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US Mulling How to Delay Nov. Vote in Case of Attack PDF Print E-mail
Justice News
Monday, 19 July 2004 01:54

In reading this story my cynical self cries out: so if the polls aren't going well, the Bush gang will call o­n their dirty tricks team to do some dasterdly dead to postpone the election will they?!  -- Al Rycroft, Senior Editor,  PEJ News

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A senior House Democratic lawmaker was skeptical o­n Sunday of a Bush administration idea to obtain the authority to delay the November presidential election in case of an attack by al Qaeda.

U.S. Mulling How to Delay Nov. Vote in Case of Attack
Sun Jul 11, 2004 02:56 PM ET

U.S. counterterrorism officials are looking at an emergency proposal o­n the legal steps needed to postpone the presidential election in case of such an attack, Newsweek reported o­n Sunday.

"I think it's excessive based o­n what we know," said Rep. Jane Harman of California, the top Democrat o­n the House Intelligence Committee, in a interview o­n CNN's "Late Edition."

Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge warned last week that Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network want to attack within the United States to try to disrupt the election.

Harman said Ridge's threat warning "was a bust" because it was based o­n old information.

Newsweek cited unnamed sources who told it that the Department of Homeland Security asked the Justice Department last week to review what legal steps would be needed to delay the vote if an attack occurred o­n the day before or o­n election day.

The department was asked to review a letter from DeForest Soaries, chairman of the new U.S. Election Assistance Commission, in which he asked Ridge to ask Congress for the power to put off the election in the event of an attack, Newsweek reported in its issue out o­n Monday.

The commission was created in 2002 to provide funds to states to replace punch card voting systems and provide other assistance in conducting federal elections.

In his letter, Soaries wrote that while New York's Board of Elections suspended primary elections in New York o­n the day of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, "the federal government has no agency that has the statutory authority to cancel and reschedule a federal election."

Homeland Security Department spokesman Brian Rochrkasse told the magazine the agency is reviewing the matter "to determine what steps need to be taken to secure the election."

Republican Rep. Christopher Cox of California, who chairs the House Homeland Security Committee, told CNN that the idea of legislation allowing the election to be postponed was similar to what had already been looked at in terms of how to respond to an attack o­n Congress.

"These are doomsday scenarios. Nobody expects that they're going to happen," he said. "But we're preparing for all these contingencies now."


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Last Updated on Monday, 19 July 2004 01:54

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