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Call For James Baker's Removal From Commission

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 29, 2005
Velvet Revolution: http://www.VelvetRevolution.us
More info: DV4D@VelvetRevolution.us
Media contact, Ilene Proctor: (310) 271-5857

ELECTION REFORM COALITION CONDEMNS INCLUSION OF JAMES A. BAKER III
AS CO-CHAIR OF BI-PARTISAN ELECTION REFORM BLUE-RIBBON COMMISSION

Bush Family friend, loyalist, operative and architect of the 2000 Bush/Cheney strategy to keep American's votes from being counted has no place as Co-Chair of bi-partisan commission with esteemed former-President Jimmy Carter

Velvet Revolution calls for Baker's immediate removal from Commission

VelvetRevolution.us ("VR"), a leading Election Reform advocacy group -- comprised of nearly 100 affiliate organizations which represent the vast majority of America's Voting Rights and Electoral Reform movement in America today – today strongly states our opposition and condemnation of the recently announced Baker/Carter Commission that has been formed to study and recommend solutions for the myriad of electoral irregularities documented in the 2004 general election.

The reason we must condemn this otherwise greatly needed blue-ribbon commission is due to the installation of James A. Baker III as the commission's co-chair.

Indeed, we applauded the true bi-partisan spirit of the two fine former statesmen, Presidents Carter and Ford, on a similar blue-ribbon commission convened after the 2000 election to examine election related problems. However, in this case, the selection of a partisan political operative and Bush Family loyalist such as Mr. Baker, in place of the esteemed former-President Ford, will irreconcilably sully the credibility of such a commission and render it's findings completely suspect, wholly useless and, regrettably, without merit. Mr. Baker is no President Ford.

While former President Jimmy Carter is a superb choice for the post – having proven himself to be an honest broker, with a lengthy and esteemed history of supervising and presiding over free and fair elections around the world – Mr. Baker is, in fact, the architect behind the invidious scheme implemented to ensure that the votes of all Americans would not be counted in the unfortunate and un-democratic 2000 Presidential Election fiasco. The regrettable -- and indeed reprehensible -- actions of James Baker on behalf of Bush/Cheney '00 Inc. were antithetical to the free, fair and trustworthy elections process which must be the cornerstone of the world's most important democracy.

Any commission seated to investigate and recommend solutions to problems in our last several elections in order to bring greater confidence and inclusion to our voting system, has no place for a partisan operative such as Mr. Baker. His presence on this commission, given his close and exceedingly direct loyalty and ties to both the Bush/Cheney campaigns and the Bush Family itself, is wholly unacceptable for a commission tasked with examining the problems of our most recent national elections.

VR co-founder and spokesman Brad Friedman said today, "There are scores of suitable and respected statesmen members of the Republican Party who could serve as a fair and impartial co-chair on this commission. Unfortunately, Mr. Baker is not one of them by any stretch of the imagination."

Baker's inclusion will fail to give confidence to the millions of Americans who are greatly concerned that our last two national elections have been highly flawed and potentially rigged in favor of one party over another. In fact, many of those people, feel very strongly that it was Mr. Baker himself who served as the key ring-leader after the 2000 election by leading the political and legal strategy to ensure that the votes of all Americans in Florida were never counted in the state.

Mr. Baker’s inclusion on this commission is the fox guarding the henhouse. His presence renders the commission’s work and findings all but meaningless and not worth the cooperation that VR, and our nearly one hundred affiliate organizations would otherwise hope to offer to an otherwise invaluable project convened to shore up the most basic and important aspect of our democracy: The right to vote and to have one's vote counted and counted accurately.

It is our unwavering position that Mr. Baker must immediately step down or be removed from this commission immediately!

Velvet Revolution is an issue-based advocacy group working on Election and Media Reform, serving as an umbrella organization to nearly 100 Voting Rights, Election Reform and Media Reform organizations. VR has recently launched our "Divestiture for Democracy" campaign calling on America's Voting Machine companies to provide transparency and accountability in their publicly funded role of running America's elections.

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