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Way to Go, Ohio
Published on Saturday, December 4, 2004 by The Progressive
Way to Go, Ohio
by Matthew Rothschild

Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell is preparing to certify that Ohio went for Bush.

No surprise there.

After all, Blackwell headed up Bush's reelection campaign in the state, and he did what he could to make it more difficult for people to cast provisional ballots.

As Jesse Jackson has noted, in a column entitled "Something's fishy in Ohio," this resulted in the disqualification of a disproportionate number of voters in predominantly Democratic Cuyahoga County.

In other strongholds, including liberal college towns, people had to stand in line for hours on end.

In Franklin County, the head of the board of elections, who happens to be the former head of the Franklin County Republican Party, failed to provide the necessary number of voting machines at the polls, even though he was made aware of the great increase in voter registrations and even though he had 68 extra voting machines available, according to Bob Fitrakis of the Columbus Free Press. In that city, "voters waited in the heavily Democratic wards between two and seven hours," he writes.

According to the Columbus Dispatch, voting machines were actually added in Republican precincts and taken away in Democratic ones.

Ohio voters have also given sworn testimony at public hearings of machines switching their Kerry votes over to Bush.

And in some heavily black precincts of Cleveland, obscure third party candidates were getting half to two-thirds as many votes as John Kerry, Fitrakis discovered, as did Juan Gonzales at The New York Daily News.

"In precinct 4F, located at Benedictine High School on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive," wrote Gonzales, "Kerry received 290 votes, Bush 21, and Michael Peroutka, candidate of the ultra-conservative anti-immigrant constitutional Party, an amazing 215 votes! . . . In precinct 4N, also at Benedictine High School, the tally was Kerry 318, Bush 21, and Libertarian party candidate Michael Badnarik 163."

"That's terrible. I can't believe it. It's obviously a malfunction with the machines," Cleveland City Councilman Kenneth Johnson told Gonzales.

Jesse Jackson pointed out one other peculiarity.

"Ellen Connally, an African-American Supreme Court candidate running an underfunded race at the bottom of the ticket, received over 257,000 more votes than Kerry in 37 counties," Jackson wrote. "She ran better than Kerry in the areas of the state where she wasn't known and didn't campaign than she did where she was known and did campaign."

Jackson's right. Something fishy did happen in Ohio.

And activists groups, muckraking journalists, and the Green Party are right to keep on challenging the results and demanding a recount until we know, for certain, what the actual vote totals were.

Ohio isn't the Ukraine. Or at least it's not supposed to be.

© 2004 The Progressive


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