election fraud

Notes from the Underground – Why 2004 Matters!!!

Why the 2004 Election Matters More than Ever


Notes from the Underground
Richard Jacksties © with permission

Part 1: The Meaning of the Legend

Michael Collins
Initially Published “Scoop” Independent News
Washington, DC
Part 1 of series on
Election 2004: The Urban Legend

Election Magic

Imagine a night at the theater.* A magician comes on stage with a corpse in tow. A doctor from the audience confirms that it is in fact the very real human corpse of a middle aged white male. The magician passes his hand over the corpse just once. It gets up, dances a gig, and leaves the stage. The reanimated middle age man who was once dead returns for an encore.

You’re aghast! You go back stage and confront the magician, “How did you do that?” The magician responds sincerely, “I have no idea.”

Does that make him a magician?

Now imagine that after you question the entertainer, he rolls out another corpse, which is undoubtedly a quite dead middle aged white male. The magician says, “Just pass your hand over the corpse once.” You do, and the corpse arises, dances a gig and leaves the dressing room asking the first person he sees where to get a cab.

Does that make you a magician?

*************

On election night 2004, the networks came on the air and announced that George W. Bush had won the presidential contest to become 43rd president of the United States.

Earlier in the day, there were leaked reports revealing the results of the networks’ own exit polls conducted by a distinguished polling firm. The reports had the White House in a panic. Bush was sure to lose given the trends. According to the exits, he was losing his base, the rural segment of the population that had carried him to victory in 2000. Turnout in the Republican suburbs was not much greater than in the country as a whole, and new voters were going for Kerry 60% to 40%.

The final leaked poll was enough to bring broad smiles to the faces of Democratic leaders and committed campaign workers who had gathered in union halls and hotel ballrooms across the nation.

Then, as if by magic, the 11 pm Election Day vote tallies told a different story. These were accepted by the network reporters as an ex cathedra dictate from the American electorate. We were told that the pious Red prevailed once again over the decadent Blue, a replay of 2000 we were told. Bush was reelected.

The optimistic mood of the Kerry campaign and Democratic faithful was crushed in the twinkling of an eye. What happened? What about the exit polls?

The still corpse of the Bush campaign had been reanimated. It arose from the death of certain defeat, danced a gig, and trotted off center stage to do its considerable damage for the next three years: death and destruction in Iraq; dismantling of the United States Constitution; the abandonment of Katrina’s survivors (for all the world to see); augmented by an impressive and elaborate parade of other calamities that are all attributed to this feat of magic on election night.

How Did They Do It?


Steve Rhodes Creative Commons

Quite simply … by magic. According to the final exit poll, the only heat Bush won, he had two million less votes in the rural segment of the population. That segment went from 23% of the electorate in 2000 to 16% in 2004. Bush made marginal gains in the suburbs. He was headed for disaster rolling into the cities. He picked up steam in cities with populations 50,000 to 500,000, by breaking even in 2004 after a 17% loss to Gore in 2000.

But it was big city dwellers that passed their collective hand over the Bush corpse and brought it to life. He was on life supports before the big city totals were factored in. All that Kerry had to do was match the Gore big city percentage and he would be the next president. According to the day after election final exit poll, big city turnout was up 66%, Bush votes increased 153% (Fig. 5) over 2000 there, and white voters (Figs. 6 & 7) in big cities went from five million in 2000 to nine million in 2004.

Had some would-be campaign operative passed his hand over our largest cities and reanimated white males in sufficient quantity to save the seemingly doomed Bush and doom the rest of us?

Election 2004: The Urban Legend

On June 13th of this year, “Scoop” Independent News published Election 2004: The Urban Legend. I wrote the article based in large part on the research of Internet poster Anaxarchos. The figures cited above from the final national exit pool exit poll and the absurdist conclusions forced from those figures demonstrate that there is no reason to have faith in the final poll result and, as a result, no reason to believe that there is a coherent narrative to justify the election results and the Bush victory.

We’re like the incredulous audience member who went back stage to confront the magician. Even though we can do the trick ourselves by passing our hands over the questionable reported results and the final exit poll to justify continued political life to someone who looked like a sure loser, there’s a foul magic to the process.

Where are the Critics of the Urban Legend?

When the article was published, it received wide spread attention across America’s only uncensored news source, the Internet. Multiple sites posted the article in full, not a common event for a 7,500 word analysis. Major figures in the free and fair elections movement provided their endorsement including Mark Crispin Miller and Ernest Partridge.

We anticipated a full scale assault from friends of the network’s long time polling company, Edison Mitofsky (EM). Nothing much materialized. This was surprising since our reporting and interpretation of the network – EM presentation of the urban results dooms that poll to the status of a failed effort, at the very least, and, more likely, one of the biggest ever failures in public opinion polling.

Anaxarchos Responds to the Missing Critics

Recently, I received a letter (see appendix) from Anaxarchos containing his remarkable comments on the few criticisms offered and, more importantly, an elaboration on the initial article. I’d encourage you to read the full letter (see Appendix) as well as this article.

Anaxarchos: “Having looked carefully at the critical reviews, it appears to me that your critics have entirely missed the import of your piece and its underlying analysis. I could review many of the subsidiary points they raise, but that seems unimportant compared to the two larger points that they don’t mention.”

He’s correct. Those who ridicule critics who question the results of the 2004 election were restrained to say the least. This was surprising. The Bush defenders have left no criticism of the election results unturned, particularly those related to the exit polls. Why the restraint?

There were no substantive responses to Urban Legend because there could be none. The claim that turnout in the big cities (500,000 or greater) went up 66% was demolished entirely through simple political commentary. Why would urban residents’ turnout in waves propelling Bush to victory when the rest of the country was only at a 16% increase in turnout? What had Bush done for them to justify this first ever rousing level of support? More importantly, when in our history did an incumbent president lose share and actual votes in his strongest area (in this case, the rural segment) and gain steam and secure an election victory in hostile territory (the big cities)?

The claim of the 66% increase in turnout was also put to a final rest by the incorporation of actual city turnout data made available on election night and finalized shortly there after. Specifically, actual city voting results showed that city turnout increases were only about 16%, (Chart 1) the reported average for the country. These big city results were, in some cases, reported on election eve by the very networks that paid for the exit polls and by the exit pollsters who claim to reconcile their final results to the election results. One must wonder if the right hand was giving to the left the full story.

Could the polling company and their sponsors, the major networks (plus CNN and the Associated Press) have been this ignorant of what was happening in New York City? The results reported on local news outlets owned by the networks showed a 12% increase in turnout? That’s 54 points below the claimed urban increase of 66%. New York is, after all, the headquarters of the television network poll sponsors and near the headquarters of the polling company. Did they simply ignore these results in their haste to produce their version of the final exit poll the day after the election? And why wasn’t there any comment on the more than obvious disparity between the actual results for big cities, particularly on turnout, and the polling results they continued to show long after the certified vote count for big cities became available to everyone. This is a critical question addressing the integrity of the entire exit polling and reporting process for 2004.

The Entire Narrative of the Election

Anaxarchos elaborates the first big error of the exit pollsters and network consortium

Anaxarchos: “It seems to me that the most important implications of “Urban Legend” are these:

1) The entire narrative of the 2004 election is built on the foundation of the exit polls. There is virtually no other real-time source of data on who voted how, why, and where. Indeed as the critics of the use of exit polls for fraud detection have pointed out on many occasions, this voter survey is precisely what the exit polls are “intended” to provide, and why they are funded by the consortium of media outlets, the NEP. The Charlie Cook reference in your piece was typical. The Exits provided the sum total of the data behind his analysis of the election.”

Based on the final exit poll two distinguished analysts, Charles Cook and Ruy Teixeira stuck their necks out in different directions. Cook called the Bush victory a display of political genius and immediately made a fundamental mistake. He claimed that defections from the Kerry camp by black, Latinos, and Jewish voters had done the trick for Bush. Had he examined the data available at the time, he would have known that there were only marginal changes in these groups. Teixeira was more precise as Anaxarchos points out:

Anaxarchos: “Unfortunately, so committed was Teixeira to the impossibility of widespread election fraud, that he assumed that there was disconnect between urban data as the NEP defined “urban” and county data, with the observation that, “urban doesn’t mean urban and rural doesn’t mean rural”. Teixeira promised a detailed county analysis to reconcile the differences. Of course, no such “reconciliation” was forthcoming. My guess is that Teixeira, like Cook, underestimated the magnitude of the “reconciliation” that would be required and also underestimated the final turnout of the 2004 election which only further widened that gap.”

One of the most astute analysts, Cook, jumped to the self-informed conclusion that the Bush urban victory had to be due to a shift in ethnic voting. It’s easy to see why. He was unaware that the white big city vote increased from five million in 2000 to nine million in 2004. We can suppose that it never occurred to him that such a thing could or would happen. Why would we expect him to check the exit turnout rate against actual city voting totals?

Teixeira’s response and follow up are even more perplexing. He’s the author of The Emerging Democratic Majority and a recognized polling expert. After dropping his confusion of terms argument, he promised a county analysis to show how Bush won, a common response of establishment Democrats. But he never produced the study? Why? Maybe he stared into the abyss and the abyss stared right back.

He dismissed claims of fraud based on exit poll analysis by writing “… it is possible that the magnitude of these corrections has been greater than normal.” That depends on what your definition of normal is. What’s normal about increasing turnout by a factor of four (16% actual to 66% claimed) to achieve an absurd result? The basis for the urban data correction (actual city results) was available when he made this statement. Had he bothered to look? We’d like to hear from him on this and the questions we outlined clearly in the original article (presuming he’s given up his role as a Democratic apologist for questions about Bush election integrity).

So what does this mean?

Anaxarchos: “ It means at a minimum that either one must try to support the indications of the Exit Polls that the Bush winning margin in 2004 came in the Urban centers, implausible as that seems, or one must craft a new narrative of the 2004 presidential election. Believe it or not, the former option is not nearly as difficult as the latter. Your critics have missed what it means to simply declare that “the Exit Polls must have been wrong”. With that dismissal, much of the supporting evidence for how Bush “won” in 2004 disappears as well.”

For over 30 years, the way we’ve made sense out of “who voted where and why” is through exit polls which are designed to and accepted as answering those very questions. There have been few complaints, other than Florida 2000 when the exit poll showed a narrow Gore victory. Given the trashing of 100,000 mostly minority spoiled ballots, who could criticize the pollsters if they initially showed a Gore victory as a result of interviewing voters in minority precincts whose ballots had been “spoiled.”.

If we don’t know how Bush won, ratifying the election results is mindless magic. If we don’t demand an understanding of how he won, then can we dismiss the notion of election fraud made over and over with to an ever widening and receptive audience? Are elections the one area of administration activity that escapes critical analysis? Perhaps the election fraud doubters have been listening to Alberto Gonzales and his crew on these questions.

Anaxarchos offers a compelling case for the election polls failure across the board, not just in the big cities.

Anaxarchos: “Consider the following:

If the Bush winning margin did not come in the cities, where did it come from? If the urban vote as reported by the Exits is incorrect, then the remainder of the Exit Poll narrative must also be incorrect. It is true that the big city vote underlines the anomaly but take a look at the three-category demographic (Urban, Suburban, and Rural) and you get a slightly more muted version of the same story. If the cities don’t hold Bush’s winning margin, then that clearly means that it must have come from somewhere else. While the erosion of the Bush rural margin is significant, reversing it is not enough. We must also “offset” the loss of Bush’s urban margin in the suburbs and we must do this while constantly living under the overhang of an 18% increase in turnout (which clearly favored Kerry). The result is that the Exit Polls must not only be “wrong” in the cities, they must also be “wrong” across the board and this to a significant degree. In truth, the degree of this “wrongness” must increase as we go from city to countryside because, as we have seen, the Exit Polls weight the Bush urban margin into existence.”

Painful choices regarding the outcome of the 2004 presidential election.

We can accept the official election results simply as reported by discarding or denying any and all questions and anomalies. Doing so makes us no better than the uncritical magician in the opening passage. It just happened. We don’t know why. We agree that it doesn’t make much sense but that’s just the way it is (in this best of all possible worlds). Move along.

We can accept the election results and totally dismiss the exit poll adjustments as indicative of a flawed poll that should be dismissed. Our argument here is no better than in the first option. Its faith based. That’s just the way it is but we’ll discuss it a bit, feign erudition, and impress you with our obscure knowledge of polling methods and math.

Or we can face the reality and the dreadful conclusion. There’s no way to tell if Bush truly won the vote total in 2004 while there are many reasons to doubt that he did. The parallel measurement of the actual vote, the exit poll, can only concoct a Bush victory through egregious adjustments to its own raw data for the big cities. Why would such adjustments be required? Was the measurement off for the smaller cities where Bush gained 17 points over 2000? Was it off for the suburbs and rural segment? What about the voluminous reports of voter suppression and voting irregularities across the nation; reports including consistent vote flipping from Kerry to Bush?

 

If there were no problems with the actual vote count, problems that the exit poll analysis clearly indicates, why on earth would two thirds of Ohio counties destroy the ballots and election records from 2004 well before the required retention period?

And what about this question, perhaps the simplest of all with the greatest potential for understanding just what happened in 2004? Why does the network consortium refuse to release the raw data for 2004? The raw data has been closely guarded by the pollsters and the networks despite at least two requests for examination of this data by now Committee on the Judiciary Chairman, John Conyers, Democrat, Michigan.

Has that data suffered the same fate as the destroyed Ohio ballots?

Would the handling of the raw data that produced this unbelievable narrative embarrass the networks and indicate that they should have known shortly after the election; that they certainly know by now, without any doubt, that there are huge problems with the final exit poll, the poll the national election pool and its polling company have defended to consistently and vigorously?

Or would the freeing of this privately held data concerning our public election show what many suspect: the real winner of the 2004 election is not sitting in the White House.

You can be sure that the four major networks, CNN, and the Associated Press would be in court right now demanding the release of the exit poll data were it any concern other than them holding back the data from the rightful public review demanded.

ENDS

*Metaphor based on a story from S. John Macksoud, Other Illusions, 1977. Published by the author.

Permission to reprint in part or whole with a link to this article in “Scoop” and attribution of authorship.

Appendix: Full Letter from Anaxarchos to Michael Collins

Initially Published “Scoop” Independent News

Kucinich Says NO to Holt Bill

 

Cong. Dennis Kucinich (R-OH) just announced that he no longer supports the Holt Bill, H.R. 811. This article was originally published after Dennis Kucinich introduced H.R. 6200, a bill requiring paper ballots only for presidential elections. The bill was introduced in the 109th Congress. With the new Democratic majority, Kucinich became a co-sponsor of the Holt bill, H.R. 811, a bill that critics argue further erodes voting rights and confidence. The public input to H.R. 811 has been intense and consistent. Kucinich made his announcement at Democracy Fest, a DFA event put together by voting rights advocate Nancy Tobi. Tobi has been one of the harshest critics of the Holt bill. She’s a frequent contributor to OpEdNews. Additional coverage can be found from BlackBoxVoting.Org, election law attorney Paul Lehto, and Internet Poster Einsteinia.

M. Collins: Paper for President

The Time is NOW

Michael Collins
“Scoop” Independent News
Washington, DC

The United States just endured another election that inspired more suspicion than confidence. Two years after the fiasco of Election 2004 in Ohio and elsewhere, four year years after the never investigated mystery of Georgia 2002, and six years after the disgrace of Florida which saw the loser of the popular vote (s)elected President by the Supreme Court; major problems pervade the US election system. The new problems created by computerized voting and tabulation merge with traditional race and class based election fraud in an assault on free, fair, transparent and inclusive elections.

The Democratic controlled House of Representatives may be 10 to 12 members shy on the left side of the aisle due to election irregularities. Jonathan Simon of the Election Defense Alliance just published a major paper demonstrating that as many as three million votes may be missing from the 2006 election. Problems of this sort were anticipated by internet poster TruthIsAll and this author in a three part series in “Scoop” which developed a vote fraud model that identified likely races for those photo finishes that always seem to put a Republican in office.

Snip – Full Article

Paper for President: House Resolution 6200

Representative Dennis Kucinich, D, Ohio introduced HR 6200 on September 27, 2006. His bill will “amend the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to require States to conduct Presidential elections using paper ballots and to count those ballots by hand, and for other purposes.”

The main features of the bill include special rules for Presidential elections.

  • Presidential elections will be conducted entirely with paper ballots;
  • Each precinct will include no more than 500 paper ballots per ballot box;
  • Paper ballots will be counted by hand in the precincts where voting takes place and vote counting will be witnessed by a representative of each political party with a candidate on the ballot “as well as any interested member of the public.”

HR 6200 takes the logical step of moving Washington’s birthday celebration to election day during presidential election years making it easier for working people to vote.

If passed, the bill takes effect in time for the November 2008 presidential election.

Rep. Kucinich announced HR 6200 at the
9/06 “We Count” Conference in
Cleveland

The Only Viable Alternative for Balloting: A Clear Public Consensus

A Zogby Poll of 1018 likely voters in August 2006 found that 60% are aware of the problems posed by electronic voting, 80% oppose private vendors keeping the operation of their electronic voting devices a trade secret, and 92% support the right of the public to watch vote counting. Other surveys, online and by phone, show that public confidence in US elections is below 50%.

Governor, Ohio, 2006

 

Democrat Ted Strickland crushed former Republican Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell in the race for Governor but voting problems remain in Ohio and around the country (from CNN).

Snip – Full Article

Paper balloting has the advantage of producing ballots that actually exists, can be counted in public, stored indefinitely, and reviewed for purposes of recounting and election auditing. The alternative, so called voter verified paper ballots are appendages of the failed and likely corrupted electronic voting machines that they are supposed to verify. By seeming to correct a problem with touch screen voting, voter verified ballots serve to both enshrine and ratify an electronic voting system that has failed again and again. Proponents of this approach trail public sentiment by a significant degree given the Zogby results, other recent polls, and internet polls where up to 85% consistently vote to cease electronic voting of all kinds.

The Kucinich bill currently has 20 cosponsors. It is one smoking gun election fraud scandal away from passage by acclamation given the current distrust of everything electronic and computerized in our electoral system.

picture

Hand counted paper ballots do not address two other vipers at the throat of US democracy, race and class based voter suppression and private funding of political campaigns. These twin threats to democracy must be addressed as well. However, hand counted paper ballots for presidential elections will provide greater assurance for those who vote that their vote was taken correctly and counted openly in front of witnesses from the political parties and the general public. Under the Kucinich bill, any US citizen reading this article can request and be granted the right to witness vote counting. It’s about time!

END

More information on hand counted paper ballots at Count Every Vote.

©Copyright. Please feel free to reproduce and distribute this in any fashion you feel suitable with an attribution of authorship and the publisher, “Scoop” Independent News, plus a link to the article.

Appendix:
House Resolution 6200, Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D,
Ohio
109th CONGRESS 2d Session
H. R. 6200

To amend the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to require States to conduct Presidential elections using paper ballots and to count those ballots by hand, and for other purposes.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

September 27, 2006

A BILL

To amend the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to require States to conduct Presidential elections using paper ballots and to count those by hand, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the Paper Ballot Act of 2006′.

SEC. 2. REQUIRING USE OF HAND-COUNTED PAPER BALLOTS IN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS.

Section 301(a) of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (42 U.S.C. 15481(a)) is amended by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

`(7) SPECIAL RULES FOR PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS- Notwithstanding any other provision of this subsection, in the case of a regularly scheduled general election for the electors of President and Vice President (beginning with the election in November 2008), the following rules shall apply:

`(A) The State shall conduct the election using only paper ballots

`(B) The State shall ensure that the number of ballots cast at a precinct or equivalent location which are placed inside a single box or similar container does not exceed 500.

`(C) The ballots cast at a precinct or equivalent location shall be counted by hand by election officials at the precinct, and a representative of each political party with a candidate on the ballot, as well as any interested member of the public, may observe the officials as they count the ballots. The previous sentence shall not apply with respect to provisional ballots cast under section 302(a).’.

SEC. 3. MOVING OBSERVATION OF WASHINGTON‘S BIRTHDAY TO ELECTION DAY DURING PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION YEARS.

Section 6103(a) of title 5, United States Code, is amended—

(1) by inserting ‘the Tuesday next after the first Monday in November in 2008 and every four years thereafter, and after ‘Washington’s Birthday,’

and

(2) by inserting ‘in any other year’ after ‘February’.

Full Article

Blackwell’s Actions Boost Voting Rights

Blackwell’s Actions Boost Voting Rights

Sorry Record of Violations Spurs Pre-election Suits

New Ohio Attorney General and Secretary of State

to Settle in Favor of Voters

Michael Collins
Originally appeared in“Scoop” Independent News
Washington, D.C.

The newly elected Ohio Secretary of State was asked how she would handle the many voting rights law suits filed against her predecessor J. Kenneth Blackwell. She responded: “When there’s a constitutional challenge, if it’s a meritorious challenge, we shouldn’t fight. We should resolve it as quickly as possible.” 19 Jan 2007 In his own way, her colleague, new Attorney General Marc Dann showed what he thought of opposing the voting rights suits by firing the attorneys defending Blackwell and former Governor Taft. State legal services were taken in-house.

Marc Dann campaigning for Attorney General

With pro citizen, pro voting rights winners for Attorney General and Secretary of State, there is a very real chance that the Blackwell techniques used to deny voting rights may have exactly the opposite effect in the near to mid term. The needs for reform are clear and the methods of suppression are as well. Dann and Brunner have no reason to do anything other than what they promised in their campaigns, work proactively to expand the vote and guard against fraud.

UPDATE: Since this article was written a number of important changes have occurred. Two election workers in Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Ohio were convicted of rigging the 2004 presidential recount! In addition, Secretary of State Brunner, newly elected in 2006, called for and received the resignations of the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections due to their obvious inability to do their jobs. Also, more news has broken on election fraud 2004. Attorney, activist, and reporter, Bob Fitrakis has written about probable fraud in key Ohio counties and he and his researchers have live evidence to back up these claims. James Q. Jacobs has shown, again using ballots from 2004 as hard evidence, that Kerry’s margin was reduced by 6.0% due to ballot order causing errors in vote counting. In the mean time, former Secretary of State Ken Blackwell is in Cincinnati running a foundation and complaining that the state of Ohio is not doing enough to promote abstinence among Ohio’s youth.

Blackwell’s Mission

Kenneth Blackwell had a mission to complete. He was the most productive of the Bush election activists in 2004. Delivering Ohio was both a spectacular success and a dubious achievement. It secured four more years of Bush’s reckless policies that unified the country as never before; in opposition to Bush! Presidential approval is in the 28-30% range which parallels Nixon’s just before impeachment. Ironically Blackwell’s mission accomplished resulted in unparalleled political failure for his White House patrons.

The 2006 elections promised more of the same in Ohio. Blackwell was in no mood to compromise. He was running for Governor and behaved as though leverage through legislation was a key to his victory. The scandal riddled Ohio Republican party passed one measure that sought to narrow the numbers of those who could actually vote. House Bill 3 passed in February of 2006 was so blatantly restrictive Common Cause called it “… a devastating piece of legislation that may reverse all of the voter registration and voter turnout gains over the last eight years.”

Nevertheless, Blackwell persisted. Through legislation, regulations, and procedures, he set out to do in 2006 what he’d done in 2004: deliver his votes while discouraging traditional support for the Democrats (read minority and poor voters).

Blackwell’s 2004 maneuvers inspired one of the most persistent grassroots movements in the history of state based voting rights advocacy. Organizations for the homeless, labor unions, citizen activist groups, the League of Women Voters, and others combined to challenge Ohio’s banana republic laws and rulers

Here’s a sampling of the legal challenges that Attorney General Dann and Secretary of State Brunner will be settling. I’m saving the best for last, although these are all highly commendable court efforts.

Everybody v. Blackwell

Excellent summaries of these cases can be found at the Election Law @ Moritz web site.

Strickland v. Blackwell While this isn’t the most far ranging suit, it is certainly the most egregious abuse of regulatory power by a Secretary of State in 2006. “Strickland” is Ted Strickland, the Democratic candidate for governor. In Strickland’s home county, the mother of a Blackwell supporter filed a challenge to Strickland’s voting status in that county. The net result of the challenge, had it been carried by the local board, would have been disqualification of Strickland as a candidate for governor. Outrageous, maybe, but elegant in its design, this move would have led to Blackwell’s election as governor by default. With the help of the U.S. District Court for Northern District of Ohio, Strickland proceeded to quash to action by the board and went onto trounce Blackwell by 900 thousand votes, 60% to 37%.

King Lincoln Bronzeville Neighborhood Association v. Blackwell. U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio (5)
This suit argues “that Blackwell allocated election resources in a racially discriminatory manner and instituted racially discriminatory procedures for provisional voting, purging voters from the statewide voter registration database, and maintaining the chain of custody of ballots.” (6) This resulted in “the dilution and/or cancellation of plaintiffs’ vote.” (Moritz). The suit is central to the key processes that lead to voter suppression from restrictive registration through improper handling ballots after they have been cast. The devastating “Declaration of Richard Hayes Phillips” (7) was the first evidence introduced. The case is proceeding. Given it’s comprehensive nature, hopefully it will be one of the first settled by the state.

Ohio Citizen Action v. Blackwell. Ohio Supreme Court In one of the strangest cases, Ohio Citizen Action sought to overturn Blackwell’s regulation stating that precincts were no longer required to post election results at the precinct prior to sending votes off for tabulation.. The complaint stated, “Ohio may face the risk if vote manipulation and outright fraud during the vote tallying process by the Secretary of State’s office.”

The Ohio Supreme Court managed to support Blackwell stating that it was just too late to disrupt the procedures in place for the election.

ABC v. Blackwell. U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio In 2004, Blackwell sought to restrict press access to polling places. In an inventive move, loitering laws were invoked to this end. ABC sued to prevent this from happening again. While ABC failed in its motion, the court reiterated a previous requirement that Blackwell have polling places post a notice stating that loitering laws were not to be used to discourage the press.

Ohio Democratic Party v. Blackwell. .Franklin County Court of Common Pleas The Democratic Party sought the court to issue writ requiring Blackwell to alleviate congestion at polling places, fix malfunctioning machines, and provide security for voting machines to avoid manipulation. As with each of the other Ohio court cases, this was denied.

Boustani v. Blackwell. US District Court for the Northern District (Ohio)

Here is a very special Blackwell regulation, the subject of this suit. This is the Ohio procedure allowing anyone to challenge anyone else as an illegal foreign voter.

If the person is challenged as unqualified on the ground that the person is not a
citizen, the judges shall put the following questions: (1) Are you a citizen of the United States? (2) Are you a native or naturalized citizen? (3) Where were you born? (4) What official documentation do you possess to prove your citizenship? Please provide that documentation.

The court encouraged an agreement by the parties that relieved this outrageous “look and guess” test about “foreigners” voting in an Ohio election.

Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless v. Blackwell. US District Court for the Southern District of Ohio This action sought to overturn the new Voter Identification (Voter ID) requirements in Ohio, central to any effective voter suppression strategy. The court issued a temporary retraining order but the appeals court overruled it. So much for the homeless.

Harkness v. Blackwell. U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio

The National Voter Registration Act of 1993 established “procedures that will increase the number of eligible voters who will vote in federal elections.” One procedure was to have any office providing public assistance give out registration forms, help fill them in and accept the finished forms as voter registrations. It seems they were a bit selective in Ohio. The suit cites small counties like Athens and Marion registering more public assistance voters than 500 thousand or more population counties like Hamilton (Cincinnati), Franklin (Columbus), Montgomery, and Summit. This was so outrageous, the plaintiffs prevailed…on December 28, 2006, just a bit late.

Project Vote v. Blackwell. U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio
The complaint argues: “These onerous and vague new laws and regulations chill core political speech and association and have forced all of the plaintiffs to seriously curtail or halt their voter registration and related core political speech and association activities.” Precisely as intended, I suspect. Groups like Project Vote were given all sorts of unnecessary requirements to register voters and penalties were in place to punish even trivial deviance from this Blackwell absurdity. This case was continued until February, 2007.

Potentially the most revolutionary case in the history of modern voting rights

League of Women Voters v. Blackwell. U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio This is quite simply the most comprehensive voting rights law suit imaginable. The Ohio League of Women Voters and long time election law attorney and voting rights champion Cliff Arnebeck put together a case that may serve as the blue print for reforming Ohio and as a model for other states. The election of Attorney General Marc Dan and Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, both sympathetic cleaning up the mess Blackwell and Taft created may introduce a new level of voting rights and put in place the type of comprehensive program that guards against the varieties of election fraud introduced and intensified since Election 2000.

There are eight key arguments that begin the case. They will be summarized here and then considered in more detail in the next article on this subject;

1) “…through a pattern of maladministration, wanton disregard of their duties under Ohio and federal law, and the creation and maintenance of a non functioning voting system” defendants have violated citizens fundamental Constitutional right to vote.

2) “As a direct result, for years the rights of all eligible citizens to cat a meaningful ballot has been severely burdened and in many cases denied altogether. … The foreseeable result is massive disenfranchisement and unreasonable dilution of the vote.”

3) The Governor and Secretary of state are responsible for administration and effective operation of this system and they have failed again and again.

4) Ohio’s voting system has had problems since the 1970’s which have continued without remedy.

5) The November 2004 election was the apogee of the failed system with 28% of voters experiencing difficulties voting and tens of thousands disenfranchised.

6) “The violations of Constitutional and federal law within Ohio’s voting system are pervasive, severe, chronic, and persistent…The foreseeable, cumulative effects of the non uniform, non-standard, and completely deficient voting standards, processes and resources in Ohio has disenfranchised or severely burdened the right to vote for … Ohio citizens.”

7) The pattern of problems and failure to resolve them is further illustrated by the breakdown s “allowed to occur when that county (Lucas) purportedly was subject to special oversight by Defendant Secretary of State as a result of prior documented failures to protect the right to vote in Lucas County.”

8) The action doesn’t challenge past elections it is offered “to put in place a competent and fair voting system as required by the Constitution and federal voting rights laws to ensure that every Ohio resident eligible to vote can do so on fair and equal terms ant that each eligible vote is fairly and equally counted – no matter where or how it is cast.”

The opportunity to enact a truly inclusive, fair and accountable voting system in the state of Ohio is unprecedented. With Secretary of State Brunner and Attorney General Dann replacing Blackwell and Petro, Ohio has the opportunity to lead the nation in meaningful election reform and voting rights guarantees worthy of all citizens.

To be continued.

Cliff Arnebeck, attorney for the Ohio League of Women
Voters suit, at a voting rights rally, Lafayette Park,
Washington, DC, January 6, 2005.

END

Permission to reprint with a link to the Original Scoop article and attribution of authorship.

U.S. Attorneys: Asleep at the Switch

 

How About Election Fraud?

Michael Collins
Washington, DC April 2, 200
First Published in “Scoop” Independent News

The sacked eight, as we’ll call the fired federal prosecutors, are a hot topic nationwide. Their inauspicious Dec. 7, 2006 firing became a major controversy when New Mexico U.S. Attorney David Iglesias caused a furor in early March by actually objecting to his firing. It seems his former sponsor for that position, the intense Senator Pete Domenici, (R-NM) had called attorney Iglesias and implied (as in insisted) that that he prosecute some Democrats before the midterm elections.

Senator Domenici is not amused.

Why? We can only guess but as things look now, the prosecutions would have benefited Domenici’s heir apparent, Cong. Heather Wilson, (R-NM). Seems Heather was in a fix. She’d been accused of sequestering a file that New Mexico Department of Children, Youth and Families had on her husband. There was bad publicity with the implication of nepotism (Wilson was head of the department at the time).

This meant that her tight race was going to be even tighter. Democratic challenger Patricia Madrid had any number of things going for her: a comfortable lead in the polls, the support of a popular governor, and high name recognition. Heather couldn’t count on the same breaks got from the state’s voting machines in 2004. This was a real fight.

Wilson won which by just under 900 votes. This raises some questions. First, what if Iglesias had charged the two Democrats Domenici fingered? Would the Wilson margin have been greater? Second, were there any election irregularities or machine malfunctions worth looking into? That’s a pretty tight margin for a race with over 210 thousand votes. Madrid’s pre election polling alone should have triggered at least a look see. In the late breaking polls, Madrid lead Wilson 53% to 46%. Was there a Wilson surge or could it be…

 

Heather’s happy.

There were controversies in New Mexico’s 2004 elections. . Greg Palast investigated and found thousands turned away from voting due to restrictive voter identification laws (just the type encouraged by the “voter fraud” prevention program). He also noted:

Last year, I flew to New Mexico to investigate the 33,981 cast but not counted ballots of that state in the 2004 race. George Bush “won” New Mexico by 5,988 votes. Or did he? I calculated that, of the all the ballots rejected and “spoiled,” 89% were cast by voters of color. Who won New Mexico? Kerry won–or he would have, if they had counted the ballots.

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“SHOW ME THE VOTE” – PAPER BALLOTS NOW!

Show Me the Vote!

Major Voting Rights Initiative Announced

Missouri Activists Say “Show me the vote”
George Caleb Bingham’s “The County Election,” Boone County, Missouri” 1851


Michael Collins
“Scoop” Independent News
Washington, DC

Kansas City, MO. A diverse group of Missouri activists made history today when they announced a 2008 ballot initiative to return their state elections to paper ballots. The country has adopted electronic voting at a break neck pace since 2000 propelled by over $6 billion in subsidies by the White House and Congress.

This announcement marks the first major resistance to the e-voting trend. If the initiative gets on the ballot and passes, Missourians will be voting on and hand counting paper ballots. Canada, Ireland, Italy, and England all vote on hand count paper ballots. The United States did as well until the rush to electronic voting rendered the traditional paper ballot all but extinct.

Phil Lindsey a Missouri activist and Director of ShowMeTheVote.Org, presented the initiative in a speech tonight at the University of Missouri, KC before a packed hall. The initiative announcement was preceded by Stealing America: Vote by Vote, a film by Emmy award winner Dorothy Fadiman. A panel of election experts discussed the film and American elections in the age of e-voting.. lections activists iscussion bytonight.ct from your initiative?

On allinaces that the orority ized voting machines the return o

Show Me!

Lindsey offered a stark assessment of the U.S. elections today by reviewing the short but intense history of wide spread electronic voting since 2000. He pointed out the thousands of reported failures plus key election results that were simply without explanation. He argued for the return of citizen access to and participation in elections. Under the proposal, citizen involvement in taking and counting votes represents the cure for inaccurate vote counts, suspected election fraud, and declining voter.

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