Something's rotten in the state of Denmark

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

GAO speaks!

There was this press release on the GAO website, dated yesterday:

Statement of the Comptroller General on Election-Related Matters November 23, 2004

GAO has received a number of comments pertaining to the recent national election processes. In the past, GAO has conducted a range of federal elections-related work, including broad-based systemic reviews primarily focusing on issues relating to federal election requirements and technologies. We also have ongoing and planned work relating to systemic election issues, involving reviews of voter registration processes, provisional voting, and voting technologies. In addition, GAO has reviewed federal entities charged with overseeing various aspects of election-related activities. For example, we recently issued a report on actions taken by the Department of Justice to investigate and pursue violations of federal laws related to voting irregularities emanating from prior national elections.

1 You may obtain copies of our published election-related reports on this web site. While GAO has and will continue to do certain elections-related work, we are not authorized to engage in enforcement efforts relating to specific allegations of voting irregularities. Under the nation’s legal framework, elections are a matter largely reserved to, and regulated by, the states.

2 Thus, many of the issues relating to the recent election are primarily the responsibility of state and local jurisdictions, since they involve the implementation of state law and regulation. As a result, general questions concerning these issues, as well as specific allegations of voting irregularities, should be addressed to state and local officials, such as the Secretary of State or the State Attorney General.

Congress has, however, asserted its prerogatives under the Elections Clause of the Constitution (Article 1, Section 4, Clause 1) to impose certain procedural requirements on federal elections through such federal statutes as the Help America Vote Act and the National Voter Registration Act, both of which are enforced by the Department of Justice. In this regard, questions or allegations regarding federal voting irregularities generally are addressed by one of three federal entities.

The name, areas of responsibility, and contact point for these entities are:

The Civil Rights Division, Voting Section, at the Department of Justice: responsible for enforcing federal voting rights statutes. Information about how to file a complaint through the mail or by telephone can be found at the link above.

The Criminal Division, Public Integrity Section, at the Department of Justice: responsible for enforcing federal criminal laws applicable to federal election fraud offenses, among other things, in conjunction with the 93 U.S. Attorneys. Information about how to contact the Criminal Division can be found at the link above.

The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC): serves as a national clearinghouse and resource for information on the administration of federal elections. Information about the EAC can be found at

Specific allegations of voting irregularities should be addressed to the appropriate authority as described in the above framework. I assure you that GAO will continue to do its part in connection with important elections issues consistent with our scope of responsibility and authority.

So with specific problems and questions concerning irregularities that favored George W. Bush, we should turn to the DOJ, headed by Ashcroft and then Gonzales? Thanks, GAO!!!

The GAO investigation is happening, it's clear that this is a press release saying, "We can investigate and look at the situation, but we can't prosecute." But they can review and investigate those encharged with prosecuting!

In all seriousness, the GAO investigation is a big step. Let's continue moving forward, and getting adequate answers and explanations for what happened -- and what went wrong -- November 2.