This is the Archive site for Firedoglake. To go to the main site please click on the following link

Friday, January 07, 2005

Sheila Jackson-Lee on Voter Suppression

During yesterday’s Congressional discussion on ratification of the Ohio electoral vote, Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX) kicked out the jams:

This is a sacred debate. This is not a frivolous time in our history. This is about avoiding the suppression of votes, and might I say when the people of Ukraine rose up against a flawed election they understood what democracy is all about. Mr. Speaker, I rise to object to the vote in Ohio.

I rise under the Constitution of the United States in Article 4, 14 and 15. I argue the point that we have an inconsistent election, and I argue the point that we do believe in democracy.

The equal protection and due process clauses of the 14th Amendment of the Constitution operate to protect the rights of citizens to vote for the candidate of their choice. Furthermore the well-settled case on this issue, Reynolds vs. Simms, states that the right to vote freely for the candidate of one’s choice is of the essence of a Democratic society, and any restrictions on that right strike at the heart of representative government.

How would you like to be in Ohio and be told that the election was on November 3rd, 2004 instead of November 2nd, 2004? Mr. Speaker, the Constitution’s due process clause requires fundamental fairness, or that a state official not conduct an election or implied vote count with procedures that are so flawed. Mr. Speaker I believe that the American people value the value of one vote one person, all votes counted.

I came here as a slave, I now want the right to vote.

It was hard to hear the final sentence because DeLay’s marionette, Denny “rent boy” Hastert, was banging the gavel and cutting her time off. Jackson-Lee would not be silenced. Her stirring oratory managed to move even a Congress suffering from a fundamental lack of shame.