Sunday, January 09, 2005

What I Learned in Ohio,

Thanks to Maui Folks Who Paid the Freight


With the exception of Senator Boxer, Congressman John Conyers and a small group of other congressional representatives, the leadership of the Democratic Party -- Terry McAuliff, John Kerry, John Edwards, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, have abandoned any pretense to leading the party rank and file. While many staunch Democratic voters stood in line for eight to ten hours to cast their vote for Kerry, Senator Kerry betrayed their support by conceding the election to Bush less than 24 hours after the polls closed.

While the Green and, Libertarian parties initiated the campaign for recounts in Ohio and New Mexico, and even Ralph Nader put up money for a recount in New Hampshire, John Kerry's lawyers in Florida were reportedly telling party activists to suppress any evidence they found of vote fraud. The fifty odd millions of dollars that Kerry did not use in the campaign could have funded an extensive investigation of the vote fraud, but Kerry kept it in his pocket as he walked away, leaving rank and file activists with their small individual contributions to keep the heat on in the Ohio and New Mexico recounts and the Ohio election contest suit.

Speaking of individual contributors, my thanks to all those loyal Democrats and enraged independents who contributed to enable me to go to Ohio to work on the Moss-v Bush election contest case. The lawsuit charges that the Ohio Presidential election was replete with fraud and illegal suppression of the Democratic vote.

The suit was brought by thirty-seven Ohio voters, led by Bill Moss, a leader in the Ohio NAACP. Afro-American voters were particularly hard hit by the fraudulent vote practices. People died to get the right to vote, now its been taken away again in Flordia (twice) and Ohio. It's very sad that, in Ohio, the move to suppress the Afro-American vote was led by Afro-American Secretary of State, Kenneth Blackwell who, like Katherine Harris in Florida, 2000, was also co-chair of the Bush re-election campaign.

The contest complaint alleges that the discrepancy between the exit polls and the officially announced vote totals indicated extreme irregularity in the vote count, and that if the votes had been counted correctly, John Kerry would have won. The exit polls, based on actual votes by voters interviewed as they left the polls, showed that Kerry had won Ohio. Late that night, officially released vote totals contradicted the exist poll figures. The odds of the exit poll figures being wrong were less than 900,000 to 1. By early on the morning of the 3rd, the exit polls had been "fixed" to correspond with the released totals. (Hm...just like Triad "fixed" the counting machines.).

The exit poll discrepancies didn't even reflect the huge number of Democratic voters who were obstructed from voting at all. Democratic precincts were given far fewer voting machines than Republican precincts. Democratic voters, especially those in Afro-American precincts, faced waiting lines of up to 10 hours (Kenyon College precinct), while waits of four to eight hours were not uncommon. There is a great video which shows the problem referenced below.

While I was in Ohio, I investigated vote fraud in Warren County. Warren County was the county that illegally locked out the public and press while the vote was counted, claiming the lock out was justified by a non-existent national security threat. (Warren County was also the site of the Dolly Parton film "Harper Valley PTA", although there is hardly a hill to form a valley there). In Warren, we discovered a 1500 vote discrepancy between the number of absentee voters listed as voting absentee by the vote rosters and the published absentee voting results. My co-worker there, Andy Stephenson, also discovered a number of signatures that our handwriting expert confirmed did not match the signature on the corresponding voter registration application, so I guess Warren County had good reason for locking out potential witnesses during the vote count.

Andy, formerly with BlackBoxVoting, has spent the last two years warning the country of the dangers inherent in the electronic vote counting.. After November, 2004, Andy was one of the main investigators in Florida, where he discovered the illegal trashing of the original poll tapes in Volusa County. I learned a great deal working with him. If you ever need a voting "ghostbuster", call Andy!

Originally, I was asked to go to Ohio to help with taking the depositions of election officials for the Ohio Supreme Court election contest case, Moss v. Bush. Although these officials were duly served with notices of depositions and subpoenas, Secretary of State Blackwell obtained a protective order which stopped the depositions. George Bush, Dick Cheney and Karl Rove, who were named as defendants in the contest case along with Secretary Blackwell claimed they were never served with notices of their deposition, and so they never showed up to be deposed.

It was the duty of the Ohio Supreme Court to serve those papers on them. As the Ohio Supreme Court is overwhelmingly Republican, one wonders if the Court was sufficiently diligent in seeing that all the Defendants were properly served. Indeed, Chief Justice Moyers, who presides over the Moss v. Bush case, was re-elected to his position on the Republican ticket with Bush and Cheney in the 2004 election. He might be less than zealous about setting aside that election for fraud.,

In Ohio, it wasen't so much the electronic machines at the polls that skewed the votes, but the machines that counted the votes once the punched paper ballots were delivered to the counting centers.

When the recount was demanded, technicians from Triad, which supplied the central tabulating equipment to more than half the Ohio counties, went out to "fix" the machines for the recount, preparing "cheat sheets" for the county election officials to use to make sure the initial hand count of three percent of the votes came out with the same numbers as the machine count so they would not have to recount all the county's votes. Triad's tampering with the machines, without proper authorization or bi-partisan witnesses, was a clear violation of Ohio election law. So the recount may have been as fully erroneous and fraudulent as the original vote count.

Hopefully, despite the Congressional acceptance of Ohio's Bush electors on January 6th, that suit will go on to
document and publicize the many different illegal practices that the Republican Secretary of State and co-chair of the Bush Re-election campaign, Kenneth Blackwell, used "to deliver the vote for Bush". Or so did Blackwell brag in his fund-raising letter of last week. In the letter, Blackwell announced that he will be running for Governor of Ohio on the Republican ticket. He, will undoubtedly get a great deal of help and money from Bush and Bush backers for that race. "I'll scratch your back, if you'll scratch mine" as the monkeys say.

To sum up, what I learned in Ohio: no matter how effective our "get out the vote" efforts are, no matter how good our candidates are, no matter how popular our party platform is, it is all useless unless we can insure an honest election and accurate vote count.

Again, my thanks for your support. I'll keep you posted on the progress of the Moss- V Bush suit.


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