I want to share with my fellow Democrats an important point to be made in an election year whose deadline fell just days before Veterans Day.

With their charges that Democrats are somehow unfairly suppressing the votes of our men and women in service, the Republican Party has now engaged in the most despicable campaign of inflammatory accusatory rhetoric I have witnessed in the past half-century.

As a Democrat, and I think I can speak here for all members of my party, neither I, Al Gore nor any member of the Democratic Party is opposed to allowing acceptance of overseas military votes. We Democrats strongly support and encourage members of the military to exercise their right to vote and to do what they are sworn to do upon entering service to uphold the Constitution of the United States.

What we are in favor of disallowing is after-the-fact, post-election day ballots form any source, Republican or Democrat, civilian or Military personnel, Veteran or active duty serviceperson. You see, it's illegal. It is a way for a candidate's party to stuff the ballot box. Moreover, it is a gross violation of the 14th Amendment guarantee of equal protection under the law.

Why should an overseas serviceman who failed to vote and submit his ballot by the legally mandated election closing date have any more rights than a veteran here at home or for that matter any civilian who may have missed the deadline?

They can't do it. It's wrong and the Republicans know it. But the G.O.P. will try any form of feigned patriotic flag-waving, blood in the sand rhetoric and propaganda to try and justify the potential for engaging in, counting, and certifying illegal ballot box stuffing. Shame on the Republicans and any American citizen who would support such post-election favoritism. It is a desecration to the memory of those who gave their lives in support of our Constitution, by now using the same military service for which they sacrificed their very lives, as an excuse to now break the law, deny the Constitution they upheld, and possibly count and certify illegal ballots. Republicans, shame on you!

I lost too many family members and friends in military service to accept this kind of unmitigated gall from partisan zealots like Bush, Baker, Hughes and Harris who will stop at nothing and stoop to the very ground level of military graveyards to steal a few more votes for their party's candidate.

I often pay my respects at the graves of my father, cousins, and close friends in military cemeteries, and I'll be damned if the meaning of their lives is going to be sullied for the Republican Party's cheap attempted political advantage. Shame on them. This is as low as I have seen anyone go for a few more votes. They should be publicly censured. It is a disgrace.

William. Ruha


By now most Americans are aware that Governor G.W. Bush signed into Texas law, in 1997, legislation stating the preference of manual re-counts over machines for their accuracy. GW's law clearly states all standards recognized to ultimately determine the will of the voter. How does the current hypocritical stance of the Bush Campaign justify their consistent and relentless efforts, both in the courts of public opinion and the Southern District, to undermine the merits of manual recounting? It does not. Having faced rejection by the courts, they are now reduced to the ludicrous position of accusing the good citizens of Florida of "eating chads." Tsk, tsk.

As for the firm GOP stance against manual recounts, isn't it ironic that the Texas Governor conveniently accepted the hundreds of votes he gained in the manual recounts already conducted in so-called "Bush" counties of Franklin, Hamilton, Taylor, Washington, Lafayette and Seminole A dubious combination of hypocrisy and deception. Tsk, tsk.

To further exacerbate circumstances, manual recounts were ruled permissible by Judge Lewis, along with instructions that indeed the counters were duty-bound to determine the intent of the voter, specifically, by all visible means. Nevertheless, Secretary of State Harris stomped the will of the voters, succeeded in shutting down the counting for five days, and then declared that the recounts were "too late." Tsk, tsk.

Now that the Supreme Court cleared the path for resumption of recounting, the GOP has not given up its last, desperate effort to trump the will of the voters. Should the Supreme Court of Florida rule that determination of the will of the electorate IS essential, to be determined by all visible means, the Grand Old Party-poopers are bound and determined to ABORT "pregnant" chads. As if they need to be reminded what the meaning of "IS" is. Tsk, Tsk.

Should Bush Operatives succeed in quashing a voter's right to choose, what then is to become of the thousands of disenfranchised Floridian voters, that don't even know they are chad-less?

Teirra M. Vituscka, Riverside, NJ


Why isn't anyone talking about Jeb Bush's role in Florida's elections? Not only is he the governor, he was also on the three person canvassing board...which I would think would translate into heading up the canvassing board.

With such an inside track with Florida elections, a few minutes of homework would have revealed a voting system on the verge of collapse. A Republican in Palm Beach County complained that she was deprived a primary victory due to the decrepit balloting system there. If he showed any leadership quality at all, he would have lobbied hard for a revamp before his brother's important race--unless he was smart enough to think that the chaos would give his brother a better chance. I don't think he's really that smart...I think he's just incompetent.

With the problems we have in Florida, I think the blame should be squarely put at the door of brother Bush. Is this the ineptitude we can expect with four years of GWB? It's scaring me!

T L Lowman


I know everyone is sick of the election process but here is one more thing - Win or lose, the Democrats handled the struggle more honorably than did the Republicans (A friend said the Republicans just have a better understanding of the cut-throat nature of politics).

E. J. Dionne has a good opinion piece on this subject in today's Washington Post.

"The Bush campaign follows a two-step strategy. Inside the counting rooms, its supporters challenge every ballot that might have been cast for Al Gore. The challenges, which are their legitimate right, also slow down and complicate the count."

"Outside the counting rooms, the Bush people act as if their supporters aren't even inside--and then seize on the complexity those supporters create to discredit the process. They decry the recounts as terribly partisan, controlled by "Democrat" counties. They pretend that Democrats just sit there, undisturbed, making up votes for Al Gore. But if the process weren't open, they wouldn't have the grist for many of the charges they throw around on television."

Full story at:

Ralph Sierra

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