Bush stole the 2004 election as well -
the fight-back begins in Ohio

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Democrats Take up Fight Over Ballots

By Bill Sloat Cleveland Plain Dealer Thursday 18 November 2004

Cincinnati - Seeming to brush aside John Kerry’s concession speech, the Ohio Democratic Party has launched a federal court fight over nearly 155,000 provisional ballots by contending a proper accounting of those votes might decide who really won.

In Ohio, Bush now holds a lead of about 136,000 votes over Kerry.

County officials across the state began tabulating provisional ballots Friday.

“Given the closeness of the presidential and other elections,” Ohio’s provisional ballots “may prove determinative of the outcome,” Democrats argue in a legal filing made public Wednesday by the U.S. District Court.

The lawsuit asked U.S. District Judge Michael H. Watson to order Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell to impose uniform standards for counting provisional votes on all 88 counties. Democrats want the judge to take action quickly - before the results of the election are certified.

Watson, who was appointed by Bush, has not set a hearing.

Don McTigue, a Columbus lawyer who filed the lawsuit for the Ohio Democratic Party, said the Democrats have concerns that different standards are being applied from county to county.

“Our action is not tied to some hope of changing the outcome of the election. We’re being consistent with the Kerry campaign, and the Democratic Party’s interest in seeing all eligible ballots are counted,” McTigue said.
Carlo LoParo, a spokesman for Blackwell, defended Ohio’s rules for handling provisional ballots as explicit. He said Blackwell, a Republican, is adamant that every valid vote will be counted.

In court papers, the Democrats cite Bush v. Gore - the Supreme Court ruling after Florida’s contested election that awarded Bush the White House in 2000 - as a legal precedent for the Ohio lawsuit. That case was decided by a majority of five justices.

“In Bush v. Gore, the United States Supreme Court held that the failure to provide specific standards for counting of ballots that are sufficient to assure a uniform count statewide violates the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution,” their court filing said.

In Ohio, Democrats argue, the state lacks clear statewide rules that guarantee provisional ballots are processed consistently from county to county.

Democrats intervened in an existing lawsuit filed by Republicans on election night. That case has been inactive,” said Dan Hoffheimer, the Kerry campaign’s chief lawyer in Ohio.

“I think the Republicans went to court first to protect their interests. Now, it looks like the Ohio Democratic Party is doing the same. Certainly, as far as I know today, the Kerry-Edwards campaign is not planning to file such a case,” Hoffheimer said.

Provisional ballots are special ballots used by voters who believe they are registered but who don’t appear on the rolls, those who could not provide proof of identity and others who had moved, but did not update their registration information. Once local officials verify that the voters were indeed registered and that they voted in the correct precinct, their provisional ballot can be counted.

Most of Ohio’s provisional ballots were cast in urban areas where Kerry typically fared well. Cuyahoga County had the most - nearly 25,000. About 13,000 of those had been verified as of Wednesday, with about 8,600 of that group deemed valid.

Meanwhile, the presidential candidates from the Green and Libertarian parties have said they will demand a recount of all the ballots in Ohio - which could include a review of another group of votes; 92,672 “spoiled” ballots that recorded no vote for president.

Still, many political experts - including top Kerry campaign operatives - believe Bush’s margin cannot be overcome.

“I think the Democrats are more worried about avoiding a controversy in 2006 or 2008,” said Dan Takaji, an Ohio State University law professor who is an expert on election law. He views the Democrats’ court action as a move to make sure that there are solid, court-approved guidelines for future elections.

“But there’s no way the math is going to change,” Takaji said. “The margin might shrink as the provisionals are counted, but if you look seriously at the numbers, the outcome won’t change.”

Gene Beaupre, a political scientist at Xavier University in Cincinnati, saw the suit as an effort by Democratic officials to assuage party loyalists who feel Kerry quit without a fight in Ohio.

“There’s certainly a feeling out there that people were let down by the leadership,” Beaupre said. “All you have to do is look on the Internet, and that sense of disappointment is a political reality among a lot of people who are Internet users.”

Ohio Finds Possible Double Votes, Counts

Associated Press Thursday 18 November 2004

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Election officials in one Ohio county found that about 2,600 ballots were double-counted, and two other counties have discovered possible cases of people voting twice in the presidential election.

Prosecutors were trying to determine Wednesday whether charges should be filed against a couple in Madison County accused of voting twice. In addition, Summit County election workers investigated possible double votes found under 18 names.

In the other case, Sandusky County election officials discovered that about 2,600 ballots from nine precincts were counted twice, likely because of worker error, elections director Barb Tuckerman said.

Tuckerman believes the votes were counted twice when they were mistakenly placed alongside a pile of uncounted ballots. The room where the ballots were being fed into optical-scan machines on election night was so crowded that ballots had to be placed on the floor, Tuckerman said.

Under Ohio law, people who vote twice could be charged with election fraud, falsification or illegal voting, according the Secretary of State’s Office. The maximum penalty for the most severe charge is 18 months in prison.

Double votes could have affected the result of a local schools income tax request that failed by one vote in Madison County.

In Illinois, thousands of provisional ballots cast on Election Day did not count, in most cases for lack of evidence the voters were actually registered. The Associated Press count was based on checks of several election jurisdictions. State officials were still gathering information Wednesday on provisional ballots cast statewide, a day after the deadline to count them.

Ohio Recount Must Start Now

By David Cobb and Michael Badnarik Thursday 18 November 2004

Attorneys for Green Party presidential candidate David Cobb and Libertarian Michael Badnarik have sent letters to each Ohio county election director asking them to begin preparations immediately for the recount of the presidential vote.

Although a demand for a recount is usually not made until after the vote has been certified, there are concerns that waiting that long would not allow enough time for the recount to be completed before the Ohio presidential electors meet on December 13 in Columbus.

The Ohio Secretary of State’s office has told the press that certification of the vote would occur around December 6, allowing only a handful of days for a full recount prior to the December 13 meeting.

In letters dated November 17 and sent by overnight delivery, Cobb and Badnarik’s attorneys say that “{s}uch a timeframe will not allow for a meaningful recount and will undermine our clients’ rights under applicable law, including Ohio recount law.” Cobb and Badnarik will file the recount demand jointly.

The letters go on to say that “the lack of a meaningful recount will also violate the rights under federal and state constitutional and statutory law of all Ohio citizens who cast a ballot for President on Election Day. Immediate action is necessary so that the recount procedures may begin as soon as possible.”

“This is consistent with our standing up for the right to vote and for each vote to be counted. What’s the point of having a recount if it won’t be completed in time? Everyone knows what happened in Florida in 2000 and no one wants to see that happen again,” said Blair Bobier, Media Director for the Cobb-LaMarche campaign.

Bobier said the formal recount demand and the bond of $113,600 would be officially filed on Friday. Cobb and Badnarik are represented by John Bonifaz, General Counsel of the National Voting Rights Institute and Ohio attorney Nancy Holland Myers.

The Cobb-LaMarche campaign is now in the process of recruiting volunteers and raising funds for monitoring the actual recount process. Volunteers and donors should visit the campaign website for more information. Note: please contact holly@votecobb.org if you want to volunteer.

As Huey P. Long once said,
“Sure we’ll have fascism in America, but it’ll come disguised as 100 percent Americanism.”

Hearings on Ohio Voting Put 2004 Election in Doubt

By Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman FreePress.org Thursday 18 November 2004

Highly-charged, jam-packed hearings held here in Columbus have cast serious doubt on the true outcome of the presidential election.

On Saturday, November 13, the Ohio Election Protection Coalition’s public hearings in Columbus solicited extensive sworn first-person testimony from 32 of Ohio voters, precinct judges, poll workers, legal observers, party challengers. An additional 66 people provided written affidavits of election irregularities. The unavoidable conclusion is that this year’s election in Ohio was deeply flawed, that thousands of Ohioans were denied their right to vote, and that the ultimate vote count is very much in doubt.

Most importantly, the testimony has revealed a widespread and concerted effort on the part of Republican Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell to deny primarily African-American and young voters the right to cast their ballots within a reasonable time. By depriving precincts of adequate numbers of functioning voting machines, Blackwell created waits of three to eleven hours, driving tens of thousands of likely Democratic voters away from the polls and very likely affecting the outcome of the Ohio vote count, which in turn decided the national election.

On November 17, Blackwell wrote an op-ed piece for Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s Washington Times, stating: “Every eligible voter who wanted to vote had the opportunity to vote. There was no widespread fraud, and there was no disenfranchisement. A half-million more Ohioans voted than ever before with fewer errors than four years ago, a sure sign on success by any measure,” Blackwell wrote. Moon’s extreme right wing Unification Church has long-standing ties to the Bush Family and the Central Intelligence Agency.

Additional testimony also called into question the validity of the actual vote counts. There are thus serious doubts that the final official tally in Ohio, due December 1 to Blackwell’s office, will have any validity. Blackwell will certify the vote count on December 3.

While Blackwell supervised the Ohio vote he also served as co-chair of the Ohio Bush-Cheney re-election campaign, a clear conflict of interest that casts further doubt on how the Ohio election and vote counts have been conducted.

At the Columbus hearings, witness after witness under oath gave testimony to an election riddled with discrimination and disarray. Among them:

Werner Lange, a pastor from Youngstown, Ohio, who said in part:

“In precincts 1 A and 5 G, voting as Hillman Elementary School, which is a predominantly African American community, there were woefully insufficient number of voting machines in three precincts. I was told that the standard was to have one voting machine per 100 registered voters. Precinct A had 750 registered voters. Precinct G had 690. There should have been 14 voting machines at this site. There were only 6, three per precinct, less than 50 percent of the standard. This caused an enormous bottleneck among voters who had to wait a very, very long time to vote, many of them giving up in frustration and leaving. . . . I estimate, by the way, that an estimated loss of over 8,000 votes from the African American community in the City of Youngstown alone, with its 84 precincts, were lost due to insufficient voting machines, and that would translate to some 7,000 votes lost for John Kerry for President in Youngstown alone. . . .”

“Just yesterday I went to the Trumbull Board of Elections in northeast Ohio, I wanted to review their precinct logs so I could continue my investigation. This was denied. I was told by the Board of Elections official that I could not see them until after the official vote was given.”

Marion Brown, Columbus:

“I am here on behalf of a friend. My friend came to my home very upset while she was away standing four hours in the voting, her husband passed away. The funeral was on yesterday, November 13th, at 2:00. Perhaps had she not stood so long in the line, she may have been able to save her husband.”

Victoria Parks:

“In Pickaway County, oh, my goodness, in Pickaway County, I entered there, I was shown a table, 53 poll books were plunked down in front of my. I noticed there were no signature on file in any of the poll books, in any of the poll books, and furthermore, a minute later the director of the Board of Elections of Pickaway County came into the room and snatched the books away from me and said you cannot look at these books. I said are you aware that what you are doing is against the law? She said I have been on the phone with the Secretary of State and he has instructed me to take these books away and you cannot see them. I paraphrase very slightly here. She took them away. I was persona non grata. I did not want to risk arrest, and I left. . . . There were no signatures, and furthermore, the writing in the book seemed to have been written in the same hand, because that is a requirement.”

Boyd Mitchell, Columbus:

“What I saw was voter intimidation in the form of city employees that were sent in to stop illegal parking. Now, in Driving Park Rec Center there are less than 50 legal parking spots, and there were literally hundreds and hundreds of voters there, and I estimated at least 70 percent of the people were illegally parked in the grass around the perimeter of the Driving Park Rec Center, and two city employees drove up in a city truck and said that they had been sent there to stop illegal parking, and they went so far as to harass at least a couple of voters that I saw, and when they were talking to us, they were kind. But when they didn’t realize we were overhearing them talking to voters, they were trying to keep people from parking where they were parking. They went so far as to set up some cones, trying to block people from getting into a grassy area...”

“I calculated that I maybe saw about 20 percent of the people that left Driving Park D and C, I personally saw and talked to about 20 percent of them as they left the poll between 12:30 and 8 p.m. And I saw 15 people who left because the line was too long. The lines inside were anywhere from 2 1/2 to 5 hours. Most everybody said 4 hours, and I saw at least 15 people who did not vote, and I heard a gentleman who was earlier making some mathematical calculations, well, if this is going on across town, and, you know, in a precinct where it was going so heavily for Kerry, and me only seeing 20 percent of the people coming out, I saw 15. We could just do the math and extrapolate that out into a huge number of people who might have voted had they had a chance.”

Joe Popich (entered into the record copies of the Perry County Board of Election poll book):

“There are a bunch of irregularities in this log book, but the most blatant irregularity would be the fact that there are 360 signatures in this book. There are 33 people who voted absentee ballot at this precinct, for a total of 393 votes that should be attributed to that precinct. However, the Board of Elections is attributing 96 more votes to that precinct than what this log book reflects.”

Derek Winsor, Columbus:

“Out of the six total voting machines that were at 14 C, three of them showed some type of malfunction that at one point or another during the three our so hours that we were waiting, and between my wife and me, we had asked poll workers individually if they could explain what was going on and what kind of reassurances they could give us that, for one machine in particular that the votes had already been posted on, that machine would be counted, and the response was just, oh, they will be counted. And how can you be sure of that? What storage mechanism do they use to ensure that the votes are stored, and, again, the response was just, well, they just are. And that was a bit of a concern here.”

Carol Shelton, presiding judge, precinct 25 B at the Linden Branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library:

“The precinct is 95 to 99 percent black. . . . There were 1,500 persons on the precinct rolls. We received three machines. In my own precinct in Clintonville, 19E, we always received three machines for 700 to 730 voters. Voter turnout in my own precinct has reached as high as 70 percent while I worked there. I interviewed many voters in 25 B and asked how many machines they had had in the past. Everyone who had a recollection said five or six. I called to get more machines and ended up being connected with Matt Damschroder, the Director of the Board of Elections. After a real hassle -- and someone here has it on videotape, he sent me a fourth machine which did not dent the length of the line. Fewer than 700 voted, although the turnout at the beginning of the day would cause anyone to predict a turnout of over 80 percent. This was a clear case of voter suppression by making voting an impossibility for anyone who had to go to work or anyone who was stuck at home caring for children or the elderly while another family member voted.”

Allesondra Hernandez, Toledo:

“What I witnessed when I had gotten there about 9 A.M. was a young African American woman who had come out nearly in tears. She was a new voter, very first registered, very excited to vote, and she had said that she had been bounced around to three different polling places, and this one had just turned her down again. People were there to help her out, and I was concerned. I started asking around to everyone else, and they had informed me earlier that day that she was not the only one, but there were at least three others who had been bounced around. Also earlier that day the polls had opened an hour late, did not open until about 7:30 A.M. The polling machines were locked in the principal’s office. Hundreds of people were turned away, were forced to leave the line because they needed to be at school, they needed to be at work, or they needed to take their children to school. The people there who were assisting did the best they could to take down numbers and take down names, but I am assuming that a majority of those people could not come back because of work and/or because of school, because they had shown up to vote, and that was the time that they could vote, and that is why they were there. Also along the same lines, they ran out of pencils for those ballots.”

Erin Deignan, Columbus:

“I was an official poll worker judge in precinct Columbus 25 F, at the East Linden School. We had between 1100 and 1200 people on the voter registry there. We had three voting machines. We did the math. I am sure lots of other people did too. With the five-minute limit, 13 hours the polls were open, three machines, that is 468 voters, that is less than half of the people we had on the registry. We stayed open three hours past 7:30 and got about 550 people through, but we had one Board of Elections worker come in the morning. We asked if he could bring more machines. He is said more machines had been delivered, but they didn’t have any more. We had another Board of Elections official come later in the day, and he said that in Upper Arlington he had seen 12 machines.”

Matthew Segal, Gambier:

“In this past election, Kenyon College students and the residents of Gambier, Ohio, had to endure some of the most extenuating voting circumstances in the entire country. As many of you may already know, because they had it on national media attention, Kenyon students and the residents of Gambier had to stand in line up to 10 to 12 hours in the rain, through a hot gym, and crowded narrow lines, making it extremely uncomfortable. As a result of this, voters were disenfranchised, having class to attend to, sports commitments, and midterms for the next day, which they had to study for. Obviously, it is a disgrace that kids who are being perpetually told the importance of voting, could not vote because they had other commitments and had to be put up with a 12-hour line.”

Blackwell characterized Ohio’s Election Day as “tremendously successful” in the Washington Times. Several people at Saturday’s hearing said they’d like to hear Mr. Blackwell testify under oath, preferably under a criminal indictment.

Bob Fitrakis, Ph.D, J.D., a legal advisor for the Election Protection Coalition, convened and moderated the public hearings. Harvey Wasserman is Senior Editor of the Columbus Free Press and freepress.org. Audio from the hearings can be found at: www.theneighborhoodnetwork.org.

Document Reveals Columbus, Ohio Voters Waited Hours as Election Officials Held Back Machines

By Bob Fitrakis FreePress.org Tuesday 16 November 2004

One telling piece of evidence was entered into the record at the Saturday, November 13 public hearing on election irregularities and voter suppression held by nonpartisan voter rights organizations. Cliff Arnebeck, a Common Cause attorney, introduced into the record the Franklin County Board of Elections spreadsheet detailing the allocation of e-voting computer machines for the 2004 election. The Board of Elections’ own document records that, while voters waited in lines ranging from 2-7 hours at polling places, 68 electronic voting machines remained in storage and were never used on Election Day.

The Board of Elections document details that there are 2886 “Total Machines” in Franklin County. Twenty of them are “In Vans for Breakdowns.” The County record acknowledges 2886 were available on Election Day, November 2 and that 2798 of their machines were “placed by close of polls.” The difference between the machines “available” and those “placed” is 68. The nonpartisan Election Protection Coalition provided legal advisors and observed 58 polling places in primarily African American and poor neighborhoods in Franklin County.

An analysis of the Franklin County Board of Elections’ allocation of machines reveals a consistent pattern of providing fewer machines to the Democratic city of Columbus, with its Democratic mayor and uniformly Democratic city council, despite increased voter registration in the city. The result was an obvious disparity in machine allocations compared to the primarily Republican white affluent suburbs.

Franklin County had traditionally used a formula of one machine per 100 voters, with machine usage allowable up to 125 votes per machine. The County’s rationale is as follows: if it takes each voter five minutes to vote, 12 people an hour, 120 people in ten hours and the remaining three hours taken up moving people in and out of the voting machines.

Once a machine is recording 200 voters per machine, 100% over optimum use, the system completely breaks down. This causes long waits in long lines and potential voters leaving before casting their ballots, due to age, disability, work and family responsibilities.

A preliminary analysis by the Free Press shows six suburban polling places with 100 votes a machine or less, and only one in the city of Columbus meeting or falling under the guideline.

The legendary affluent Republican enclave of Upper Arlington has 34 precincts. No voting machines in this area cast more than 200 votes per machine. Only one, ward 6F, was over 190 votes at 194 on one machine. By contrast, 39 Columbus city polling machines had more than 200 votes per machine and 42 were over 190 votes per machine. This means 17% of Columbus’ machines were operating at 90-100% over optimum capacity while in Upper Arlington the figure was 3%.

In the Democratic stronghold of Columbus 139 of the 472 precincts had at least one and up to five fewer machine than in the 2000 presidential election. Two of Upper Arlington’s 34 precincts lost at least one machine. In the 2004 presidential election, 29% of Columbus’ precincts, despite a massive increase in voter registration and turnout, had fewer machines than in 2000. In Upper Arlington, 6% had fewer machines in 2004 One of those precincts had a 25% decline in voter registration and the other had a 1% increase. Compare that to Columbus ward 1B, where voter registration went up 27%, but two machines were taken away in the 2004 election. Or look at 23B where voter registration went up 22% and they lost two machines since the 2000 election, causing an average of 207 votes to be cast on each of the remaining machines. In the year 2000, only 97 votes were cast per machine in the precinct. Thus, in four years, the ward went from optimum usage to system failure.

Jeff Graessle, Franklin County Election Operations Division Manager, told the Citizen’s Alliance for Secure Elections (CASE) Ohio voting rights activists that Franklin County does not use a simple 100 votes per machine guideline. Rather, they allocated their machines in the 2004 election based on a new criteria determined by ACTIVE registered voters. Hence, an affluent area like Upper Arlington which has shown a consistent pattern of voters is rewarded with more machines and fewer losses. A less affluent area of Columbus where voters miss voting at more elections and may only come out in a hotly tested election, like Bush-Kerry, are punished with fewer machines.

Of course, there’s a direct correlation between affluence and votes for Bush and below medium income areas and votes for Kerry. Franklin County, Ohio’s formula served to disenfranchise disproportionately poor, minority and Democratic voters under the guise of rewarding the “likely” voter or active registered voters.

One Month Later, Fight Over Ohio Continues

By John McCarthy / Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Nearly a month after John Kerry conceded Ohio to President Bush, complaints and challenges about the balloting are mounting as activists including the Rev. Jesse Jackson demand closer scrutiny to ensure the votes are being counted on the up-and-up.

Jackson has been holding rallies in Ohio in recent days to draw attention to the vote, and another critic plans to ask the state Supreme Court this week to decide the validity of the election.

Ohio essentially decided the outcome of the presidential race, with Kerry giving up after unofficial results showed Bush with a 136,000-vote lead in the state.

Since then, there have been demands for a recount and complaints about uncounted punch-card votes, disqualified provisional ballots and a ballot-machine error that gave hundreds of extra votes to Bush.

Jackson said too many questions have been raised to let the vote stand without closer examination.

"We can live with winning and losing. We cannot live with fraud and stealing," Jackson said Sunday at Mount Hermon Baptist Church.

An attorney for a political advocacy group on Wednesday plans to file a "contest of election." The request requires a single Supreme Court justice to either let the election stand, declare another winner or throw the whole thing out. The loser can appeal to the full seven-member court, which is dominated by Republicans 5-2.

Jackson said he agreed with the court filing planned by lawyer Cliff Arnebeck, who has represented the Boston-based Alliance for Democracy in other cases.

"The integrity of our election process is on trial," Jackson said Monday in Cincinnati.

Elections officials concede some mistakes were made but no more than most elections.

"There are no signs of widespread irregularities," said Carlo LoParo, a spokesman for Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell.

Blackwell, a Republican, has until Dec. 6 to certify the vote. The Green and Libertarian parties are raising money to pay for a recount that would be held once the results are certified.

Other critics have seized on an error in an electronic voting system that gave Bush 3,893 extra votes in a suburban Columbus precinct where only 638 people voted. The extra votes are part of the unofficial tally.

Some groups also have complained about thousands of punch-card ballots that were not counted because officials in the 68 counties that use them could not determine a vote for president. Votes for other offices on the cards were counted.

Jackson said Blackwell, who along with other statewide GOP leaders was a co-chairman of Bush's re-election campaign in Ohio, should step down from overseeing the election process.

"You can't be chairman of the Bush campaign and then be the chief umpire in the seventh game of the World Series," Jackson said.

Blackwell's office responded by saying the state has a "bipartisan and transparent system that provides valuable checks and balances."

"The problem seems to be that Rev. Jackson's candidate didn't win," said Carlo LoParo, a Blackwell spokesman.

OHIO RECOUNT ILLEGALLY BLOCKED. Dec 10, 2004 -- Ohio Secretary of State Blackwell openly violates state election fraud statutes:
ORC Sec. 3599.161 makes it a crime for any employee of the Board of Elections to knowingly prevent or prohibit any person from inspecting the public records filed in the office of the Board of Elections.
“A violation of any provision of Title XXXV (35) of the Revised Code constitutes a prima facie case of election fraud within the purview of such Title.” (see below) December 10, 2004

Blackwell Locks Out Recount Volunteers

Ohio Election Investigation Thwarted by Surprise Blackwell Order Dayton, Ohio Friday December 10, 2004

On Friday December 10 two certified volunteers for the Ohio Recount team assigned to Greene County were in process recording voting information from minority precincts in Greene County, and were stopped mid-count by a surprise order from Secretary of State Blackwell’s office. The Director Board of Elections stated that “all voter records for the state of Ohio were “locked-down,” and now they are not considered public records.”

The volunteers were working with voter printouts received directly from Carole Garman, Director, Greene County Board of Elections. Joan Quinn and Eve Roberson, retired attorney and election official respectively, were hand-copying voter discrepancies from precinct voting books on behalf of the presidential candidates Mr. Cobb (Green) and Mr. Badnarik Libertarian) who had requested the recount.

One of the goals of the recount was to determine how many minority voters were unable to vote or denied voting at the polls. Upon requesting copies of precinct records from predominantly minority precincts, Ms. Garman contacted Secretary of State Blackwell’s office and spoke to Pat Wolfe, Election Administrator. Ms. Wolfe told Ms. Garman to assert that all voter records for the State of Ohio were “locked down” and that they are “not considered public records.”

Quinn and Roberson asked specifically for the legal authority authorizing Mr. Blackwell to “lock down” public records. Garman stated that it was the Secretary of State’s decision. Ohio statute requires the Directors of Boards of Election to comply with public requests for inspection and copying of public election records. As the volunteer team continued recording information from the precinct records in question, Garman entered the room and stated she was withdrawing permission to inspect or copy any voting records at the Board of Elections. Garman then physically removed the precinct book from Ms. Roberson’s hands. They later requested the records again from Garman’s office, which was again denied.

Ohio Revised Code Title XXXV Elections, Sec. 3503.26 that requires all election records to be made available for public inspection and copying. ORC Sec. 3599.161 makes it a crime for any employee of the Board of Elections to knowingly prevent or prohibit any person from inspecting the public records filed in the office of the Board of Elections. Finally, ORC Sec. 3599.42 clearly states: “A violation of any provision of Title XXXV (35) of the Revised Code constitutes a prima facie case of election fraud within the purview of such Title.”

Contact Information: Joan Quinn (937) 320-9680, (916) 396-9714 – cell Katrina Sumner (937) 608-5861

OHIO FRAUD BATTLE HEATS UP - hearings of the State Judiciary Committee Dec 13th 2004


Testimony Described as 'Show Stopper'! 'Stunner', 'Jaws Dropped'! Audible 'Gasps' heard in chamber room!

The BRAD BLOG has just received an exclusive first-hand account of Clint Curtis' sworn testimony (as reported earlier) to the Judiciary Committee Democrats holding hearings this morning in Columbus, Ohio on Election 2004 Voting Irregularities.

The software programmer, whose sworn affidavit was first reported by The BRAD BLOG, named Republican U.S. Congressman Tom Feeney (a Republican member of the Judiciary Committee!) as having asked him to create "vote-rigging" software when he was a Florida Congressman prior to 2000 elections!

Curtis was the only witness to be sworn in at today's hearings.

Here is the exclusive account as we've just received it by a very reliable BRAD BLOG source inside the committee hearings!

The following account may sound melodramatic but it is highly accurate.

None of these are quotes and represent my best recollection.

At approx 1pm, after a witness had finished, Cliff Arnebeck -- who had given a presentation some time before -- interjected and asked to call one more witness. He was given permission to do so. He said he was calling Clint Curtis.

Some of the audience literally gasped while others applauded. They clearly knew who he was.

Curtis stood at the front of room with Arnebeck seated behind him. Curtis was about five to ten feet from the members of congress. At the front of the room, he placed his hand on a bible and was sworn. To my knowledge, he was the only witness sworn. Arnebeck began a direct examination of Curtis with basic questions, name, residence.... Then got to his qualifications.

Then, he asked Curtis something like whether voting machines could be hacked. He said yes. Arnebeck asked him on what he based that opinion. He said because I wrote a program that could do it. Arnebeck asked when that happened. Curtis said feeney had asked him to design such a program at yang enterprises.

Jaws dropped. Tubbs Jones and Waters looked shocked.

Tubbs Jones, Waters and Nadler asked questions. Waters asked him to repeat who asked him to do it. "Congressman Feeney", he said. Nadler asked him some questions, as did Tubbs Jones and a state senator.

Curtis was asked what he would conclude if there was such a substantial deviation between exit polls and actual results. He said he would conclude the election had been hacked. Gasps. Could have heard a pin drop.

In the end, Curtis was very very convincing to everyone in attendance. He was a show stopper, a stunner. It was a really amazing moment.

Investigating Ohio

Rep. John Conyers isn't ready to declare the election stolen, but he'll continue to dig into the droves of complaints -- and fight to fix the broken U.S. election system

The full article is here because unless you are a paid member or watch ads you will not be able to access it.

By Tim Grieve Dec. 21, 2004

For those who believe that the 2004 election was stolen by George W. Bush, Karl Rove and an unholy alliance of party operatives and voting-machine impresarios, a 75-year-old Democratic congressman from Detroit has emerged as the last best hope for American democracy. Almost alone in official Washington, Rep. John Conyers has insisted that the nation understand -- and then correct -- the problems that plagued the 2004 vote.

With little attention from the media and little support even from members of his own party, Conyers has launched his own probe of the 2004 election. His early conclusion: There may not have been an active conspiracy to suppress the vote and steal the election, but all those problems in Ohio -- the long lines in Democratic precincts, the voting machines that may have switched votes, the suspicious actions of a voting-machine company representative, the trumped-up concerns about terrorism in Warren County, the Republican-friendly rulings by the state election official who also happened to chair the Bush-Cheney campaign -- well, those things didn't all happen by accident, either.

"You know, orchestrated attempts don't always require a conspiracy," Conyers told Salon on Monday. Conyers said that Bush's supporters in Ohio may have worked to suppress the vote based on cues rather than orders from party officials. "People get the drift from other elections and the way [campaign leaders] talk about how they're going to win the election."

Conyers isn't looking to overturn the election, and he won't say that the Republicans stole it; coming from a member of Congress, such an allegation would be "reckless," he said. But neither is he willing to put the election of 2004 behind him yet. This is the second presidential election in a row in which Republicans have succeeded in suppressing the vote, Conyers said, and he wants to ensure that the system is changed so that it won't happen again. He'll continue his investigation, he'll join the Rev. Jesse Jackson in a protest rally in Ohio on Jan. 3, and when the new Congress meets in January he'll push for further investigation and reform.

Conyers spoke with Salon by phone from Detroit.

Your first public forum on the 2004 election was called "Preserving Democracy: What Went Wrong in Ohio?" Do you know the answer to that question yet?

Well, dozens and dozens of things went wrong. It depends on what part of the state we're going to examine. In Hocking County, a private company accessed an election machine and altered and tampered with it in the absence of election observers. It disturbed a deputy chair of the election in the county so much that she has given a sworn affidavit that has been turned over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and we're in the process of running that down. But what about in Cleveland, Ohio? There, thousands of people claimed that their vote for Kerry was turned into a vote for Bush. Poll workers made mistakes that might have cost thousands of votes in Cleveland. And in Youngstown, machines turned an undetermined number of Kerry votes into Bush votes as well. Provisional ballots were thrown out. There were several conflicting rules. There was mass confusion. In Warren County, they talked about [the possibility that] terrorism might close down the election. I mean, please.

What we're doing, understand, is we're collecting the complaints, the grievances, the outrages, the indignities that people suffered, and then we've got to process them to find out what is valid and what needs to be further examined and what needs to be tossed out. It's not like every complaint is one that has to be counted. What we're trying to do is make the system better.

Do you believe that there was an orchestrated attempt to steal the election?

Well, you know, orchestrated attempts don't always require a conspiracy. People get the drift from other elections and the way [campaign leaders] talk about how they're going to win the election. When you have the exit-polling information discrepancies that occurred in 2004, where the odds of all the swing states coming in so much stronger for Bush than the exit polls indicated -- they say that that is, statistically, almost an improbability.

[People] are saying, "No, no, no, that doesn't mean much." But it means a lot. It feeds this growing, [but] not provable feeling among millions of Americans that this was another unfair election.

Do you have that feeling?

Sure, I have a feeling that whenever we can come across ways to make elections fairer or work better or improve the process or simplify the regulations or make voting more available to people who have language problems or disabilities, we have a responsibility to do it. We're trying to improve the system. I'm not trying to attack the outcome. What we need is a system where there are only a few of the kinds of the tens of thousands of complaints that we already have.

Do you believe the outcome of the election would have been different if it had been conducted more fairly?

I have no way of saying that because this gets into conjecture. I make one conjecture and somebody else makes a counter conjecture, and where are we? We're all, "This is what I think." I'm not as concerned about what I think as I am about what people told me went wrong on Election Day that we in Congress, especially the Judiciary Committee, have the responsibility to correct.

But is there any real chance that anything will be corrected? The entire nation was focused on the problems with the electoral system in 2000, yet very little seems to have changed. If meaningful reform didn't come then, how can anyone expect it to come now?

I thought that the Help America Vote Act would improve things dramatically. And although it helped in places, the provisional ballot [process] was misinterpreted. We couldn't get all these private companies to come up with a paper trail on their machines. And with the precinct machines, there was quite a disparity in the conservative counties in Ohio as opposed to the Democratic areas where there were only a few machines.

Republican precincts had plenty of machines, and people could vote quickly.

Instantly, yeah. And we had people waiting for hours only miles away.

So what comes of all of this?

First, we've got to collect the complaints. Second, we've got to investigate them and bring forward the ones we're willing to stand by. And then we have to examine how we correct them. There needs to be, generally stated, more federal regulation over presidential elections. There are just way too many differences, from not only state to state but also county to county.

So far, which complaints are you willing to "stand by"?

It's not a matter of my claiming ownership over the complaints. I'm just doing my job. If all of them are valid, that's what I'm going to present. If half of them are valid, that's what I'm going to present. I'm not going forward with complaints that don't reach the level of believability or credibility.

The complaints you've described in this interview -- do they meet that level of believability and credibility?

Oh yes, and plenty more reach that level. So we've got a problem. Many people in the media are saying, "Look, the election's over, and yes, we had problems." It's like many people are just taking this. Then we have the hundreds of thousands of people who are outraged and supportive of me for carrying on and trying to make sure we get to the bottom of all these grievances that have been brought forward.

We've received e-mails from hundreds of those people, and many of them seem certain that the election was stolen, or at least that the outcome would have been different if the election had been more fair.


But you're not there yet.

Well, no, that's not why I'm doing this. I'm not trying to get there. I'm trying to do the kind of job that people will say, "I think the congressman and those working with him are going about this in a fairly impartial, effective manner" -- and not that they're coming in as thieves trying to upset the election result. To me, that would not be what I'm in Congress to do. I mean, I would be doing this if it were just the reverse. A fair election process applies to everybody -- Democrats and Republicans, conservatives and liberals alike.

Four years ago, when it came time for Congress to certify the election results, a number of House members rose to protest the certification of the Bush electors from Florida. Not a single member of the Senate joined them. Do you expect the same thing to happen this time around?

No, I think the Senate is going to go along with an inquiry this time. I don't think they would embarrass themselves to let this happen two times in a row.

Has any senator said to you that he or she will call for an inquiry?

No, I haven't talked with a single one. I'm not citing somebody who I know is going to do it. I'm not aware of anyone. I just don't think the Senate would get caught in that position.

You haven't exactly enjoyed a groundswell of support from other members of Congress. Are there Democrats in Congress who support what you're doing but won't come forward and say so publicly?

Well, there are Republicans who support what I'm doing who haven't been willing to come forward. Look, calling for fair elections is not the most radical thing in the world. We're not positing some revolutionary theory here. We're asking that the people who complained be given a fair hearing.

Have any Republicans actually told you that they support your efforts?

I'd rather not comment on that.

Are you surprised that none of them have said so publicly?

No, not really. If you had a majority leader like theirs, you'd probably think twice about it yourself.

What about the Democratic leadership? Harry Reid, the new Senate minority leader, says he'd rather dance with Bush than fight him. Should the problems in Ohio change the way Democrats in Congress think about accommodating Bush in his second term?

Well, I'm not sure how much accommodation is going to happen. I listen to Bush talking about "reaching out," which he talked about the first time, and we had the most divided federal system in memory. And now those kinds of phrases are being tossed about during the Christmas holiday again. Please. I don't put much stock in it.

Bush billed himself as a "uniter, not a divider."

I keep reminding myself of what he said. He sure didn't unite anybody I knew of

And what about John Kerry? Have you spoken with him about your investigation?

His lawyer was in Columbus for our hearing there last week. And he has also, at the same time, asked for a full recount in Delaware County [Ohio].

Has the Kerry campaign done enough? A lot of Democrats think Kerry conceded too soon.

It's easy to be in an armchair somewhere saying, "You've got to do this; you've got to do that." He had more in his control. And besides, he's the candidate. I wish he'd listened to me more, and everybody wishes that the guy they voted for would listen to them more. But he's the master of his ship.

When you say that you wish Kerry had listened to you more, do you mean during the campaign or in the days after the election?

During the campaign and after.

What do you wish he were doing now?

I don't want to go into all of this "shoulda, coulda, woulda." I think it takes our focus off the fact that we had far too many grievances and misfires in this election that have to be corrected.

But you don't believe that those problems were the result of a concerted effort by the Republican Party or the Bush-Cheney campaign? You think people who wanted to see the president reelected just got the message somehow that they were supposed to do the things they did?

People didn't have to get a message. If you use questionable tactics and generally attempt to suppress the vote -- that's what the Republicans' strategies were all about: "How do we limit the vote?" Because the more people who voted, the more imperiled they felt they would be. And from that kind of an assumption, you can get a whole lot of activities that might not meet the smell test.

Because people on the ground understand the overall strategy and then take it upon themselves to engage in whatever conduct they think will help?

That's what frequently happens, and usually does.

Do you believe that Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell did that? Do you think he acted with the intent to suppress the vote?

I know that Kenneth Blackwell made some decisions that were blatant and outrageous for a secretary of state. How he felt that his head was big enough to be chairman of the "Re-elect Bush" committee and also head of the administration of the electoral vote for the president in that same state was beyond me.

Is that the sort of issue that you hope to address through legislative reform?

Oh, good night, yeah. There are very few people who did what he did.

Do you think you'll ever be able to prove that there was a coordinated effort to steal the election?

We're not trying to prove that. This is what we're discussing: We're trying to improve the situation wherever we can to make a better voting system in the states.

But a lot of the people who support your efforts desperately want you to prove that there was a conspiracy. If the e-mails we get are any indication, a lot of them believe that the existence of a conspiracy has already been proven.

Well, you know, a citizen's point of view may be different from a federal lawmaker's point of view. The citizens are entitled to form their own opinions. They can assert that easily. A member of Congress, the ranking member of Judiciary ... I can't make those assertions without proof. That would be reckless.

So you don't make them.

No, I don't.

What do you do?

We pass laws. We make laws and we try to correct the system through the legislative process.

And what conclusions have you reached about how the system can be fixed?

Everyone is beginning to reexamine the appropriateness of the Electoral College. We realize that provisional balloting needs to be streamlined and simplified. We know that there should be paper trails in computers. We're beginning to wonder if we haven't privatized the electoral system so that the computer tabulators can do more and know more than the electoral commissions of the counties themselves.

In the meantime, what do you say to all of the people who believe in their hearts that our democracy is broken and that the election was stolen?

I ask and invite everybody to turn in any evidence that they want that helps proves whatever position they believe, or even a position they don't believe. But this isn't a hunch and suspicion game. This is very serious business. Either there were defects so numerous and so plentiful that we had a faulty election, or we had an election that had these defects [but they didn't alter the outcome of the election]. And as we go forward with trying to improve the process, my whole objective is not to change the election result but to try to improve the process itself.

About the writer Tim Grieve is a senior writer for Salon based in San Francisco.

Kerry Files Motion to Protect Ohio Vote Evidence

By William Rivers Pitt t r u t h o u t | Report Monday 27 December 2004

This afternoon, an attorney representing the Kerry/Edwards presidential campaign filed two important motions to preserve and augment evidence of alleged election fraud in the November election. The motions were filed in the matter titled Yost et al. v. Delaware County Board of Elections and J. Kenneth Blackwell (Civil Action No. C2-04-1139) with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio. The document is titled "Motion Of Intervenor-Defendant Kerry-Edwards 2004, Inc. For A Preservation Order And For A Leave To Take Limited Expedited Discovery." The purpose of the motions is twofold: A) To preserve all ballots and voting machines pertaining to the Yost matter for investigation and analysis; and B) To make available for sworn deposition testimony a technician for Triad Systems, the company that produced and maintained many of the voting machines used in the Ohio election. The technician has been accused of tampering with the recount process in Hocking County, Ohio, though other counties are believed to have also been involved. Any officers of Triad Systems who have information pertaining to said tampering are likewise subject to subpoena for sworn deposition testimony.

If the judge in this case allows these motions, and these individuals are served with subpoenas for deposition, the information disclosed under oath could have a major effect on the case. Likewise, judicial approval of these motions will open the door to forensic analysis of both the ballots cast and the machines they were counted on. If tampering took place, such an analysis could reveal it. The document filed in Ohio reads as follows: Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26, Intervenor-Defendant Kerry-Edwards 2004, Inc. hereby moves this Court for an order preserving materials from the 2004 presidential election and for leave to take a limited number of depositions on an expedited schedule. The depositions and preservation order sought by Intervenor- Defendant Kerry-Edwards 2004, Inc. are the same as those sought in the motion filed on December 23, 2004 by Defendants NVRI, Cobb and Badnarik. Intervenor-Defendant Kerry-Edwards 2004, Inc. hereby adopts the memorandum and proposed order filed by the Defendants in support of its own motion.

As has been previously reported on truthout http://www.truthout.org/docs_04/121604Z.shtml , this filing for the preservation and augmentation of evidence is centered on Hocking County, Ohio. According to a sworn affidavit by Sherole Eaton, Hocking County deputy director of elections, a technician for Triad Systems entered the county elections office on December 10 and dismantled one of the vote tabulation computers. Green Party presidential candidate David Cobb, a central figure in the Yost matter, described the incident as related to him by Eaton during a hearing on the matter chaired by Rep. John Conyers. "A representative from Triad Systems came into a county board of elections office un-announced," said Cobb. "He said he was just stopping by to see if they had any questions about the upcoming recount. He then headed into the back room where the Triad supplied Tabulator (a card reader and older PC with custom software) is kept. He told them there was a problem and the system had a bad battery and had 'lost all of its data.' He then took the computer apart and started swapping parts in and out of it and another 'spare' tower type PC also in the room.

"He may have had spare parts in his coat," continued Cobb, "as one of the BOE people moved it and remarked as to how very heavy it was. He finally re-assembled everything and said it was working but to not turn it off. He then asked which precinct would be counted for the 3% recount test, and the one which had been selected as it had the right number of votes, was relayed to him. He then went back and did something else to the tabulator computer. The Triad Systems representative suggested that since the hand count had to match the machine count exactly, and since it would be hard to memorize the several numbers which would be needed to get the count to come out exactly right, that they should post this series of numbers on the wall where they would not be noticed by observers."

Responding to Eaton's allegations, Rep. Conyers dispatched a letter of complaint to Brett Rapp, President of Triad. In it, Conyers wrote, "I am concerned that your company has operated - either intentionally or negligently - in a manner which will thwart the recount law in Ohio by preventing validly cast ballots in the presidential election from being counted. You have done this by preparing 'cheat sheets' providing county election officials with information such that they would more easily be able to ignore valid ballots that were thrown out by the machines during the initial count. The purpose of the Ohio recount law is to randomly check vote counts to see if they match machine counts. By attempting to ascertain the precinct to be recounted in advance, and then informing the election officials of the number of votes they need to count by hand to make sure it matches the machine count, is an invitation to completely ignore the purpose of the recount law." The filing by the Kerry/Edwards campaign is significant. The Yost matter deals with a recount of the votes cast in Ohio during the election. In order for a judge to consider such a motion, the plaintiff must be able to prove irreparable harm in the matter at hand, and must also be able to prove a significant chance that the case will succeed on the merits. The stumbling point for the Green Party and Libertarian Party in this matter has been the ability to prove that potential for success, because no recount would deliver an Ohio victory to them. A recount could very well deliver Ohio to Kerry, thus fulfilling the success on the merits requirement.

In the end, this filing amounts to a "Me, too" from the Kerry/Edwards campaign. This case would not exist in any form without the dedicated efforts of Green Party candidate David Cobb and Libertarian Party candidate Michael Badnarik. Though the inclusion of Kerry into this matter strengthens the case significantly, Cobb and Badnarik deserve the lion's share of credit for carrying the matter to this point. Attorney John Bonifaz serves as general counsel for the National Voting Rights Institute, and is co-counsel for Cobb and Badnarik in this matter. Reached for comment on this Kerry filing, Bonifaz said, "We are pleased that the Kerry Edwards campaign has joined our motion to preserve all of the ballots and election machinery in the presidential election in Ohio and to investigate the potential tampering of voting machines by Triad Governmental Systems, Inc, prior to the start of the recount. We welcome the Bush Cheney campaign joining our motion as well. The integrity of this recount is at stake. All candidates ought to join together in ensuring the proper counting of every citizen's vote."

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