Democrats force House, Senate debate before certifying Bush win
Second time in 126 years that electoral college have been contested
By ALAN FRAM
Friday, January 07, 2005 - WASHINGTON - Congress certified President Bush's re-election Thursday but only after Democrats forced a challenge to the quadrennial count of electoral votes for just the second time since 1877.
Bush's Election Day triumph over Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., was never in doubt. After a near four-hour delay to consider and reject a dispute over voting in Ohio, lawmakers in joint session affirmed Bush's 286-251 electoral vote victory � plus a single vote that a 'faithless' Kerry elector cast for his running mate, former Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C. A total of 270 votes are needed for victory.
'This announcement shall be a sufficient declaration of the persons elected president and vice president of the United States for the term beginning Jan. 20, 2005,' Vice President Dick Cheney, who presided over the session, read without emotion when the final votes were tabulated.
In a drama that was historic if not suspenseful, Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones, D-Ohio, and Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., formally protested that the Ohio votes 'were not, under all known circumstances, regularly given.' That, by law, required the House and Senate to convene separately and debate the Ohio irregularities.
Boxer, Tubbs Jones and several other Democrats, including many black lawmakers, hoped the showdown would underscore the problems such as missing voting machines and unusually long lines that plagued some Ohio districts, many in minority neighborhoods, on Nov. 2.
'If they were willing to stand in polls for countless hours in the rain, as many "