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January 06, 2005

The Status of Ohio's Electoral Votes

It's nice to have a senator:

Needlenose | We Needle. You Decide.: We, a member of the House of Representatives and a United States Senator object to the counting of the electoral votes of the State of Ohio on the ground that they are not, under all of the known circumstances, regularly given.


Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-OH, email)
State of Ohio

Barbara Boxer (D-CA, email)
State of California

...we find that there were massive and unprecedented voter irregularities and anomalies in Ohio. In many cases these irregularities were caused by intentional misconduct and illegal behavior, much of it involving Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell, the co-chair of the Bush-Cheney campaign in Ohio.... The misallocation of voting machines led to unprecedented long lines that disenfranchised scores, if not hundreds of thousands, of predominantly minority and Democratic voters... in Franklin County, 27 of the 30 wards with the most machines per registered voter showed majorities for Bush... six of the seven wards with the fewest machines delivered large margins for Kerry... decision to restrict provisional ballots resulted in the disenfranchisement of tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of voters, again predominantly minority and Democratic voters... departed from past Ohio law on provisional ballots... preelection "caging" tactics.... The Third Circuit found these activities to be illegaland in direct violation of consent decrees barring the Republican Party from targeting minority voters for poll challenges.... Mr. Blackwell's decision to prevent voters who requested absentee ballots but did not receive them on a timely basis from being able to receive provisional ballots... 93,000 spoiled ballots where no vote was cast for president, the vast majority of which have yet to be inspected... two precincts in Montgomery County which had an undervote rate of over 25% each accounting for nearly 6,000 voters who stood in line to vote, but purportedly declined to vote for president...

Posted by DeLong at January 6, 2005 05:05 PM

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Posted by: at January 6, 2005 05:29 PM

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Posted by: at January 6, 2005 05:37 PM

One reason I found the complaints about 2000 difficult to take seriously was that they couldn't get a single senator to object to Florida's votes.

Posted by: Classic Liberal at January 6, 2005 05:50 PM

Posted by: [be polite] at January 6, 2005 06:00 PM

Are there any credible scientific estimates of how many votes were lost due to these shenanigans, beyond "tens if not hundreds of thousands"?

Posted by: Kuas at January 6, 2005 06:01 PM

Ok, Brad. You're endorsing Boxer now? Would you seriously throw out the election results based on this? Since when has Boxer endorsing anything ever made it more credible?

Mightn't some of the "shenanigans" have been rather justifiable responses to Democrat shenanigans like "votes for crack"? If the voter rolls in Democrat districts were filled with lots of dubious voter registrations, can't we forgive the Republicans for being a bit more vigilant than usual in making sure that folks could prove identity?

Posted by: Eric at January 6, 2005 06:14 PM

Votes for crack... do you really believe that was planned? come on, and you say the liberals are gullible.

Posted by: s at January 6, 2005 06:27 PM

Just a couple of questions:

Why was every instance of detected and reported machine error in Florida IN BUSH'S FAVOR?

Why were none of the international election observers allowed in the state of Ohio?


Posted by: Lewis Carroll at January 6, 2005 07:47 PM

Bush's win is attributable to those things that got him the 5-10% of the vote he needed to win. Those included 'gay marriage', abortion, terror alerts, bibles, and swift boat liars. All these were negative and all were aimed mostly at the ignorant be they fundamentalists, bigots, racists, or some cobination thereof.

Posted by: ken melvin at January 6, 2005 08:31 PM

This looks like race card playing, black caucus troublemaking. Publicity seeking posturing for the Democratic Masses.

What about the poll watchers from both parties? Why gang the polls with voters (?) near closing time?

There are limits to all contests. Learn to abide by the rules and regulations.

Posted by: don majors at January 6, 2005 08:56 PM

Is that why the Republicans are suing and protesting in Washington state? Or is your statement only valid when it serves you?

Posted by: ergos at January 6, 2005 09:33 PM

AS SOmone who worked the 04elections as a volunteer I can say first hand that the system we have in place is incapable of dealing with a 100% turnout. Even at 60% the system wilts. The system is being gamed by the GOP in close elections.

Posted by: bakho at January 6, 2005 09:42 PM

I listened to a good deal of the congressional proceedings today, and almost without exception every Democratic congress-member said that the protest had NOTHING to do with overturning the election results, and EVERYTHING to do with paying attention to the astonishing incompetence, malfeasance, fraud, etc. that occurred in Ohio. As to the Republicans I heard during the session, their basic response was: we won, get over it; you're jeopardizing confidence in the system by bringing this up; and didn't the Dems pay someone in crack cocaine/register dead guys, etc. Completely glossing over the documented and abundant problems that occurred in Ohio.

Senator Boxer is one of my two California senators, and I'll tell you I am proud of what she did.

Posted by: chrisanthemama at January 6, 2005 10:01 PM

Here is a more detailed account:

1. More than 106,000 Ohio ballots remain uncounted. As certified by Blackwell, Ohio’s official results say 92,672 regular ballots were cast without indicating a choice for president. This sum grows to 106,000 ballots when uncounted provisional ballots are included. There is no legal reason for not inspecting and counting each of these ballots. This figure does not include thousands of people who did not vote, despite intending to do so in Ohio’s inner cities, due to a lack of voting machines, having no available ballots, intimidation, manipulation of registrations, denial of absentee ballots and other means of depriving American citizens of their rightful vote.

2. Most uncounted ballots come from regions and precincts where Kerry was strongest. In Hamilton County, 4,515 ballots or 51.64 percent of the uncounted county total, came from Cincinnati, where Kerry won 67.98 percent to Bush’s 31.54 percent. In Cuyahoga County, 4,708 ballots or 44 percent of the county total came from Cleveland, where Kerry won all 65 precincts. In Summit County, 2,650 ballots or 48.72 percent of the county total came from Akron, which Kerry won 68.75 percent to Bush’s 28.00 percent.

3. Of the 147,000 combined provisional and absentee ballots counted by hand after Election Day, Kerry received 54.46 percent of the vote. In the 10 largest Ohio counties, Kerry’s margin was 4.24 to 8.92 percent higher than in the certified results, which were predominantly machine counted. As in New Mexico, where George W. Bush carried every precinct whose votes were counted with electronic optical scanning machines, John Kerry's vote count was significantly lower among ballots counted on Election Day using electronic tabulators.

4. Turnout inconsistencies reveal tens of thousands of Kerry votes were not simply recorded. Systematic mathematical scrutiny reveals that the certified results at the statewide and precinct-to-precinct level display key patterns against a backdrop of implausible results. Most striking is a pattern where turnout percentages (votes cast as a percentage of registered voters) in cities won by Kerry were 10 percentage points or more lower than in the regions won by Bush, a virtually impossible scenario.

In Franklin County, where Columbus is located, Kerry won 346 precincts to Bush’s 125. The median Kerry precinct had 50.78 percent turnout, compared to 60.56 percent for Bush. Kerry’s lower numbers are due to local election officials assigning more voting machines per capita to Republican-leaning suburbs than the Democrat-leaning inner city – a political decision and likely Voting Rights Act violation. If Kerry-majority precincts in Columbus had a 60 percent turnout, as recorded throughout the rest of the state, he would have netted an additional 17,000 votes.

5. Many certified turnout results in key regions throughout the state are simply not plausible, and all work to the advantage of Bush. In southern Perry County, two precincts reported turnouts of 124.4 and 124.0 percent of the registered voters. These impossible turnouts were nonetheless officially certified as part of the final recount by Blackwell. But in pro-Kerry Cleveland, there were certified precinct turnouts of 7.10, 13.15, 19.60, 21.01, 21.80, 24.72, 28.83 and 28.97 percents. Seven entire wards reported a turnout less than 50 percent. But if the actual Cleveland turnout was 60 percent, as registered statewide, Kerry would have netted an additional 22,000 votes. Kerry is also thought to have lost 7,000 votes in Toledo this way.

6. Due to computer flaws and vote shifting, there were numerous reports across Ohio of extremely troublesome electronic errors during the voting process and in the counting. In Youngstown, there were more than two-dozen Election Day reports of machines that switched or shifted on-screen displays of a vote for Kerry to a vote for Bush. In Cleveland, there were three precincts in which minor third-party candidates received 86, 92 and 98 percent of the vote respectively, an outcome completely out of synch with the rest of the state (a similar thing occurred during the contested election in Florida, 2000). This class of error points to more than machine malfunction, suggesting instead that votes are being electronically shifted from one candidate to another in the voting and counting stage. All reported errors favored Bush over Kerry.

7. In Miami County, two sets of results were submitted to state officials. The second, which padded Bush's margin, reported that 18,615 additional votes were counted, increasing Bush’s total by exactly 16,000 votes. Miami County’s turnout was up 20.86 percent from 2000, but only had experienced a population increase of 1.38 percent by 2004. Two Miami County precincts were certified with reported turnouts of 98.55 and 94.27 percent. In one of the precincts this would have required all but ten registered voters to have cast ballots. But an independent investigation has already collected affidavits of more than 10 registered voters that did not cast ballots on Nov. 2, indicating that Blackwell's officially certified vote count is simply impossible, which once again favoring Bush.

In Warren County, in southern Ohio, an unexplained Homeland Security alert was cited by Republican election board officials as a pretext for barring the media and independent observers from the vote count. In Warren and neighboring Butler and Clermont Counties, Bush won by a margin of 132,685 votes. He beat Gore in these counties in 2000 by 95,575 votes, meaning an implausible pickup of almost 40,000 votes.

But Bush’s numbers meant 13,566 people who voted for C. Ellen Connally, the liberal Democratic candidate for Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice, also voted for Bush. In Butler Country, Bush officially was given 109,866 votes. But conservative GOP Chief Justice Moyer was given only 68,407, a negative discrepancy of more than 40,000 votes. Meanwhile, Connally was credited with 61,559 votes to John Kerry's 56,234. This would mean that while Bush vastly outpolled his Republican counterpart running for the Supreme Court, African-American female Democrat running for the Supreme Court on the Democratic side outpolled Kerry. By all accounts such an outcome is inconceivable. Again, it indicates a very significant and likely fraudulent shifting of votes to Bush.

8. Democratic voters were apparently targeted with provisional ballots. These ballots require voters to fill out extensive forms at the poll. Under extraordinary rules established by Blackwell these ballots were set to be discarded if even minor errors were committed. Poll watchers in Cleveland and Columbus have testified that most provisional ballots were given to minority and young voters. The same is true with presumed liberal college and university students. In Athens, where Ohio University is located, 8.59 percent of student ballots were provisional. At Kenyon College and Oberlin College, liberal arts institutions, there were severe shortages of voting machines when compared with nearby religious-affiliated schools. Students at Kenyon waited up to eleven hours to vote. Provisional ballots were also required of mostly African-American students at Wilberforce College.

9. Ohio's Election Day exit poll was more credible than the certified result, according to intense statistical analysis. In-depth studies by Prof. Ron Baiman of the University of Illinois at Chicago shows that Ohio's exit polls in Ohio and elsewhere were virtually certain to be more accurate than the final vote count as certified by Blackwell. Ohio's exit polls predicted a Kerry victory by percentages that exceeded their margin of error. Compared to the voter access, voting technology and vote counting problems in Ohio, the exit polls were far more systematic and reliable. Critics of the exit polls’ accuracy say too many Democrats were sampled, but a detailed analysis of that assertion shows no credible evidence for it. The stark shift from exit polls favoring Kerry to final results in Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio all went in Bush's direction, and are, according to Baiman, a virtual impossibility, with odds as high as 150 million to one against.

10. The Ohio recount wasn’t random or comprehensive and may have involved serious illegalities. Under Ohio law, 3 percent of the ballots in a precinct are examined by hand. If the numbers match what was counted on Election Day, then the rest of the ballots are compiled electronically. In many districts, Republican Secretary of State Blackwell chose the precincts to be counted in a partisan manner, weighing the choices toward precincts where there were no disputes while avoiding those being contested. Moreover, there have been numerous confirmed instances where employees of the private companies that manufactured the voting machines had access to the machines and the computer records before the recount occurred. In at least two counties, technicians from Diebold and Triad dismantled key parts of voting machines before they could be subjected to audits for recount. In some counties, vendor companies conducted the recount – not public election officials. At least one county---Shelby---has admitted to discarding key data before the recount could be taken. In Greene County unrecounted ballots were left unguarded in an unlocked building, rendering the recount moot.

These ten points are among the most serious clouding the electoral outcome in Ohio, but are only part of a larger pattern. Their correlation with similar evidence in New Mexico, Florida and elsewhere gives them added gravitas. Scores of sworn affidavits and the on-going work of teams of attorneys, statisticians and other experts have revealed far more points of contention and suspicion, many of which we will present in tomorrow's article.

The sources used for this report are available at http://freepress.org. The statistical analysis was primarily done by Richard Hayes Phillips, PhD. A transcript of his deposition in the election challenge lawsuit detailing these findings can be found at: http://freepress.org/images/departments/Dep_Phillips.pdf. The exit poll analysis was by Ron Baiman, PhD, and a transcript of the deposition describing his analysis can be found at: http://freepress.org/images/departments/Dep_Baiman.pdf. Additional material appears in court filings in Moss v. Bush and related legal actions filed with the Ohio Supreme Court.

Taken together, these ten points involve votes that cumulatively exceed Bush's 118,775 vote margin in the state.

Credit: http://www.commondreams.org/views05/0103-24.htm

Posted by: ergos at January 6, 2005 10:02 PM

seems like the system is badly conceived, and badly run.

Posted by: Big Al at January 7, 2005 06:43 AM

Too bad not one Democratic Senator had the backbone to sign on to challege Florida's electoral votes in 2000 when it actually could have made a difference, and we COULD have overturned the elction. If the situation had been reversed then you can be sure that the Republicans would have.

I propose we adopt a new acronym (based on the WWJD bracelets prevalent among good Christian youth): WWRD (i.e., What Would a Republican Do). If we base our actions on that mantra, perhaps we can finally begin to fight back.

Posted by: Bruce at January 7, 2005 07:48 AM

Big Al: Where did you get this intelligent factual analytical data for your report? The Geo. Tenet CIA? Or is it made of "whole cloth"?

Observations of poll workers: they try their best; are ordinary politically involved citizens of both parties getting a small honorarium for managing precinct voting and maintaining order. They are not uniformly skilled in managing these quadrennial events. The training is given, but the "senior" poll monitors don't absorb/remember all the presented material. And, the least skilled seem to be in the minority neighborhoods (where I live and vote). This system is inherently imperfect. As the numbers of voters increases, the incidence of problems increases as a mathematical factorial series (failure analysis).

As for the Republican challenge in Washington State; I reckon that the "flip-flop" in declared winners and the numerosity of the disparity clearly brings the contest into dispute. Meantime the greater magnitude of the disparity in Ohio is outside the reasonable challengeable bound. IM(and J. Kerry's)HO.

Posted by: don majors at January 7, 2005 07:58 AM

Apologies to Big Al. My response was to ergos post. Sorry :v(

Posted by: don majors at January 7, 2005 08:06 AM

It is nice to have a senator. It would be nicer to have a real Democratic party, rather than a bunch of clowns.

Posted by: a at January 7, 2005 11:07 AM

"Bush's win is attributable to those things that got him the 5-10% of the vote he needed to win."

Still, it would be a step in the right direction if all political parties and their members would agree to work to enable every eligibe voter to register and vote. And, it would be an even more significant step is they would also insists that every vote be honestly counted. One thinks of the Rover's feats on Mars and then wonders why we are unable to honestly count votes here on Earth.

Posted by: bncthor at January 7, 2005 12:44 PM

..."There are limits to all contests. Learn to abide by the rules and regulations."

Say, for instance, like in the case of torture!

Posted by: bncthor.us at January 7, 2005 12:50 PM

One thing I haven't seen commented on was whether Republicans were running the elections in the counties that had problems with insufficient Kerry votes. Usually it is local officials who decide things like how many machines to put where. In that case, isn't the accusation really one that local Democrats in Ohio discriminated against Democratic voters?

Posted by: Eric Rasmusen at January 7, 2005 02:56 PM

Can anyone say with certainty that the votes cast on the machines in Ohio (and elsewhere) are the same as the votes counted? Absolutely not! Is it troubling that the makers of the voting machines are partisan Republicans? You bet! Is it troubling that Republican law makers took no interest in making sure that voting machines generated paper trails? Yes! Or maybe I should rephrase the last sentence. Is it troubling that Republican lawmakers made sure that voting machines generated no paper trails? Yes indeed!

Posted by: Dubblblind at January 7, 2005 03:52 PM

I think the Democrats are being smart here. Democrats are playing to their base, while laying down their principles. It's not about overturning the election, it's about making sure that these problems don't happen again. Let the Republicans go on record opposing election reform. Democrats are starting to move forward, becoming a true opposition party, the party of reform.

Posted by: Unstable Isotope at January 7, 2005 07:09 PM

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