Monday, July 12, 2004

Bad Vibrations

Officials discuss how to delay Election DayU.S. officials have discussed the idea of postponing Election Day in the event of a terrorist attack on or about that day, a Homeland Security Department spokesman said Sunday...

Newsweek said the discussions about whether the November 2 election could be postponed started with a recent letter to Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge from DeForest Soaries Jr., chairman of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission...

Soaries, who was appointed by President Bush, is a former New Jersey secretary of state and senior pastor of the 7,000-member First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens in Somerset.

Newsweek reported that Soaries expressed concern that no federal agency had the authority to postpone an election and asked Ridge to ask Congress to give his commission such power.

While in theory delaying an election in the aftermath of a particularly serious terrorist attack (something along the lines of a dirty bomb in a major city, maybe) might be a good idea, the fact that an executive agency is considering it on its own is not good at all. If the President of the United States, or rather an appointee of the President can postpone an election unilaterally there would be almost no limit to his power, why he could even claim the right to detain citizens indefinitely without trial.

Update: Rice: No Plan to Delay National Election


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