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December 28, 2004

A Republic, If You Can Keep It

This is very bad. Michael Froomkin reports:

Discourse.net: Delay, Delay, Don't (re)Count the Votes: Is there any way to understand this sort of tactic as anything other than an attempt to prevent an honest recount: "Ohio Official Refuses Interview Over Vote"? (Note that the headline is British understatement — in fact the Ohio Secretary of State is apparently trying to get a court order to block having to explain the weird things he’s done to lock out recounters, prevent observers from actually observing, and other very suspicious hijinks.)

Posted by DeLong at December 28, 2004 07:26 PM


I don't think so.

Posted by: tedb at December 28, 2004 07:29 PM

Enuf with the recount whining and carping already. The vote is in. It's over. Step up to important issues.

Posted by: donmaj at December 28, 2004 07:40 PM

Enuf with the recount whining and carping already

note: filed under whining and carping

Posted by: djs at December 28, 2004 08:40 PM

"A Republic, if you can keep it."

Not hardly, Mr. Franklin -- 'A republic, if you're man enough to steal it', more likely.

Throw away your Federalist Papers, boys, and invest in a good translation of Bossuet.

It's all over.

Es geht alles vorüber --
Es geht alles vorbei --
Es geht alles vorüber --
Dank Georg und seine Partei.

Posted by: Davis X. Machina at December 28, 2004 09:19 PM

Silly Brad for thinking that what amounts to ongoing attempts by J. Kenneth Blackwell at fixing the election are unimportant. What donmaj, in your view, are the important issues?

Posted by: Dubblblind at December 28, 2004 09:25 PM

Hmmm, Republicans abusing fundamental protocols of public trust? How utterly shocking. Must be terrorists or liberals involved somehow, I'm sure.

What? The "mainstream" media is uniformly ignoring it? Equally shocking. They are usually such sharp and tenacious investigators protecting the public's right to know.

Oh well, at least it doesn't matter, thankfully. These things aren't important. Everything's going to be just fine. We have the best democracy in the world. Everyone knows that.

Posted by: Tim B. at December 29, 2004 01:10 AM

Donmaj, elections are how all the other things get addressed. What's more important than our system of govornment? If the tsunami had hit the U.S. coast, then I'd agree that there are more important issues to deal with. Short of that, making sure America stays America is pretty damned important.

I agree that the elections are over, and that the results are unlikely to change. But there are some questions that need answering, and it is very likely that some of the people involved in the election need to be in jail for the next one. And if it's all paranoia and there were no major crimes committed, there are people who need their names cleared.

Posted by: nax at December 29, 2004 06:49 AM

"What donmaj, in your view, are the important issues?"..."Donmaj, elections are how all the other things get addressed."

Important issues are local, regional, national, and international. Elections don't address "other things". Lobbies, Unions, interest groups and money address most issues. Remember: Money talks; BS walks.

My important Ohio issues are: Budget and taxes, rebuilding infrastructure, education in social responsibility.

National issues are: Iraq war, Strategic and Economic Intelligence and Security, Debt reduction, and Sport Fan Protection from Monopolistic NBA, NFL, MLBB organizations.

So there.

Posted by: donmaj at December 29, 2004 08:15 AM

The recount shows virtually no difference in the outcome. If there is still a problem, then what is the evidence? Show me the beef!

“Is there any way to understand this sort of tactic ...”

There is a way. He’s tried of having his life disrupted by an over zealous press. The journalists have no extra rights over the ordinary citizen. The “press” in the first amendment pertains to everyone. If there is fraud then use the legal mechanisms to investigate that fraud. But you can’t do much without evidence.

Posted by: A. Zarkov at December 29, 2004 08:22 AM

Zarkov -

The use of no-audit-trail voting machines in the first place de-legitimizes the results. No honest person would advocate, and no honest system would adopt, any such thing.

No one in the rest of the world is in the slightest doubt that the US is now the world's largest banana republic, slightly restrained by the vestiges of democratic institutions and a minority of honest, ageing judges.

God don't love you special and you're not immune to history.

Posted by: Graydon at December 29, 2004 09:43 AM

Yeah, I agree. It's time for the press to stop harrassing corrupt public officials. Heck with that. We don't need democracy: we've got the bowl game, Sharper Image, and military superiority.

(Exits in direction of refrigerator, knuckles dragging on floor.)

Posted by: PW at December 29, 2004 10:25 AM

The way the recount works in Ohio, the counties are supposed to do a random hand recount of 3% of the vote and hand count all of it if dicrepencies are found. What has been happening, among other things, is that the hand-count precincts have not been selected randomly, but have been rather cherry-picked. Obviously, this is highly suspicious, and makes the results meaningless. For more info, go to www.votecobb.org.

Posted by: Martin Bento at December 29, 2004 11:42 AM

"So there"

While you do point out a number of other issues, "Sport Fan Protection from Monopolistic NBA, NFL, MLBB organizations" is certainly less important than vote discrepencies in a state that used voting machines without a paper trail made by a company who's ceo promised to do everything in his power to deliver ohio for bush and now has a secretary of state not even following the state's own vote auditing laws. No, the election reluslt will not be overturned, but if there were errors/corruption they need to be exposed and corrected before next time. And this I feel is more important than the plight of the sports fan.

I am a sports fan and attend games of all major pro/college leagues, but nobody forces anybody to pay $80 for a ticket, $25 for parking, $6 for a hotdog, and $7 for a beer. Its a market economy, if you don't like it, don't pay it, if you get some value from the money you spend on sports, then you spend it, I really don't see the issue, especially compared to the integrity of our presidential elections.

Posted by: philip at December 29, 2004 12:00 PM

If I am in a poker game, and I accuse another player of cheating, is the solution for that player himself to assure me that there was no cheating involved, and that should satisfy me? Somehow it doesn't. That is how the recount feels to me. I mean, Blackwell worked for the Bush campaign. Why should I trust him at all?

And when they actually perform the recount by taking an already stored computer cartridge, and reading it again, should that satisfy me? Somehow, it doesn't. I work as a computer programmer, and let me assure you, if I were to write a program to fix an election, the fix would be in long before those records were stored on media. If I burn something incorrect onto a cd-rom, for example, it doesn't really matter how many times I examine that cd-rom, I will still get the same incorrect data I put on there in the first place.

And Blackwell has a LOT of issues to explain about the election.


Posted by: Chance the Gardener at December 29, 2004 12:22 PM

In other words, the Iraq war, Strategic and Economic Intelligence and Security, and Sport Fan Protection from Monopolistic NBA, NFL, MLBB organizations are more important that the American Republic.

Well, I guess you showed me.

Posted by: nax at December 29, 2004 01:23 PM

As far as I know most, if not all, Ohio precincts used punch cards, not paperless voting machines. The real issue was Ken Blackwell's undersupplying of punch card machines to urban (read democratic) precincts, and the right-wing canvassers who targeted tens of thousands of democrats and shredded their voter registration cards, hence the 120,000 provisional, worthless ballots. The real issue is that "voter registration" is often a codeword for voter disenfranchisement - see Jim Crow.

Posted by: j durruti at December 29, 2004 01:51 PM

"right-wing canvassers who targeted tens of thousands of democrats and shredded their voter registration cards, hence the 120,000 provisional, worthless ballots."

C'mon, a prospective registrant was deceived? This is an old argument now that "motor voter" was conceived and approved.

There was far more "left-wing" canvassing activity in Democratic Precincts of "minority majorities". It was a frenzied open season on registration. This comment is specious in the extreme. You live in the hell of your creation.

Posted by: donmaj at December 30, 2004 08:39 AM

"right-wing canvassers who targeted tens of thousands of democrats and shredded their voter registration cards, hence the 120,000 provisional, worthless ballots."

Statements like this are reminiscent of what I used hear from the John Birchers back in the 1960s. In every election has a certain amount of skullduggery by both sides. Is there any evidence of an abnormal amount of cheating in Ohio? Was the rejection rate of provisional ballots unusually high?

Posted by: A. Zarkov at December 30, 2004 04:15 PM