Allen, Santorum, Talent Criticized for Conceding

By Nathan Burchfiel | July 7, 2008 | 8:31pm EDT

(CNSNews.com) - At least six candidates in the midterm elections should not have conceded last week, according to a group that monitored the elections for voting machine fraud and disenfranchisement.

Velvet Revolution, which calls itself a "network of more than 120 progressive organizations," criticized several candidates who conceded defeat before allegations of voter fraud had been fully investigated.

Among the six candidates it argued should not have conceded were five Republicans: Sens. George Allen (Va.), Conrad Burns (Mont.), Jim Talent (Mo.) and Rick Santorum (Pa.) and California secretary of state candidate Bruce McPherson.

The group also criticized Democratic Rep. Harold Ford, Jr., who conceded to Republican Robert Corker in their race for the U.S. Senate seat in Tennessee.

Velvet Revolution said candidates should not concede before election officials were able to investigate claims of voter disenfranchisement and electronic voting machine failures.

"Candidates have no right to concede a race (or claim victory) if votes remain uncounted if recounts are being called for, if allegations of election misconduct exist," the group said on its website.

"It is the votes that determine the winner, not the candidates," it added. "Therefore candidates have no right to short-circuit the process, but have a duty to the voters to respect it."

Velvet Revolution said early concessions have "devastating consequences," pointing to the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections as evidence that unchallenged results ignore "flawed elections."

The group said candidates who challenge election results are labeled unfairly as "sore losers." It encouraged them to "put aside their concerns about possible future political comebacks" and "put the voters, the country, and the integrity of our elections first."

Telephone hotlines set up to record allegations of disenfranchisement and machine failures received thousands of complaints on Election Day and in the days following, according to Velvet Revolution.

One group, Common Cause, reported receiving more than 14,000 calls to its hotline Tuesday, many of which focused on problems with electronic voting machines displaying incorrect summaries of voters' choices.

"Vote-flipping" errors were especially common in Pennsylvania, where Santorum lost his bid for re-election to Democrat Bob Casey, Jr, according to Brad Friedman, a blogger who focuses on voting issues.

Friedman, a co-founder of Velvet Revolution, reported that Santorum requested voting machines from 27 counties be investigated after reports of the machines changing votes for Santorum into votes for Casey. Santorum ended up conceding the race to Casey Tuesday night.

Friedman also praised two Democrats -- House candidates Francine Busby (California) and Clint Curtis (Florida) -- and Green Party gubernatorial candidate Bob Fitrakis in Ohio, who pledged to not concede until all votes had been counted.

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