Thursday, November 25, 2004

Ohio, Ukraine

From The Free Press:

How a Republican election supervisor manipulated the 2004 central Ohio vote, in black and white
by Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman
November 23, 2004

The Republican head of the Board of Elections in Franklin County, Ohio, manipulated the supply of voting machines on November 2, denying thousands of likely Democrats the right to cast their votes in a fair and timely manner.

As indicated in the sworn testimony below, offered here for the first time, the election was engineered to make voting as difficult as possible for inner city residents, and to drive away those who could not afford to stay away from work or families, or whose health made it imprudent or impossible to endure the long, cold, wet lines.

Amidst one of the hottest presidential elections in US history, voters in Columbus, capitol of Franklin County and of Ohio, faced 35 separate ballot choices. Eleven were extensively worded Issue questions. For Columbus voters, it was one of the longest ballots in history. Yet in many inner city precincts, the Republican-run Board of Elections demanded voters cast their ballots within five minutes after waiting in many cases more than three hours.

In addition to deciding whether George W. Bush would get another term in the White House, inner city voters faced Issue One, amending the Ohio Constitution to ban gay marriage and other forms of civil union. They also had to read through eight infrastructure bond issues, a zoo levy and a school levy.

The man running the show in Franklin County was Board of Elections Director Matt Damschroder, former head of the county's Republican Party. Damschroder now admits that at least 77 of his machines (out of 2866) malfunctioned on Election Day. The most infamous has been the machine in Gahanna Ward One-B that registered 4258 for George W. Bush in a precinct where only 638 people voted.

Damschroder's official records also show that while desperate poll workers called his office throughout the day, at least 125 machines were held back at the opening of the polls and an additional 68 were never deployed. Thus while thousands of inner city voters stood in the rain, were told their cars would be towed, and were then forced to vote in five minutes or less, Damschroder sat on machines that could have significantly sped the process.

Put another way: if voters took ten seconds each to read and push the button for the 24 candidates on the ballot, it would take four minutes, leaving one minute to wade through long paragraphs describing eleven Issues, including one of the most complex and controversial amendments ever offered to the Ohio Constitution.

Census data indicates that the suburban areas have higher levels of literacy and educational achievement. This suggests that in a fairly administered election, there should have been more machines in the central city to avoid rushing voters through the ballot after a 2-7 hour wait in line, mostly in a driving rain.

Despite an increase of 25% in voter turnout, 29% of precincts in Columbus had fewer machines than in the 2000 election.

The testimony below was sworn under oath at the Monday, November 15, 2004 hearing at the Franklin County Courthouse. Note the clear discrepancies between the voting experience in the affluent white suburban areas of Franklin and Delaware counties versus the conditions in the wards of Columbus' central city, where the heavy majority was expected to vote Democratic..." (more)

via The Collective Lounge

In other, entirely unrelated news, A Fistful of Euros has good coverage of the impending revolution(?) in Ukraine.

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