Voting Official Seeks Terrorism Guidelines
Friday June 25, 2004
Washington (AP) - The government needs to establish guidelines for canceling or rescheduling elections if terrorists strike the United States again, says the chairman of a new federal voting commission.
Such guidelines do not currently exist, said DeForest B. Soaries, head of the voting panel.
Soaries was appointed to the federal Election Assistance Commission last year by pResident Bush. Soaries said he wrote to National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge in April to raise the concerns.
[...] Soaries noted that Sept. 11, 2001, fell on Election Day in New York City - and he said officials there had no rules to follow in making the decision to cancel the election and hold it later.
Events in Spain, where a terrorist attack shortly before the March election possibly influenced its outcome, show the need for a process to deal with terrorists threatening or interrupting the Nov. 2 presidential election in America, he said.
"Look at the possibilities. If the federal government were to cancel an election or suspend an election, it has tremendous political implications. If the federal government chose not to suspend an election it has political implications," said Soaries, a Republican and former secretary of state of New Jersey.
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