Scores of voting rights and electoral reform organizations nationwide have united to demand real electoral reform proposals from the private, blue ribbon Baker/Carter Commission on Elections. They are organizing a visible presence at 10:00 a.m. in front of the Kay Center on the American University campus where the Commission is planning what they call "public hearings."

These groups, including Progressive Democrats of America, United Progressives for Democracy, Code Pink and Velvet Revolution, are opposed to the inclusion in any form of James Baker III on the Commission. Baker was the lead attorney in Florida for the 2000 Bush/Cheney campaign who engineered Bush's selection as President by five Supreme Court justices who demanded that America's votes NOT be counted.

The pro-democracy groups are also strongly opposed to at least two other members of the Commission who have direct ties to Mr. Baker's law firm, Tom Phillips and Robert Mosbacher, and to Ralph Munro, Chairman of the Board of VoteHere, a voting machine manufacturer. 

On April 11, Congressman John Conyers, minority chair of the House Judiciary Committee, wrote a letter to Jimmy Carter expressing his concern about the inclusion of Mr. Baker and strongly urged that the Commission include members of the voting rights coalition. Conyers' has been an aggressive advocate for Election Reform and a tireless investigator into thousands of Election 2004 "irregularities". He was not invited to take part in the commission or even to serve as a witness or advisor.

The last two national elections here have been marred by irregularities that have called into question the legitimacy of the results. In 2004, there were literally tens of thousands of documented cases of impropriety that, in many cases, significantly affected the vote count. Over the past five months, grassroots electoral reform groups have joined together in a pro-democracy campaign calling for a range of reforms in order to restore integrity, trustworthiness and accountability to the elections process. Some of their demands include: a constitutional right to vote for all citizens, paper ballots as the official record of all votes cast, independent analysis of all vote machine software and hardware before and after elections, unified national standards for national elections, election day registration, independent and non-partisan administration of elections, a strengthening and reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act, public financing of elections and fair ballot access for all candidates and parties.

The pro-democracy coalition will hold a press conference outside the Kay Center following the conclusion of the "public hearing" at 2:30 p.m.

Velvet Revolution: