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Would the current administration be dumb enough to try postponing elections?

By Andrew Pollack on 07/12/2004 at 03:27 PM EDT

All over the press today (try or or one of the others) is the question Tom Ridge was fool enough to ask. What would need to be in place -- what laws, rules, situations, etc. -- to postpone the November elections in the event of a massive terrorist attack?

Well, Mr. Ridge, you've done more damage with the question than anyone is likely to do with a terrorist attack as far as the perception of your office and that of this administration. There is at this time no precedent and no evidence to suggest one is likely, for an event on the scale necessary to disrupt this country enough to make a difference at that crucial time. If a major city was disrupted its entirely possible that a case could be made to contest the results of that state -- but we've been through that before and the country didn't come to an end.

No, Tom, a more likely (and frightening) possibility would be the thought of using something as an excuse for the delay of an election should the results look bad for your side. Even were this not the case, a substantial number of people would always see it that way. Delaying the election would be the worst possible choice in nearly any realistic scenario less than a complete doomsday not even worth contemplating. The fact that you would ask a question like that in a way that invites public speculation when obviously it could have been done quite privately smacks of "trial balloon" -- well the public will not react well.

Tom, all you're doing is giving fodder to the radicals on both sides -- the 2nd amendment fanatics with the stockpiles of arms against the day the "gummint" turns hostile, and the liberal fanatics who are already firmly convinced that W's office is for whatever reason invalid.

The only emergency action anyone should be calling for, Mr. Ridge, is your resignation.

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My own thoughts on this are...By Carolyn on 07/12/2004 at 04:39 PM EDT
While I agree with you that Tommy Boy should've kept his big mouth shut, I have
to disagree with you when you say "If a major city was disrupted its entirely
possible that a case could be made to contest the results of that state" IMO if
a terrorist attack occured on election day, regardless of where, if the polls
weren't completely closed across the nation the results of the election would
be in question. For instance:


Say a major attack occured 9PM EST, wherever in the US. The poles on the West
coast would still be open. Many people who had been planning to go vote will
either be glued in horror to their TV sets or their computers, while others
would hesitate to venture out at all.The Business of the day would stop, not
just where the attack occured, but every where. Sure the votes could be counted
but would the results be reflective of the will of the people? I would want to
sees the ballots in all those states thrown out and recast at on a day in the
near future.

There's also precedence for doing this albeit on a local level. On Sept 11,
2001 there was a primary election for mayor taking place in NYC. The votes were
cast out and the election was reheld on Sept 25, 2001.
One Domino developer predicted this nearly a year agoBy Alan Bell on 07/22/2004 at 04:03 PM EDT
I guess I shouldn't name names but one stateside ISV I spoke to last October
expressed the fear that your next election could be the first time the post
independence US experiences a non peacefull transition of power. Scary stuff.

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