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Democratic Voices

February 28th, 2005

The Electric Chair for Katherine Harris and Ken Blackwell

I think that Katherine Harris and Ken Blackwell deserve the death penalty for their actions as state election officials in the 2000 and 2004 elections. Current federal law does not permit the death penalty for their actions and Constitutional restrictions make it impossible to give them the electric chair by changing the law. However, I still believe that their actions in a morally sound legal system would see them on trial for their lives!

Katherine Harris as the Republican Secretary of State in Florida during the 2000 elections seemed to be using her office to promote the election of George W. Bush over the wishes of Florida voters. She was co-chair of the Bush campaign in Florida while serving as the top election official in the state. The conflict of interest was obvious. The potential for abuse was obvious. According to the investigative reporter and author Greg Palast, the actions of Harris and her office denied almost a 100,000 voters their right to vote or their right to have their vote counted. Almost all were Democrats! Details are available in Palast’s book, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy.

Instead of being prosecuted for denying Florida citizens their vote, Republicans politicians created a safe seat in Congress for Katherine Harris. It looks likely that she will be seeking higher office in Florida. Since many of the voters who were illegally kicked off the voting rolls still have not been returned to active status, Harris has a chance of winning. Winning office by denying voters their voting rights should be a death penalty crime. In my opinion, any government official who uses their power to engage in a massive campaign to deny citizens their voting rights is committing a crime worse than treason in wartime.

Ken Blackwell as Secretary of State in Ohio during the 2004 election seemed to be trying to copy the Katherine Harris model. Voting machines were distributed to make voting difficult for Democrats. Crazy regulations that made registering difficult came out of his office. He played a key role in the Bush campaign while serving as the top election official statewide. An effective statewide hand recount was largely blocked because of Blackwell. Key state records are being denied access to the citizens of Ohio by his actions. Lawyers who challenge the vote recount procedures are being persecuted by the Republican Ohio Attorney General in legal actions on behalf of Blackwell. Many of the Ohio vote problems and Blackwell’s role in them are documented at “Stolen Election 2004” .

Denying voting rights to American citizens attacks the whole concept of American freedom. It is disgusting and morally repugnant. Something terrible has happened to the mindset of Republican leaders at the very top levels that makes winning power more important than American traditions, American values and American freedom. Our very American Democracy is being threatened.

The average Republican voter is unaware of the abuse. Most Republican voters would not put winning power over American traditions of free and fair elections. Democratic officeholders are in denial as well in many cases. Our election system simply stinks! Anyone who does not understand the weaknesses of our current voting system should read Black Box Voting by Bev Harris.

Only now, almost 5 years after Harris started purging the voting rolls in Florida in a partisan fashion, has the Democratic leadership in the US Senate made voting reform a legislative high priority. The Boxer-Clinton Voting Reform Bill is a great first step requiring a verified voting paper-trail, equal access to voting machines, advance notice of voting roll purges, etc.

However, we need to add stiff criminal penalties for any government official who denies the voting rights of large numbers of citizens. My liberal co-host on Democratic Talk Radio, Al Lawrence and I disagree on the penalty. Al Lawrence believes that they should face life in prison without parole. As the more conservative Democrat on our program, I support the death penalty in these types of cases. We both agree that crimes against American Democracy are the most serious types of crimes in existence next to genocide.

If I had my way, I would see Katherine Harris and Ken Blackwell strapped down to electric chairs and lit up like Christmas trees. The better to light the way for American Democracy and American Freedom!

Written By Stephen Crockett and Al Lawrence (hosts of ).
Mail: 234 Johnstown Road, Elkton, Maryland 21921. Phone: 443-907-2367
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