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The @Free and Fair Elections Act@

Saturday, 11 November 2000 12:00 AM

Now, more than ever.

Election Day 2000 demonstrated the urgent need that action be taken to ensure the integrity of the conduct of this most fundamental of our rights, the expression of the will of the people through the casting of ballots in exercise of the right to vote.

This basic constitutional right was disrupted by broadcast media vote-tampering and meddling throughout the voting day, by virtue of erroneous reports of projected results and the purposeful withholding of others, all of which unduly influenced the outcome.

There has been much discussion about why turnout was not as high as it might otherwise have been and, in fact, was expected to be.

Now we know the reason: Voter turnout was suppressed when the false impression of purported results was broadcast while polls for the majority of Americans were still open, during peak voting hours in the Central, Mountain and Pacific time zones, not to mention in Alaska and Hawaii.

This is an outrage.

We cannot, and must not, stand idly by and allow this practice to continue.

To do so would be to sanction the surrender of our rights to a media that has demonstrated its glaring irresponsibility by subrogating our rights for their ends, be they political or otherwise.

That this was so is not in question. What remains is how best to proceed.

The solution must protect the sanctity of our elections by preventing such undue influence and therefore allow the electoral process to be unfettered, fair and free from outside intervention.

And the public airwaves, especially, must not be the means by which the public's own individual rights are trampled.

Any remedy must be promulgated by the United States Congress.

After all, it is the Congress – through a grant of authority by it to the Federal Communications Commission – that allows the issuance of broadcast licenses; certain appropriate rules and regulations are imposed as a condition of retaining the privilege to broadcast.

It is important that concerned citizens contact their own member of Congress and senators, to urge that such legislation be introduced, passed, and signed into law during the 107th Congress, and to encourage other concerned citizens to do the same.

Suggested language for the "Free and Fair Elections Act" – as well as sample letters in support – will be published in this space in the near future, along with links to congressional offices.

Please monitor this column to ensure maximum support and participation.

For a detailed analysis of what occurred Tuesday, see

Dan Frisa represented New York in the United States Congress and served four terms in the New York State Assembly. E-mail Dan:

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Now, more than ever. Election Day 2000 demonstrated the urgent need that action be taken to ensure the integrity of the conduct of this most fundamental of our rights, the expression of the will of the people through the casting of ballots in exercise of the right to...
The,@Free,and,Fair,Elections,Act@
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2000-00-11
Saturday, 11 November 2000 12:00 AM
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