Cheney A No-Show At The Polls

Dick Cheney getting out of his car on July 24, 2000 in front of his home AP

Republican vice presidential nominee Dick Cheney skipped voting in 14 of 16 elections since he registered to vote in Dallas County nearly five years ago, The Dallas Morning News reported Friday.

The missed votes included the March Texas primary in which Cheney could have cast his ballot for his future running mate, Gov. George W. Bush.

Cheney, campaigning Friday in New England, acknowledged that he did not vote in this year's Texas primary, but said he has voted "in every federal primary and general election in the last 20-some years."

Cheney said extensive travel has kept him from becoming involved in state or local politics.

Restroom Intrigue

The company that Dick Cheney headed for the past five years has a policy of maintaining separate restrooms overseas for its American and foreign employees.

Halliburton Co., a Dallas-based energy services company that operated in more than 100 countries, said the policy was due to "cultural differences" and was "no different than Eastern countries that often designate facilities for use by Westerners."

Halliburton said Cheney was unaware of the segregated restroom policy in effect during his years as chairman.

A State Department official said he had never seen a similar policy in trips and assignments to four continents.

At least two Americans who worked for Halliburton in Kosovo complained to the company.

"I thought segregation went out in the '60s,'' former employee Amy Katz wrote to a friend last September, a month before she was fired by the company in Kosovo. She subsequently challenged the dismissal in a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Katz, 32, of Gig Harbor, Wash., alleges she was a victim of retaliation as a result of reporting sexual harassment, gender discrimination and concerns about company policies, including the separate restrooms.

The EEOC has not yet ruled on her complaint.

Cheney became chief executive of Halliburton in October 1995 and chairman in early 1996, before retiring last month to join the Republican ticket. Halliburton has received $2 billion in federal contracts to support U.S. troops on peacekeeping missions through its Brown & Root Services unit.

Juleanna Glover Weiss, a Cheney spokeswoman, said while she had no information on the bathroom facilities, Cheney "has never tolerated sexual harassment in any organization he's headed or been a part of." (AP)

"I traveled a great deal," he said. "Dallas was my base. That's where I lived or was headquartered, but I was not involved in community affairs very extensively in Dallas. My focus was on global concerns."

He voted in last month's Wyoming primary, but presidential candidates did not appear on those ballots, so Cheney did nt have an opportunity to vote for Bush after reregistering there in July. In Wyoming, county party delegates last March cast votes for delegates to the national GOP convention.

County records in Texas examined by the paper show Cheney registered to vote in December 1995 after moving to an upscale section of Dallas from the Washington, D.C., area as the new CEO of oilfield services company Halliburton.

The elections in which he voted were the November 1996 presidential election and the November 1998 race for governor and other state and local offices.

To avoid a constitutional conflict with running mates from the same state, Cheney changed his voter registration to Wyoming, his home state, in July, days before being tapped by Bush. He has since voted in the GOP presidential primary there.

"It appears that Dick Cheney did not receive a major-league vetting by George W. Bush," said Chris Lehane, spokesman for Democratic rival Al Gore. "What this shows is that George W. Bush ... picked someone who not only was a member of the Republican old guard, not only someone who is a big oil executive, but someone who doesn't even vote all that often."

Cheney's 2-for-16 voting history in Dallas compares with the five-for-six election participation rate of his Democratic rival Sen. Joe Lieberman over the same period in Connecticut.

Although Cheney's role at Halliburton sent him on frequent trips away from Dallas, Texas election law generously allows for absentee voting.

Earlier this month, while in Pennsylvania, Cheney had to defend his direct contributions to charities, which accounted for less than 1 percent of the $4 million he earned last year.

Questions about the donations arose after Cheney released personal tax records for himself and his wife Lynne showing that $442,152 went to charities from 1989 to 1999.

The 14 Dallas County elections Cheney skipped were the presidential and state primaries, primary runoffs and Highland Park city elections in 1996; two state constitutional amendment votes in 1997; a Highland Park school board vote, a Highland Park city election, a state primary and primary runoffs in 1998; a hotly contested Highland Park school bond election and a constitutional amendment vote in 1999; and this year's primary and primary runoffs.

Records in New Haven, Conn., show Lieberman voted in all but one of six elections there since December 1995, missing a November 1997 mayoral contest. Records were not available before 1995.

Cheney was registered in Casper, Wyo., from 1978 until he moved to Dallas, which includes his 21 years in Congress and his time as defense secretary from 1989 to 1993. Only records of federal elections, not state or local ballots, are available for Wyoming in those years.

The Wyoming records show Cheney voted in every federal primary and general election from 1978 to 1994.

  • CBSNews.com staff CBSNews.com staff

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