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Inside Politics

Democrats stress voting rights in radio address
Democratic Party
Donna Brazile

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Democrats used their weekly radio address Saturday to focus on ensuring accurate ballot counts and elections free of voter intimidation.

Donna Brazile, chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee's Voting Rights Institute, said efforts supporting election recounts and investigations into allegations of fraud are aimed at making sure that every vote counts, no matter who wins, and that voters are free of harassment when casting their ballots.

"America's story is one of expanding opportunity and suffrage, and one of our fundamental principles is that every eligible citizen is entitled to cast his or her vote and have that vote counted," Brazile said.

Since the November 2004 elections, she said, the DNC and the Voting Rights Institute have supported a number of efforts, including monitoring the recount in the state of Ohio and helping finance a statewide recount in the race for governor of Washington state. In addition, the committee announced this week it would investigate "various election administration issues" that arose in Ohio during the election.

The investigation will address questions and concerns about provisional ballots, long lines at polling places and questions about voting machines, Brazile said. It is not aimed at contesting the election results, but to "understand and report back on what happened and why."

The study is expected to take several months and a final report is expected in the spring, Brazile said.

"We owe it to the students of Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, who waited up to 10 hours to vote," she said. "We owe it to thousands of Ohio voters who wonder whether their votes were counted with the use of new electronic voting machines, and we owe it to countless other Americans.

"There is no place in our democracy for faulty voting equipment, long lines at the polls, untrained poll workers and any forms of chads," Brazile said. She called on members of Congress next year to work together and fully finance the Help America Vote Act, created to upgrade voting systems and ensure every voter has equal access to the ballot box.

"As a nation, we should not rest until our elections are free from the problems of elections past and until all Americans can cast their ballots on Election Day fully confident that their votes have been counted," she said.

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