Friday, July 29, 2005

The Ohio election irregularities haunt Matt Taibbi

Interesting column in the NY Press by Matt Taibbi. Check it out. Here's some good stuff:

Here's the thing about Ohio. Until you really look at it, you won't understand its significance, which is this: the techniques used in this particular theft have the capacity to alter elections not by dozens or hundreds or even thousands of votes, but by tens of thousands.

And if we ignore this now, we're putting proven methods for easily ripping off major elections in the hands of the same party that had no qualms whatsoever about lying its way into a war in Iraq. In the hands of a merely corrupt political party, a bad election or two would be no big deal. But these clowns we have in power now imagine themselves to be revolutionaries, and their psychology is a lot like that of the leadership of Enron, pre-meltdown—with each passing day that they get away with it, they become more convinced by a delusion of righteousness.

Obviously people who have followed this story before know the basic facts already, but for those who ignored Ohio until now, here's a very brief greatest hits of Ohio irregularities:

• As was the case in Florida, the secretary of state (Kenneth Blackwell, in Ohio), who is in charge of elections, was also the co-chair of the state's Bush-Cheney campaign.

• In a technique reminiscent of the semantic gymnastics of pre-Civil Rights Act election officials, Blackwell replaced the word "jurisdiction" with "precinct" in an electoral directive that would ultimately result in perhaps tens of thousands of provisional ballots—votes cast mainly by low-income residents—being disallowed.

• Blackwell initially rejected thousands of voter registrations because they were printed on paper that was, according to him, the wrong weight.

• In conservative, Bush-friendly Miami County, voter turnout was an Uzbekistan-esque 98.55 percent.

• In Warren county, election officials locked down the administration building and prevented reporters from observing the ballot counting, citing a "terrorist threat" (described as being a "10" on a scale of 1 to 10) that had been reported to them by the FBI. The FBI made no such report. Recounts conducted during this lockdown resulted in increased votes for Bush.

• In Franklin County, 4,258 votes were cast for Bush in a precinct where there were only 800 registered voters.

And so on. There are dozens more such glitches, which taken together suggest that the exit polls in Ohio, showing Kerry the victor, were probably accurate. But this is just a primer. More facts next week, plus an interview with Sherrod Brown—and a guide to what to do next.

Of course, we already know Bush stole the 2000 election, so what's another election?


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