|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
NOVEMBER 3, 2004
Ellen Braune, (212) 419-8777
Tim Rusch, (212) 389-1407
Demos Responds to Election Day: Higher Turnout Marred by System Failures;
Calls for Renewed Commitment to Reform
NEW YORK, NY -- November 4 -- Miles Rapoport, President of Demos and former Connecticut Secretary of State, today issued the following position statement regarding the 2004 general election: |
"The high turnout in this election is an important and encouraging sign for our democracy. With approximately 120 million people voting, turnout equaled about 59% of eligible voters potentially the highest percentage since 1968.
"It's critically important to note, however, that this strong voter turnout occurred in many ways in spite of our elections system, not because of it. Yesterday, and during early voting as well, our electoral process suffered systemic and entirely preventable failures. These included:
Polling places opening late
"In this and every election, we must make sure to count every eligible vote. The Constitution, federal and state voting rights laws all demand it. Moreover, failure to count every ballot will lead the millions of Americans who voted for the first time yesterday to question whether casting a ballot actually makes a difference. Our nation cannot afford to disregard the civil rights and profound concerns of these voters.
"Most of the problems that arose during yesterday's election were preventable, and highlight the need for substantial reform before our next Presidential election. If we fail to investigate questionable occurrences fully and openly and undertake systemic reforms to address problems that arose yesterday, there is a real danger that, next time, the problems with our electoral system could throw the final result into doubt, as happened just four years ago. Permitting such an outcome for the second time in a decade would do irreparable damage to our democracy.
"To begin correcting the failures of our system, we must:
Provide adequate resources. The federal and state governments must dedicate funds necessary for fully staffed polling places and fully trained poll workers.
For information about voters' rights and challenges to the integrity of our elections in 2004, visit the Demos homepage at www.demos-usa.org.
Demos: A Network for Ideas & Action, is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy organization based in New York.