<!-- Begin meta tags generated by ORblogs --> </meta name="keywords" content="progressive, liberal, politics, government, edit, language, grammar, accuracy, honesty, clarity, world, news, media" /> </> <!-- End meta tags generated by ORblogs -->> Editor at Large: The battle continues in Ohio

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

The battle continues in Ohio

It's not over yet. The number of legal challenges to the vote outcome in Ohio is mounting. Following are edited excerpts from an article about the Ohio vote in today's The Free Press (http://www.freepress.org/departments/display/19/2004/1046). Most of the claims made in these excerpts are outrageous; a few are shocking. But some are also encouraging.

• Yesterday Ohio Republican Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell refused to appear at a deposition that was part of an election challenge lawsuit filed at the Ohio Supreme Court. Meanwhile, John Kerry is reported to have filed a federal legal action aimed at preserving crucial recount evidence, which has been under GOP assault throughout the state.

• Ohio Assistant Attorney General Richard Conglianese is seeking a court order to protect Kenneth Blackwell from testifying under oath about how the election was run. Blackwell, who administered Ohio's November 2 balloting, served as co-chair of the Bush-Cheney campaign.

• President Bush, Vice President Cheney, and White House Political Advisor Karl Rove received notice that they will be deposed today and tomorrow (December 28 and 29). The trio’s Ohio attorney, Kurt Tunnell, so far claims his clients have not been properly served. Under Ohio law, the Republican-dominated Ohio Supreme Court is responsible for serving the three.

• Voters in Ohio's Trumbull County have testified that on Election Day they received punch-card ballots in which holes were already punched for Bush. And a notarized affidavit signed by Angela Greene, who voted at Whitehall Yearling High School in central Ohio's Franklin County, stated that one of the malfunctioning electronic voting machines at her polling place was delivered without a cartridge – meaning votes cast might have gone uncounted.

• In Ohio's Miami County, Kenneth Blackwell certified a 98.6% turnout in the Concord Southwest precinct, comprised of 520 votes for Bush and 157 for Kerry. This statistically improbable turnout has all but 10 of the 689 registered voters casting their ballots on Election Day. A preliminary canvas by The Free Press of less than half the precinct found 25 registered voters admitting they had not voted, meaning the official tally was almost certainly fraudulent.

• In Madison County, where public records requests were filed to obtain voting records, the voting results provided by the Madison County Board of Elections came directly from a private company, Triad Governmental Systems, Inc. An e-mail dated November 29, 2004, from Brandon Sandlin of Triad, reads as follows: “Hello to all in Madison County! Attached you will find the cumulative report (oh49unov.pdf) with over and under votes reported as well as the official abstract (oh49abs.pdf). These reports may be printed for your records and then mailed to the state along with your other certification reports.” Coming from a private corporation, Triad's letter underscores the barriers to making a reliable independent public assessment and recount of Ohio's presidential tally.

• In Mahoning County, the Washington Post reported new affidavits documenting electronic "vote hopping" from Kerry to Bush. This means voting machines highlighted the choice for Bush before the voter recorded a choice of his or her own. The legal team has been told by a computer expert that this may mean the machines were pre-set on a Bush vote as a default. The Free Press has obtained dozens of such sworn statements of vote hopping.

• The legal team is also exploring new evidence that in Coshocton, Ohio, write-in votes wrongly defaulted to Bush when run through the voting machine.

• The Free Press has obtained a list of all voting machines assigned in Franklin County, including serial numbers. The list contains at least 42 machines originally assigned to predominantly African-American and inner-city wards that voted 80% for Kerry, and where voters waited in line for three hours and more on Election Day. These 42 machines were blacked out on the list, raising the question of whether these were among the 68 machines the Franklin County Board of Elections has admitted holding back in the warehouse despite obvious shortages at certain polling places. Affidavits from poll workers confirm that numerous requests for more machines were made through election day, but that few if any were delivered.

• Members of Congress meet in Washington on January 6 to evaluate the Electoral College vote. Led by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), it is virtually certain numerous members of the Congressional Black Caucus will challenge that vote. But the assent of a Senator is required for the challenge to go forward, and thus far none has definitively confirmed.

• Despite ducking depositions, Blackwell is escalating his public appearances in hopes of becoming Ohio’s next governor. On January 12, 2005, Blackwell is scheduled to speak at the exclusive Scioto Country Club on the topic of “Ethics in Leadership.” [Catch the irony?]

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