(U-WIRE) WASHINGTON – More than five months after the 2004 Presidential election, former candidate John Kerry has introduced an electoral reform bill to the Senate and begun to speak about how voters in last years Presidential election were denied access to polls through trickery and intimidation.
“Leaflets are handed out saying Democrats vote on Wednesday, Republicans vote on Tuesday. People are told in telephone calls that if you’ve ever had a parking ticket, you’re not allowed to vote,” he said to the Massachusetts League of Women Voters on Sunday. Kerry introduced a bill on electoral reform this past February.
“I have heard from thousands of people across the country, people outraged at the problems with our voting system. Time and again they have asked me to help place this issue at the top of the Congressional agenda,” Kerry said.
James Williams, a junior at the George Washington University, worked intensively with the Kerry campaign last semester and previously worked in Kerry’s Senate office in Massachusetts. He said that Kerry’s allegations about voter intimidation and trickery are not unfounded and it there “was definitely a lot of that kind of activity going on” during the past election.
“In Florida someone had put door fliers with the wrong dates of election day,” Williams said. “And unfortunately it’s part of the system…there is too much confusion on Election Day, which allows these things to happen.”
Williams said he thinks Kerry should keep talking about voter intimidation in order to try and “rectify the injustice.” From his experience in the campaign, Williams said that most of the misinformation campaigns seem to be aimed at Democratic voting blocks, the lower income, uneducated populations.
“These misinformation campaigns aren’t happening in Long Island, New York. I think it’s much easier to attack a Democratic voting block, than a republican one,” he said.
Leila Hasan, the President of the College Democrats chapter at GWU, said she agrees that there was a lot intimidation and malpractice with voters in the past election. However, she said that whether the intimidation is aimed at Democratic blocks or Republican, electoral reform should be an issue that all politicians are concerned with.
“It’s not about Democrats trying to get more votes, just to secure more legitimate votes for all,” she said. “Kerry shouldn’t be taken as someone who didn’t win a Presidential election, but someone who has an interest for all people.”
Kerry said in a recent Congressional briefing that he sees the need for electoral reform as a “very real crisis in our democracy.”
Kerry has never disputed the outcome of the election. He said he doesn’t think that there were enough votes affected by voting irregularities to change the result. President Bush won the pivotal state of Ohio by 118,000 votes, which gave him enough electoral votes to win reelection.