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Re-Vote Ohio

by Open-Publishing - Sunday 2 January 2005

Edito Elections-Elected USA Ted Glick

by Ted Glick

(This article was put together with much assistance from colleagues who have been deeply involved in the Ohio recount.)

“Our next governor should enter office without any doubt about the legitimacy of his or her office. The people of Washington deserve to know that their governor was elected fair and square. Unfortunately, the events of the past few weeks now make it impossible for you or me to take office on January 12 without being shrouded in suspicion.”

Dino Rossi, Republican candidate for Governor of Washington, in open letter to Democratic candidate Christine Gregoire Rossi’s argument is equally applicable to the Presidential election. Following an extremely flawed and probably illegal “recount” in Ohio, no one can say for sure who won that state’s 20 Electoral College votes, and these 20 votes are necessary for either George Bush or John Kerry to claim a victory in the 2004 election.

Following the example of the people of the Ukraine, we should demand that Ohio’s 5.5 million voters be given a chance to vote for president again in a fair and transparent process.

What Happened in Ohio?

Many thousands of duly-registered African American voters did their civic duty and went to the polls in Ohio on Election Day.

Many stood for three, four or even eight hours in the cold and rain with tired, hungry children and sick or elderly relatives.

These people, whose children are disproportionately represented in the U.S. military and the Iraq war, suffered disproportionately from misallocation of voting machines, biased application of voting standards, outright harassment, and the ultimate indignity for a voter:

unbeknownst to them, many of their votes were not even counted.

Concerns that the votes of African Americans and other Ohio voters were not fairly counted were one of the main reasons that David Cobb of the Green Party and Michael Badnarik of the Libertarian Party demanded a recount of the votes in Ohio. Now that the recount is finished, the picture is a lot worse than any of us thought. Not only were African Americans in huge numbers denied the right to vote on Election Day, but something even more shocking was discovered: we have no idea who won the presidential vote in Ohio.

And because we have no idea who won the vote on November 2, we must immediately raise the call for an Ohio re-vote.

The vote totals we are seeing in the newspapers assume that there has been no tampering with the vote totals.

While no one has as yet proven definitively that there was vote tampering, any impartial observer can say with certainty that it would be impossible to say that there was NO tampering.

How can we say this so unequivocally? Private company technicians from Triad and possibly Diebold had unsupervised access to ballots and vote counting machines after the initial vote counting and before the recount.

In some counties, ballots were not locked up in ways that would preserve their integrity.

In almost all counties, the recounts did not comply with the dictates of Ohio election law that the precincts re-counted must be “randomly” selected.

Whether in the interest of hiding something, or merely in the interest of wanting to go home for the Christmas holiday, pre-selecting the precincts to be re-counted could lead to re-counting precincts without problems instead of those where machines failed, ballots were soiled, or other problems occurred.

Thankfully, the Ohio recount fulfilled its purpose. It helped us to see the extent of the problems in Ohio’s voting processes.

It reminded us that many Ohio state and local elections officers should either be fired for incompetence or criminally indicted for allowing voters to be disenfranchised on Election Day.

It provided a way to keep the reform process in public view so that changes can be made in time for the 2006 election season.

Most importantly, however, the Ohio recount has led us to a conclusion that should be obvious to fair-minded people of any political party:

no one can claim victory in a contest when the score-keeping system was broken.

If you take a few minutes to read County Recount Reports from the observers who monitored the recount in Ohio’s 88 counties, you will see why Ohio’s Electoral College votes are tainted and must be rejected by Congress.

For example, in Fairfield County, Ohio, a full recount should have been ordered when the 3% test sample required under Ohio election law did not match the official vote totals. Instead, based on what county officials said was a recommendation from Secretary of State Blackwell’s office, the recount was "suspended" so that they would not have to do a full recount. http://www.votecobb.org/recount/ohi...

In Champaign County, a precinct signature book, necessary to verify that the number of votes that were cast, will not be made available to recount observers until after January 10 (four days after Congress has counted the Electoral College votes), per orders of the Secretary of State.

Meanwhile, in Van Wert County, an observer reported:

"When asked if Triad had serviced the machine, the deputy director and a board member stated that they had serviced the machine over the phone via modem on December 9th."

Many other counties used vote tabulation machines that were “serviced” by technicians outside the supervision of anyone else between the November 2 election and the recount date.

In Ashland County, there were other security issues: "The cast ballots are stored by precinct in open cubicles along one wall of this room, completely open and visible to anyone who enters this room....Piled on top of the cubicles holding the vote are baskets, Doritos, paper plates, mugs, cleaning products, Fresh-n-Soft, Glad Wrap, etc."

These "chain of custody" issues are especially important when you consider that, as reported in the New York Times, "Voting machine companies and their supporters have been given a large say in the process [of setting federal standards for electronic voting machines], while advocates for voters, including those who insist on the use of voter-verified paper receipts, have been pushed to the margins. The chairman of the working group preparing the standards for voting machines is a top executive of Election Systems and Software [ES&S], a large and controversial voting machine maker." http://www.nytimes.com/2004/12/27/opinion/27mon1.html

Didn’t Impartial Democrats Monitor the Process?

Yes, both Democrats and Republicans supervised the voting and recounting processes.

According to the Columbus (Ohio) Free Press, however, their impartiality is not a given, because Ohio election law calls for directors, deputy directors, and members of all county boards of elections to be assigned by the Secretary of State.

“They hold these paying jobs at his discretion regardless of whether they are Democrat or Republican. A major argument of those who claim Ohio’s 2004 presidential election was fraud-free centers on the myth that local precincts are run as bipartisan operations, deflecting charges of partisan interference while failing to account for the fact that the principals all owe their jobs to the Secretary of State, who in this case served as co-chair of the state’s Bush-Cheney campaign.”

The Constitution calls for a convening of Electors in each state, who cast ballots that then are opened and read by Congress.

This year, the Electors met on December 13, 2004, and Congress receives and counts their votes on January 6, 2005.

The problem we have this year is that the 20 Electoral votes cast by Ohio Electors are fundamentally flawed because they were cast before the recount even began, and because it was a seriously problematic recount.

Therefore, John Kerry’s concession has no legal meaning. If a re-vote results in his winning the Ohio popular vote, he will win Ohio’s 20 Electoral votes and the presidency.

The issue facing us now, however, is not the election of Bush, Kerry, or even the Green or Libertarian presidential candidates. The issue is that we do not know who won Ohio.

And as the people of the Ukraine have shown us, a re-vote is possible.

Indeed, there are 48 million voters in the Ukraine and only 5.5 million in Ohio, so the process would be ten times easier.

How Could a Fair Re-Vote Take Place?

If the voting processes are so fundamentally flawed, you ask, how could we trust a new re-vote?


A paper ballot can be easily produced with the names of the presidential candidates on it.

Every voter will hand in one piece of paper with a check mark next to one candidate’s name, and another piece of paper with his or her name, address, and other necessary voter registration information.

These two piles will be kept in case a recount is needed.

Observers from the various presidential campaigns should be allowed to monitor the 88 county election proceedings, and we also may want to bring in some international election observers comparable to those who supervised the election in the Ukraine.

President Bush can issue a call for a re-vote himself, following the lead of Dino Rossi in Washington State. He can declare that he wants to be elected by a fair and transparent process.

Or Congress can demand a re-vote when it convenes to receive the Electoral votes on January 6, 2005. If neither of those take place, it is imperative that the mushrooming pro-democracy movement that has been developing since the elections escalate its pressure and its tactics to reflect the urgency of what is at stake. We must assert out Tenth Amendment power to reclaim our right to a fair election in Ohio and a fairly elected President of the United States.

If we let this one go by without the political fight of our lifetimes, we just might have kissed what’s left of our democracy goodbye.


Forum posts

  • Ohio Recount Revisited…Again and Again
    Any bets as to whether or not the Ohio recounts will ever end?


  • The American Empire is coming to its conclusion, and trying to blame the left or right is sheer folly. It is more like a natural cycle, a waveform that oscillates from one extreme to the other as it gently wanes away to nothing. America is over. The only question is, what will fill the void it leaves behind? I’m afraid it will be nothing more than a barbaric, fascist state based on greed and avarice; many refugees will exist in constant fear, with nowhere to run, nowhere to hide.

    As much as I would like to see democracy take hold again and prosper, it appears to me that this noble attempt at holding the voting irregularities up to the light of day, is no more than an exercise in futility. The office of President of the United States was decided long before this civil upheaval we call an election occurred. The election cycle is a process that exists solely for economic reasons. It is an industry that heats up about two years prior to each election, and it generates an immense amount of monetary activity. A minority of people in the industry of politics become increasingly more wealthy with each cycle, and the populace is satiated by the false sense of having had a voice in choosing our leaders.

    However, the power elite are beginning to realize that the jig is up. Two stolen elections in a row have left at least fifty percent of the population with deep uncertainty and a growing cynicism. So knowing that time is finally catching up with their infernal scheming, it is going to come down to a literal scenario of winner take all, or at least all they can get their hands on. That leaves the majority with a feeling of disgust, but with no way to express their feelings. Or perhaps there will be an opportunity to revive decency. 50/50?

  • Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

    It’s all so stupid. Representational Democracy (as opposed to, say, Athenian Democracy) is not about personal freedom, or Capitalism, or any other wonderful ideal, It’s purely and simply about cutting down the bloodshed in politics. Essentially, it’s a way of allowing controlled, and bloodless, revolutions, about ensuring unpopular governments get thrown out without violence, and about allowing people the ability to overthrow a unsuccessful government (defined however you want) without having to take up arms. It serves no other purpose.

    Hence the ancient joke about Democracy being noisier than dictatorship, but less bloody.

    But for it to work, the process has to have at least the appearence of fairness Otherwise, the population decides it cannot change the government by voting, and turns to other, usually bloodier, methods.

    And democracy actually works in the favour of the politicians, as it means that they can retire and live out their lives after falling from power (compare the situation of a "Western" post WWII politician against that in the Soviet - especially during and after Stalin - or a Chinese one post Mao). Look at America’s history. Your war against us (I’m British) was because many Americans at the time felt excluded from a say in the governance of their land. The politicains who were preaching rebellion won the argument for that reason, and that reason alone. If there had been a perception of control, the vast majority of people wouldn’t have followed the politicains, and the colonies would be a Dominion today.

    Similarly in Britain itself. All the main steps to universal sufferage have arisen out of perceived unfairness in the power structure, and have been introduced to prevent those perceptions turning into open revolt. I suspect that something similar applies to the development of universal sufferage in the USA - though I admit to ingnorance as to the details of the process in the USA.

    So why are the current mob over there trying tio subvert the process so openly. I don’t know. But I do know this. If it isn’t sorted out, and quickly, there is a distinct possibility that the next change in government but one will be a lot quieter. But far, far, far more bloody.

    Allan Doodes
    Oxford, UK

  • Let me see if I get this right. In the state of Washington about 2.8 millions votes were cast and the difference between the was 139 votes. In the state of Ohio there was 5.5 million votes cast and the difference was 118 THOUSAND votes. Come folks do really believe the issue are the same.

    Let us also not forget that Senator Kerry, former Senator Edwards, former President Clinton, Senator Clinton, Senator Kennedy, Senator Durbin, House Minority Leader Congresswoman Pelosi all concede that the President won the election. The President won the popular vote by 3.5 million votes. If the Democratic party wants to reclaim power it must look within itself and understand why their message is not being heard.

    Folks MOVE ON

  • Kerry’s trip to the Middle East means he is not going to fight for democracy on January 6th, in spite of all the evidence of voter manipulation, machine tampering, illegal and unethical lock downs, refusals to testify under oath, obvious conflicts of interest, media block-outs, and destruction of evidence. Thus concludes his very inept and disappointing candidacy. I can guarantee you, I will NEVER be suckered into supporting this man again (with my money, by canvassing or with my vote).

    The Democrats have been soul searching for ’what went wrong’--- when it is so clear that the only thing that went wrong throughout the campaign and afterwards is that Kerry wrongly conceded everything without a fight. He did not fight the allegations of being a flip-flopper, he did not fight the allegations of the Swift Boat liars, he did not effectively fight the impression that Bush was stronger on terror, and most importantly, he did not challenge the Ohio election. Even though this man had the everything going for him and bush had everything against him, Kerry was not able to stand up for himself. What a frustrating and disappointing candidate---the wrong man at a most critical time.

    Furthermore, the DNC is very easily intimidated by the Karl Rove operatives, who manipulate by threatening to call Democrats ‘poor sports’ or ‘whiners’. Rather than put forth an effort to portray themselves as champions of democracy — for the people and by the people—the Democrats just shrug their shoulders, lower their heads in shame and figure they need to be more like the Republicans. In fact, being more like the Republicans entails fighting a dirty battle, cheating and lying, and using all the unethical tactics that can be thought of to win at any cost. Fortunately or unfortunately, the Democrats are not capable of this. In fact, they have convinced me that, on the whole, they truly do behave like ‘girlie men’ (with the exception of real men like John Conyers and Jesse Jackson).

    There is plenty of evidence to indicate that the vote was rigged. Based on the Republican response to inquiry and investigations, it seems that the Bush team must have a lot to hide. However, I have totally lost faith in the Democratic Party to do what is right and just. I think the current approach of tiptoeing around Republicans to avoid negative attacks will backfire in the next few years, as former supporters realize the Democrats failed to protect America from evil and destruction, even though they had the opportunity to do so.

    • Oh please....did you really get that disappointed by the DNC and Kerry??? How could you have placed such faith in them after the 2000 election? They were on probation this time and again they take it for granted that we will still all support them no matter what they do because they are the only other game in town.....BUT TAKE HEART, IF YOU AND I AND ALL OF THE OTHER DEMOCRATS WHO VOTED, BUT WHOS VOTES MEANT NOTHING, WE CAN FIX THIS AND IT WILL BE SO EASY, JUST JOIN THE OTHER 50% NON VOTERS, AND THE WHOLD ’DEMOCRACY’ WILL EVAPORATE...the house of cards will fall, the one party system will only be able to get about 28% of the voters to vote, and just like in Iraq, the fewer the people who vote the less credibility the election process will have, this is your and my only voice left in our government, lets all commit to JUST SAYING NO TO SUPPORTING RIGGED ELECTIONS.

    • It is a fact that Bush stole the presidency twice and it is also a fact that he is the president. There is no contradiction here: you can own something by stealing it.

      Given the fact that the terms like fairness, justice, equality before law have been devoided of their meanings; we don’t really have a reference point to fix anything if the objective is to fix a broken election system.

      In this respect the fact that 49% of the voters voted against the president becomes more important. Since this is a purely mathematical information and the only message is that "half of the population is opposing the current president". Even with the "NewSpeak" it is not possible to change or spin this information since it is not contextual.

      Boycotting elections is not an option when you are a real condender (more precisely the real winner but the declared looser). Eventually stealing an election will require fraud on a more massive scale that will be too difficult to pull off. At that point the group who holds the power may want to hold on to it by force. A minority holding on to power is always a losing proposition as has been displayed on many occasions.

      So numerical majority should never back down from the attrition war. If anybody suggests otherwise they are emissaries of the minority.