Postponement plan unpopular

Published July 13, 2004 3:37PM (EDT)

To revisit the election postponement scenario, discussed here yesterday, the Los Angeles Times adds more perspective. First, the Department of Homeland Security denies anyone there asked Justice to investigate how the Bush administration could postpone the Nov. 2 vote in the event of a terrorist attack. And Justice denies anyone asked. Condoleezza Rice also told CNN she has "no idea" where this story came from.

But the Times did report that DHS "has been researching laws and precedents in an effort to gather information but is not drafting a plan. An official said the research was prompted by inquiries from the Election Assistance Commission, a little-known federal advisory body whose chairman, DeForest B. Soaries, pointed out in a letter to the department that no federal agency had the authority to postpone an election."

A leading House Republican, Chris Cox, who chairs the House Homeland Security Committee, yesterday joined several congressional Democrats in saying the election should take place, no matter what. "Were we to postpone the elections, it would represent a victory for the terrorists," Cox said.

Even if an attack or a natural disaster put voting in jeopardy, experts told the Times a "neutral entity" should decide how to proceed, not an incumbent administration. And voting could be rescheduled just for the localities involved, as when 9/11 disrupted the local primary in New York City and voting was postponed for two weeks.

By Geraldine Sealey

Geraldine Sealey is senior news editor at

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