FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
VIP Demands Retraction by Salon.com
December 8, 2000
CONTACT: Deborah M Phillips (888) 578-4343
Washington, D.C. (December 8, 2000) The Voting Integrity Project ("VIP") has issued a demand to Salon.com for retraction of its recent articles containing falsehoods and innuendo damaging to VIP's credibility, reputation and mission. VIP asks in its letter for a detailed retraction and apology to be posted and prominently sustained on Salon.com's website for a period of one year to avoid further legal action.
Following is the text of VIP's letter to Salon.com:
"I am writing in response to an article by Anthony York appearing today in www.Salon.com under the heading "Eliminating fraud or Democrats?"
"Mr. York's article contains numerous false statements likely to cause substantial injury to the reputation of The Voting Integrity Project ("VIP") for integrity and fairness. On behalf of VIP, I demand that Salon.com apologize and retract these false statements immediately and in a detailed and prominent manner.
"The first falsehood is that VIP "often allies with Republicans on voter-roll cleanup efforts." To the contrary, VIP's efforts have been entirely fair, objective and non-partisan.
"The second falsehood is that VIP gave an award to ChoicePoint for its work on voter rolls in Florida. VIP gave an award to Database Technologies, which has since been acquired by ChoicePoint, for Datebase Technologies's data-matching work on the Florida voter rolls following the demonstrated, widespread irregularities that led to the judicial reversal of the outcome in the 1997 Miami mayoral election and the state legislature's mandate to clean up the state's voter rolls.
"The third false statement is that Helen Blackwell founded VIP. VIP was founded by myself. Ms. Blackwell serves on the VIP governing board along with Democrats, Independents and members of minor parties.
"The fourth false statement is that VIP sent a team of investigators into Orange County, California to pursue the claims of former U.S. Representative Robert Dornan that voting irregularities affected the outcome of the 1996 election in which he was defeated. VIP was never involved in any investigation of that election and has never involved itself in any candidate election contest or investigation at the request of, or on behalf of, any candidates. VIP did receive two requests to participate in an investigation of the Sanchez-Dornan election, but rejected both.
"Finally, Mr. York's article reflects a serious lack of balance and objectivity. His frequent resort to innuendo, his omission of any reference to the party affiliation of VIP Advisory Board member John Seibel (a Democrat) or the VIP affiliation of Jenni Gainsborough, and his failure to put other statements in proper context combine to demonstrate an obvious bias against VIP. The organization's involvement in Florida, Louisiana, Fayette County, Pa. and Atlantic Beach, N.C. was prompted by extraordinary evidence of pervasive voting irregularities. These projects were not chosen for any partisan reasons.
"Because Salon.com has attacked VIP repeatedly and without care for the accuracy of those attacks, the conclusion is unavoidable that Salon.com, is intent on damaging VIP's reputation and ability to function effectively.
"Unless Salon.com takes appropriate action immediately to cure the injury it has caused VIP, I will direct VIP's lawyers to take prompt action against Salon.com."
The letter was signed by VIP Chairman Deborah Phillips, who said, "Salon.com has chosen to print outright falsehoods and innuendo about Voting Integrity Project that seems to be part of a plan to injure VIP's reputation and credibility, and which threatens our ability to perform our mission and even our very existence. We cannot let this go unaddressed."
"As a voter rights organization, VIP has long championed the necessity for clean voter rolls as essential to election integrity and ensuring that every legitimate vote counts and is not diluted by voter fraud. If this article condemned only by omission it would be bad enough, but it contains serious allegations and falsehoods we believe to be deliberate, malicious and libelous."
Phillips said VIP will await Salon.com's response to its demand and weigh further legal action if necessary. "I would probably be satisfied if they prominently post a retraction and apology on their website. But if they ignore us, they do so at their legal peril."
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