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Helga Scow Stern Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 06:38 AM
Original message
Ohio: LA Times and Greg Pallast
The LA Times and Greg Pallast have reported seemingly contradicting versions of Kerry and ballot counting in Ohio.

LA Times this morning:

Kerry team supervising ballot counting:


Lawyers for the Kerry-Edwards campaign are monitoring the effort in an attempt to ensure that all eligible absentee and provisional ballots are counted, said Cincinnati attorney Daniel J. Hoffheimer, chief lawyer for the Kerry-Edwards campaign in Ohio.
Hoffheimer emphasized that the "effort is not in any way intended to overturn George Bush's victory in Ohio, and we do not expect to find a pattern of voter fraud. Rather, the Kerry-Edwards legal team's intention is to assure that provisional, absentee, overseas and regular ballots are counted in accordance with federal and Ohio law. In that way the final, official count will be as accurate and honest as is humanly possible, given the serious limitations imposed by Ohio's antiquated election laws."


This contradicts Friday's minority voter disenfranchisment article by Greg Pallast that the Kerry team this week declined to count ballots:


But this week, Kerry became the first presidential candidate in history to break a campaign promise after losing an election. The Senator waited less than 24 hours to abandon more than a quarter million Ohio voters still waiting for their provisional and chad-spoiled ballots to be counted.

While disappointing, I can understand the cold calculus against taking the fight to the end. To count the ballots, Kerry's lawyers would, first, have to demand a hand reading of the punch cards. Blackwell, armed with the Supreme Court's Bush v. Gore diktat, would undoubtedly pull a "Kate Harris" by halting or restricting a hand count. Most daunting, Kerry's team would also, as one state attorney general pointed out to me, have to litigate each and every rejected provisional ballot in court. This would entail locating up to a hundred thousand voters to testify to their right to the vote, with Blackwell challenging each with a holster full of regulations from the old Jim Crow handbook.

Given the odds and the cost to his political career, Kerry bent, not to the will of the people, but to the will to power of the Ohio Republican machine.

We have yet to total here the votes lost in missing absentee ballots, in eyebrow-raising touch screen tallies, in purges of legal voters from registries and other games played in swing states. But why dwell on these things? Our betters in the political and media elite have told us to get over it, move on.


So what is the real story? Is the key "eligible" ballots?

This from Democratic Party Cincinnati co-chairman does not inspire trust (from LA Times article):


Cincinnati attorney Tim Burke, chairman of the Hamilton County Board of Elections, acknowledged that in some quarters there was suspicion about the outcome in Ohio and that there was considerable buzz on the Internet and talk radio.

"There were enough little glitches to feed the truly paranoid among us. But little glitches are sometimes being turned into the alligators in the sewers of urban legend," said Burke, who also is co-chairman of the Democratic Party in Cincinnati.

"When you look closely at an operation involving thousands of part-time workers engaged in millions of transactions with voters, there will be problems encountered," Burke said. "I do believe we have to ensure that all votes are accurately counted. That process is underway. I would love to think that we will find another 150,000 votes for Kerry in Ohio, but I don't hold out much hope."

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mutius Donating Member (118 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 06:47 AM
Response to Original message
1. Kerry was threatened
Thats why Kerry conceded so soon. This is what I heard from the UK. I don't know how creditable the source is.
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laheina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 06:53 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. I love the British press!
Who else would ask Blair if he was *'s lapdog?

And besides, you get a lot more of the unfiltered news.
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Puglover Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 06:54 AM
Response to Reply #1
3. Threatened with?
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witchhazl Donating Member (126 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 07:25 AM
Response to Original message
4. I don't know if he was threatened, but I think he was smart.
As I've understood from following this story as closely as I can, there are different classes of ballots at stake here. I think Greg Palast overstates the problems involved with the provisional ballots. I am certain that I read, from a good source (maybe Dennis Kucinich?) that the local boards of elections were to go over these provisional ballots last week (about 155,000 of them) to determine which ones were valid to be counted. Then they were to be counted, starting Saturday (yesterday), but most Boards would choose to wait till Monday.

Palast seems to be referring to ballots of voters given provisional ballots because they were officially "challenged" about their status as eligible voters. Some of them undoubtedly are, but they don't seem to have become the major issue that was feared just before the election. Apparently, with all the bad press the challenging issue got, the "challengers" were fairly restrained that day. Most of the provisionals are run-of-the-mill issues: usually the voter's name just wasn't on the voter rolls. That has to be checked out later to see if they are registered, and if they managed to get to the right precinct.

In general, though, counting the provisionals, late-arriving absentees, and civilian & military overseas ballots should be fairly routine. Though I'm sure Ohio's Republicans will use their dominance to their advantage anyway they can.

The "spoiled" ballots are a separate issue. They are ballots that were "rejected" by the optical scanner, and they will only be looked at in a recount. (But one way or another, there will be a recount.) And Kerry knew that Ohio law required counting the rest of the votes (provisional, absentee, oversea). He knew that there was no way he could win with those votes. He can't. But if by some divine intervention he did, his concession would be superceded.

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Helga Scow Stern Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 01:58 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. Thank you.
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mdb Donating Member (398 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 02:08 PM
Response to Original message
6. Given the odds and the cost to his political career?
This didn't seem to hurt Bush in Florida in 2000.
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