More outrages from the Ohio 2004 presidential election

  1. In Miami County (heavily Republican and only 2% black), one precinct registered a turnout of 98.55% – meaning that all but ten eligible voters voted. (Its vote was Bush 520, Kerry 157, and in the 2000 election the turnout in that precinct had only been 74%.) But the Columbus Free Press proved this result false by collecting 25 affidavits from people swearing they didn't vote. Later they showed up to audit the log books and found only 547 signatures in the book, not 679 out of 689 voters.
  2. Here are some affidavits (pdf) by witnesses describing illegal election practices and vote tampering in Ohio.
  3. Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell, who headed and had the power to fire anybody in the Ohio election system, was probably the single most pro-Bush biased person in the entire State, since he simultaneously was Bush's Ohio Campaign co-chair. (Same scenario as Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris in 2000.) He illegally sought to keep reporters and election observers at least 100 feet away from the polls. But the Sixth Circuit ruled that attempt unconstitutional.
  4. So in Warren County (official total: Bush 68035, Kerry 26043), did the reporters and observers therefore get to observe? No. The Warren County Board of Elections declared that a "Homeland Security alert" authorized them to throw out all independent and media observers and lock the building, both during the count and a later recount. County officials said this was due to a terrorist threat "that ranked a 10 on a scale of 1 to 10" received from the FBI. But the FBI denied to a later congressional investigation that it had issued any such warning or had any information about a terror threat in Warren County; the county officials refused to name their FBI source; and the Cincinnati Enquirer found emails between election officials and the county's building services director indicating that the Republican lockdown plans – "down to the wording of the signs that would be posted on the locked doors" – had been in the works for at least 8 days prior to the election.
    Erica Solvig: No Changes in Final Warren Co. Vote Count; E-mails Released Monday Show Lockdown Pre-planned, Cincinnati Enquirer 16 Nov. 2004;
    Erica Solvig: Warren's Vote Tally Walled Off; Alone in Ohio, Officials Cited Homeland Security, Cincinnati Enquirer 5 Nov. 2004;
    Erica Solvig & Dan Horn: Warren Co. Defends Lockdown Decision; FBI denies warning officials of any special threat, Cincinnati Enquirer, 10 Nov. 2004.
    Erica Solvig: Warren Co. Recount Goes Public; After Election Night lockdown, security eases up, Cincinnati Enquirer 15 Dec. 2004.
  5. This one was truly beautiful. Blackwell, confronted with the annoying news from his offices statewide that Democrats seemed to be recruiting far more new voters in registration drives than Republicans, came up with a brilliancy: he suddenly noticed – and realized he "had" to enforce – a long-abandoned law demanding that all voter registrations be on "white, uncoated paper of not less than 80 lb. text weight." Now, to appreciate the glory of this, you have to realize that 80-pound paper is the stock used for business cards. Most xerox machines won't handle it. Every state I've ever been in, registration forms have been printed on normal typing/printing/xeroxing "bond" paper, which is 20-pound paper. And that is not merely my perception: The League of Women Voters reported that Blackwell's was the only policy of its kind in the country. So with this sudden directive on 7 September by Blackwell, Ohio's own printed forms as well as those used in all the registration drives (and forms printed in newspapers as a service to their readers) were suddenly invalidated. Delaware County posted a notice online saying it could no longer accept its own registration forms. The Columbus Dispatch reported that Blackwell's own staff distributed registration forms on lighter-weight paper illegal under his rule. Thousands of registrations were rejected. Everything was thrown into chaos. Eventually – on 28 September, 6 days before the registration period ended – Blackwell relented on this policy under threat of court action, but the damage was done; there was no way to process all the forms in 6 days. Mission accomplished. The result, according to a postmortem study (pdf) by Norman Robbins, was between 10,000 and 100,000 missing votes or voters.
    Catherine Candisky: Secretary of State Lifts Order on Voting Forms; Lighter Paper Now Deemed Acceptable for Registration, Columbus Dispatch 30 Sept. 2004.
  6. Ohio law gave county officials the optional power to purge large classes of voters from the rolls. This option was chosen highly preferentially in the most Democratic areas. E.g. 150,000 voters were purged from the rolls in (Democrat-dominated) Cincinnati for not voting in the last two federal elections within the last four years. This by itself was mathematically sufficient to swing the presidency from Kerry to Bush.
  7. Check these maps (pdf) (and caption) which show how "spoiled ballots" and "ghost votes" were distributed.
  8. By a 2002 federal law, polling places had to hand out "provisional ballots." Nationwide in 2004, 3107490 votes were shunted into provisional ballots, and of those 1090729 were later rejected. In New Mexico, the number of rejected provo-ballots exceeded Bush's victory margin. In Ohio, this included at least 34000 rejected provisional ballots, mostly for voters in the "wrong precinct." For decades before 2004, Ohio voters could cast ballots at any precinct in their county. But in 2004, for the first time, Blackwell required voters to vote only in their home precincts – and those were not always the precincts they expected. Any provisional ballot cast in the "wrong" precinct was rejected. Only problem was, voters often were told not to bother to go to the right precinct because they could simply cast a provisional ballot wherever they were – instructions later countermanded by Blackwell in orders to trash such ballots. And often the "right" precinct was simply another table in the same school gym where they were voting.
  9. Black Ohio voters were twice as likely as White ones to have their mail-in registrations rejected. (Statistician Anthony Fairfax.)

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