- The Washington Times - Friday, May 4, 2001

Missouris Republican senator Thursday accused the Gore-Lieberman campaign of coordinating an effort to steal the presidential election last November through voter fraud in the states two largest cities.
"There was a major effort to change the will of the people," Sen. Christopher S. Bond told a Senate panel that included none other than Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, the failed Democratic candidate for vice president.
The accusation was made during a Senate Governmental Affairs Committee hearing into election reforms, an issue that has mostly focused on the 36-day presidential recount in Florida.
But Missouri was also hotly contested in the presidential election and was the scene of voting irregularities. George W. Bush won Missouri despite what Mr. Bond described as a Democratic effort to manipulate the outcome by going to court to keep polls open past the 7 p.m. deadline in largely black districts of St. Louis and Kansas City.
He showed copies of two lawsuits filed in Kansas City and St. Louis on Election Day, both of which had the Gore-Lieberman campaign as plaintiffs. One of the plaintiffs in the St. Louis case, who supposedly needed more time to vote, was a man named Robert D. Odom, who actually had died two years earlier.
"About the time (that the lawsuits were filed), recorded calls prepared by the Rev. Jesse Jackson started coming into the city of St. Louis," Mr. Bond said. "It strikes one as having been coordinated."
Mr. Lieberman, the Connecticut Democrat who is considered a potential candidate for the presidency in 2004, responded mildly to Mr. Bonds accusations. "I dont know enough about the situation … to get into the details," Mr. Lieberman said.
But he did cite a newspaper article stating that only about 100 people in St. Louis voted past 7 p.m. before an appeals court closed the polls. That total "was not enough to sway the election," Mr. Lieberman said.
No clear consensus has emerged in Congress on what, if anything, to do about election reforms, such as standardized ballots or requiring photo identification at polls.
"What were seeing is an example of what goes on in every election in every year," said Sen. Fred Thompson, Tennessee Republican and committee chairman. "Its not like these problems just started."
An election-reform effort in the House is stalled, and some Democrats persist in challenging the legitimacy of the Bush presidency because of the Florida contest, which was decided by an official margin of 537 votes.
As if to underscore Democrats feelings, Senate Democrats Thursday hosted a luncheon at the Capitol with former Texas Gov. Ann Richards, who once lampooned Mr. Bush as "shrub" and referred to his father, former President George Bush, as having been born "with a silver foot in his mouth."
Mr. Lieberman said the need for election reform goes beyond his own experience in Florida. "Its not about Florida," he said. "An enormous number of Americans … across the country were disenfranchised. The struggle for full voting rights is not over."
Several times, though, Mr. Lieberman offered the estimate that as many as 2.5 million voters nationwide had their votes canceled out through machine malfunctions, incorrect registration or other problems. He implied that the Democratic ticket, which won the popular vote nationwide, would have captured enough electoral votes to win the White House if all those votes had been counted.
"I had some personal experience in last years election," Mr. Lieberman said as the hearing began.
Replied Mr. Thompson: "Its good to have you back, thats all Ill say."


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