(Are we sure he's a Democrat?!)
Sends Letter to Blackwell for Reform Help, Asks GAO for Investigation of Long Lines!
By Brad Friedman on 1/13/2005, 1:22pm PT  

BRAD BLOG's 2004 Man of the Year, Rep. John Conyers (Ranking Minority Member of the House Judiciary Committee) is not letting go.

Yesterday he, and Rep. Henry Waxman (Ranking Minority Member of the House Gov. Reform Committee) requested a new GAO Investigation of the long voting lines, and other related issues that kept Americans from voting as should be their right on November 2nd of last year. His letter to the GAO is here [PDF]. An AP story on same is here.

And today, Conyers sent a new letter to his best-friend and reported two-time (at least) lawbreaker Ohio Sec. of State, J. Kenneth Blackwell (who also served as Ohio's Bush/Cheney Re-Elect Committee Co-Chairman while studiously assuring a "free, fair and transparent" election in the Buckeye State).

Conyers asked for Blackwell's help in reforming our flawed election system.

Dear Secretary Blackwell:

Attached for your review and response, please find a comprehensive Report regarding Ohio election law irregularities prepared by the House Judiciary Committee Minority Staff. Given the importance of election reform, and the key role Ohio has played in recent elections, I believe it is imperative that you, as the leading election official in Ohio, provide Congress with your reactions to the attached report, including in particular the factual and legal conclusions and legislative recommendations set forth therein.

I recognize that in the past you have been unwilling to respond to any inquiries regarding the irregularities in the Ohio presidential election or your office's role in them. However, I am now hopeful that since Congress has certified the results of the electoral college, that you will be more forthcoming in assisting Congress in developing a record and legislation that will allow the nation to avoid a repeat of the voting irregularities reported in your state.

In this regard, it is important to recognize that voting reforms are now supported by key members on both sides of the aisle.

Conyers goes on to spell out supportive statements from both Democratic Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Republican Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH).

In a related item, and perhaps the biggest "No Duh!" issue to be discussed this year, the Associated Press is reporting that Secretaries of State will be gathering to discuss whether their roles as state election overseers might be a conflict of interest with their partisan roles in campaigning for nominees on the same ballot they are overseeing:

The public must be assured "that we are not participating in any type of manipulation at that level," said Rebecca Vigil-Giron, New Mexico's secretary of state and president of the national group.

The ideas have been tossed around since Florida's disputed presidential election in 2000. The latest discussion was prompted by possible federal legislation seeking to ban campaigning by state elections officials, as well as calls for change by some editorial boards, said Meredith Imwalle, spokeswoman for the national secretaries of states group.
Blackwell drew new criticism last week with the revelation that he sent a letter to Republican donors thanking them for helping deliver Ohio for Bush.
Blackwell "pushed the envelope as hard as any secretary of state ever," said James Ruvolo, the Ohio chairman of the Kerry campaign. [ed. note: That's our link, not AP's]

We realize this is a very radical and conspiracy-theorist idea to hope that those overseeing elections would not have a personal or professional stake in them.

But whadduweknow? We're just dissidents, we guess.

UPDATE: Just minutes after posting the above item, RAW STORY reported that they were finally able to get a response from Blackwell's office on all of the above. It was just one line: "I think Rep. Conyers' inquiry and motivation speaks for itself." More than one line on this at RAW STORY...