I would like to express my distaste for your handling of the 2004 presidential election. I would like to state that I am a supporter of many of the Democratic Party’s ideals and did support you in the polls on November 2nd. However, this letter is not to address my party affiliation or voting record.
I watched the election coverage on television, like many American voters, for the entire evening on both CNN and MSNBC. As the night progressed, I watched as the states began to be declared for either yourself or Mr. Bush. This morning, I woke up, knowing that the results from my home state of Ohio were in turmoil. Just before I left to go to my first college class, I viewed our Secretary of State, Kenneth Blackwell, speaking on satellite to CNN to attest to the fact that all of the provisionary ballots would be carefully counted.
During a break between classes, I was shocked to hear that you had offered concessions and congratulations to President Bush. Anger replaced my shock as it wore off. While I am disappointed at the results of the election, my biggest concern is of the citizens.
Mr. Kerry, you consider yourself a member of the Democratic party. Democratic inherently implies a democracy. You decision did not serve this democracy. There are still between 100,000 and 250,000 provisional ballots in Ohio that have not yet been reviewed and tallied. While I will agree with the general impression that the results are not likely to change, this action sends a very dangerous message.
This general election saw record turnouts, and it is certainly the largest I’ve seen in my 24-year lifetime. If I recall correctly, it is one of the largest turnouts this nation has ever seen. With your official withdrawl from this race, you are telling those citizens that were forced to use provisional ballots that their votes have no meaning, whether the provisional ballot usage was due to elections board error, mechanical malfunctions, or voter error. This sends a signal to at least 100,000 Ohioans and many thousands of voters across this nation that a provisional ballot is not worth as much as a traditional ballot and that it is a waste of time to complete, as they will not be used in the actual election of the president.
As I wrote this, I saw a clip of your running mate, speaking to the crowd in Boston just after your concession, stating that every vote would be counted. The timing is wrong. At this point, Mr. Bush is the President-Elect and nothing short of physical harm or a major court decision can change that. In the meantime, perhaps a million or more voters will be far more reluctant to take the trip to the polls for any election, including future presidential elections, due to your handling of this situation.
During the discussion of the newscasters following this video footage, one of them paraphrases your decision as something such as, “Legal counsel of Mr. Kerry and his campaign advised him to allow a civil suit to be filed in Ohio regarding the election, and Mr. Kerry declined with the concern of putting the United States through that [a legal battle surrounding the election].” Mr. Kerry, I urge you to put us through that. I am not advocating a civil suit, but I am advocating any candidate to at least wait until all the votes have been tabulated, especially in an election that has so divided the nation. It is only then that we may experience a true democracy.