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Corrupted Ohio Recount in the 2004 Presidential Election

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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-04-12 08:55 AM
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Corrupted Ohio Recount in the 2004 Presidential Election
I'm currently working with a publisher, Biting Duck Press, to publish a book (title as yet undetermined) on the corruption in our election system. We hope that it will help to make Americans more vigilant and concerned about the way our elections are run. Ive drafted most of the book. I am currently intending to post large portions of it on DU, in the hope of stimulating discussion and obtaining useful feedback.

Chapter 2, Was the 2004 Election Stolen Too?, deals with some of the initial evidence for a stolen election. This post concludes Chapter 2 with a discussion of the corrupted recount in Ohio and a summary of some of the initial evidence for a stolen 2004 Presidential election.

A corrupted recount in Ohio

A hand recount of the vote can theoretically be a last line of defense against machine error, accidental or purposeful, in the counting of votes assuming that there is a paper trail to count. For example, optical scan voting machines leave paper trails ballots with filled in ovals adjacent to the candidates name. Punch card voting machines leave paper trails ballots with holes punched out (or at least some evidence of an attempt to punch a hole) adjacent to the candidates name. Some electronic voting machines also are made to leave paper trails, but there can be serious problems with those (See Chapter 3). But many electronic voting machines leave no paper trail at all. In those cases, it is not possible to perform a hand recount of the vote because there is nothing to count.

But even when hand recounts are performed, the system can be rigged to make them ineffectual. Such was the case in the Presidential election of 2004 in Ohio, under the direction of Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell, who simultaneously served as the Bush/Cheney campaign Chairman in Ohio.

Because of the numerous suspicions surrounding the election in Ohio, an assurance to the citizens of this country that fraud played no major role in the outcome of this election should have been based on a full investigation. A fair, lawful and transparent recount of the votes, consistent with Ohio law, would be the first step in this process, and money was soon raised for such a recount. The law required that 3% of randomly selected precincts from each county be selected for an initial recount, and then if the recounted vote totals from those randomly selected precincts did not match the initial count of the respective precincts, the whole county would be recounted by hand.

Numerous irregularities in the Ohio recount
Yet from start to finish, every effort was made to prevent full county recounts, as described in a review by Georgia10, so that when it all ended, only one county in the whole state had been recounted. In order to accomplish this, numerous violations of Ohio law were perpetrated, including: At least 17 counties where the precincts to be recounted were chosen by Ohio election officials rather than by a randomization process; at least 6 counties where tampering with the tabulating machines by voting machine company technicians was confirmed, including a case in Hocking County where the technician actually gave the election officials a cheat sheet with instructions on how to make the counts match (The whistle blower of this felony, Sherole Eaton, was subsequently fired from her job), and; at least 6 counties for which, even when it turned out that the vote totals from the recount didnt match the official count, election officials still refused to do the required recount.

And to top it all off, when workers were attempting to examine records during the recount in order to identify discrepancies, Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell issued a surprise order stating that the public voting records were now private rather than public, and disallowed access to them contrary to Ohio law. Then, when Congressman John Conyers U.S. House Judiciary Democratic Staff attempted to question Blackwell about this and numerous other violations of Ohio law, Blackwell repeatedly refused to answer any questions of the Committee, as described in the Committees landmark report, Preserving Democracy: What Went Wrong in Ohio.

Convictions in Cuyahoga County
Cuyahoga County (containing Cleveland) was of particular concern, as there was much evidence suggesting that that countys officially reported vote totals were wrong. One good way to find out if votes were deleted by the Cuyahoga County central tabulator would be to compare the individual precinct totals, as reported by precincts prior to being sent to the Cuyahoga County central tabulator (pre-tabulator results), with the official results reported after the central tabulator added up the votes in all the precincts (post-tabulator results).

I tried numerous times to obtain the pre-tabulator results from Michael Vu, the Executive Director of the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections. He promised them to me several times, but he never delivered on his promises. Consequently, I p?az=show_mesg&forum=364&topic_id=505525&mesg_id=505525|collaborated on this issue with a computer science professional, Ron (last name withheld), who worked for Ray Beckermans Ohio Project. Rons initial audit of 15 precincts identified an apparent vote undercount of 163 votes that resulted in a net loss to the Kerry/Edwards ticket of 140 votes. Ron tried to proceed with a more thorough audit of the Cuyahoga County vote, but he ran into numerous technical problems, and he was never able to complete it.

There was also a recount of a 3% random sample of the Cuyahoga County votes. However, we now know that that recount appears to have been rigged. Three elections workers faced criminal charges for that, and at least two of them were convicted. As reported by The Free Press:

Three criminal prosecutions in Ohio's biggest county have opened with strong indications that the cover-up of the theft of the 2004 presidential election is starting to unravel According to the AP, County Prosecutor Kevin Baxter opened the Cuyahoga trial by charging that "the evidence will show that this recount was rigged

Jacqueline Maiden, the county election board's third-ranking employee, faces six counts of misconduct involving ballot review. Rosie Grier, the board's ballot department manager, and Kathleen Dreamer, an assistant manager, are also charged. Cleveland, which usually gives Democrats an extremely heavy margin, was crucial to Bush's alleged victory of roughly 118,000 votes out of 5.5 million counted.Official turnout and vote counts varied wildly and improbably from precinct to precinct Several predominantly black precincts, where voters went more than 80% for Kerry, reported turnouts of 30% or less. In one ward, only a 7% turnout was reported, while surrounding precincts were nearly ten times as high

In the Cuyahoga case, the poll workers are charged with circumventing state recount laws that require a random sampling of at least three percent of the votes cast in a given precinct, to be recounted by hand and by machine. The prosecution charges that the workers instead hand picked sample precincts to recount that they knew did not have questionable results. Once they were able to match those recounts with official results, they could then do the rest of the recount by machine, in effect rendering the entire process meaningless. "This was a very hush operation," said prosecutor Baxter.

Similar allegations have been made in other counties. Indeed, such illegal non-random recounting procedures appear to have been common throughout the state, carried out by board of election employees with the tacit consent of Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell. Blackwell was officially charged with administering the election that gave Bush a second term while simultaneously serving as the Ohio co-chair of his Bush's re-election campaign.

Additional evidence of a corrupted recount comes from the observations of an election observer representing the Green Party of Ohio at the recount, who noted:

Anomalies were found. Almost all of the witnesses that I spoke with felt that the ballots were not in random order, that they had been previously sorted. There would be long runs of votes for only one candidate and then long runs for another, which seemed statistically improbable to most. From what they were able to get through, witnesses found that signature counts were very much different from the official recorded number of ballots

Brief summary of initial evidence for a stolen Presidential election in 2004

More than anything else, it was the discrepancy between the exit polls and the official vote count (red shift), in conjunction with the fact that they each favored different candidates (Kerry favored by the exit polls, Bush favored by the official vote count), that initially generated widespread concern about a stolen presidential election. The fact that the hand recount in Ohio was never accomplished in the manner required by law except in one county adds greatly to the suspicions surrounding this election. The fact that ballots and election records from 56 of Ohios 88 counties were destroyed despite a federal order to preserve them substantially exacerbates that suspicion.

This chapter discussed initial evidence that pointed to a problem with election integrity as the major cause of the red shift. This initial evidence led to numerous investigations into the integrity of the 2004 election, which found a great amount of additional evidence for a stolen election. Chapters 3 through 7 discuss that additional evidence, as it pertains to the 2004 Presidential election, as well as to other elections.
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