Two Media Releases Issued On the Conditional Seating of U.S. House Candidates
By Brad Friedman on 1/4/2007, 4:11pm PT  

Two groups have issued media releases concerning the provisional seating of Congressional candidates in the U.S. House.

Both releases laud Congressman Rush Holt (D-NJ) for championing the challenges in the U.S. House.

The first one, issued yesterday by a representative from the Democratic Clint Curtis campaign, points out that there are four Florida elections being contested in the House under the Federal Contested Elections Act, including Curtis's race in Florida's 24th district against the corrupt Republican Tom Feeney (whose violation of House travel rules seems to have been discovered by the Ethics Committee last summer, but was only announced yesterday along with a gentle rap on the wrist and a polite request that he cough up the money equivalent to what Feeney estimates was paid by Jack Abramoff for Feeney to go and play golf with him in Scotland).

In addition to the FL-24 Curtis/Feeney challenge and the FL-13 Christine Jennings(D)/Vern Buchanan(R) race, the release also states that challenges have been filed in the FL-5 John Russell(D)/Ginny Brown-Waite(R) contest (Update: Tampa Tribune catches up, posts details here.) and the FL-21 Frank Gonzales(D)/Lincoln Diaz-Balart(R) race.

Though they didn't mention those last two races, USA Today reported yesterday that the election in Louisiana's 4th district between Patti Cox (D) and Jim McCrery (R) is also being contested on the allegation that McCrery isn't actually a resident of the district, or even the state.

The second news release is from People for the America Way (PFAW) today and focuses on the Jennings/Buchanan touch-screen debacle in FL-13, where PFAW is one of the groups contesting the election in State court and calling for a revote.

In a comment sent to The BRAD BLOG last night from Holt's office in reply to the Curtis statement, the office says Holt's actions in the House "will focus on Christine Jennings and FL-13, but the ruling will apply broadly." As well, they say that while Holt will be "championing the cause of anyone who has a pending legal or official house electoral contest, the genesis of his involvement is certainly with" Jennings and that he's "more able to attest to the merits of her case."

The fight to ensure that the voice of the voters is heard --- and heard accurately and legally --- continues. Both releases are posted in full below...

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Nick Berning or Drew Courtney at 202-467-4999 / media@pfaw.org
January 4, 2007

Statement on the Provisional Seating of Vern Buchanan

Court proceedings and congressional investigation must be complete and election problems remedied before anyone is seated permanently; Florida debacle a 'teachable moment' demonstrating need for national election reform

WASHINGTON, D.C.—In response to Congress's provisional seating of Vern Buchanan today to represent Florida's 13th District, People For the American Way Foundation President Ralph G. Neas released the following statement:

“The congressional leadership has made clear that the seating of Vern Buchanan as Congressman for Florida’s 13th District is provisional, lasting only until the controversy swirling around the election in Sarasota County is resolved by the courts and by a congressional investigation. We commend the congressional leadership, and especially Congressman Rush Holt, for recognizing the gravity of Sarasota’s election problems and for giving its voters reason to believe that they may yet be represented by someone they know they elected.

“Real and serious doubt has been cast on the election in Sarasota. Indeed, experts from opposite sides in the litigation agree flaws in the election actually reversed the outcome, and that the election would probably have gone to candidate Christine Jennings had the election been properly administered. No matter which candidate ultimately wins and is permanently seated, however, it is crucial that the voters know that the votes of all voters are recorded and counted.

“Many voters have provided firsthand accounts of malfunctioning voting machines and disappearing votes. Only after court proceedings and a congressional investigation seeking answers about the Sarasota undervote have run their course, and only after Sarasota's election problems have been remedied, should someone be permanently seated.

“In addition, this is a teachable moment. The 18,000 Sarasota County citizens whose votes are missing have put a human face on the substantial flaws that remain in our election system, and the attention focused on the Sarasota debacle can and should help members of Congress make the case for nationwide election reform. The problems in Sarasota have been widely reported because the congressional race there was so close—yet voting problems were rampant across the country in 2006. Congress must enact election reform this year in order to prevent similar problems in 2008.”

People For the American Way Foundation is one of the nonpartisan organizations representing Sarasota County voters in a lawsuit seeking a revote. PFAW Foundation was on the ground in Sarasota immediately after Election Day working to call the public's attention to the undervote, and PFAW Foundation continues to advocate for state and national election reform to prevent similar problems from happening in the future. For more information about PFAW Foundation's efforts in Sarasota County, click here.

###
For Immediate Release
For Further Information Contact:
Ms. Marty Ward, Media Relations Coordinator
(954) 732-1112 Cell
marty@go-nci.com

MEDIA ALERT

ATTENTION ASSIGNMENT EDITORS

ANNOUNCEMENT ON CONTESTED FLORIDA ELECTIONS

On January 4, 2007, Congressman Rush Holt will address the issue of the outstanding election contests on the floor of the House of Representatives. Congressman Holt will point out that the seating of the new Congress does not indicate that the House has decided the elections which are being contested before it pursuant to 2 USC § 381 et seq., the Federal Contested Elections Act.

Congressman Holt is expected to call for bipartisan support for the investigation into the wide-spread problems of under-votes and over-votes in precincts throughout Florida and for election law reforms to ensure that criteria are established to guarantee fair and verifiable elections in the future so that our country remains a representative democracy where our leaders are actually elected by the voters instead of possibly being elected by machine error or illegal manipulation of the vote count. For more information on Congressman Holt’s position on this important issue, please contact Matt Dennis at 202-225-5801.

The results of four of Florida’s Congressional elections are being contested before the House of Representatives, and five Congressional elections are being contested in Florida state court. John Russell is contesting the results of the 2006 General Election for U.S. Representative for District 5 of the State of Florida and the election of Ginny Brown-Waite. Frank Gonzales is contesting the results of the election for U.S. Rep. for District 21 of Florida and the election of Lincoln Diaz-Balart. Clint Curtis is contesting the results of the election for U.S. Rep. for District 24 of Florida and the election of Tom Feeney. Mr. Russell, Mr. Gonzales, and Mr. Curtis are represented by Mark A. Adams, Esquire of Tampa, and they are also contesting these elections in Florida state court. Interviews with them can be scheduled through Ms. Marty Ward at 954-732-1112. Mr. Curtis is also represented before Congress by Cynthia Butler, Esquire of Washington D.C. Gus Bilirakis’ election in District 9 is also contested in Florida state court.

Christine Jennings is contesting the results of the election for U.S. Rep. for District 13 of Florida before the House of Representatives and in Florida state court. For more information regarding Ms. Jennings’ contests, please contact Coffey and Wright at 305-857-9797.