Saturday, April 08, 2006

Proof Positive the Ohio Recount was Rigged

In 2004, I wrote an article in the Prince George's Sentinel about shenanigans during the 2004 presidential recount in Ohio, subscription required.

At the time, Rep. John Conyers called a special House Judiciary Committee meeting to investigate possible wrongdoing, which was relegated to a tiny room in the basement of the Capitol by the Republican Committee leadership.

Rev. Jesse Jackson "clamored for a statewide recount," and Green Party presidential candidate David Cobb and Libertarian presidential candidate Michael Badnarik pressed the issue in court and won a statewide recount.
Too many questions about voter suppression, irregular balloting and the pesky fact of Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell holding the jobs of Bush’s Ohio campaign chairman and voter fraud sleuth [gave too many folks] a bout of unease.
The statewide recount was less than a full recount; each county randomly selected precints and then hand-counted 3 percent of total votes. A separate 3 percent tally was counted by machines; if the numbers had not matched, a second set of votes, using the same methodology would have re-evaluated the count. If after a second attempt, the hand-counted votes failed to match machine tallies, then every single vote would have to be hand-counted.

Of course, all the tallies matched; and the remaining 97 percent of votes for all precincts were counted by machines; the union was saved; and Bush was once again annointed president.

Back in September 2005, Howling Latina
noted that two low-level officials in Cuyahoga County had been charged with six-count indictments for not following Ohio recount laws. Inquiring minds like mine wondered if any high-level officials such as director or deputy director might've have also had a hand, as it were, in the sordid affair.

Last month, the Plain Dealer
chronicled that Jacqueline Maiden, "Elections Division director during the December 2004 recount, [was] charged with six counts - three misdemeanors and three felonies - of failing to follow Ohio laws on how ballots are selected and reviewed during a recount. Maiden is the third highest ranking board employee."

The Plain Dealer now
reports on Thursday that after "[t]hree top county elections officials have been indicted...Erie County Prosecutor Kevin Baxter says more indictments are possible."

[T]he fix was in at the Cuyahoga elections board, Baxter charges.

Days before the Dec. 16 recount, workers opened the ballots and hand-counted enough votes to identify precincts where the machine count matched.

"If it didn't balance, they excluded those precincts," Baxter said.

"The preselection process was done outside of any witnesses, without anyone's knowledge except for [people at] the Board of Elections."

By the bye, the three state officials still happily continue to work at the elections board.

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