Remember Ohio 2004 to Protect the Vote in Ohio 2012
The 2012 Election is less than 75 days away and GOP Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted elected in 2010 has proven with recent decisions to cut early voting hours that he is not interested in helping more voters to be able to cast their vote. In fact, he even suspended two democrats who wanted to extend early voting hours on week-ends before the November 2012 election.
Jon Husted attempted to appear “fair” by saying he will keep early voting polls open until 7 pm on week days, but there will be no additional hours on week-ends. In 2008 three days before the election 93,000 voters took advantage of early voting hours on week-ends, especially after church on Sunday. However, Jon Husted has cut out that option which seems purely politically motivated to suppress the vote for mostly minority and democratic voters. Husted claims he’s cutting hours due to cost. However, comments made by Doug Preiss, chairman of the county Republican Party and elections board member who voted against weekend hours in an email to “The Dispatch” reveal a bias to perhaps not care to help working people have access to the polls:
“I guess I really actually feel we shouldn’t contort the voting process to accommodate the urban – read African-American – voter-turnout machine,” said Doug Preiss, chairman of the county Republican Party and elections board member who voted against weekend hours, in an email to “The Dispatch.”
The Columbus Dispatch reported reactions of Ohio voters to Husted’s cuts to early voting on week-ends:
Deidre Reese, coordinator of Ohio Unity Coalition, said Husted’s decree does not accommodate the schedules of many working people.
In 2008, Democratic Ohio Secretary of State, Jennifer Brunner, (elected in November 2006) corrected many problems from the 2004 election. There were more voting machines for everyone, long lines were eliminated thanks to early voting extended hours for working people who could not come during the work day. Yet, with the election of the current GOP Ohio Secretary of State Husted in 2010, Ohio election protection to insure everyone gets to vote seems to have made a complete about face in the wrong direction. See for yourself.
In Ohio’s 2004 election there were horrible lines. At the time GOP Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell was responsible for overseeing the 2004 election. Many primarily Democratic precincts had less voting machines compared to Republican precincts resulting in long lines.
Link to transcript of video
(Final difference between Kerry v Bush, Bush won by less than 120,000 votes.)
According to a Mother Jones article, “The Dog That Voted and Other Election Fraud Yarns” by Kevin Drum, voter fraud is the talking point used to justify voter suppression tactics. Here Drum recounts election problems with the 2004 Ohio election:
But if Republicans spent the 2004 election season feverishly warning that Democrats were scheming to steal the White House, it was nothing compared to the furor among Democrats after the election. The early exit polls on Election Day had suggested that John Kerry was leading in virtually every key state, including the crucial battleground of Ohio. Yet by the time all the actual votes were counted, Kerry’s anticipated victory turned into a narrow loss—by a mere 120,000-vote margin in Ohio—and Bush secured a second term.
[So, you might be wondering, what’s wrong with laws requiring photo ID? Simple: Too many people can’t easily get one.]
Outrage boiled over immediately, and not just around muttered conspiracy theories that Republicans might have rigged Ohio’s Diebold voting machines. Balloting problems were so widespread in 2004 that when the Democratic staff of the House Judiciary Committee wrote a report titled “What Went Wrong in Ohio,” the executive summary alone was three pages long. The bill of particulars was damning: Misallocation of voting machines led to long lines in Democratic precincts; Republicans knocked minority voters off the rolls with “caging” tactics (sending letters to voters’ listed addresses and purging those whose mail was returned); some 93,000 ballots were declared spoiled and left uncounted. The report blamed one man above all for these problems: Ohio’s Republican secretary of state, Kenneth Blackwell, who was also a state co-chair for the Bush-Cheney campaign. In one notorious move, Blackwell ordered county election boards to reject voter registration forms printed on paper of “less than 80 lb. text weight.” (This order, at least, was later rescinded.)
Here is the Status Report of the House Judiciary Committee Democratic Staff, “Preserving Democracy: What Went Wrong in Ohio.” The report outlines the multiple failures of the Ohio Secretary of State, Ken Blackwell, to protect the vote for all Ohio voters. Here is a partial list of some of the egregious violations cited in the above report:
- The misallocation of voting machines led to unprecedented long lines that disenfranchised scores, if not hundreds of thousands of predominantly minority and Democratic voters. This was illustrated by the fact that the Washington Post reported that in Franklin County, “27 of the 30 wards with the most machines per registered voter showed majorities for Bush. At the other end of the spectrum, six of the seven wards with the fewest machines delivered large margins for Kerry.”1 (p. 4-5)
- Mr. Blackwell’s decision to restrict provisional ballots resulted in the disenfranchisement of tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of voters, again predominantly minority and Democratic voters. (p. 5)
- Mr. Blackwell’s widely reviled decision to reject voter registration applications based on paper weight may have resulted in thousands of new voters not being registered in time for the 2004 election.
- The Ohio Republican Party’s decision to engage in preelection “caging” tactics, selectively targeting 35,000 predominantly minority voters for intimidation had a negative impact on voter turnout. The Third Circuit found these activities to be illegal and in direct violation of consent decrees barring the Republican Party from targeting minority voters for poll challenges.
- The Ohio Republican Party’s decision to utilize thousands of partisan challengers concentrated in minority and Democratic areas likely disenfranchised tens of thousands of legal voters, who were not only intimidated, but became discouraged by the long lines. Shockingly, these disruptions were publicly predicted and acknowledged by Republican officials: Mark Weaver, a lawyer for the Ohio Republican Party, admitted the challenges “can’t help but create chaos, longer lines and frustration.”
- 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 likely disenfranchised thousands, if not tens of thousands, of voters, particularly seniors. A federal court found Mr. Blackwell’s order to be illegal and in violation of HAVA. (p. 5-6)
- There were widespread instances of intimidation and misinformation in violation of the Voting Rights Act, the Civil Rights Act of 1968, Equal Protection, Due Process and the Ohio right to vote. Mr. Blackwell’s apparent failure to institute a single investigation into these many serious allegations represents a violation of his statutory duty under Ohio law to investigate election irregularities. (p. 6)
- We learned of improper purging and other registration errors by election officials that likely disenfranchised tens of thousands of voters statewide. The Greater Cleveland Voter Registration Coalition projects that in Cuyahoga County alone over 10,000 Ohio citizens lost their right to vote as a result of official registration errors. (p. 6)
- There were 93,000 spoiled ballots where no vote was cast for president, the vast majority of which have yet to be inspected. The problem was particularly acute in 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. (p. 6)
- There were numerous, significant unexplained irregularities in other counties throughout the state: (i) in Mahoning county at least 25 electronic machines transferred an unknown number of Kerry votes to the Bush column; (ii) Warren County locked out public observers from vote counting citing an FBI warning about a potential terrorist threat, yet the FBI states that it issued no such warning; (iii) the voting records of Perry county show significantly more votes than voters in some precincts, significantly less ballots than voters in other precincts, and voters casting more than one ballot; (iv) in Butler county a down ballot and underfunded Democratic State Supreme Court candidate implausibly received more votes than the best funded Democratic Presidential candidate in history; (v) in Cuyahoga county, poll worker error may have led to little known third- party candidates receiving twenty times more votes than such candidates had ever received in otherwise reliably Democratic leaning areas; (vi) in Miami county, voter turnout was an improbable and highly suspect 98.55 percent, and after 100 percent of the precincts were reported, an additional 19,000 extra votes were recorded for President Bush.
In November 2006 a new Ohio Democratic Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner was elected. She determined to correct the abuses of her predecessor, GOP SOS Kenneth Blackwell. Brunner wanted to restore trust in the Ohio election system and prevent the senseless problems that erupted from the 2004 election. She allowed early voting and extended hours for voting on week-ends.
Here is a video of Jennifer Brunner explaining why she decided to run in 2010 for Senator of Ohio as she completed her term as Secretary of State of 4 years.
The result was that in 2008 over 3% of the population of Ohio voted in early elections. That is 147,000 people.
Remember in 2004, the Presidential election was won by G. W. Bush with less than 120,000 votes which seemed to disappear overnight from John Kerry. There are still unanswered questions regarding what happened to ballots in cyberspace at that time.
See this article for more information regarding the bizarre change in ballots in the Ohio 2004 election in the evening hours after the polls closed. It seems the bigger threat to secure elections is election fraud by computer manipulation instead of in person voter fraud used to pass horrible repressive voter I.D. laws across the red states, especially in swing states like Florida and Ohio.
Possible 2004 Election Computer Manipulation by Karl Rove’s IT Guru Michael Connell