Voting Rights Act, 42 U.S.C.
Republicans prevented more than 350,000 voters in Ohio from casting
ballots or having their votes counted -- enough to have put John Kerry in the
The complete article, with Web-only citations, follows. For more, see exclusive
documents, sources, charts and commentary.
Like many Americans, I spent the evening of the 2004 election watching the
returns on television and wondering how the exit polls, which predicted an overwhelming
victory for John Kerry, had gotten it so wrong. By midnight, the official tallies
showed a decisive lead for George Bush -- and the next day, lacking enough legal
evidence to contest the results, Kerry conceded. Republicans derided anyone
who expressed doubts about Bush's victory as nut cases in ''tinfoil hats,''
while the national media, with few exceptions, did little to question the validity
of the election. The Washington Post immediately dismissed allegations
of fraud as ''conspiracy theories,''(1) and The New York
Times declared that ''there is no evidence of vote theft or errors on a
But despite the media blackout, indications continued to emerge that something
deeply troubling had taken place in 2004. Nearly half of the 6 million American
voters living abroad(3) never received their ballots -- or
received them too late to vote(4) -- after the Pentagon unaccountably
shut down a state-of-the-art Web site used to file overseas registrations.(5)
A consulting firm called Sproul & Associates, which was hired by the Republican
National Committee to register voters in six battleground states,(6)
was discovered shredding Democratic registrations.(7) In New
Mexico, which was decided by 5,988 votes,(8) malfunctioning
machines mysteriously failed to properly register a presidential vote on more
than 20,000 ballots.(9) Nationwide, according to the federal
commission charged with implementing election reforms, as many as 1 million
ballots were spoiled by faulty voting equipment -- roughly one for every 100
The reports were especially disturbing in Ohio, the critical battleground state
that clinched Bush's victory in the electoral college. Officials there purged
tens of thousands of eligible voters from the rolls, neglected to process registration
cards generated by Democratic voter drives, shortchanged Democratic precincts
when they allocated voting machines and illegally derailed a recount that could
have given Kerry the presidency. A precinct in an evangelical church in Miami
County recorded an impossibly high turnout of ninety-eight percent, while a
polling place in inner-city Cleveland recorded an equally impossible turnout
of only seven percent. In Warren County, GOP election officials even invented
a nonexistent terrorist threat to bar the media from monitoring the official
Any election, of course, will have anomalies. America's voting system is a
messy patchwork of polling rules run mostly by county and city officials. ''We
didn't have one election for president in 2004,'' says Robert Pastor, who directs
the Center for Democracy and Election Management at American University. ''We
didn't have fifty elections. We actually had 13,000 elections run by 13,000
independent, quasi-sovereign counties and municipalities.''
But what is most anomalous about the irregularities in 2004 was their
decidedly partisan bent: Almost without exception they hurt John Kerry and benefited
George Bush. After carefully examining the evidence, I've become convinced
that the president's party mounted a massive, coordinated campaign to subvert
the will of the people in 2004. Across the country, Republican election officials
and party stalwarts employed a wide range of illegal and unethical tactics to
fix the election. A review of the available data reveals that in Ohio alone,
at least 357,000 voters, the overwhelming majority of them Democratic, were
prevented from casting ballots or did not have their votes counted in 2004(12)
-- more than enough to shift the results of an election decided by 118,601 votes.(13)
(See Ohio's Missing Votes)
In what may be the single most astounding fact from the election, one
in every four Ohio citizens who registered to vote in 2004 showed up
at the polls only to discover that they were not listed on the rolls, thanks
to GOP efforts to stem the unprecedented flood of Democrats eager to cast ballots.(14)
And that doesn?t even take into account the troubling evidence of outright fraud,
which indicates that upwards of 80,000 votes for Kerry were counted instead
for Bush. That alone is a swing of more than 160,000 votes -- enough to have
put John Kerry in the White House.(15)
''It was terrible,'' says Sen. Christopher Dodd, who helped craft reforms in
2002 that were supposed to prevent such electoral abuses. ''People waiting in
line for twelve hours to cast their ballots, people not being allowed to vote
because they were in the wrong precinct -- it was an outrage. In Ohio, you had
a secretary of state who was determined to guarantee a Republican outcome. I'm
Indeed, the extent of the GOP's effort to rig the vote shocked even the most
experienced observers of American elections. ''Ohio was as dirty an election
as America has ever seen,'' Lou Harris, the father of modern political polling,
told me. ''You look at the turnout and votes in individual precincts, compared
to the historic patterns in those counties, and you can tell where the discrepancies
are. They stand out like a sore thumb.''
I. The Exit Polls
The first indication that something was gravely amiss on November 2nd, 2004,
was the inexplicable discrepancies between exit polls and actual vote counts.
Polls in thirty states weren't just off the mark -- they deviated to an extent
that cannot be accounted for by their margin of error. In all but four states,
the discrepancy favored President Bush.(16)
Over the past decades, exit polling has evolved into an exact science. Indeed,
among pollsters and statisticians, such surveys are thought to be the most reliable.
Unlike pre-election polls, in which voters are asked to predict their own behavior
at some point in the future, exit polls ask voters leaving the voting booth
to report an action they just executed. The results are exquisitely accurate:
Exit polls in Germany, for example, have never missed the mark by more than
three-tenths of one percent.(17) ''Exit polls are almost never
wrong,'' Dick Morris, a political consultant who has worked for both Republicans
and Democrats, noted after the 2004 vote. Such surveys are ''so reliable,''
he added, ''that they are used as guides to the relative honesty of elections
in Third World countries.''(18) In 2003, vote tampering revealed
by exit polling in the Republic of Georgia forced Eduard Shevardnadze to step
down.(19) And in November 2004, exit polling in the Ukraine
-- paid for by the Bush administration -- exposed election fraud that denied
Viktor Yushchenko the presidency.(20)
But that same month, when exit polls revealed disturbing disparities in the
U.S. election, the six media organizations that had commissioned the survey
treated its very existence as an embarrassment. Instead of treating the discrepancies
as a story meriting investigation, the networks scrubbed the offending results
from their Web sites and substituted them with ''corrected'' numbers that had
been weighted, retroactively, to match the official vote count. Rather than
finding fault with the election results, the mainstream media preferred to dismiss
the polls as flawed.(21)
''The people who ran the exit polling, and all those of us who were their clients,
recognized that it was deeply flawed,'' says Tom Brokaw, who served as anchor
for NBC News during the 2004 election. ''They were really screwed up -- the
old models just don't work anymore. I would not go on the air with them again.''
In fact, the exit poll created for the 2004 election was designed to be the
most reliable voter survey in history. The six news organizations -- running
the ideological gamut from CBS to Fox News -- retained Edison Media Research
and Mitofsky International,(22) whose principal, Warren Mitofsky,
pioneered the exit poll for CBS in 1967(23) and is widely credited
with assuring the credibility of Mexico's elections in 1994.(24)
For its nationwide poll, Edison/Mitofsky selected a random subsample of 12,219
voters(25) -- approximately six times larger than those normally
used in national polls(26) -- driving the margin of error down
to approximately plus or minus one percent.(27)
On the evening of the vote, reporters at each of the major networks were briefed
by pollsters at 7:54 p.m. Kerry, they were informed, had an insurmountable lead
and would win by a rout: at least 309 electoral votes to Bush's 174, with fifty-five
too close to call.(28) In London, Prime Minister Tony Blair
went to bed contemplating his relationship with President-elect Kerry.(29)
As the last polling stations closed on the West Coast, exit polls showed Kerry
ahead in ten of eleven battleground states -- including commanding leads in
Ohio and Florida -- and winning by a million and a half votes nationally. The
exit polls even showed Kerry breathing down Bush's neck in supposed GOP strongholds
Virginia and North Carolina.(30) Against these numbers, the
statistical likelihood of Bush winning was less than one in 450,000.(31)
''Either the exit polls, by and large, are completely wrong,'' a Fox News analyst
declared, ''or George Bush loses.''(32)
But as the evening progressed, official tallies began to show implausible disparities
-- as much as 9.5 percent -- with the exit polls. In ten of the eleven battleground
states, the tallied margins departed from what the polls had predicted. In every
case, the shift favored Bush. Based on exit polls, CNN had predicted Kerry defeating
Bush in Ohio by a margin of 4.2 percentage points. Instead, election results
showed Bush winning the state by 2.5 percent. Bush also tallied 6.5 percent
more than the polls had predicted in Pennsylvania, and 4.9 percent more in Florida.(33)
According to Steven F. Freeman, a visiting scholar at the University of Pennsylvania
who specializes in research methodology, the odds against all three of those
shifts occurring in concert are one in 660,000. ''As much as we can say in sound
science that something is impossible,'' he says, ''it is impossible that the
discrepancies between predicted and actual vote count in the three critical
battleground states of the 2004 election could have been due to chance or random
error.'' (See The Tale
of the Exit Polls)
Puzzled by the discrepancies, Freeman laboriously examined the raw polling
data released by Edison/Mitofsky in January 2005. ''I'm not even political --
I despise the Democrats,'' he says. ''I'm a survey expert. I got into this because
I was mystified about how the exit polls could have been so wrong.'' In his
forthcoming book, Was the 2004 Presidential Election Stolen? Exit Polls,
Election Fraud, and the Official Count, Freeman lays out a statistical
analysis of the polls that is deeply troubling.
In its official postmortem report issued two months after the election, Edison/Mitofsky
was unable to identify any flaw in its methodology -- so the pollsters, in essence,
invented one for the electorate. According to Mitofsky, Bush partisans were
simply disinclined to talk to exit pollsters on November 2nd(34)
-- displaying a heretofore unknown and undocumented aversion that skewed the
polls in Kerry's favor by a margin of 6.5 percent nationwide.(35)
Industry peers didn't buy it. John Zogby, one of the nation's leading pollsters,
told me that Mitofsky's ''reluctant responder'' hypothesis is ''preposterous.''(36)
Even Mitofsky, in his official report, underscored the hollowness of his theory:
''It is difficult to pinpoint precisely the reasons that, in general, Kerry
voters were more likely to participate in the exit polls than Bush voters.''(37)
Now, thanks to careful examination of Mitofsky's own data by Freeman and a
team of eight researchers, we can say conclusively that the theory is dead wrong.
In fact it was Democrats, not Republicans, who were more disinclined to answer
pollsters' questions on Election Day. In Bush strongholds, Freeman and the other
researchers found that fifty-six percent of voters completed the exit survey
-- compared to only fifty-three percent in Kerry strongholds.(38)
''The data presented to support the claim not only fails to substantiate it,''
observes Freeman, ''but actually contradicts it.''
What's more, Freeman found, the greatest disparities between exit polls and
the official vote count came in Republican strongholds. In precincts where Bush
received at least eighty percent of the vote, the exit polls were off by an
average of ten percent. By contrast, in precincts where Kerry dominated by eighty
percent or more, the exit polls were accurate to within three tenths of one
percent -- a pattern that suggests Republican election officials stuffed the
ballot box in Bush country.(39)
''When you look at the numbers, there is a tremendous amount of data that supports
the supposition of election fraud,'' concludes Freeman. ''The discrepancies
are higher in battleground states, higher where there were Republican governors,
higher in states with greater proportions of African-American communities and
higher in states where there were the most Election Day complaints. All these
are strong indicators of fraud -- and yet this supposition has been utterly
ignored by the press and, oddly, by the Democratic Party.''
The evidence is especially strong in Ohio. In January, a team of mathematicians
from the National Election Data Archive, a nonpartisan watchdog group, compared
the state's exit polls against the certified vote count in each of the forty-nine
precincts polled by Edison/Mitofsky. In twenty-two of those precincts -- nearly
half of those polled -- they discovered results that differed widely from the
official tally. Once again -- against all odds -- the widespread discrepancies
were stacked massively in Bush's favor: In only two of the suspect twenty-two
precincts did the disparity benefit Kerry. The wildest discrepancy came from
the precinct Mitofsky numbered ''27,'' in order to protect the anonymity of
those surveyed. According to the exit poll, Kerry should have received sixty-seven
percent of the vote in this precinct. Yet the certified tally gave him only
thirty-eight percent. The statistical odds against such a variance are just
shy of one in 3 billion.(40)
Such results, according to the archive, provide ''virtually irrefutable evidence
of vote miscount.'' The discrepancies, the experts add, ''are consistent with
the hypothesis that Kerry would have won Ohio's electoral votes if Ohio's official
vote counts had accurately reflected voter intent.''(41) According
to Ron Baiman, vice president of the archive and a public policy analyst at
Loyola University in Chicago, ''No rigorous statistical explanation'' can explain
the ''completely nonrandom'' disparities that almost uniformly benefited Bush.
The final results, he adds, are ''completely consistent with election fraud
-- specifically vote shifting.''
II. The Partisan Official
No state was more important in the 2004 election than Ohio. The state has
been key to every Republican presidential victory since Abraham Lincoln's, and
both parties overwhelmed the state with television ads, field organizers and
volunteers in an effort to register new voters and energize old ones. Bush and
Kerry traveled to Ohio a total of forty-nine times during the campaign -- more
than to any other state.(42)
But in the battle for Ohio, Republicans had a distinct advantage: The man in
charge of the counting was Kenneth Blackwell, the co-chair of President Bush's
re-election committee.(43) As Ohio's secretary of state, Blackwell
had broad powers to interpret and implement state and federal election laws
-- setting standards for everything from the processing of voter registration
to the conduct of official recounts.(44) And as Bush's re-election
chair in Ohio, he had a powerful motivation to rig the rules for his candidate.
Blackwell, in fact, served as the ''principal electoral system adviser'' for
Bush during the 2000 recount in Florida,(45) where he witnessed
firsthand the success of his counterpart Katherine Harris, the Florida secretary
of state who co-chaired Bush's campaign there.(46)
Blackwell -- now the Republican candidate for governor of Ohio(47)
-- is well-known in the state as a fierce partisan eager to rise in the GOP.
An outspoken leader of Ohio's right-wing fundamentalists, he opposes abortion
even in cases of rape(48) and was the chief cheerleader for
the anti-gay-marriage amendment that Republicans employed to spark turnout in
rural counties(49). He has openly denounced Kerry as ''an unapologetic
liberal Democrat,''(50) and during the 2004 election he used
his official powers to disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of Ohio citizens
in Democratic strongholds. In a ruling issued two weeks before the election,
a federal judge rebuked Blackwell for seeking to ''accomplish the same result
in Ohio in 2004 that occurred in Florida in 2000.''(51)
''The secretary of state is supposed to administer elections -- not throw them,''
says Rep. Dennis Kucinich, a Democrat from Cleveland who has dealt with Blackwell
for years. ''The election in Ohio in 2004 stands out as an example of how, under
color of law, a state election official can frustrate the exercise of the right
The most extensive investigation of what happened in Ohio was conducted by
Rep. John Conyers, the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee.(52)
Frustrated by his party's failure to follow up on the widespread evidence of
voter intimidation and fraud, Conyers and the committee's minority staff held
public hearings in Ohio, where they looked into more than 50,000 complaints
from voters.(53) In January 2005, Conyers issued a detailed
report that outlined ''massive and unprecedented voter irregularities and anomalies
in Ohio.'' The problems, the report concludes, were ''caused by intentional
misconduct and illegal behavior, much of it involving Secretary of State J.
''Blackwell made Katherine Harris look like a cupcake,'' Conyers told me. ''He
saw his role as limiting the participation of Democratic voters. We had hearings
in Columbus for two days. We could have stayed two weeks, the level of fury
was so high. Thousands of people wanted to testify. Nothing like this had ever
happened to them before.''
When ROLLING STONE confronted Blackwell about his overtly partisan attempts
to subvert the election, he dismissed any such claim as ''silly on its face.''
Ohio, he insisted in a telephone interview, set a ''gold standard'' for electoral
fairness. In fact, his campaign to subvert the will of the voters had begun
long before Election Day. Instead of welcoming the avalanche of citizen involvement
sparked by the campaign, Blackwell permitted election officials in Cleveland,
Cincinnati and Toledo to conduct a massive purge of their voter rolls, summarily
expunging the names of more than 300,000 voters who had failed to cast ballots
in the previous two national elections.(55) In Cleveland, which
went five-to-one for Kerry, nearly one in four voters were wiped from the rolls
between 2000 and 2004.(56)
There were legitimate reasons to clean up voting lists: Many of the names undoubtedly
belonged to people who had moved or died. But thousands more were duly registered
voters who were deprived of their constitutional right to vote -- often without
any notification -- simply because they had decided not to go to the polls in
prior elections.(57) In Cleveland's precinct 6C, where more
than half the voters on the rolls were deleted,(58) turnout
was only 7.1 percent(59) -- the lowest in the state.
According to the Conyers report, improper purging ''likely disenfranchised
tens of thousands of voters statewide.''(60) If only one in
ten of the 300,000 purged voters showed up on Election Day -- a conservative
estimate, according to election scholars -- that is 30,000 citizens who were
unfairly denied the opportunity to cast ballots.
III. The Strike Force
In the months leading up to the election, Ohio was in the midst of the biggest
registration drive in its history. Tens of thousands of volunteers and paid
political operatives from both parties canvassed the state, racing to register
new voters in advance of the October 4th deadline. To those on the ground, it
was clear that Democrats were outpacing their Republican counterparts: A New
York Times analysis before the election found that new registrations in traditional
Democratic strongholds were up 250 percent, compared to only twenty-five percent
in Republican-leaning counties.(61) ''The Democrats have been
beating the pants off us in the air and on the ground,'' a GOP county official
in Columbus confessed to The Washington Times.(62)
To stem the tide of new registrations, the Republican National Committee and
the Ohio Republican Party attempted to knock tens of thousands of predominantly
minority and urban voters off the rolls through illegal mailings known in electioneering
jargon as ''caging.'' During the Eighties, after the GOP used such mailings
to disenfranchise nearly 76,000 black voters in New Jersey and Louisiana, it
was forced to sign two separate court orders agreeing to abstain from caging.(63)
But during the summer of 2004, the GOP targeted minority voters in Ohio by zip
code, sending registered letters to more than 200,000 newly registered voters(64)
in sixty-five counties.(65) On October 22nd, a mere eleven
days before the election, Ohio Republican Party Chairman Bob Bennett -- who
also chairs the board of elections in Cuyahoga County -- sought to invalidate
the registrations of 35,427 voters who had refused to sign for the letters or
whose mail came back as undeliverable.(66) Almost half of the
challenged voters were from Democratic strongholds in and around Cleveland.(67)
There were plenty of valid reasons that voters had failed to respond to the
mailings: The list included people who couldn't sign for the letters because
they were serving in the U.S. military, college students whose school and home
addresses differed,(68) and more than 1,000 homeless people
who had no permanent mailing address.(69) But the undeliverable
mail, Bennett claimed, proved the new registrations were fraudulent.
By law, each voter was supposed to receive a hearing before being stricken
from the rolls.(70) Instead, in the week before the election,
kangaroo courts were rapidly set up across the state at Blackwell's direction
that would inevitably disenfranchise thousands of voters at a time(71)
-- a process that one Democratic election official in Toledo likened to an ''inquisition.''(72)
Not that anyone was given a chance to actually show up and defend their right
to vote: Notices to challenged voters were not only sent out impossibly late
in the process, they were mailed to the very addresses that the Republicans
contended were faulty.(73) Adding to the atmosphere
of intimidation, sheriff's detectives in Sandusky County were dispatched to
the homes of challenged voters to investigate the GOP's claims of fraud.(74)
''I'm afraid this is going to scare these people half to death, and they are
never going to show up on Election Day,'' Barb Tuckerman, director of the Sandusky
Board of Elections, told local reporters. ''Many of them are young people who
have registered for the first time. I've called some of these people, and they
are perfectly legitimate.''(75)
On October 27th, ruling that the effort likely violated both the ''constitutional
right to due process and constitutional right to vote,'' U.S. District Judge
Susan Dlott put a halt to the GOP challenge(76) -- but not
before tens of thousands of new voters received notices claiming they were improperly
registered. Some election officials in the state illegally ignored Dlott's ruling,
stripping hundreds of voters from the rolls.(77) In Columbus
and elsewhere, challenged registrants were never notified that the court had
cleared them to vote.
On October 29th, a federal judge found that the Republican Party had violated
the court orders from the Eighties that barred it from caging. ''The return
of mail does not implicate fraud,'' the court affirmed,(78)
and the disenfranchisement effort illegally targeted ''precincts where minority
voters predominate, interfering with and discouraging voters from voting in
those districts.''(79) Nor were such caging efforts limited
to Ohio: The GOP also targeted hundreds of thousands of urban voters in the
battleground states of Florida,(80) Pennsylvania(81)
Republicans in Ohio also worked to deny the vote to citizens who had served
jail time for felonies. Although rehabilitated prisoners are entitled to vote
in Ohio, election officials in Cincinnati demanded that former convicts get
a judge to sign off before they could register to vote.(83)
In case they didn't get the message, Republican operatives turned to intimidation.
According to the Conyers report, a team of twenty-five GOP volunteers calling
themselves the Mighty Texas Strike Force holed up at the Holiday Inn in Columbus
a day before the election, around the corner from the headquarters of the Ohio
Republican Party -- which paid for their hotel rooms. The men were overheard
by a hotel worker ''using pay phones to make intimidating calls to likely voters''
and threatening former convicts with jail time if they tried to cast ballots.(84)
This was no freelance operation. The Strike Force -- an offshoot of the Republican
National Committee(85) -- was part of a team of more than 1,500
volunteers from Texas who were deployed to battleground states, usually in teams
of ten. Their leader was Pat Oxford, (86) a Houston lawyer
who managed Bush's legal defense team in 2000 in Florida,(87)
where he warmly praised the efforts of a mob that stormed the Miami-Dade County
election offices and halted the recount. It was later revealed that those involved
in the ''Brooks Brothers Riot'' were not angry Floridians but paid GOP staffers,
many of them flown in from out of state.(88) Photos of the
protest show that one of the ''rioters'' was Joel Kaplan, who has just taken
the place of Karl Rove at the White House, where he now directs the president's
IV. Barriers to Registration
To further monkey-wrench the process he was bound by law to safeguard, Blackwell
cited an arcane elections regulation to make it harder to register new voters.
In a now-infamous decree, Blackwell announced on September 7th -- less than
a month before the filing deadline -- that election officials would process
registration forms only if they were printed on eighty-pound unwaxed white paper
stock, similar to a typical postcard. Justifying his decision to ROLLING STONE,
Blackwell portrayed it as an attempt to protect voters: ''The postal service
had recommended to us that we establish a heavy enough paper-weight standard
that we not disenfranchise voters by having their registration form damaged
by postal equipment.'' Yet Blackwell's order also applied to registrations delivered
in person to election offices. He further specified that any valid registration
cards printed on lesser paper stock that miraculously survived the shredding
gauntlet at the post office were not to be processed; instead, they were to
be treated as applications for a registration form, requiring
election boards to send out a brand-new card.(90)
Blackwell's directive clearly violated the Voting Rights Act, which stipulates
that no one may be denied the right to vote because of a registration error
that ''is not material in determining whether such individual is qualified under
state law to vote.''(91) The decision immediately threw registration
efforts into chaos. Local newspapers that had printed registration forms in
their pages saw their efforts invalidated.(92) Delaware County
posted a notice online saying it could no longer accept its own registration
forms.(93) Even Blackwell couldn't follow the protocol: The
Columbus Dispatch reported that his own staff distributed registration
forms on lighter-weight paper that was illegal under his rule. Under the threat
of court action, Blackwell ultimately revoked his order on September 28th --
six days before the registration deadline.(94)
But by then, the damage was done. Election boards across the state, already
understaffed and backlogged with registration forms, were unable to process
them all in time. According to a statistical analysis conducted in May by the
nonpartisan Greater Cleveland Voter Coalition, 16,000 voters in and around the
city were disenfranchised because of data-entry errors by election officials,(95)
and another 15,000 lost the right to vote due to largely inconsequential omissions
on their registration cards.(96) Statewide, the study concludes,
a total of 72,000 voters were disenfranchised through avoidable registration
errors -- one percent of all voters in an election decided by barely two percent.(97)
Despite the widespread problems, Blackwell authorized only one investigation
of registration errors after the election -- in Toledo -- but the report by
his own inspectors offers a disturbing snapshot of the malfeasance and incompetence
that plagued the entire state.(98) The top elections official
in Toledo was a partisan in the Blackwell mold: Bernadette Noe, who chaired
both the county board of elections and the county Republican Party.(99)
The GOP post was previously held by her husband, Tom Noe,(100)
who currently faces felony charges for embezzling state funds and illegally
laundering $45,400 of his own money through intermediaries to the Bush campaign.(101)
State inspectors who investigated the elections operation in Toledo discovered
''areas of grave concern.''(102) With less than a month to
go before the election, Bernadette Noe and her board had yet to process 20,000
voter registration cards.(103) Board officials arbitrarily
decided that mail-in cards (mostly from the Republican suburbs) would be processed
first, while registrations dropped off at the board's office (the fruit of intensive
Democratic registration drives in the city) would be processed last.(104)
When a grass-roots group called Project Vote delivered a batch of nearly 10,000
cards just before the October 4th deadline, an elections official casually remarked,
''We may not get to them.''(105) The same official then instructed
employees to date-stamp an entire box containing thousands of forms, rather
than marking each individual card, as required by law.(106)
When the box was opened, officials had no way of confirming that the forms were
filed prior to the deadline -- an error, state inspectors concluded, that could
have disenfranchised ''several thousand'' voters from Democratic strongholds.(107)
The most troubling incident uncovered by the investigation was Noe's decision
to allow Republican partisans behind the counter in the board of elections office
to make photocopies of postcards sent to confirm voter registrations(108)
-- records that could have been used in the GOP's caging efforts. On their second
day in the office, the operatives were caught by an elections official tampering
with the documents.(109) Investigators slammed the elections
board for ''a series of egregious blunders'' that caused ''the destruction,
mutilation and damage of public records.''(110)
On Election Day, Noe sent a team of Republican volunteers to the county warehouse
where blank ballots were kept out in the open, ''with no security measures in
place.''(111) The state's assistant director of elections,
who just happened to be observing the ballot distribution, demanded they leave.
The GOP operatives refused and ultimately had to be turned away by police.(112)
In April 2005, Noe and the entire Board of Elections were forced to resign.
But once again, the damage was done. At a ''Victory 2004'' rally held in Toledo
four days before the election, President Bush himself singled out a pair of
''grass-roots'' activists for special praise: ''I want to thank my friends Bernadette
Noe and Tom Noe for their leadership in Lucas County.''(113)
V. ''The Wrong Pew''
In one of his most effective maneuvers, Blackwell prevented thousands of voters
from receiving provisional ballots on Election Day. The fail-safe ballots were
mandated in 2002, when Congress passed a package of reforms called the Help America
Vote Act. This would prevent a repeat of the most egregious injustice in the 2000
election, when officials in Florida barred thousands of lawfully registered minority
voters from the polls because their names didn't appear on flawed precinct rolls.
Under the law, would-be voters whose registration is questioned at the polls must
be allowed to cast provisional ballots that can be counted after the election
if the voter's registration proves valid.(114)
''Provisional ballots were supposed to be this great movement forward,'' says
Tova Andrea Wang, an elections expert who served with ex-presidents Jimmy Carter
and Gerald Ford on the commission that laid the groundwork for the Help America
Vote Act. ''But then different states erected barriers, and this new right became
In Ohio, Blackwell worked from the beginning to curtail the availability of
provisional ballots. (The ballots are most often used to protect voters in heavily
Democratic urban areas who move often, creating more opportunities for data-entry
errors by election boards.) Six weeks before the vote, Blackwell illegally decreed
that poll workers should make on-the-spot judgments as to whether or not a voter
lived in the precinct, and provide provisional ballots only to those deemed
eligible.(115) When the ruling was challenged in federal court,
Judge James Carr could barely contain his anger. The very purpose of the Help
America Vote Act, he ruled, was to make provisional ballots available to voters
told by precinct workers that they were ineligible: ''By not even mentioning
this group -- the primary beneficiaries of HAVA's provisional-voting provisions
-- Blackwell apparently seeks to accomplish the same result in Ohio in 2004
that occurred in Florida in 2000.''(116)
But instead of complying with the judge's order to expand provisional balloting,
Blackwell insisted that Carr was usurping his power as secretary of state and
made a speech in which he compared himself to Mohandas Gandhi, Martin Luther
King Jr. and the apostle Paul -- saying that he'd rather go to jail than follow
federal law.(117) The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld
Carr's ruling on October 23rd -- but the confusion over the issue still caused
untold numbers of voters across the state to be illegally turned away at the
polls on Election Day without being offered provisional ballots.(118)
A federal judge also invalidated a decree by Blackwell that denied provisional
ballots to absentee voters who were never sent their ballots in the mail. But
that ruling did not come down until after 3 p.m. on the day of the election,
and likely failed to filter down to the precinct level at all -- denying the
franchise to even more eligible voters.(119)
We will never know for certain how many voters in Ohio were denied ballots
by Blackwell's two illegal orders. But it is possible to put a fairly precise
number on those turned away by his most disastrous directive. Traditionally,
anyone in Ohio who reported to a polling station in their county could obtain
a provisional ballot. But Blackwell decided to toss out the ballots of anyone
who showed up at the wrong precinct -- a move guaranteed to disenfranchise Democrats
who live in urban areas crowded with multiple polling places. On October 14th,
Judge Carr overruled the order, but Blackwell appealed.(120)
In court, he was supported by his friend and campaign contributor Tom Noe, who
joined the case as an intervenor on behalf of the secretary of state.(121)
He also enjoyed the backing of Attorney General John Ashcroft, who filed an
amicus brief in support of Blackwell's position -- marking the first time in
American history that the Justice Department had gone to court to block the
right of voters to vote.(122) The Sixth Circuit, stacked with
four judges appointed by George W. Bush, sided with Blackwell.(123)
Blackwell insists that his decision kept the election clean. ''If we had allowed
this notion of ?voters without borders' to exist,'' he says, ''it would have
opened the door to massive fraud.'' But even Republicans were shocked by the
move. DeForest Soaries, the GOP chairman of the Election Assistance Commission
-- the federal agency set up to implement the Help America Vote Act -- upbraided
Blackwell, saying that the commission disagreed with his decision to deny ballots
to voters who showed up at the wrong precinct. ''The purpose of provisional
ballots is to not turn anyone away from the polls,'' Soaries explained. ''We
want as many votes to count as possible.''(124)
The decision left hundreds of thousands of voters in predominantly Democratic
counties to navigate the state's bewildering array of 11,366 precincts, whose
boundaries had been redrawn just prior to the election.(125)
To further compound their confusion, the new precinct lines were misidentified
on the secretary of state's own Web site, which was months out of date on Election
Day. Many voters, out of habit, reported to polling locations that were no longer
theirs. Some were mistakenly assured by poll workers on the grounds that they
were entitled to cast a provisional ballot at that precinct. Instead, thanks
to Blackwell's ruling, at least 10,000 provisional votes were tossed out after
Election Day simply because citizens wound up in the wrong line.(126)
In Toledo, Brandi and Brittany Stenson each got in a different line to vote
in the gym at St. Elizabeth Seton School. Both of the sisters were registered
to vote at the polling place on the city's north side, in the shadow of the
giant DaimlerChrysler plant. Both cast ballots. But when the tallies were added
up later, the family resemblance came to an abrupt end. Brittany's vote was
counted -- but Brandi's wasn't. It wasn't enough that she had voted in the right
building. If she wanted her vote to count, according to Blackwell's
ruling, she had to choose the line that led to her assigned table. Her ballot
-- along with those of her mother, her brother and thirty-seven other voters
in the same precinct -- were thrown out(127) simply because
they were, in the words of Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-Ohio), ''in the right
church but the wrong pew.''(128)
All told, the deliberate chaos that resulted from Blackwell's registration
barriers did the trick. Black voters in the state -- who went overwhelmingly
for Kerry -- were twenty percent more likely than whites to be forced to cast
a provisional ballot.(129) In the end, nearly three percent
of all voters in Ohio were forced to vote provisionally(130)
-- and more than 35,000 of their ballots were ultimately rejected.(131)
VI. Long Lines
When Election Day dawned on November 2nd, tens of thousands of Ohio voters
who had managed to overcome all the obstacles to registration erected by Blackwell
discovered that it didn't matter whether they were properly listed on the voting
rolls -- because long lines at their precincts prevented them from ever making
it to the ballot box. Would-be voters in Dayton and Cincinnati routinely faced
waits as long as three hours. Those in inner-city precincts in Columbus, Cleveland
and Toledo -- which were voting for Kerry by margins of ninety percent or more
-- often waited up to seven hours. At Kenyon College, students were forced to
stand in line for eleven hours before being allowed to vote, with the last voters
casting their ballots after three in the morning.(132)
A five-month analysis of the Ohio vote conducted by the Democratic National
Committee concluded in June 2005 that three percent of all Ohio voters who showed
up to vote on Election Day were forced to leave without casting a ballot.(133)
That's more than 174,000 voters. ''The vast majority of this lost vote,'' concluded
the Conyers report, ''was concentrated in urban, minority and Democratic-leaning
areas.''(134) Statewide, African-Americans waited an average
of fifty-two minutes to vote, compared to only eighteen minutes for whites.(135)
The long lines were not only foreseeable -- they were actually created by GOP
efforts. Republicans in the state legislature, citing new electronic voting
machines that were supposed to speed voting, authorized local election boards
to reduce the number of precincts across Ohio. In most cases, the new machines
never materialized -- but that didn't stop officials in twenty of the state's
eighty-eight counties, all of them favorable to Democrats, from slashing the
number of precincts by at least twenty percent.(136)
Republican officials also created long lines by failing to distribute enough
voting machines to inner-city precincts. After the Florida disaster in 2000,
such problems with machines were supposed to be a thing of the past. Under the
Help America Vote Act, Ohio received more than $30 million in federal funds
to replace its faulty punch-card machines with more reliable systems.(137)
But on Election Day, that money was sitting in the bank. Why? Because Ken Blackwell
had applied for an extension until 2006, insisting that there was no point in
buying electronic machines that would later have to be retrofitted under Ohio
law to generate paper ballots.(138)
''No one has ever accused our secretary of state of lacking in ability,'' says
Rep. Kucinich. ''He's a rather bright fellow, and he's involved in the most
minute details of his office. There's no doubt that he knew the effect of not
having enough voting machines in some areas.''
At liberal Kenyon College, where students had registered in record numbers,
local election officials provided only two voting machines to handle the anticipated
surge of up to 1,300 voters. Meanwhile, fundamentalist students at nearby Mount
Vernon Nazarene University had one machine for 100 voters and faced no lines
at all.(139) Citing the lines at Kenyon, the Conyers report
concluded that the ''misallocation of machines went beyond urban/suburban discrepancies
to specifically target Democratic areas.''(140)
In Columbus, which had registered 125,000 new voters(141)
-- more than half of them black(142) -- the board of elections
estimated that it would need 5,000 machines to handle the huge surge.(143)
''On Election Day, the county experienced an unprecedented turnout that could
only be compared to a 500-year flood,'' says Matt Damschroder,(144)
chairman of the Franklin County Board of Elections and the former head of the
Republican Party in Columbus.(145) But instead of buying more
equipment, the Conyers investigation found, Damschroder decided to ''make do''
with 2,741 machines.(146) And to make matters worse, he favored
his own party in distributing the equipment. According to The Columbus Dispatch,
precincts that had gone seventy percent or more for Al Gore in 2000 were allocated
seventeen fewer machines in 2004, while strong GOP precincts received eight
additional machines.(147) An analysis by voter advocates found
that all but three of the thirty wards with the best voter-to-machine ratios
were in Bush strongholds; all but one of the seven with the worst ratios were
in Kerry country.(148)
The result was utterly predictable. According to an investigation by the Columbus
Free Press, white Republican suburbanites, blessed with a surplus of
machines, averaged waits of only twenty-two minutes; black urban Democrats averaged
three hours and fifteen minutes.(149) ''The allocation of voting
machines in Franklin County was clearly biased against voters in precincts with
high proportions of African-Americans,'' concluded Walter Mebane Jr., a government
professor at Cornell University who conducted a statistical analysis of the
vote in and around Columbus.(150)
By midmorning, when it became clear that voters were dropping out of line rather
than braving the wait, precincts appealed for the right to distribute paper
ballots to speed the process. Blackwell denied the request, saying it was an
invitation to fraud.(151) A lawsuit ensued, and the handwritten
affidavits submitted by voters and election officials offer a heart-rending
snapshot of an electoral catastrophe in the offing:(152)
From Columbus Precinct 44D:
''There are three voting machines at this precinct. I have been informed
that in prior elections there were normally four voting machines. At 1:45
p.m. there are approximately eighty-five voters in line. At this time, the
line to vote is approximately three hours long. This precinct is largely African-American.
I have personally witnessed voters leaving the polling place without voting
due to the length of the line.''
From Precinct 40:
''I am serving as a presiding judge, a position I have held for some 15+
years in precinct 40. In all my years of service, the lines are by far the
longest I have seen, with some waiting as long as four to five hours. I expect
the situation to only worsen as the early evening heavy turnout approaches.
I have requested additional machines since 6:40 a.m. and no assistance has
''I observed a broken voting machine that was not in use for approximately
two hours. The precinct judge was very diligent but could not get through
to the BOE.''
''At 4 p.m. the average wait time is about 4.5 hours and continuing to increase?.
Voters are continuing to leave without voting.''
As day stretched into evening, U.S. District Judge Algernon Marbley issued
a temporary restraining order requiring that voters be offered paper ballots.(153)
But it was too late: According to bipartisan estimates published in The Washington
Post, as many as 15,000 voters in Columbus had already given up and gone home.(154)
When closing time came at the polls, according to the Conyers report, some precinct
workers illegally dismissed citizens who had waited for hours in the rain --
in direct violation of Ohio law, which stipulates that those in line at closing
time are allowed to remain and vote.(155)
The voters disenfranchised by long lines were overwhelmingly Democrats. Because
of the unequal distribution of voting equipment, the median turnout in Franklin
County precincts won by Kerry was fifty-one percent, compared to sixty-one percent
in those won by Bush. Assuming sixty percent turnout under more equitable conditions,
Kerry would have gained an additional 17,000 votes in the county.(156)
In another move certain to add to the traffic jam at the polls, the GOP deployed
3,600 operatives on Election Day to challenge voters in thirty-one counties
-- most of them in predominantly black and urban areas.(157)
Although it was billed as a means to ''ensure that voters are not disenfranchised
by fraud,''(158) Republicans knew that the challengers would
inevitably create delays for eligible voters. Even Mark Weaver, the GOP's attorney
in Ohio, predicted in late October that the move would ''create chaos, longer
lines and frustration.''(159)
The day before the election, Judge Dlott attempted to halt the challengers,
ruling that ''there exists an enormous risk of chaos, delay, intimidation and
pandemonium inside the polls and in the lines out the doors.'' Dlott was also
troubled by the placement of Republican challengers: In Hamilton County, fourteen
percent of new voters in white areas would be confronted at the polls, compared
to ninety-seven percent of new voters in black areas.(160)
But when the case was appealed to the Supreme Court on Election Day, Justice
John Paul Stevens allowed the challenges to go forward. ''I have faith,'' he
ruled, ''that the elected officials and numerous election volunteers on the
ground will carry out their responsibilities in a way that will enable qualified
voters to cast their ballots.''(161)
In fact, Blackwell gave Republican challengers unprecedented access to polling
stations, where they intimidated voters, worsening delays in Democratic precincts.
By the end of the day, thanks to a whirlwind of legal wrangling, the GOP had
even gotten permission to use the discredited list of 35,000 names from its
illegal caging effort to challenge would-be voters.(162) According
to the survey by the DNC, nearly 5,000 voters across the state were turned away
at the polls because of registration challenges -- even though federal law required
that they be provided with provisional ballots.(163)
VII. Faulty Machines
Voters who managed to make it past the array of hurdles erected by Republican
officials found themselves confronted by voting machines that didn't work. Only
800,000 out of the 5.6 million votes in Ohio were cast on electronic voting
machines, but they were plagued with errors.(164) In heavily
Democratic areas around Youngstown, where nearly 100 voters reported entering
''Kerry'' on the touch screen and watching ''Bush'' light up, at least twenty
machines had to be recalibrated in the middle of the voting process for chronically
flipping Kerry votes to Bush.(165) (Similar ''vote hopping''
from Kerry to Bush was reported by voters and election officials in other states.)(166)
Elsewhere, voters complained in sworn affidavits that they touched Kerry's name
on the screen and it lit up, but that the light had gone out by the time they
finished their ballot; the Kerry vote faded away.(167) In the
state's most notorious incident, an electronic machine at a fundamentalist church
in the town of Gahanna recorded a total of 4,258 votes for Bush and 260 votes
for Kerry.(168) In that precinct, however, there were only
800 registered voters, of whom 638 showed up.(169) (The error,
which was later blamed on a glitchy memory card, was corrected before the certified
In addition to problems with electronic machines, Ohio's vote was skewed by
old-fashioned punch-card equipment that posed what even Blackwell acknowledged
was the risk of a ''Florida-like calamity.''(170) All but twenty
of the state's counties relied on antiquated machines that were virtually guaranteed
to destroy votes(171) -- many of which were counted by automatic
tabulators manufactured by Triad Governmental Systems,(172)
the same company that supplied Florida's notorious butterfly ballot in 2000.
In fact, some 95,000 ballots in Ohio recorded no vote for president at all --
most of them on punch-card machines. Even accounting for the tiny fraction of
voters in each election who decide not to cast votes for president -- generally
in the range of half a percent, according to Ohio State law professor and respected
elections scholar Dan Tokaji -- that would mean that at least 66,000 votes were
invalidated by faulty voting equipment.(173) If counted by
hand instead of by automated tabulator, the vast majority of these votes would
have been discernable. But thanks to a corrupt recount process, only one county
hand-counted its ballots.(174)
Most of the uncounted ballots occurred in Ohio's big cities. In Cleveland,
where nearly 13,000 votes were ruined, a New York Times analysis found
that black precincts suffered more than twice the rate of spoiled ballots than
white districts.(175) In Dayton, Kerry-leaning precincts had
nearly twice the number of spoiled ballots as Bush-leaning precincts.(176)
Last April, a federal court ruled that Ohio's use of punch-card balloting violated
the equal-protection rights of the citizens who voted on them.(177)
In addition to spoiling ballots, the punch-card machines also created bizarre
miscounts known as ''ballot crawl.'' In Cleveland Precinct 4F, a heavily African-American
precinct, Constitution Party candidate Michael Peroutka was credited with an
impressive forty-one percent of the vote. In Precinct 4N, where Al Gore won
ninety-eight percent of the vote in 2000, Libertarian Party candidate Michael
Badnarik was credited with thirty-three percent of the vote. Badnarik and Peroutka
also picked up a sizable portion of the vote in precincts across Cleveland --
11M, 3B, 8G, 8I, 3I.(178) ''It appears that hundreds, if not
thousands, of votes intended to be cast for Senator Kerry were recorded as being
for a third-party candidate,'' the Conyers report concludes.(179)
But it's not just third-party candidates: Ballot crawl in Cleveland also shifted
votes from Kerry to Bush. In Precinct 13B, where Bush received only six votes
in 2000, he was credited with twenty percent of the total in 2004. Same story
in 9P, where Bush recorded eighty-seven votes in 2004, compared to his grand
total of one in 2000.(180)
VIII. Rural Counties
Despite the well-documented effort that prevented hundreds of thousands of voters
in urban and minority precincts from casting ballots, the worst theft in Ohio
may have quietly taken place in rural counties. An examination of election data
suggests widespread fraud -- and even good old-fashioned stuffing of ballot
boxes -- in twelve sparsely populated counties scattered across southern and
western Ohio: Auglaize, Brown, Butler, Clermont, Darke, Highland, Mercer, Miami,
Putnam, Shelby, Van Wert and Warren. (See The Twelve Suspect Counties) One key
indicator of fraud is to look at counties where the presidential vote departs
radically from other races on the ballot. By this measure, John Kerry's numbers
were suspiciously low in each of the twelve counties -- and George Bush's were
Take the case of Ellen Connally, a Democrat who lost her race for chief justice
of the state Supreme Court. When the ballots were counted, Kerry should have
drawn far more votes than Connally -- a liberal black judge who supports gay
rights and campaigned on a shoestring budget. And that's exactly what happened
statewide: Kerry tallied 667,000 more votes for president than Connally did
for chief justice, outpolling her by a margin of thirty-two percent. Yet in
these twelve off-the-radar counties, Connally somehow managed to outperform
the best-funded Democrat in history, thumping Kerry by a grand total of 19,621
votes -- a margin of ten percent.(181) The Conyers report --
recognizing that thousands of rural Bush voters were unlikely to have backed
a gay-friendly black judge roundly rejected in Democratic precincts -- suggests
that ''thousands of votes for Senator Kerry were lost.''(182)
Kucinich, a veteran of elections in the state, puts it even more bluntly. ''Down-ticket
candidates shouldn't outperform presidential candidates like that,'' he says.
''That just doesn't happen. The question is: Where did the votes for Kerry go?''
They certainly weren't invalidated by faulty voting equipment: a trifling one
percent of presidential ballots in the twelve suspect counties were spoiled.
The more likely explanation is that they were fraudulently shifted to Bush.
Statewide, the president outpolled Thomas Moyer, the Republican judge who defeated
Connally, by twenty-one percent. Yet in the twelve questionable counties, Bush's
margin over Moyer was fifty percent -- a strong indication
that the president's certified vote total was inflated. If Kerry had maintained
his statewide margin over Connally in the twelve suspect counties, as he almost
assuredly would have done in a clean election, he would have bested her by 81,260
ballots. That's a swing of 162,520 votes from Kerry to Bush -- more than enough
to alter the outcome. (183)
''This is very strong evidence that the count is off in those counties,'' says
Freeman, the poll analyst. ''By itself, without anything else, what happened in
these twelve counties turns Ohio into a Kerry state. To me, this provides every
indication of fraud.''
How might this fraud have been carried out? One way to steal votes is to tamper
with individual ballots -- and there is evidence that Republicans did just that.
In Clermont County, where optical scanners were used to tabulate votes, sworn
affidavits by election observers given to the House Judiciary Committee describe
ballots on which marks for Kerry were covered up with white stickers, while marks
for Bush were filled in to replace them. Rep. Conyers, in a letter to the FBI,
described the testimony as ''strong evidence of vote tampering if not outright
fraud.'' (184) In Miami County, where Connally outpaced Kerry,
one precinct registered a turnout of 98.55 percent (185) -- meaning
that all but ten eligible voters went to the polls on Election Day. An investigation
by the Columbus Free Press, however, collected affidavits from twenty-five
people who swear they didn't vote. (186)
In addition to altering individual ballots, evidence suggests that Republicans
tampered with the software used to tabulate votes. In Auglaize County, where
Kerry lost not only to Connally but to two other defeated Democratic judicial
candidates, voters cast their ballots on touch-screen machines. (187)
Two weeks before the election, an employee of ES&S, the company that manufactures
the machines, was observed by a local election official making an unauthorized
log-in to the central computer used to compile election results. (188)
In Miami County, after 100 percent of precincts had already reported their official
results, an additional 18,615 votes were inexplicably added to the final tally.
The last-minute alteration awarded 12,000 of the votes to Bush, boosting his
margin of victory in the county by nearly 6,000. (189)
The most transparently crooked incident took place in Warren County. In the
leadup to the election, Blackwell had illegally sought to keep reporters and
election observers at least 100 feet away from the polls. (190)
The Sixth Circuit, ruling that the decree represented an unconstitutional violation
of the First Amendment, noted ominously that ''democracies die behind closed
doors.'' But the decision didn't stop officials in Warren County from devising
a way to count the vote in secret. Immediately after the polls closed on Election
Day, GOP officials -- citing the FBI -- declared that the county was facing
a terrorist threat that ranked ten on a scale of one to ten. The county administration
building was hastily locked down, allowing election officials to tabulate the
results without any reporters present.
In fact, there was no terrorist threat. The FBI declared that it had issued
no such warning, and an investigation by The Cincinnati Enquirer unearthed
e-mails showing that the Republican plan to declare a terrorist alert had been
in the works for eight days prior to the election. Officials had even refined
the plot down to the language they used on signs notifying the public of a lockdown.
(When ROLLING STONE requested copies of the same e-mails from the county, officials
responded that the documents have been destroyed.) (191)
The late-night secrecy in Warren County recalls a classic trick: Results are
held back until it's determined how many votes the favored candidate needs to
win, and the totals are then adjusted accordingly. When Warren County finally
announced its official results -- one of the last counties in the state to do
so (192) -- the results departed wildly from statewide patterns.
John Kerry received 2,426 fewer votes for president than Ellen Connally, the
poorly funded black judge, did for chief justice. (193) As
the Conyers report concluded, ''It is impossible to rule out the possibility
that some sort of manipulation of the tallies occurred on election night in
the locked-down facility.'' (194)
Nor does the electoral tampering appear to have been isolated to these dozen
counties. Ohio, like several other states, had an initiative on the ballot in
2004 to outlaw gay marriage. Statewide, the measure proved far more popular
than Bush, besting the president by 470,000 votes. But in six of the twelve
suspect counties -- as well as in six other small counties in central Ohio --
Bush outpolled the ban on same-sex unions by 16,132 votes. To trust the official
tally, in other words, you must believe that thousands of rural Ohioans voted
for both President Bush and gay marriage. (195)
IX. Rigging the Recount
After Kerry conceded the election, his campaign helped the Libertarian and Green
parties pay for a recount of all eighty-eight counties in Ohio. Under state
law, county boards of election were required to randomly select three percent
of their precincts and recount the ballots both by hand and by machine. If the
two totals reconciled exactly, a costly hand recount of the remaining votes
could be avoided; machines could be used to tally the rest.
But election officials in Ohio worked outside the law to avoid hand recounts.
According to charges brought by a special prosecutor in April, election officials
in Cleveland fraudulently and secretly pre-counted precincts
by hand to identify ones that would match the machine count. They then used
these pre-screened precincts to select the ''random'' sample of three percent
used for the recount.
''If it didn't balance, they excluded those precincts,'' said the prosecutor,
Kevin Baxter, who has filed felony indictments against three election workers
in Cleveland. ''They screwed with the process and increased the probability,
if not the certainty, that there would not be a full, countywide hand count.''
Voting machines were also tinkered with prior to the recount. In Hocking County,
deputy elections director Sherole Eaton caught an employee of Triad -- which
provided the software used to count punch-card ballots in nearly half of Ohio's
counties (197) -- making unauthorized modifications to the
tabulating computer before the recount. Eaton told the Conyers committee that
the same employee also provided county officials with a ''cheat sheet'' so that
''the count would come out perfect and we wouldn't have to do a full hand-recount
of the county.'' (198) After Eaton blew the whistle on the
illegal tampering, she was fired.
(199) The same Triad employee was dispatched to do the same
work in at least five other counties. (200) Company president
Tod Rapp -- who contributed to Bush's campaign (201) -- has
confirmed that Triad routinely makes such tabulator adjustments to help election
officials avoid hand recounts. In the end, every county serviced by Triad failed
to conduct full recounts by hand. (202)
Even more troubling, in at least two counties, Fulton and Henry, Triad was
able to connect to tabulating computers remotely via a dial-up connection, and
reprogram them to recount only the presidential ballots. (203)
If that kind of remote tabulator modification is possible for the purposes of
the recount, it's no great leap to wonder if such modifications might have helped
skew the original vote count. But the window for settling such questions is
closing rapidly: On November 2nd of this year, on the second anniversary of
the election, state officials will be permitted under Ohio law to shred all
ballots from the 2004 election. (204)
X. What's At Stake
The mounting evidence that Republicans employed broad, methodical and illegal
tactics in the 2004 election should raise serious alarms among news organizations.
But instead of investigating allegations of wrongdoing, the press has simply
accepted the result as valid. ''We're in a terrible fix,'' Rep. Conyers told
me. ''We've got a media that uses its bullhorn in reverse -- to turn down the
volume on this outrage rather than turning it up. That's why our citizens are
not up in arms.''
The lone news anchor who seriously questioned the integrity of the 2004 election
was Keith Olbermann of MSNBC. I asked him why he stood against the tide. ''I
was a sports reporter, so I was used to dealing with numbers,'' he said. ''And
the numbers made no sense. Kerry had an insurmountable lead in the exit polls
on Election Night -- and then everything flipped.'' Olbermann believes that
his journalistic colleagues fell down on the job. ''I was stunned by the lack
of interest by investigative reporters,'' he said. ''The Republicans shut down
Warren County, allegedly for national security purposes -- and no one covered
it. Shouldn't someone have sent a camera and a few reporters out there?''
Olbermann attributes the lack of coverage to self-censorship by journalists.
''You can rock the boat, but you can never say that the entire ocean is in trouble,''
he said. ''You cannot say: By the way, there's something wrong with our electoral
Federal officials charged with safeguarding the vote have also failed to contest
the election. ''Congress hasn't investigated this at all,'' says Kucinich. ''There
has been no oversight over our nation's most basic right: the right to vote.
How can we call ourselves a beacon of democracy abroad when the right to vote
hasn't been secured in free and fair elections at home?''
Sen. John Kerry -- in a wide-ranging discussion of ROLLING STONE's investigation
-- expressed concern about Republican tactics in 2004, but stopped short of
saying the election was stolen. ''Can I draw a conclusion that they played tough
games and clearly had an intent to reduce the level of our vote? Yes, absolutely.
Can I tell you to a certainty that it made the difference in the election? I
can't. There's no way for me to do that. If I could have done that, then obviously
I would have found some legal recourse.''
Kerry conceded, however, that the widespread irregularities make it impossible
to know for certain that the outcome reflected the will of the voters. ''I think
there are clearly states where it is questionable whether everybody's vote is
being counted, whether everybody is being given the opportunity to register
and to vote,'' he said. ''There are clearly barriers in too many places to the
ability of people to exercise their full franchise. For that to be happening
in the United States of America today is disgraceful.''
Kerry's comments were echoed by Howard Dean, the chairman of the Democratic
National Committee. ''I'm not confident that the election in Ohio was fairly
decided,'' Dean says. ''We know that there was substantial voter suppression,
and the machines were not reliable. It should not be a surprise that the Republicans
are willing to do things that are unethical to manipulate elections. That's
what we suspect has happened, and we'd like to safeguard our elections so that
democracy can still be counted on to work.''
To help prevent a repeat of 2004, Kerry has co-sponsored a package of election
reforms called the Count Every Vote Act. The measure would increase turnout
by allowing voters to register at the polls on Election Day, provide provisional
ballots to voters who inadvertently show up at the wrong precinct, require electronic
voting machines to produce paper receipts verified by voters, and force election
officials like Blackwell to step down if they want to join a campaign. (205)
But Kerry says his fellow Democrats have been reluctant to push the reforms,
fearing that Republicans would use their majority in Congress to create even
more obstacles to voting. ''The real reason there is no appetite up here is
that people are afraid the Republicans will amend HAVA and shove something far
worse down our throats,'' he told me.
On May 24th, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) tried unsuccessfully to amend the
immigration bill to bar anyone who lacks a government-issued photo ID from voting
(206) -- a rule that would disenfranchise at least six percent
of Americans, the majority of them urban and poor, who lack such identification.
(207) The GOP-controlled state legislature in Indiana passed
a similar measure, and an ID rule in Georgia was recently struck down as unconstitutional.
''Why erect those kinds of hurdles unless you're afraid of voters?'' asks Ralph
Neas, director of People for the American Way. ''The country will be better
off if everyone votes -- Democrats and Republicans. But that is not the Blackwell
philosophy, that is not the George W. Bush or Jeb Bush philosophy. They want
to limit the franchise and go to extraordinary lengths to make it more difficult
The issue of what happened in 2004 is not an academic one. For the second election
in a row, the president of the United States was selected not by the uncontested
will of the people but under a cloud of dirty tricks. Given the scope of the
GOP machinations, we simply cannot be certain that the right man now occupies
the Oval Office -- which means, in effect, that we have been deprived of our
faith in democracy itself.
American history is littered with vote fraud -- but rather than learning from
our shameful past and cleaning up the system, we have allowed the problem to
grow even worse. If the last two elections have taught us anything, it is this:
The single greatest threat to our democracy is the insecurity of our voting
system. If people lose faith that their votes are accurately and faithfully
recorded, they will abandon the ballot box. Nothing less is at stake here than
the entire idea of a government by the people.
Voting, as Thomas Paine said, ''is the right upon which all other rights depend.''
Unless we ensure that right, everything else we hold dear is in jeopardy.
For more, see exclusive documents, sources, charts and commentary.
1) Manual Roig-Franzia and Dan Keating, ''Latest Conspiracy
Kerry Won -- Hits the Ether,'' The Washington Post, November 11, 2004. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A41106-2004Nov10.html
2) The New York Times Editorial Desk, ''About Those Election
The New York Times, November 14, 2004. http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F70615FA3C5B0C778
3) United States Department of Defense, ''Defense Department
Briefing on Federal Voting Assistance Program,'' August 6, 2004. http://www.defenselink.mil/transcripts/2004/tr20040806-1502.html
4) Overseas Vote Foundation, ''2004 Post Election Survey Results,''
June 2005, page 11. http://www.overseasvotefoundation.org/downloads/surveys/ovf
5) Jennifer Joan Lee, ''Pentagon Blocks Site for Voters Outside
U.S.,'' International Herald Tribune, September 20, 2004.
6) Meg Landers, ''Librarian Bares Possible Voter Registration
Dodge,'' Mail Tribune (Jackson County, OR), September 21, 2004. http://www.mailtribune.com/archive/2004/0921/local/stories/02local.htm
7) Mark Brunswick and Pat Doyle, ''Voter Registration; 3 former
Firm paid pro-Bush bonuses; One said he was told his job was to bring
back cards for GOP voters,'' Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN), October 27, 2004.
8) Federal Election Commission, Federal Elections 2004: Election
Results for the U.S. President. http://www.fec.gov/pubrec/fe2004/2004pres.pdf
9) Ellen Theisen and Warren Stewart, Summary Report on New
Mexico State Election Data, January 4, 2005, pg. 2. http://www.democracyfornewmexico.com/democracy_for_new_mexico/files/NewMexico
James W. Bronsan, ''In 2004, New Mexico Worst at Counting Votes,'' Scripps
Howard News Service, December 22, 2004.
10) ''A Summary of the 2004 Election Day Survey; How We Voted:
People, Ballots & Polling Places; A Report to the American People by the
United States Election Assistance Commission,'' September 2005, pg. 10. http://www.eac.gov/election_survey_2004/pdf/EDS%20exec.%20summary.pdf
11) Facts mentioned in this paragraph are subsequently cited
throughout the story.
12) See ''Ohio?s Missing Votes.''
13) Federal Election Commission, Federal Elections 2004: Election
Results for the U.S. President. http://www.fec.gov/pubrec/fe2004/2004pres.pdf
14) Democratic National Committee, Voting Rights Institute,
"Democracy at Risk: The 2004 Election in Ohio," June 22, 2005. Page
15) See ''VIII. Rural Counties.''
16) Evaluation of Edison/Mitofsky Election System 2004 prepared
by Edison Media Research and Mitofksy International for the National Election
Pool (NEP), January 19, 2005, Page 3 http://www.exit-poll.net/election-night/EvaluationJan192005.pdf
17) This refers to data for German national elections in 1994,
1998 and 2002, previously cited by Steven F. Freeman.
18) Dick Morris, "Those Faulty Exit Polls Were Sabotage,"
The Hill, November 4, 2004. http://www.hillnews.com/morris/110404.aspx
19) Martin Plissner, "Exit Polls to Protect the Vote,"
The New York Times, October 17, 2004.
20) Matt Kelley, "U.S. Money has Helped Opposition in
Ukraine," Associated Press, December 11, 2004. http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20041211/news_1n11usaid.html
Daniel Williams, "Court Rejects Ukraine Vote; Justices Cite Massive Fraud
in Runoff, Set New Election," The Washington Post, December 4, 2004.
21) Steve Freeman and Joel Bleifuss, "Was the 2004 Presidential
Election Stolen? Exit Polls, Election Fraud, and the Official Count," Seven
Stories Press, July 2006, Page 102.
22) Evaluation of Edison/Mitofsky Election System 2004; prepared
by Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International for the National Election
Pool (NEP), January 19, 2005, Page 3. http://www.exit-poll.net/election-night/EvaluationJan192005.pdf
23) Mitofsky International Web site. http://www.mitofskyinternational.com/company.htm
24) Tim Golden, "Election Near, Mexicans Question the
Questioners," The New York Times, August 10, 1994.
25) Evaluation of Edison/Mitofsky Election System 2004; prepared
by Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International for the National Election
Pool (NEP), January 19, 2005, Page 59.
26) Jonathan D. Simon, J.D., and Ron P. Baiman, Ph.D., "The
2004 Presidential Election: Who Won the Popular Vote? An Examination of the
Comparative Validity of Exit Poll and Vote Count Data." FreePress.org,
December 29, 2004, P. 9 http://freepress.org/images/departments/PopularVotePaper181_1.pdf
27) Analysis by Steven F. Freeman.
28) Freeman and Bleifuss, pg. 134
29) Jim Rutenberg, ''Report Says Problems Led to Skewing Survey
Data,'' The New York Times, November 5, 2004.
30) Freeman and Bleifuss, pg. 134
31) Analysis of the 2004 Presidential Election Exit Poll Discrepancies.
U.S. Count Votes. Baiman R, et al. March 31, 2005. Page 3. http://www.electionarchive.org/ucvAnalysis/US/Exit_Polls_2004_Edison-Mitofsky.pdf
32) Notes From Campaign Trail, Fox News Network, Live Event,
8:00 p.m. EST, November 2, 2004.
33) Freeman and Bleifuss, pg. 101-102
34) Evaluation of Edison/Mitofsky Election System 2004; prepared
by Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International for the National Election
Pool (NEP), January 19, 2005, Page 4.
35) Freeman and Bleifuss, pg. 120.
36) Interview with John Zogby
37) Evaluation of Edison/Mitofsky Election System 2004; prepared
by Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International for the National Election
Pool (NEP), January 19, 2005, Page 4.
38) Freeman and Bleifuss, pg. 128.
39) Freeman and Bleifuss, pg. 130.
40) "The Gun is Smoking: 2004 Ohio Precinct-level Exit
Poll Data Show Virtually Irrefutable Evidence of Vote Miscount," U.S. Count
Votes, National Election Data Archive, January 23, 2006. http://uscountvotes.org/ucvAnalysis/OH/Ohio-Exit-Polls-2004.pdf
41) ''The Gun is Smoking,'' pg. 16.
42) The Washington Post, "Charting the Campaign: Top
Five Most Visited States," November 2, 2004. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/elections/2004/charting.html
43) John McCarthy, "Nearly a Month Later, Ohio Fight
Goes On," Associated Press Online, November 30, 2004.
44) Ohio Revised Code, 3501.04, Chief Election Officer http://onlinedocs.andersonpublishing.com/oh/lpExt.dll?f=templates&fn=main-h.htm&cp=PORC
45) Joe Hallett, ''Blackwell Joins GOP?s Spin Team,'' The
Columbus Dispatch, November 30, 2004.
46) Gary Fineout, ''Records Indicate Harris on Defense,''
Ledger (Lakeland, Florida), November 18, 2000.
48) Joe Hallett, ''Governor; Aggressive First Round Culminates
Tuesday,'' Columbus Dispatch, April 30, 2006. http://www.dispatch.com/extra/extra.php?story=dispatch/2006/04/30/20060430-B1-02.html
49) Sandy Theis, ''Blackwell Accused of Breaking Law by Pushing
Same-Sex Marriage Ban,'' Plain Dealer (Cleveland, OH), October 29, 2004.
50) Raw Story, "Republican Ohio Secretary of State Boasts
About Delivering Ohio to Bush." http://rawstory.rawprint.com/105/blackwell_campaign_letter2_105.php
51) In the United States District Court For the Northern District
of Ohio Northern Division, The Sandusky County Democratic Party et al. v. J.
Kenneth Blackwell, Case No. 3:04CV7582, Page 8. http://electionlawblog.org/archives/10-20%20Order.pdf
52) Preserving Democracy: What Went Wrong in Ohio, Status
Report of the House Judiciary Committee Democratic Staff (Rep. John Conyers,
Jr.), January 5, 2005. http://www.house.gov/judiciary_democrats/ohiostatusrept1505.pdf
53) Preserving Democracy, pg. 8.
54) Preserving Democracy, pg. 4.
55) The board of elections in Cuyahoga, Franklin and Hamilton
56) Analysis by Richard Hayes Phillips, a voting rights advocate.
57) Fritz Wenzel, ''Purging of Rolls, Confusion Anger Voters;
41% of Nov. 2 Provisional Ballots Axed in Lucas County,'' Toledo Blade, January
9, 2005. http://toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050109/NEWS09/501090334&
58) Analysis by Hayes Phillips.
59) Cuyahoga County Board of Elections
60) Preserving Democracy, pg. 6.
61) Ford Fessenden, ''A Big Increase of New Voters in Swing
States,'' The New York Times, September 26, 2004. http://www.nytimes.com/2004/09/26/politics/campaign/26vote.html?ex=1254024000&en
62) Ralph Z. Hallow, ''Republicans Go ?Under the Radar? in
Rural Ohio,'' The Washington Times, October 28, 2004. http://washtimes.com/national/20041027-115211-1609r.htm
63) Jo Becker, ''GOP Challenging Voter Registrations,'' The
Washington Post, October 29, 2004. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A7422-2004Oct28.html
64) Janet Babin, ''Voter Registrations Challenged in Ohio,''
NPR, All Things Considered, October 28, 2004.
65) In the United States District Court for the Southern District
of Ohio, Western Division, Amy Miller et al. v. J. Kenneth Blackwell, Case no.
C-1-04-735, Page 2. http://fl1.findlaw.com/news.findlaw.com/hdocs/docs/election2004/mlrblackwell102704ord.pdf
66) Sandy Theis, "Fraud-Busters Busted; GOP?s Blanket
Challenge Backfires in a Big Way," Plain Dealer, October 31, 2004.
67) Daniel Tokaji, "Early Returns on Election Reform,"
George Washington Law Review, Vol. 74, 2005, page 1235
68) Sandy Theis, "Fraud-Busters Busted; GOP?s Blanket
Challenge Backfires in a Big Way," Plain Dealer, October 31, 2004.
69) Andrew Welsh-Huggins, ''Out of Country, Off Beaten Path;
Reason for Voting Challenges Vary,'' Plain Dealer (Cleveland, OH), October 27,
70) Ohio Revised Code; 3505.19
71) Directive No. 2004-44 from J. Kenneth Blackwell, Ohio
Sec?y of State, to All County Boards of Elections Members, Directors, and Deputy
Directors 1 (Oct. 26, 2004).
72) Fritz Wenzel, ''Challenges Filed Against 931 Lucas County
Voters,'' Toledo Blade, October 27, 2004. http://www.toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20041027/NEWS09/410270361/-1/NEWS
73) In the United States District Court for the Southern District
of Ohio, Western Division, Amy Miller et al. v. J. Kenneth Blackwell, Case no.
C-1-04-735, Page 4. http://news.corporatecounselcentre.ca/hdocs/docs/election2004/mlrblackwell102704ord.pdf
74) LaRaye Brown, ''Elections Board Plans Hearing For Challenges,''
The News Messenger, October 26, 2004.
75) LaRaye Brown, ''Elections Board Plans Hearing For Challenges,''
The News Messenger, October 26, 2004.
76) Miller v. Blackwell, (S.D. Ohio), (6th Cir. 2004) http://news.corporatecounselcentre.ca/hdocs/docs/election2004/mlrblackwell102704ord.pdf
77) James Drew and Steve Eder, ''Court Rejects GOP Voter Challenge;
Some Counties Hold Hearings Anyhow; 200 Voters Turned Away,'' Toledo Blade,
October 30, 2004. http://www.toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20041030/NEWS09/410300450/-1/NEWS
78) United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit,
Republican National Committee v. Democratic National Committee, No. 04-4186
79) United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit,
Republican National Committee v. Democratic National Committee, No. 04-4186
80) Kate Zernike and William Yardley, ''Charges of Dirty Tricks,
Fraud and Voter Suppression Already Flying in Several States,'' The New York
Times, November 1, 2004.
Greg Palast, "New Florida Vote Scandal Feared," BBC News, October
81) Kate Zernike and William Yardley, ''Charges of Dirty Tricks,
Fraud and Voter Suppression Already Flying in Several States,'' The New York
Times, November 1, 2004.
82) Greg J. Borowski, ''GOP Demands IDs of 37,000 in City,''
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, October 30, 2004. http://www2.jsonline.com:80/news/metro/oct04/271173.asp
83) "The Disenfranchisement of the Re-Enfranchised; How
Confusion Over Felon Voter Eligibility in Ohio Keeps Qualified Ex-Offender Voters
From the Polls," Prison Reform Advocacy Center, Cincinnati, Ohio, August
84) Preserving Democracy, 64.
Note: Additional reporting contributed to this paragraph.
85) Gardner Selby, ''Hundreds of Texans Ride Bandwagons Around
U.S.; Volunteers Say Election is Too Important Not to Hit the Campaign Trail,''
San Antonio Express-News (Texas), October 15, 2004.
86) ''Down to the Wire,'' Newsweek, November 15, 2004.
87) Lynda Gorov and Anne E. Kornblut, ''Gore to Challenge
Results; No Plans to Concede; top Fla. Court refuses to order resumption of
Miami-Dade County,'' The Boston Globe, November 24, 2000. http://graphics.boston.com/news/politics/campaign2000/news/Gore_to_challenge
88) Al Kamen, "Miami ?Riot? Squad: Where are they Now?"
Washington Post, January 24, 2005. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A31074-2005Jan23.html
89) Al Kamen, "Walking the Talk," Washington Post,
April 21, 2006. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/04/20/AR2006042002067.html
90) Secretary of State Directive, No. 2004-31, Section II,
September 7, 2004.
91) Tokaji, pg. 1227 and
92) Jim Bebbington and Laura Bischoff, ''Blackwell Rulings
Rile Voting Advocates,'' Dayton Daily News.
93) Congress of the United States House of Representatives,
Committee on the Judiciary, letter from Conyers to Blackwell. http://www.house.gov/judiciary_democrats/ohblackwellfollowupltr12304.pdf
94) Catherine Candisky, ''Secretary of State Lifts Order on
Voting Forms; Lighter Paper Now Deemed Acceptable for Registration,'' Columbus
Dispatch, September 30, 2004.
95) Analyses of Voter Disqualification, Cuyahoga County, Ohio,
November 2004, Greater Cleveland Voter Registration Coalition, updated May 9,
2006, page 14. http://www.clevelandvotes.org/news/reports/Analyses_Full_Report.pdf
96) Analyses of Voter Disqualification, page 5.
97) Analyses of Voter Disqualification, page. 1.
98) Lucas County Board of Elections -- Results of Investigation
Following November 2004 General Election, April 5, 2005, Richard Weghorst and
Faith Lyon. http://www.sos.state.oh.us/sos/electionsvoter/lucas/LucasCountyInvestigationReport.pdf
99) "Feds Confirm Investigation of GOP Campaign Contributor,"
The Associated Press State & Local Wire, April 28, 2005.
100) Mark Naymik, ''Coin Dealer Raised Chunk of Change for
Bush,'' Plain Dealer, August 7, 2005.
101) Christopher D. Kirkpatrick, "Noe Indicted for Laundering
Money to Bush Campaign," Toledo Blade, October 27, 2005. http://www.toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20051027/
Mike Wilkinson and James Drew, "Grand Jury Charges Noe with 53 Felony
Counts," Toledo Blade, February 13, 2006. http://www.toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060213/
102) Lucas County Report, pg. 2.
103) Lucas County Report, pg. 9.
104) Lucas County Report, pg. 10.
105) Lucas County Report, pages 9-10.
106) Lucas County Report, pg. 9.
107) Lucas County Report, pg. 9.
108) Lucas County Report, pg. 18.
109) Lucas County Report, pages 18-19.
110) Lucas County Report, pg. 19.
111) Lucas County Report, pages 4, 6.
112) Lucas County Report, pg. 6.
113) "Remarks by the President at Victory 2004 Rally,"
Seagate Convention Centre, Toledo, Ohio, October 29, 2004, The White House.
note: Bernadette and Tom Noe?s last name is incorrectly spelled "Noy"
in the official White House transcript.
114) Help America Vote Act, Title III, Uniform and Nondiscriminatory
Election Technology and Administration Requirements, Subtitle A Requirements,
Section 302. http://www.fec.gov/hava/law_ext.txt
115) Directive No. 2004-33 from J. Kenneth Blackwell, Ohio
Sec?y of State, to All County Boards of Elections 1 (Sept. 16, 2004.).
116) In the United States District Court for the Northern
District of Ohio, Western Division, The Sandusky County Democratic Party v.
J. Kenneth Blackwell, Case No. 3:04CV7582, Page 8. http://electionlawblog.org/archives/10-20%20Order.pdf
117) Gregory Korte and Jim Siegel, ''Defiant Blackwell Rips
Judge; Secretary Says He?d go to Jail Before Rewriting Ballot Memo,'' Cincinnati
Enquirer, October 22, 2004. http://www.enquirer.com/editions/2004/10/22/loc_blackwell22.html
118) Sandusky County Democratic Party v. Blackwell, (N.D.
Ohio), (6th Cir. 2004).And
And Tokaji, pg. 1229
119)Tokaji, pg. 1231
120) ''Judge, Blackwell, Spar Over Provisional Ballots,''
The Associated Press, October 20, 2004.
121) In the United States District Court for the Northern
District of Ohio Western Division, The League of Women Voters of Ohio, et al.
v. J. Kenneth Blackwell, Case No. 3:04 CV 7622 http://www.moritzlaw.osu.edu/electionlaw/docs/lowv/doc15a.pdf
122) David G. Savage, Richard B. Schmitt, "Bush Seeks
Limit to Suits Over Voting Rights," Los Angeles Times, October 29, 2004.
123) Judge Julia Smith Gibbons August 2, 2002
Judge John M. Rogers November 27, 2002
Judge Jeffrey S. Sutton May 5, 2003
Judge Deborah L. Cook May 7, 2003
124) Darrell Rowland and Lee Leonard, "Federal Agency
Distances Itself from Ohio Official; Blackwell Says Their Provisional-Balloting
Positions are the Same," Columbus Dispatch (Ohio), October 20, 2004.
125) David S. Bernstein, "Questioning Ohio," Providence
Phoenix, November 12 -18, 2004. http://www.providencephoenix.com/features/other_stories/multi_1/documents/04259695.asp
126) Norma Robbins, ''Facts to Ponder About the 2004 General
Election,'' May 10, 2006. http://www.clevelandvotes.org/news/reports/Facts_to_Ponder.pdf
127) Fritz Wenzel, "Purging of Rolls, Confusion Anger
Voters; 41% of November 2nd Provisional Ballots Axed in Lucas County,"
Toledo Blade, January 9, 2005. http://toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050109/NEWS09/501090334/-1/NEWS
128) Interview with Stephanie Tubbs Jones
129) Democratic National Committee, Voting Rights Institute,
"Democracy at Risk: The 2004 Election in Ohio," June 22, 2005. Page
130) Democracy at Risk, pg. 5.
131) Ohio Secretary of State Web site, Provisional Ballots;
Official Tabulation, November 2, 2004. http://www.sos.state.oh.us/sos/ElectionsVoter/results2004.aspx?Section=148
132) Michael Powell and Peter Slevin, "Several Factors
Contributed to ?Lost? Voters in Ohio," Washington Post, December 15, 2004.
Christopher Hitchens, "Ohio?s Odd Numbers," Vanity Fair. http://www.vanityfair.com/commentary/content/printables/050214roco05?print=true
Additional analysis by Bob Fitrakis, editor of the Columbus Free Press, and
Richard Hayes Phillips.
133) Democracy at Risk, pg. 3.
134) Preserving Democracy, pg. 29.
135) Democracy at Risk, pg. 5.
136) Bernstein, Providence Phoenix
137) U.S. Election Assistance Comm'n, Funding for States,
http://www.eac.gov/early_money.asp and Tokaji, pg. 1222.
138) ''The Battle Over Voting Technology,'' PBS, Online NewsHour,
December 16, 2003. http://www.pbs.org/newshour/vote2004/primaries/sr_technology_debate.html
Paul Festa, ''States Scrutinize e-Voting as Primaries Near,'' CNET News.com,
December 8, 2003. http://news.com.com/States+scrutinize+e-voting+as+primaries+near/2100-1028_3-5114062.html
139) Preserving Democracy, pg. 27.
140) Preserving Democracy, pg. 30.
141) Matt Damschroder, chairman of Franklin County Board of
Elections. 142) Preserving Democracy, pg. 26. 143) Michael Powell and Peter
Slevin, "Several Factors Contributed to 'Lost' Voters in Ohio," Washington
Post, December 15, 2004. http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A64737-2004Dec14?language=printer
144) Correspondence with Matt Damschroder.
145) Suzanne Hoholik and Mark Ferenchik, "GOP Council
Hopes Rising; Party expects ruling on peititions will put its candidate on ballot,"
Columbus Dispatch, March 26, 2003.
146) Preserving Democracy, pg. 25.
147) Mark Niquette, "GOP Strongholds Saw Increase in
Voting Machines," Columbus Dispatch, December 12, 2004. http://www.dispatch.com/news-story.php?story=dispatch/2004/12/12/20041212-A1-03.html&rfr=nwsl
148) Michael Powell and Peter Slevin, "Several Factors
Contributed to 'Lost' Voters in Ohio," Washington Post, December 15, 2004.
149) Columbus Free Press editor, Bob Fitrakis.
150) "Voting Machine Allocation in Franklin County, Ohio,
2004: Response to the U.S. Department of Justice Letter of June 29, 2005,"
Walter R. Mebane, Jr., February 11, 2006, Page 13. http://macht.arts.cornell.edu/wrm1/franklin2.pdf
151) Tokaji, pg. 1238.
Ohio Democratic Party v. Blackwell, No. C2 04 1055, (S.D. Ohio Nov. 2, 2004).
152) Ohio Democratic Party v. Blackwell, No. C2 04 1055, (S.D.
Ohio Nov. 2, 2004). http://moritzlaw.osu.edu/electionlaw/docs/ohio/041102LongLinecomplaint.pdf
153) Ohio Democratic Party v. Blackwell, No. C2 04 1055, slip
op. At 1 (S.D. Ohio Nov. 2, 2004). http://moritzlaw.osu.edu/electionlaw/docs/ohio/041102LongLineOrder.pdf
154) Washington Post, "Several Factors Contributed to
'Lost' Voters in Ohio," Michael Powell and Peter Slevin, December 15, 2004.
155) Preserving Democracy, pg. 25.
156) Affidavit of Richard Hayes Phillips, December 10, 2004.
157) Mark Niquette, "Finally, It's Time to Vote; U.S.
Appeals Court Overturns Ban, Allows Challengers Back in Polling Sites,"
Columbus Dispatch (Ohio), November 2, 2004.
158) In the United States District Court for the Southern
District of Ohio, Western Division, Marian A. Spencer, et. al., v. J. Kenneth
Blackwell, Case no. C-1-04-738, page 3. http://www.ohsd.uscourts.gov/pdf/Spencer.65.ord.pdf
159) James Dao, "The 2004 Campaign: Ohio, G.O.P. Bid
to Contest Registrations is Blocked," The New York Times, October 28, 2004.
160) Marian A. Spencer, et. al., v. J. Kenneth Blackwell;
In the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, Western
Division; Case no. C-1-04-738. http://www.ohsd.uscourts.gov/pdf/Spencer.65.ord.pdf
161) Dan Horn, Howard Wilkinson, and Cindi Andrews, "Supreme
Court Justice Allows Challengers," Cincinnati Enquirer. http://www.enquirer.com/midday/11/11032004_News_mday_challengers03.html
162) Tokaji, pages 1237-1238.
163) Democracy at Risk, pg. 20.
164) The Columbus Free Press.
165) "Errors Plague Voting Process in Ohio, Pa."
The Vindicator, November 3, 2004, Vindicator Staff Report http://www.vindy.com/basic/news/281829446390855.php
166) Voters Unite catalogues news reports from around the
country that give examples of dysfunctional voting machines, among other election
167) The Columbus Free Press.
168) Jim Woods, "In One Precinct, Bush's Tally was Supersized
by a Computer Glitch," Columbus Dispatch (Ohio), November 5, 2004.
169) Hitchens, Vanity Fair.
170) Letter from J. Kenneth Blackwell, Ohio Secretary of State,
to Doug White, President, Ohio Senate 3 (Feb. 26, 2004).
171) Sixty-eight counties used punch card ballots. Thirteen
used optical scan machines. Seven used touch-screen technology.
172) Malia Rulon, "Congressman Calls For FBI Investigation
Into Ohio Election," The Associated Press State & Local Wire, December
173) Tokaji, Page 1221.
174) Jim Konkoly, ''Volunteers Complete Local Recount,'' Coshocton
Tribune, December 18, 2004.
175) New York Times, "Voting Problems in Ohio Spur Call
for Overhaul," James Dao, Ford Fessenden, December 24, 2004. http://www.nytimes.com/2004/12/24/national/24vote.html?ex=1261544400&en=0e0adbe08ff
176) Ken McCall and Jim Bebbington, ''Two Precincts had High
Undercounts, Analysis Shows,''Dayton Daily News, November 18, 2004.
177) Lisa A. Abraham, "Punch-Card Voting is Illegal,"
Akron Beacon Journal, April 22, 2006. http://www.ohio.com/mld/ohio/news/14404305.htm?template=contentModules/printstory.jsp
178) Analysis by Hayes Phillips.
179) Preserving Democracy, pg. 57.
180) Analysis by Hayes Phillips.
181) Analysis completed by using official tallies on the Ohio
Secretary of State Web site.
Official tallies for Kerry:
Official tallies for Connally:
182) Preserving Democracy, pg. 55.
183. Analysis conducted through official vote tallies posted
on Ohio Secretary of State Web site.
184. Letter from Rep. John Conyers to Chris Swecker, assistant
director of the Criminal Investigative Division at the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
See attached affidavits.
185. Miami County Board of Elections.
186. Confirmed by Bob Fitrakis of the Free Press
187. Analysis conducted through official vote tallies posted
on Ohio Secretary of State Web site.
188. Erin Miller, "Board Awaits State Follow Up,"
The Evening Leader.
189. "Preserving Democracy," pages 58-59.
190. The Associated Press, "News Groups Sue Ohio Elections
Chief Over Poll Access," Associated Press, November 2, 2004.
Mark Crispin Miller, "None Dare Call It Stolen," Harper's, August
191. Incidents in Warren County were catalogued in a series
of articles by the Cincinnati Enquirer:
Erica Solving, "No Changes in Final Warren Co. Vote Count; E-mails Released
Monday Show Lockdown Pre-planned," Cincinnati Enquirer, November 16, 2004.
Erica Solving, "Warren's Vote Tally Walled Off; Alone in Ohio, Officials
Cited Homeland Security," Cincinnati Enquirer, November 5, 2004.
Erica Solvig and Dan Horn, "Warren Co. Defends Lockdown Decision; FBI
denies warning officials of any special threat," Cincinnati Enquirer, November
Erica Solvig, "Warren Co. Recount Goes Public; After Election Night lockdown,
security eases up," Cincinnati Enquirer, December 15, 2004.
192. Erica Solvig, "Warren's Vote Tally Walled Off; Alone
in Ohio, Officials Cited Homeland Security," Cincinnati Enquirer, November
193. Analysis conducted through official vote tallies posted
on the Ohio Secretary of State Web site.
194. "Preserving Democracy," pg. 52.
195. Analysis conducted through official vote tallies posted
on the Ohio Secretary of State Web site.
196. Joan Mazzolini, "Workers Accused of Fudging '04
Recount; Prosecutor Says Cuyahoga Skirted Rules," The Plain Dealer, April
197. Malia Rulon, "Congressman Calls for FBI Investigation
Into Ohio election," The Associated Press, December 15, 2004.
198. Affidavit, December 13, 2004, Sherole Eaton, Re: General
Election 2004, Hocking County.
199. Jon Craig, "'04 Election in Hocking County; Worker
Who Questioned Recount is Asked to Quit," Columbus Dispatch (Ohio), June
200. "Preserving Democracy," pg. 81.
202. "Preserving Democracy," pg. 82.
203. "Preserving Democracy," pg. 83.
204. Ohio Secretary of State's press office.
205. Count Every Vote Act of 2005
206. Dena Bunis, "Senate Limits Immigration Debate,"
The Orange County Register, May 24, 2006.
207. Tokaji's blog, Election Law at Moritz, "McConnell's
Voter ID Amendment," May 22, 2006.
208. United States District Court Northern District of Georgia,
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