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JaneEyrez Donating Member (168 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 10:47 PM
Original message
This will break your heart... if you have one!
Slip-sliding away in Columbus
by Carolyn M. Sherman
November 11, 2004

It was 8:30 pm, and the polls had closed an hour ago. The basement of the Centenary United Methodist Church just outside Columbus was steamy and dank, filled with a line of voters that snaked through several hallways. There were so many loops that the beginning and the end of the line were indistinguishable, but no one fought about it. Several hundred people stood or sat on the floor or on stools they had brought, waiting. At the rate the line was moving, it would take hours more for them all to finish. They had already been waiting for up to eight hours, and they were ready to wait hours more. To vote.

Ten minutes and a world away, TV sets at the America Coming Together Victory Party blared, Its all coming down to Ohio. Those of us volunteers who had gone out in vans in the pouring rain to help at the polls watched it slip away. In this church basement, like so many polling places in predominantly poor, Democratic precincts, our little outpost of hope and grit stood solid, and I watched it refuse to flinch, and I watched it lose.

There were three voting booths for all those hundreds of people. Most of the voters were black, with some whites and Hispanics mixed in the endless lines. It was a poor neighborhood, but there was a dignity in their calmness that moved me to both respect and tremendous sadness. It was hot and steamy, they were hungry, they were tired, and they were determined to keep on waiting.

Why were there so few machines for so many people? Why in the richer districts was the wait only about an hour? Why was Ohios Secretary of State Blackwell telling the press the election was going so smoothly? Why was the press buying it? Precincts just like Centenary were being reported on all over the state, but no one who could change things was listening. I was enraged and incredulous.

To read the rest go to:

http://www.freepress.org/departments/display/19/2004/85...
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shelley806 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 10:51 PM
Response to Original message
1. So enobling to read...This is the second times I've read this, and
both times tears came to my eyes. I don't want to lose hope. Kerry won for these people.
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genieroze Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 11:03 PM
Response to Reply #1
4. Kerry won for these people,
and vile disgusting monsters robbed them. I really think there is something very wrong with these jerks who rigged this thing. They don't think right, more than a bit touched in the head. :argh:
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shelley806 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 11:32 PM
Response to Reply #4
12. Touched in the head and without heart...evil. Sorry no other word.
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Eric J in MN Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 10:54 PM
Response to Original message
2. Matt Damschroder is responsible for the lack of voting machines
in Democratic precincts.

-------------------------------------------------------------
http://www.freepress.org/columns/display/3/2004/983

Franklin County Board of Elections Director Matt Damschroder is also the former Executive Director of the countys Republican Party...

The Columbus Dispatch confirmed an Election Day Free Press story that far fewer voting machines were present in predominantly black Democratic inner-city voting wards than in the recent primary election and the 2000 presidential election, with their lighter turnouts. The reduced number of machines caused voters to wait up to seven hours and wait an average of approximately three hours. One Republican Central Committee member told the Free Press that Damschroder held back as many as 2000 machines and dispersed many of the other machines to affluent suburbs in Franklin County.
-------------------------------------------------------------
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LisaL Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 11:03 PM
Response to Reply #2
5. How sick is that?
I live in Franklin county and I knew they had done it. There was no lines in 2000 and there was long lines in 2004. That's how Bush got his man date.
:nuke:
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Eric J in MN Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 11:23 PM
Response to Reply #5
9. Please take legal action.
Either sue Matt Damschroder or at least ask the ACLU of Ohio to do so.

(from a post I also made in the Ohio forum)


Matt Damschroder deprived black neighborhoods in Franklin County of enough voting machines.

This violates the "Equal Protection of the Law" required of states bythe US Constitution.

Some people had to wait several hours to vote.

The ACLU of Ohio can be contacted as follows:
Phone (216) 472-2200 | Fax: (216) 472-2210

email:
contact@acluohio.org

website:
http://www.acluohio.org /

-----------------------------------------------------------------
Free Press article which includes information on Franklin County

http://www.freepress.org/columns/display/3/2004/983


In Franklin County, where Franklin County Board of Elections Director Matt Damschroder is also the former Executive Director of the countys Republican Party, the county Board of Elections building looked like a bunker. Scores of city buses blocked parking spaces on the street outside, numerous concrete barricades surrounded the parking lot, and a metal detector was stationed at the only entrance.

A phalanx of armed deputy sheriffs swarmed the only site where provisional voters could cast a guaranteed ballot.

The Columbus Dispatch confirmed an Election Day Free Press story that far fewer voting machines were present in predominantly black Democratic inner-city voting wards than in the recent primary election and the 2000 presidential election, with their lighter turnouts. The reduced number of machines caused voters to wait up to seven hours and wait an average of approximately three hours. One Republican Central Committee member told the Free Press that Damschroder held back as many as 2000 machines and dispersed many of the other machines to affluent suburbs in Franklin County.
-----------------------------------------------------------------
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Eloriel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 11:43 PM
Response to Reply #9
13. That's great, and someone should do it, but you know what?
It won't change the outcome of the election, and that's all they needed. Any penalties will just be "the cost of doing bidness" for these people. They get what they want -- political power -- and it's worth the small price they may have to pay later, when challenged in court.

We HAVE to make voting and our right to vote matter to these people. We have to take a look at all our state laws and make sure that they're tougher with stiff enough penalties that it DOES act as a deterrent -- felonies with LONG term mandatory sentences.

And IMO we need a Constitutional Right to Vote Amendment, so that denying someone the right to vote becomes a matter of denying them their Constitutional rights.

One of the things I learned during the 2000 election recount is that our vote is SACRED, and I guess We The People are going to have to make sure our illustrious leaders consider it so as well.

This is a heartbreaking article. Some of the testimony in the hearing yesterday (another tomorrow) was heartbreaking as well. One woman's husband DIED while she waited in line to vote. Many stories. May be in this thread:

Notes from Ohio voter suppression hearing in Columbus
(also includes a terrific activism post w/links and details)
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...
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drunkdriver-in-chief Donating Member (267 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-15-04 12:24 AM
Response to Reply #13
16. You're wrong about that
<It won't change the outcome of the election, and that's all they needed. Any penalties will just be "the cost of doing bidness" for these people. They get what they want -- political power -- and it's worth the small price they may have to pay later, when challenged in court.>

Elections have been voided before and the voting done over. A judge could order it. No need to show that the repugs were behind these long lines. Just convince a judge that long lines were common in the district.
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politicasista Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-15-04 12:30 AM
Response to Reply #13
17. This is a joke...
Bush just cheats his way into office anyway? Que sera sera. (Whatever will be will be).
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RevCheesehead Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 10:56 PM
Response to Original message
3. A powerful and well-written account.
Thank you for sharing it with us.
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Chili Donating Member (832 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 11:08 PM
Response to Original message
6. this made me cry
...and I'm FURIOUS.
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pamela Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 11:10 PM
Response to Original message
7. That pisses me off.
I live in a rural county in Maryland that went for Bush. There were at least 30 (maybe even more) voting machines where I voted. I was in and out in under 15 minutes.
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LisaL Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 11:13 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. No doubt.
I had to wait at least 1 hour in the rain in Franklin county. Apparently some people had to wait a lot longer.
They know exactly where democrats are too.
In 2000, I was in and out in 5 minutes, no lines.
:nuke:
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NJ_Lib Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 11:28 PM
Response to Original message
10. My town ended up Repuke too.... We were...

in and out in ten minutes... TEN MINUTES!!! We voted on Sequoias (sic?) I believe, and my vote went into the abyss... I pressed the button and waved it bye bye... No paper, no nothin'...
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LisaL Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 11:32 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. Well, I had to wait an hour and they didn't give me any
paper either. I voted on one of those old Danaher voting machines that they have here in Franklin county. It's the same kind that gave Bush thousands of "extra" votes in Gahana precinct of Franklin county.
It's amazing really Kerry actually won Franklin county by a pretty big margin.
:grr:
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NJ_Lib Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-15-04 12:09 AM
Response to Reply #11
14. We were robbed of


the biggest celebration of our lives!!! Imagine the results really matched the exit poles and we won that big! What a sweet moment that would have been, to watch shots of Chimpy's face in the press...

DAMN, WE WERE ROBBED!
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politicasista Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-15-04 12:31 AM
Response to Reply #14
18. I was looking forward to hearing a victory speech too.
Bush always gets his way, what a joke!
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noserotonin Donating Member (21 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-15-04 12:23 AM
Response to Reply #10
15. Ten mintues? It took me 3 hours
I live in a heavily Democratic area of Denver and there were only two machines at my precinct. While the wait was NOTHING like this heartbreaking story, it still took 3 hours.

I've never waited that long to vote in my life, and it was actually kinda cool to see LONG lines. The voters were roughly 90% college kids, too.

But I also remember lots of people receiving provisional ballots and some challenges. What's worse is while most people stayed, some people had to leave without voting to go to work or school. :(

Anyway, I remember later thinking that if it took that long to vote in a state that was expected to go for Bush, what was it like in Dem precincts in Ohio? I guess it was worse than I could ever imagine...

From Denver, a small island of blue in a red state, but we voted 70% for Kerry!
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NJ_Lib Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-15-04 06:23 AM
Response to Reply #15
20. I know, I'm sorry...
Edited on Mon Nov-15-04 06:25 AM by NJ_Lib
... ten minutes is all it took for us to vote... Of course my town went Repuke, always has, maybe that had something to do with it? Hmmm... We were all prepared for a long wait as we were watching the lines on TV and getting so excited... We went out there ready to spend hours and were back home in under thirty minutes...

Ok and now for the statistics... My town's population is 42,816...

Number of white folks? 39,073... Number of African Americans? 1,670....

Time spend voting in 2004 - Ten minutes...

Now, let "them" look at these numbers and then tell me there is no differrence in the way they disperse the voting machines... No black folks = No wait... Fucking shameful...
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Yuugal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-15-04 07:35 AM
Response to Reply #20
22. 10 min here too
I'm on Long Island . I cant talk about how voting goes in other states or even counties, but in this area we are using the same old lever machines that have been in that school basement since I was a kid. They work well, they don't break much, and they've lasted forever. Our area used to be heavily repug, now leans blue. Over the years I cant I remember any big problems with the machines and I think alot of the credit goes to the hundred year old Lady's running the show at vote time. First off, they are very pleasant and efficient. My voting experience went like this:

::enter school cafeteria::

::15 secs:: introduce myself to nice old Lady's

::30 secs:: sign little book under the many many versions of my own signature that were listed....hmmm getting sloppier as I get older...lady informs me 1 more vote and I get a fresh sig card ...woohoo! :)

::60 secs:: enter booth...pull big red lever....curtain closes....prop A: free space ......click yes lever down....

: :70 secs:: locate dem row(b) ...click click click click click click

: :90secs:: pull handle exit booth say bye seeya soon

I never worry that the little old Lady's are going to suddenly go Nazi on my vote or start urinating in the counting mechanisms because in my heart I know they are true Americans who have seen it all and care about the vote itself, the actual right to cast it and have it counted, more than they will ever care about whichever person/party is running.

What scares me the most this time isn't that we lost(ouch), isn't that we lost big in the congress(dbl ouch), isn't that they used new computer machines to steal the vote(bye-bye democracy ouch)........what scares me most is that this battle-hardened generation of true Americans isn't going to be around much longer and when they are gone we are in deep shit when fundies take over these spots everywhere.

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Omaha Steve Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-15-04 02:01 AM
Response to Original message
19. I'm putting it
on the back side of the flyer Clark in Mich made up for ms word!
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ektodemo Donating Member (13 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-15-04 06:41 AM
Response to Original message
21. Statistics on voters /polling machines ratio?
Any chance of compiling a list of average waiting time / length of queues at different areas? Ratio of polling machines per voter?

Guess there are no statistics on this, but a list of where the longest lines where could be a start.
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