Eshoo Urges Congress to Restore Confidence in Elections

January 6, 2005
Press Release

January 6, 2005

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Rep. Anna G. Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, made the following statement on the House floor during debate on the certification of Ohio's Electoral Votes in the 2004 presidential election.

"Mr. Speaker, the debate today is not about contesting the results of the last November's election. Today's debate cuts to the essence of our democracy -- the founding principle of our country -- the right to vote. Clearly, the right to vote is dependent on the assurance that all voters have access to the polls and that all votes will be counted. But since the Presidential Election in 2000 the American public has grown increasingly wary of the accuracy and integrity of our elections, and I applaud my colleagues for their efforts to bring focus to this issue. It's essential that we bring attention to the serious problems facing our electoral system.

"It's up to Congress to restore confidence in our elections, and I call on all Members to make this a priority in the 109th Congress. The 2000 Presidential Election spurred a series of reforms, and Congress took important first steps to improve our system of voting. I was proud to cosponsor the Help America Vote Act, which did much to upgrade our electoral process and create national standards for conducting elections. However, I'm disappointed that subsequent efforts to increase the security and reliability of our elections have not been considered. As a cosponsor of the Voter Confidence and Increased Accountability Act in the 108th Congress, I supported requiring verifiable paper trails for all voting machines, a step that would provide a significant boost to voter confidence and allow for expedited recounts. Unfortunately, this legislation was not considered prior to the 2004 election, and the House Majority leadership refused to even bring it up in committee. This issue must be revisited and legislation should be promptly passed in the 109th Congress.

"Democratic elections are the foundation of all democracies, and thousands of Americans have died -- and continue to die every day -- for the right to vote. The United States of America should set the standard for fair and accurate elections, and the reported irregularities tell us that we continue to fall short. One need not believe in conspiracy theories or maintain that the outcome in Ohio was invalid to recognize that we still suffer from serious shortcomings in our electoral process

"I urge my colleagues not to let this opportunity slip by. We must promptly pass electoral reforms that will ensure that the results of our elections are beyond reproach and accepted by all voters."