Congress to Blackwell: Get here and testify
Bill Theobald of Gannett News Service reports:
WASHINGTON -- Former Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell could be forced to testify before a House committee looking into problems during the 2004 presidential election.
A subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee will discuss Tuesday issuing a subpoena for the Republican Blackwell. He declined to appear in a politically tinged exchange of letters with the committee’s Democratic leadership.
A Jan. 29 letter from Rep. John Conyers Jr., D- Mich., and Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., inviting Blackwell states election problems in Ohio in 2004 "affected hundreds of thousands of voters."
Blackwell's response, dated Feb. 5, states that since he is no longer secretary of state he has "not been privileged to information regarding the state's election administration preparation for the upcoming 2008" elections. At the end of his letter Blackwell mentions a report showing Ohio did a better job in 2004 of handling provisional ballots than Michigan, Conyers' home state.
The two Democrats responded Feb. 19 saying that "we believe your prominent role in recent elections ... in which serious questions arose concerning protection of the right to vote gives you a uniquely valuable perspective."
"We are therefore writing to renew our invitation, and to further advise you that your appearance will be required."
"Your cooperation will ensure the committee can obtain the benefit of your testimony without the need to resort to compulsory process," the two wrote.
A hearing on voter suppression is scheduled immediately after the discussion of the subpoena.