The Legitimacy of our Government Depends on the Legitimacy of the Vote

The Legitimacy of our Government Depends on the Legitimacy of the Vote

House Chamber, Washington, D.C.
January 20, 2010
 
 
Mr. Speaker:
 
I never thought I would see the day when a commentator entrusted by a major broadcast network with the ability to reach millions of listeners would use his influence to incite voter fraud, but this week we passed that unfortunate milestone.
 
On Friday the 15th, MSNBC commentator Ed Schultz told his nationally syndicated radio audience: “I tell you what, if I lived in Massachusetts I’d try to vote ten times. I don’t know if they’d let me or not, but I’d try to. Yeah, that’s right. I’d cheat to keep these bastards out. I would.” This could be dismissed as an unfortunate verbal excess brought on by the passion of the moment, except for the fact that when given the opportunity to retract the statement, Mr. Schultz embellished it in a way that makes it crystal clear that his words were deliberate and calculated. He said, “I misspoke on Friday. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I meant to say, if I could vote 20 times that’s what I’d do.” Later he said, “Let me be very clear – I’m not advocating voter fraud, I’m just telling you what I would do.” 
 
Mr. Speaker, exactly how does one not advocate voter fraud when three times on national broadcasts you say that’s what you would do?
 
This can only be interpreted as incitement to commit voter fraud in a pivotal election in the course of our nation.   As such, it strikes at the very foundation of our democratic traditions and our constitutional institutions. In every election -- win, lose or draw -- it is of utmost importance that the vote be fair, that it be accurate, and that it has the confidence of every citizen – both those in the majority and those in the minority. If we cannot trust the sanctity of the vote, we have destroyed the legitimacy of that vote and with it the legitimacy of our government. 
 
All of our governing institutions and all of their acts rest upon a single foundation: fair and free elections which guarantee that those who exercise authority under our Constitution do so “deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
 
It is this principle that Mr. Schultz has sought to desecrate and demean.  His statements excusing voter fraud weaken the single most important mechanism of our democracy and undermine our form of government. 
 
His words deserve – indeed, they demand – the contempt and condemnation of every American. And they deserve immediate action by those who have accorded him his broadcast platforms and whose silence and inaction thus far can only be described as a disgrace.

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Staff Satellite Office Hours

Office staff members are available to assist constituents with problems or concerns at satellite office locations held throughout the district.  Anyone wishing to discuss an issue of federal concern is invited to attend one of these satellite office sessions and speak with a member of staff.  For more information, or to reach staff, please call the district office at 916-786-5560.
  
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120 Toma Court
 
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Camino 
Thursday, November 13th
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Camino Pollock Pines Chamber of Commerce
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2085 Vine Street, #105
 
Fresno County
 
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Thursday, November 13th
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33049 Auberry Rd
 
Madera County

Oakhurst 
Wednesday, November 5th
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Yosemite Visitor Bureau Conference Room
40637 Highway 41
 
Coarsegold 
Wednesday, November 5th
3:00pm - 5: 00pm
Yosemite Lakes Park Clubhouse
30250 Yosemite Springs Parkway
 
Mariposa County
 
Mariposa 
Wednesday, November 
19th
4:00pm - 6:00pm
Library Conference Room
4978 10th Street
 
Placer County
 
Auburn 
Wednesday, November 12th
9:00am - 11:00am
Auburn City Hall
Room #10
1225 Lincoln Way
 
Lincoln 
Wednesday, November 12th
3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Lincoln City Hall
600 6th Street
 
Rocklin 
Tuesday, November 25th
3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Rocklin City Hall
3980 Rocklin Rd
 
Tuolumne County
 
Sonora 
Tuesday, November 25th
1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Small Business Center Conference Room
99 N Washington St
 
For further information on staff satellite office hours, please call 916-786-5560.