some adjustments necessary to the system...This exercise has distracted our country from that worthy goal [of dealing with important issues]."...

Rep. Carolyn Kilpatrick (D-MI): "All day long we had reports of men in suits asking for the identification of voters in line...When the polls closed, men in suits were touching my vote counters, touching our ballots...I went on live TV that night at 11pm saying that is a felony...you can touch our voters...our ballots...Something is wrong with our election system...Every vote must count, every vote must be counted"...

Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL): "There is little disagreement that irregularities did occur. The question is, what are we gonna do about it?...It is our patriotic duty to stand up for every voter, and demand that congress stand up for voters rights...Inclulding voter-verfied paper trails...Those Ohio elections who denied voters provisional ballots must be held accountable...This is our chance to demonstrate to the world that America is constantly working to protect our democracy."...

Rep. Rob Portman (R-OH): "Look no election is ever perfect...And that's what going on here today. I heard my colleague say every vote should be counted, and I couldn't agree more...But this isn't what this debate is about...I've heard lots of irresponsible conspiracy theories...Yes, the media was locked out in the Warren County board of elections...yet here is a Democratic official who was inside 'it was as clear and open as it could possibly be,' he said....It's time to govern, not to object...Every objective observer agrees...every newspaper editorial staff agrees...We need to move on"...

SENATE VOTES DOWN OBJECTION 74 to 1 (according to Portman above)...

Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC): "If we are the democracy we say we are, we must show it today...By taking on the problems in our election system that we can no longer blink away... But the Buckeye state is only the poster child [for all of these problems]...The long lines in the District were especially poignant, because people were waiting for hours to elect a representative who could herself not vote in this House...It will take time and bipartisan determination to make us proud of our elections"...

Rep. Stephanie Tubbs-Jones (D-OH): "Every board of elections director serves at the discretion of the Secretary of State Blackwell who was the Co-Chair of the Bush/Cheney Election Committee...There are irregularities across the country...and we as Congress have the responsibility to make sure these irregularities are corrected...We should have a National Holiday for Election Day...This is an important enough issue that all the people across America want us to deal with this and correct it."...

Rep. John Conyers (D-MI): "This debate will not change the election results...but out of this debate, the congress will respond to the challenge for a better system of voting. A challenge has been made today to hold true bi-partisan hearings on not just what went on in Ohio...but what went on all over our country...This is the first time since 1877 [that we have come together for such a debate]...We should never fear this debate...and I hope that four years from now we can have an election that all our citizens can be proud of"...

Ethics Violator, Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX): "What we are debating here today is a shame. The issues here are gravely, gravely serious...The purpose of this petition is not justice, but noise. It is a warning to democrats across the country sole-searching after their historic loss, not to moderate their position...They have turned to the X-Files wing of the Democratic party to make their first objection...A failed strategy of...obstruction and conspiracy theories...We are told without any evidence that unknown agents stole the Ohio election and that the votes should be given to the winner of the Exit Polls (ed. Note: Not sure who told him that)...The Democratic Party that was once an idealistic forward looking policity collossus...and yet today, one is hard pressed to find a single positive, substantive idea coming from the Left...We're not hear to debate evidence, but to act our role in some scripted insincere morality play...Remember neither of the Democrat candidates supposedly robbed have risen in support of this petition...It is a crime...This is not a normal debate, this is a direct attack to undermine our democracy...

More from Ethics Violator, DeLay: "A dangerous precedent is being set today...Democrats hurt themselves, hurt the citizens...the American people deserve better than this...This petition is beneath us, but more importantly it's beneath the people that we deserve...and let's get back to the real work the American People have hired us to do"... [applause in House]

(ed. Note: DeLay's comment about Vote-Stealing software seem to have no basis in reality. DeLay may be member of Conspiracy Theory wing of Republican Party...Or a BRAD BLOG reader...)

HASTERT TAKES VOICE VOTE IMMEDIATELY, NAYS HAVE IT...

ROLL-CALL (ELECTRONIC, IRONICALLY ENOUGH) IS ASKED FOR AND GRANTED...NOW VOTING IN HOUSE ON OBJECTION...

No Live Coverage from any of the Three American Cable "News" Networks...(But MSNBC reports that there is "A New First Dog!" who is very very cute!...)

Once again, for the benefit of the information imparied who (in lockstep) say "there is no evidence"...please see .

And a great 24-minute film documenting a lot of it here.

...Rep. Tubbs-Jones, historic challenger of Electors holds Press Conference with Black Caucus, "News" Nets continue to ignore...

...Rep. Conyers recognizes the Judiciary Staff for the their work in compiling the 102-pages of evidence. The BRAD BLOG is intimately familiar with some of the impossibly hard and responsible work and efforts of those staffers. We join Conyers in thanking them for their work on behalf of democracy and the American people!

Conyers points out the "ridiculous" "strawman" arguments of the opposition. We agree with his statements, as virtually every argument made by Republicans was based on both fantasy and conspiracy theories of things that simply didn't exist, and charges that were never made.

We encourage the Republican Party to remove their tinfoil hats...

JUST ANNOUNCED that House voting, for whatever reason, will remain open until 5pm ET...After which Electoral College certification will continue in a Joint Session...

FINAL HOUSE TALLY: 31 FOR, 267 AGAINST SUPPORTING OBJECTION.

Joint Session to resume shortly...

Joint Session resumed...Republican Senate and Republican House certify final Electoral Tally as...

GEORGE W. BUSH: 286
JOHN KERRY: 251
JOHN EDWARDS: 1

Final Tally of American Cable "News" Networks who covered more than 5 minutes of Historic Debate Live: 0

God Bless C-SPAN...

...HERE ENDETH LIVE BLOGGING ON THIS ITEM...