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Thursday, Dec. 09, 2004 at 4:31 AM
author: Steve Rosenfeld, Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman
The bitter battle over the stolen November 2 election in Ohio has turned into a rapidly escalating all-out multi-front war with the outcome of the real presidential vote count increasingly in doubt.
This article was originally posted on the Portland IMC, 12/7/04.
Ohio election fraud uproar blasting to new level
by Steve Rosenfeld, Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman
December 7, 2004
In Columbus, major demonstrations on Saturday, December 4, have been followed by an angry confrontation between demonstrators and state police at the office of Republican Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell, the Bush-Cheney state chairman who is also officially in charge of certifying the election, at least for now. Civil Rights leader Jesse Jackson has called on Blackwell to recuse himself from dealings with the election, saying his role as Bush-Cheney chairman has compromised his objectivity in delivering fair election results.
New revelations about voting machine allocations in Franklin County emerged on Tuesday, December 7. William Anthony, Chair of the Franklin County Board of Elections, told WVKO radio listeners that the Board begins ?stationing voting machines four weeks out? before Election Day. Security questions were raised after a machine in Gahanna Ward 1B at the New Life Church recorded 4258 votes for Bush where only 638 voters cast ballots.
Cornell McCleary, former minority director of the Republican Party of Ohio, argues that it would easy for computer hackers to hack directly into the machines: ?The two points of vulnerability are setting up a computer and hacking directly into the machine, or the line that goes directly down to the Board of Elections.? He dismissed the Gahanna incident as a ?prank.? Prank or not, Kerry?s decision to concede early on November 3 was based in part on these imaginary votes that were either a prank, a computer glitch, or a deliberate effort to boost Bush?s total in Ohio.
Anthony also conceded that some voters in Franklin County waited up to ?five or six hours? in order to vote. He admitted that the Board of Elections usually holds back ?a truckload of voting machines"--- 75---in case there?s a truck accident." He blamed this on the lack of machines and the fact that 77 voting machines malfunctioned on Election Day. Two affidavits from voters obtained by the Free Press report that voting machine maintenance people came out to fix machines and their technique seemed to be to continually plug and unplug, or reboot, the electronic machines until the machines functioned again.
Anthony also confirmed that the Board only delivered 2741 of its 2866 machines at the opening of polls on Election Day. He said Board of Elections workers later placed an additional 44. This would put the total number in use at the ?close of polls? at 2785, leaving 81 machines sitting unused. Anthony further said Election Day problems were the result of utilizing essentially 4800 volunteers with minimal training, paid a small stipend. Some poll workers have testified they repeatedly called the Board of Elections for additional machines as lines stacked up at their inner city precincts but got no response.
In addition, new evidence has continued to surface of widespread voter fraud throughout the state. Among other things, a response from Shelby County election officials has confirmed that the county illegally discarded key tabulations from the November 2 vote count. As this county's response is the first of 88 to come from Freedom of Information Act filings, it seems likely evidence of many more illegalities could follow.
Moreover, new computer tabulation errors ? first reported locally after Election Day ? have resurfaced, and are of a magnitude suggesting Bush?s margin over Kerry---now 118,775 votes or 2 percent of the total votes cast in the state, according to Blackwell---could easily have been manipulated.
One precinct in Youngstown, Ohio, recorded a negative 25 million votes (that's not a typo) on an ES&S Votronic voting machine, which was discarded from official results, according to a Nov. 3 report in Youngstown?s Vindicator newspaper http://www.vindy.com/basic/news/281829446390855.php>. Machine malfunctions combined with human error to create the massive negative vote count. ?That led to some races showing votes of negative 25 million, Munroe said,? quoting Mark Monroe, the Mahoning County election chief. "The numbers were nonsensical so we knew there were problems." The website www.VotersUnite.org lists dozens of voting machine errors, voter intimidation reports and other problems ? from the very large to very small ? that were reported in the Ohio press. At the very least these errors, many of which are detailed below, add up to a scathing indictment of a statewide election. On December 6 White House Spokesman Scott McClellan called the election ?free and fair.?
But even the www.VotersUnite.org list does not contain some of the biggest errors that will be cited in an election challenge filed Tuesday, December 7 by the Ohio Honest Elections Campaign in Ohio Supreme Court. It does not cite two non-partisan Election Day exit polls, by CNN and Zogby, which found Kerry leading by mid-afternoon. The Ohio Honest Election Campaign filing also describes abnormal patterns in the votes for statewide Democratic candidates ? with Kerry receiving fewer votes than obscure candidates ? could point to computer vote shifting. The Honest Election Campaign is seeking to investigate these abnormalities.
On Wednesday, Dec. 8, Rev. Jesse Jackson and many people associated with recounting the Ohio vote and challenging the election returns, will brief Democratic members of the House Judiciary Committee in Washington.
Rev. Jackson has repeatedly traveled to Ohio, demanding at packed, angry rallies that the Ohio Supreme Court consider setting aside Bush's victory in Ohio and that Congress should investigate how Ohioans voted. Among other things, the call for a re-vote as in Ukraine has become a consistent theme among disgruntled Ohio voters.
Jackson?s involvement comes as other national public-interest groups are pursuing their own litigation. For example, People for the American Way is trying to stop the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections in Cleveland from rejecting 8,099 of the 24,472 provisional ballots cast there. The ballots were thrown out because voters did not properly complete them or cast them at polling places that were not their own.
(EDITOR?s NOTE: What follows is an excerpted list http://www.votersunite.org/electionproblems.asp> of voting errors in Ohio compiles by VotersUnite.org. They are placed in the following categories: malfeasance, canvass anomalies, machine malfunction, vote suppression, provisional ballots, fraud, absentee ballot errors, and others. The link to the original news report follows.)
-- Lucas County. An extensive housecleaning in the Lucas County elections office was announced yesterday with Elections Director Paula Hicks-Hudson resigning and four other officials suspended pending investigation into problems with the official count of the Nov. 2 election. http://www.toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?>
-- Some groups also have complained about thousands of punch-card ballots that were not tallied because officials in the 68 counties that use them could not determine a vote for president. Votes for other offices on the cards were counted. http://www.nbc4i.com/politics/3953104/detail.html>
-- Cuyahoga County. 8,099 provisional ballots (about 1/3 of those cast) have been ruled invalid because the voter wasn't registered or was registered in the wrong precinct. In 2000, about 17% were ruled invalid. http://www.cleveland.com/news/plaindealer/index.ssf... http://www.cleveland.com/news/plaindealer/index.ssf?/base/cuyahoga/1101205815101550.xml>
For the entire list of 28 news reports with links to each, see the Portland IMC.
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