BOSTON – Sen. John Kerry (search), in some of his most pointed public comments yet about the presidential election, invoked Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy on Monday as he criticized President Bush and decried reports of voter disenfranchisement (search).
The Massachusetts Democrat, Bush's challenger in November, spoke at Boston's annual Martin Luther King Day Breakfast. He reiterated that he decided not to challenge the election results, but "thousands of people were suppressed in the effort to vote."
"Voting machines were distributed in uneven ways. In Democratic districts, it took people four, five, eleven hours to vote, while Republicans (went) through in 10 minutes - same voting machines, same process, our America," he said.
In his comments, Kerry also compared the democracy-building efforts in Iraq with voting in the U.S., saying that Americans had their names purged from voting lists and were kept from casting ballots.
"In a nation which is willing to spend several hundred million dollars in Iraq to bring them democracy, we cannot tolerate that too many people here in America were denied that democracy," Kerry said.
Voting irregularities in Ohio drove primarily Democratic challenges to the Nov. 2 election, but Congress eventually affirmed President Bush the winner by a slim electoral vote count of 286-251 - plus a single vote cast by a Minnesota elector for Kerry's running mate, former Sen. John Edwards (search).