jazzoLOG: Ohio Falls In A Black Well    
 Ohio Falls In A Black Well31 comments
picture8 Oct 2004 @ 08:37, by Richard Carlson

White dew on the bramble,
one drop
on each thorn.

---Buson

An artist is usually a damned liar but his art, if it be art, will tell you the truth of his day. And that is all that matters. Away with eternal truth. The truth lives from day to day, and the marvelous Plato of yesterday is chiefly bosh today.

---D.H. Lawrence

From the evening breeze to this hand on my shoulder, everything has its truth.

---Albert Camus

While I was in college in the late 1950s, the Government Department at Bates changed its name to Political Science. I feared the worst, and began to read poetry instead of constitutional law. Political scientists (if there be such things) not only tell us what happened in 2000, they go on to predict 2004. With the mess in Florida lurching the entire world into the US Supreme Court back then, a few states in this country have been seized upon as "swing states," in which our presidential election will be decided. I'm sure someone other than a fortune-teller can tell us how such precognition is determined. I can't though, nor have I been interested in finding out such things since Government changed its name.

Ohio is one of these states. Even if those scientists of the polis hadn't told me, I might have guessed something was up, since at least one of the major candidates is here every day. Most Ohioans I talk to are delighted to receive all this attention and up close contact with these guys. Friends elsewhere in the country and around the world envy us and ask for insight as to what's going on---somehow not satisfied with American news services anymore. Until this week I've felt the giddy power of a junior high school kid who knows a secret everybody wants to find out. Unfortunately that party now is over, and the story breaking out of Ohio is frightening in the extreme.

The Honorable J. Kenneth Blackwell, pictured here, is the Secretary of State of Ohio. He oversees the elections process and appoints the members of boards of elections in each of Ohio's 88 counties. He has degrees in education from Xavier University in this state. Earlier this month he got some press attention when he announced all new voter registration forms, that will be considered valid, must be made out of and printed on a certain thickness of paper. I guess some people were registering on forms they downloaded off the Internet. This is the same man who was advocating we all vote on our computers this year, until the "paper trail" argument reversed him. He instructed the election boards to go through their files and send everybody the correct form. At this point some of those boards have said they wouldn't do it---and couldn't. OK then, he says, those votes will have to be disqualified. There you have Reason Number 1 as to why some votes in Ohio may not be counted this year...unless contested in court of course.

Reason Number 2. This week he announced restrictions on the Provisional Ballot. On your Voter Registration Card, which you get after you fill out the form, is listed a precinct where supposedly you are living. Unless things have changed since I got mine, the actual address of the voting place is not on there...and I guess you have to find that out yourself somehow. My card has 2 or 3 addresses on it written by me as the polling location moved from one garage or barn to another out here in the boonies. Anyway, if you move of course you should report that to the Election Board. Some people by choice or economic necessity move a lot more than others---and sometimes they forget to do that reporting. In the past, they've just turned up at the nearest voting booth and been allowed to vote on a Provisional Ballot, even if their names weren't in that precinct booth but they had a card. No more of that---this election anyway. The workers are not to give out Provisional Ballots anymore, but rather to direct the citizen either to the last precinct where (s)he's known or else to the Board of Elections, where the Provisional Ballots will be available.

So what's wrong with that? We know it now, so we have a couple weeks to find our Registration Cards and get set up. If my precinct is 500 miles away, I still can get an Absentee Ballot and mail or hand deliver that in. Maybe I can change my address and get a new card. I can get a Provisional Ballot now perhaps. But what if I don't know about it until Election Day? Too bad? What if I'm a student at Ohio University, and am registered in my hometown? In the past, workers at the voting booths in Baker Student Center have provided Provisional Ballots. As of Wednesday the Athens County Board of Elections was telling students just to go to Baker Center to vote. Are they now advising students otherwise? In Cuyahoga County, the Election Board said they would ignore Blackwell's directive. He replied if they do, he will fire them all. He will discount all the Provisional Ballots from there.

Who is it who may be trying to vote in a precinct other than the one on their cards? The student population? The poor and minorities, who sociologists tell us move a lot. Somebody who just managed to get a temporary job he's trying out? Might these kinds of folks tend to vote along certain political lines that don't match those of our Republican Secretary of State? Is this man TRYING to create chaos on Election Day in Ohio? Will Ohio's ballots end up in such a tangle of litigation that again no one will know who the President is? Will the Supreme Court repeat its decision of 4 years ago that said essentially, "The hell with it, this is taking too long!"?

The Ohio Democratic Party has sued J. Kenneth Blackwell, saying federal law allows voters to cast provisional ballots at any polling place in their home county. Another suit was filed the next day by a coalition of unions and voters rights groups, including the League of Women Voters. And of course Ralph Nader is suing him too because Blackwell says there are forged signatures on petitions to get that candidate on the ballot. As for the Secretary of State himself (abbreviated as SOS) he has plans to run for Governor.

Blackwell's bio is here [link]

This is a breaking story, and so not all news outlets, including the ones in Athens alas, have picked it up yet. However, Yahoo is carrying it [link] as is ABC News and the Associated Press [link] . So is Salon [link] . The good folks out in Frisco are on to us [link] and The Progressive magazine has a feature story on voting irregularities in the current issue, available online [link] . Locally the Cincinnati Post carried an editorial yesterday [link] and the student paper at OU still has our other news people scooped 2 days later [link] . Did someone say cliff-hanger?

March 27, 2005: link update~~~
Five months later, the stories at the San Francisco Bay View, Progressive, Cincinnati Post, and the Athens Post still are available.


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31 comments

8 Oct 2004 @ 13:34 by martha : Sounding a bit like Florida
where Jimmy Carter has said there can't be fair elections because they still haven't fixed the problem from 4 years ago. Good job JEB BUSH, let's keep it all in the family eh.

I'm doing a mail in ballot this year. We don't have voter registration cards in California. You register to vote when you get a drivers license or a photo ID.
Just wondering if some of those illegal signatures on Nadar's petitions were due to Republicans trying to rush the petitions through.
Good luck Jazzy, nothing like being in a hot bed of contention. Please don't lose much sleep over this just because someone is mucking with your right to vote! (hope the supreme court doesn't have to also decide about Ohio)

##########################

What, me lose sleep? Notice what Greenwich Mean Time this thing was posted?

---yawnolog  



8 Oct 2004 @ 21:29 by ov : CCD
That stands for Chronic Cynicism Disability and I'm positive that I have been inflicted with it. It just seems that the political machine keeps spinning and still no sign of paper ballots and it doesn't matter if a small fraction of the population knows the fix is in, the strange part is this segment doesn't seem to mind being screwed as long as they are aware that it is happening.

"Yeah I'm getting screwed over but it's okay because I at least have that consolation prize of confirmation of my intelligence by being aware that I'm being screwed over and the pain is acceptable if there is enough lubricant and George will make sure that we are lubricated even if it does cost more than fifty dollars a barrel."

{link:wearabledissent.com/101/floridaballot.html|Diebald Not So Subliminal} is a non funny joke but that doesn't mean it isn't true on a metaphorical level.

And did you notice how pointing out our co-dependency killed the topic?  



15 Oct 2004 @ 08:20 by jazzolog : Shredding Voter Registration
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The New York Times
October 15, 2004
OP-ED COLUMNIST

Block the Vote
By PAUL KRUGMAN

Earlier this week former employees of Sproul & Associates (operating under the name Voters Outreach of America), a firm hired by the Republican National Committee to register voters, told a Nevada TV station that their supervisors systematically tore up Democratic registrations.

The accusations are backed by physical evidence and appear credible. Officials have begun a criminal investigation into reports of similar actions by Sproul in Oregon.

Republicans claim, of course, that they did nothing wrong - and that besides, Democrats do it, too. But there haven't been any comparably credible accusations against Democratic voter-registration organizations. And there is a pattern of Republican efforts to disenfranchise Democrats, by any means possible.

Some of these, like the actions reported in Nevada, involve dirty tricks. For example, in 2002 the Republican Party in New Hampshire hired an Idaho company to paralyze Democratic get-out-the-vote efforts by jamming the party's phone banks.

But many efforts involve the abuse of power. For example, Ohio's secretary of state, a Republican, tried to use an archaic rule about paper quality to invalidate thousands of new, heavily Democratic registrations.

That attempt failed. But in Wisconsin, a Republican county executive insists that this year, when everyone expects a record turnout, Milwaukee will receive fewer ballots than it got in 2000 or 2002 - a recipe for chaos at polling places serving urban, mainly Democratic voters.

And Florida is the site of naked efforts to suppress Democratic votes, and the votes of blacks in particular.

Florida's secretary of state recently ruled that voter registrations would be deemed incomplete if those registering failed to check a box affirming their citizenship, even if they had signed an oath saying the same thing elsewhere on the form. Many counties are, sensibly, ignoring this ruling, but it's apparent that some officials have both used this rule and other technicalities to reject applications as incomplete, and delayed notifying would-be voters of problems with their applications until it was too late.

Whose applications get rejected? A Washington Post examination of rejected applications in Duval County found three times as many were from Democrats, compared with Republicans. It also found a strong tilt toward rejection of blacks' registrations.

The case of Florida's felon list - used by state officials, as in 2000, to try to wrongly disenfranchise thousands of blacks - has been widely reported. Less widely reported has been overwhelming evidence that the errors were deliberate.

In an article coming next week in Harper's, Greg Palast, who originally reported the story of the 2000 felon list, reveals that few of those wrongly purged from the voting rolls in 2000 are back on the voter lists. State officials have imposed Kafkaesque hurdles for voters trying to get back on the rolls. Depending on the county, those attempting to get their votes back have been required to seek clemency for crimes committed by others, or to go through quasi-judicial proceedings to prove that they are not felons with similar names.

And officials appear to be doing their best to make voting difficult for those blacks who do manage to register. Florida law requires local election officials to provide polling places where voters can cast early ballots. Duval County is providing only one such location, when other counties with similar voting populations are providing multiple sites. And in Duval and other counties the early voting sites are miles away from precincts with black majorities.

Next week, I'll address the question of whether the votes of Floridians with the wrong color skin will be fully counted if they are cast. Mr. Palast notes that in the 2000 election, almost 180,000 Florida votes were rejected because they were either blank or contained overvotes. Demographers from the U.S. Civil Rights Commission estimate that 54 percent of the spoiled ballots were cast by blacks. And there's strong evidence that this spoilage didn't reflect voters' incompetence: it was caused mainly by defective voting machines and may also reflect deliberate vote-tampering.

The important point to realize is that these abuses aren't aberrations. They're the inevitable result of a Republican Party culture in which dirty tricks that distort the vote are rewarded, not punished. It's a culture that will persist until voters - whose will still does count, if expressed strongly enough - hold that party accountable.

E-mail: krugman@nytimes.com

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/15/opinion/15krugman.html?th  



16 Oct 2004 @ 07:52 by jazzolog : Will Ohio Election Go To Supreme Court?
Two stories in yesterday's The Columbus Dispatch prompt me to update the emailing I sent out last week entitled "Ohio Falls Into A Black Well." Both of these news items should be good news to all citizens interested in an efficient, clean and representative election next month---on the surface. But deep down, I have forebodings.

First of all we have a ruling on Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell's attempt to restrict provisional ballots at precinct polling places. The Democratic Party took Blackwell to court over this and here is what the judge had to say~~~

"A federal judge yesterday ordered the state to change its guidelines for handling provisional ballots in the Nov. 2 election, ruling that they violate federal law by not allowing voters to cast such ballots if they are in the right county but wrong precinct.

"U.S. District Judge James G. Carr in Toledo ordered Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell to issue new guidelines that comply with the federal Help America Vote Act by 4 p.m. Monday.

"'Unless Ohio’s election officials receive accurate guidance on how to implement HAVA, the risk is great, indeed certain, that persons entitled to vote provisionally will not be given that opportunity,' Carr wrote in his 37-page ruling."

All well and good, but who knows what guidelines Blackwell will come up with and whether, here in the homestretch, they'll need to be challenged too? Worse, Blackwell immediately appealed.

"Blackwell called Carr’s ruling 'a misinterpretation' of HAVA and immediately filed notice for an expedited appeal with the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals.

"He also is seeking a delay of Carr’s ruling today but plans to issue the new guidelines if the delay is denied, according to Richard G. Lillie, a lawyer representing the state.

"Blackwell said that he expects a ruling on the appeal before the election but that another loss wouldn’t necessarily mean an automatic appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

"'We would have to take a look at what the decision is and how close it is to the election,' he said. 'What we’re going to do is go into the election with a uniform application' of provisional-ballot rules."

Blackwell's issue is that States Rights take precedence over federal legislation such as the Help America Vote Act. You think that's big enough for the Supreme Court to look at?

http://www.dispatch.com/election/election-local.php?story=dispatch/2004/10/15/20041015-A1-04.html

The second story may be connected to the first. We learn that young voters are so incredibly involved in this election that they may tip the balance, at least here in Ohio.

"The state’s three most populous counties, Cuyahoga, Franklin and Hamilton, have had large increases in newly registered voters this year.

"In Franklin, 39 percent of the new voters are 18- to 25-year olds; in Hamilton, 41 percent; and in Cuyahoga, 33.2 percent.

"'I think they have the potential to decide the election,' said Alma Blount, director of the Hart Leadership Program at Duke University’s Terry Sanford Institute for Public Policy. The program is working on a three- year study of youth involvement in the political process.

"A national poll released Sept. 30 by the Pew Research Center found that 85 percent of 18- to 25-year-olds registered to vote said they planned to cast ballots in November, significantly more than the 67 percent in 2000. The same poll found that 58 percent of young people polled had registered to vote, 11 percent more than in 2000.

"'Together, these results suggest that on a national basis what you’re seeing in Ohio is something real,' said Scott Keeter, Pew’s director of survey research. 'It’s fair to say the young vote could swing the vote one way or the other.'

"Blount said the established news media aren’t tuned in to the youth vote, which she said isn’t showing up in polls because so many young people rely on cell phones. A Federal Communications Commission rule prohibits pollsters from calling wireless phones.

"'I think we’ll look back after the election and say, ‘The youth vote was the deciding factor,’ " she said.

"Keeter thinks the youth vote might put Sen. John Kerry in the White House because the Pew polling has shown that young people tend to be more liberal and are leaning more toward the Democratic candidate.

"It could add a significant boost to his campaign,' Keeter said.

"Dr. John Green, director of the Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics at the University of Akron, said that, overall, younger people tend to vote Democratic.

"'We just don’t know how much commitment to vote those people will have,' Green said. 'The most important question is: "What will the turnout be?"’

"Cuyahoga, Franklin and Hamilton counties together have 361,473 new registered voters this year. (Cuyahoga and Franklin counties have completed processing their registrations; Hamilton County had 12,000 remaining as of Wednesday.)

"That’s 267,538, or 285 percent, more newly registered voters in 2004 than in 2000, the last presidential election year.

"In Cuyahoga County, it’s a whopping 820 percent more.

"Rick Farmer, associate professor of political science at the University of Akron, said that although registration drives intensify during presidentialelection years, the number of nonpartisan groups registering voters this year was extreme. Groups including Rock the Vote, New Voters Project and Vote Mob targeted campuses to get more young people registered.

"'Some who registered to vote did it because someone was facing them with a clipboard,' said Farmer, a fellow at the Bliss Institute. 'But others did because they’re truly passionate about the election. The ones that do show up at the polls will be very important.'

"He said the only other time young people registered in such large numbers in recent history was in 1972, when the voting age changed from 21 to 18.

"Some Ohio counties won’t finish processing registrations until this weekend, but preliminary results indicate the number of new registrants has expanded tremendously in Ohio.

"Checks of counties with large public universities show the number has grown significantly.

"In Lucas and Wood counties, the number of new registrants doubled from 2000 to 2004. The University of Toledo is in Lucas County and Bowling Green State University is in Wood County.

"The number of new registrants has more than doubled in Summit, where the University of Akron is, and Hamilton County, where the University of Cincinnati and Xavier University are. It’s nearly doubled in Athens County, home of Ohio University."

http://www.dispatch.com/election/election-local.php?story=dispatch/2004/10/15/20041015-A1-06.html

My concerns for the students are these: did they receive a Voter Registration Card and, card clutched tightly in hand, do they know where to go? If they registered at home during the summer, do they have an absentee ballot or are they going home to vote? My understanding is that in the past, colleges have provided provisional ballots even though the students are neither in the right precinct or county. If they were registered by someone "with a clipboard" and maybe live off campus, do they know where they're to go to vote...and will precinct captains, perhaps wrongly, allow them to vote on campus? If the word goes out there's confusion and hassle waiting at the polling place, will today's students have what it takes to cut through the red tape and make their votes count?

The New York Times also carried the Ohio story yesterday, along with a summary of problems in other swing states.

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/15/politics/campaign/15vote.html  



19 Oct 2004 @ 17:32 by jazzolog : Monday Came And Went
and what did Blackwell do?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
In wrong precinct? Vote may not count
Blackwell changes provisional-ballot rules once again
Tuesday, October 19, 2004
Mark Niquette
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

In response to a judge’s order, Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell yesterday proposed new guidelines for provisional ballots, saying no one should be denied the chance to vote — even though that vote might not be counted.

U.S. District Judge James G. Carr last week disqualified Blackwell’s Sept. 16 instructions to county elections officials, which said provisional ballots should not be issued unless voters were in their correct precincts.

The judge said those instructions were in violation of the federal Help America Vote Act. He told Blackwell to file a proposed new directive that would comply with HAVA by 4 p.m. yesterday.

Blackwell is appealing Carr’s ruling to the 6 th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals but did file a proposed directive that says poll workers must make every effort to get voters to their correct precincts.

But the proposed directive says no one should be turned away without being given the chance to cast a vote — and that voters also must sign an affidavit saying they understand that if they are voting in the wrong precinct, their ballot might not be counted.

Democrats, who sued Blackwell on grounds that thousands would lose the right to vote — especially the poor and minorities — called Blackwell’s response yesterday "astonishing."

"It’s not a good-faith effort to comply with Judge Carr’s order," said lawyer Rory P. Callahan, representing the Ohio Democratic Party.

Blackwell said his directive complies with federal law, and he is confident he will win on appeal, spokesman Carlo LoParo said.

The Florida Supreme Court ruled unanimously yesterday in a lawsuit about similar issues that people who cast a provisional ballot at the wrong precinct are not entitled to have their votes counted — and that the state can determine voting rules, according to news reports.

Provisional ballots are cast by voters who have moved but have not updated their registrations, or by those who think they are registered but do not appear on the rolls. The ballots are held for 10 days while workers check the voters’ eligibility.

Blackwell has argued Ohio law says it’s illegal to cast a ballot outside a voter’s home precinct, so provisional ballots should not be issued or counted if a voter is in the wrong one.

HAVA requires provisional ballots to be issued in a voter’s jurisdiction, which Carr ruled to be a voter’s home county. Blackwell argues jurisdiction in Ohio means precinct and has vowed to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary.

Carr had suggested that Blackwell file two proposed directives: one for a scenario in which Blackwell loses the appeal, and one if he were to win, so that either could be issued quickly.

The judge issued an order for Blackwell to file a second proposed directive by Wednesday, but LoParo said that order was issued before Blackwell filed his new guidelines and might be subject to further review.

Carr also has ordered Blackwell to clarify his directive requiring certain first-time voters to show proof of identity on Election Day, which was the subject of a separate lawsuit by the League of Women Voters of Ohio and other groups.

The law says voters who registered by mail and didn’t include their driver’s license number or the last four digits of their Social Security number must show some identification at the polls.

The idea is to prevent fraud, but the law allows people who don’t have identification to cast a provisional ballot.

Blackwell is requiring voters who cast a provisional ballot under those circumstances to return with identification before polls close to have their ballot counted. Critics say that’s a violation of HAVA.

Carr wanted Blackwell to clarify whether voters could verbally provide the last four digits of their Social Security numbers without other proof of identity.

The league said that would help but is still too restrictive because some people might not know their number — and based on HAVA, still have the right to cast a provisional ballot that would be counted if eligibility is confirmed.

"We’re working with each other and the court," said lawyer Donald McTigue, representing those suing Blackwell.

mniquette@dispatch.com

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Copyright © 2004, The Columbus Dispatch
http://www.dispatch.com/election/election-local.php?story=dispatch/2004/10/19/20041019-A1-04.html  



19 Oct 2004 @ 17:48 by ov : Red Tape Firewall
The blow by blow documented trail of {link:www.ecotalk.org/VotingSecurity.htm|Lynn Landes} as she jumps through the red tape hoops to prevent the upcoming vote fraud stealing of yet another election. Seems like the strategy of the government is to just keep stalling until after the election and then claim that it is all irrelevant whether it was legal, or on the up and up, or whatever, it's a done deal now and can't be undone sort of thing. Sounds like the same thing as with the Blackwell case, it doesn't really matter what the final decision is as long as we can keep stalling until the clock is run out.  


21 Oct 2004 @ 17:32 by ov : Guardian & Clark County
Heard an interesting story on my CBC a few minutes ago about a letter writing campaign sponsored by London's 'Guardian' newspaper to encourage the voters of Clark County to vote against the Republicans. Some Americans are completely indignant about this telling the *beep* Limey's to keep their *beep* *beep* nose out of American politics or they will have their *beep* *beep* kicked, etc, etc. There were also other listener calls that were encouraged by the interest that the world was showing towards this upcoming election.

My first thought on this is that it is hypocritical to get so upset with other countries involving themselves in US elections, when the US is going around the world meddling in every damn election, phoney or legitimate, in any and every country out there. Double standards or what eh.

Key point is that the rest of the world is showing a greater interest in the US elections than ever before. They are scared about what will happen to this world if Bush get another term. Can't say I blame them.

Google news search on {link:news.google.ca/news?hl=en&ned=ca&ie=UTF-8&scoring=d&q=%22Democrats+Abroad%22&btnG=Search+News|Democrats Abroad} gives links on the mobilization of expatriat voters.

A google news search on the Guardian site with keys of {link:news.google.ca/news?hl=en&ned=ca&q=source:guardian+%22Clark+County%22&ie=UTF-8&scoring=d|'Guardian' 'Clark County'}  



21 Oct 2004 @ 19:09 by jazzolog : La Dempster Wants A Yankee Vote
Our lovely member Caroline---who hasn't shown hide nor hair the last several days until her new computer is set up at home---emailed that I should post this Guardian opportunity for offshore infiltration of the US election. Our man in Vancouver has done the job for me. Caroline actually has tried to register from over in Scotland...but she complains the reply is not forthcoming. This entry from Ov's Google search may be the reason~~~ {link:http://www.guardian.co.uk/uselections2004/story/0,13918,1332041,00.html}  


21 Oct 2004 @ 19:21 by jazzolog : Judge Blasts Blackwell
While Ohio's Secretary of State was delivering a speech saying homosexuality is wrong because you don't see it in a barnyard http://www.wtol.com/Global/story.asp?S=2457596 , Judge Carr threw the book at Blackwell's appeal~~~

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Judge blasts Blackwell
Secretary of state faulted in provisional-ballot case, accused of failing Ohio
Thursday, October 21, 2004
Mark Niquette
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

A federal judge ripped Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell yesterday for failing to comply with a court order regarding provisional ballots and for "failure to do his duty.''

U.S. District Judge James G. Carr in Toledo also suggested that Blackwell risked denying large numbers of Ohioans the right to vote on Nov. 2 and "apparently seeks to accomplish the same result in Ohio in 2004 that occurred in Florida in 2000.''

While an appeals court decides the legal dispute over provisional ballots in Ohio, Carr wants Blackwell to give county election officials alternative instructions for the possible outcomes in the case so no time is lost once there's a ruling.

The judge even offered his own language for those guidelines, saying Blackwell can't be trusted to do so.

"I cannot be confident . . . that Blackwell will, indeed, fulfill his obligation to this court, Ohio's election officials, and Ohio's voters,'' the judge wrote.

Blackwell, who has called Carr a "left-wing judge,'' said through a spokesman that the judge's strong language was "surprising'' because Blackwell thinks he has complied with Carr's requests.

"Ohio has a history of conducting great elections, and Secretary Blackwell is working hard to make sure the Nov. 2 election continues in that tradition,'' spokesman Carlo LoParo said.

It is the latest legal skirmish in the battle over how Ohio will handle provisional ballots, which federal law says must be offered to all voters who thinks they are eligible to vote -- even if they are told they're not.

The ballots are held for 10 days while election workers confirm whether voters are eligible. The idea is to ensure that no one is wrongly denied the right to vote on Election Day, as an estimated 1.5 million voters were in 2000 because of errors.

With the contest for president in Ohio and nationwide expected to be close, provisional-ballot rules are being closely scrutinized. About 98,500 such ballots were cast in Ohio in 2000, and more than that are expected this year.

The dispute is over federal language that says such ballots must be provided in a voter's jurisdiction. Carr ruled that's a county -- meaning votes cast in the right county but wrong precinct would count, at least for federal offices. Blackwell says it's a precinct, meaning any vote cast in the wrong precinct would not count.

Carr ruled last week that Blackwell's directive to election officials Sept. 16 violated the federal Help America Vote Act because the directive says provisional ballots should not be issued to a voter in the wrong precinct. It said poll workers must direct voters to the correct precinct.

Ohio Democrats and three labor groups sued, arguing that the Blackwell edict would cost thousands of voters the right to vote -- especially the poor and minorities who might mistakenly go to the wrong precincts and wouldn't be able to go elsewhere. The judge agreed.

Blackwell is appealing to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, arguing that Carr misinterpreted the voting act -- and that state law says votes cast outside a voter's home precinct are illegal.

The appeals court yesterday ordered Blackwell to file his legal arguments by 10 a.m. today, and Democrats have until 10 a.m. Saturday to respond. If the court decides oral arguments are needed, they would be Tuesday in Cincinnati.

The three judges hearing the case are Chief Judge Danny J. Boggs, Circuit Court Judge Ronald L. Gilman of Tennessee and U.S. District Judge Herman J. Weber of Cincinnati. Boggs and Weber were appointed by President Reagan, while Gilman was named by President Clinton. Carr also was appointed by Clinton.

Blackwell has noted that 26 other states plus the District of Columbia are handling provisional ballots the way he proposes, and the Florida Supreme Court backed that approach in a ruling this week on a similar lawsuit.

The U.S. Department of Justice intervened in a Michigan lawsuit, arguing that it is up to states to determine how ballots are counted.

With the Nov. 2 election fast approaching, Carr had suggested that Blackwell file two possible directives: one that complies with Carr's ruling and another if Blackwell wins his appeal.

But Blackwell filed only one proposed directive Monday, and Carr determined it did not comply with his order. The judge called that "inexplicable.''

"Ignoring this court's clear command is one thing; it is another thing, and under the circumstances even more blameworthy, to leave Ohio's election officials utterly without guidance about how to apply HAVA's provisions,'' Carr wrote.

He allowed Blackwell to file another proposed directive yesterday but also included his own version so no more time is lost -- and because "it is necessary for this court to do the job that he should have done.''

"The exigencies requiring the relief being ordered herein are due to the failure of (Blackwell) to fulfill his duty not only to this court . . . but more importantly, to his failure to do his duty as secretary of state to ensure that the election laws are upheld and enforced,'' Carr wrote.

Carr also scolded Blackwell for waiting 23 months after the voting act was passed to issue directives for handling provisional ballots and for not pushing to make Ohio's "outdated'' provisional-ballot law -- passed before the voting act -- conform with the new federal law.

Ohio's law was enacted in the late 1980s to accommodate voters who had moved or changed their names and not updated their registrations, and Blackwell has said a bipartisan commission found in 2003 that state law conforms to the federal act.

mniquette@dispatch.com

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Copyright © 2004, The Columbus Dispatch
http://www.columbusdispatch.com/election/election-local.php?story=dispatch/2004/10/21/20041021-A1-00.html  



21 Oct 2004 @ 19:35 by jazzolog : Foreign Observers Coming To Ohio
Foreign observers see problems in U.S. election
21 Oct 2004 16:54:36 GMT
Source: Reuters
By Alan Elsner

WASHINGTON, Oct 21 (Reuters) - Substantial threats to the integrity of the U.S. presidential election remain despite an improvement in election practices since 2000, an international delegation of election observers reported on Thursday.

The delegation of 20, including lawyers, diplomats, civic leaders and veteran election monitors from 15 countries, visited five key states last month to review preparations for the Nov. 2 balloting.

They plan to return to Florida, Ohio and Missouri on Election Day, although officials in some counties have so far not agreed to allow them access to polling places and vote counting centers.

"We hope voters in the United States will feel confidence with the presence of international observers and realize they are part of a world community," said Brigalia Bam, chairperson of South Africa's independent electoral commission.

Australian human rights lawyer Irene Baghoomians urged local election officials in parts of Ohio and south Florida, who have so far failed to allow the delegation access on Election Day, to change their minds.

"We do not see any harm from increased accountability and transparency," she said.

International interest in the fairness of the U.S. election was fueled by problems that emerged in the bitterly disputed 2000 vote. This delegation was sponsored by Global Exchange, a human rights organization. Several other overseas groups are also planning to send observers to monitor the election.

The group made several recommendations, although it acknowledged that it was probably too late for many of them to be implemented less than two weeks before the election.

It strongly recommended that new electronic touch screen voting machines that have been introduced in many states in the past four years be equipped to produce a voter-verified, recountable paper record.

CALL FOR PAPER TRAIL

"Transparency at the polls is critical and cannot be readily established without voter verification," the report said. "If such verification is not available, arrangements for independent auditing should be put in place."

Noting that tests of the machines have produced frequent errors, the delegation said the assumption that newer technology automatically led to more effective voting systems was short-sighted.

It urged that open source computer coding be incorporated in voting machines. At the moment, the source is proprietary and belongs to the companies that make the machines.

The report criticized the fact that U.S. elections are administered by political partisans, saying that it fell short of international norms.

In Missouri, secretary of state Matt Blunt is Republican candidate for governor and will have to certify his own election if he wins. In Ohio, Republican secretary of state J. Kenneth Blackwell has made crucial decisions on voter registration which may affect his political future and ambitions to run for higher office.

In 2000, Florida's then-secretary of state Katherine Harris played a key role in the dispute that ultimately led to the election of George W. Bush as president. She herself was elected to Congress as a Republican two years later.

Other concerns raised by the report included inadequate training of poll workers, who sometimes only received one hour of instruction every three years regardless of changes to the election laws.

The delegation condemned the disenfranchisement of an estimated 4.7 million ex-felons which it said fell short of international standards.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
© 1998-2001 Reuters Limited.
http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/N21644886.htm  



24 Oct 2004 @ 10:08 by jazzolog : Feds Back Blackwell
Springfield News-Leader
Election 2004: Court overturns Ohio ruling
Federal appeals court says provisional ballots must be cast in the correct precinct to count.

By Joe Kay
The Associated Press

Cincinnati — A federal appeals court ruled Saturday that provisional ballots Ohio voters cast outside their own precincts should not be counted, throwing out a lower-court decision that said such ballots are valid as long as they are cast in the correct county.
The ruling by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals supports an order issued by Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell. Democrats contend the Republican official's rules are too restrictive and allege they are intended to suppress the vote.

Ohio Democrats on Saturday night decided not to file an appeal in the case, one of the first major tests of how such ballots will be handled in a close election. Polls show that the race between President Bush and Sen. John Kerry in the key swing state is too close to call.

Federal judges in several states have issued varying rulings on the issue of provisional ballots, which are intended to be backups for eligible voters whose names do not appear on the rolls. Saturday's ruling was the first time a federal appeals court has weighed in.

The state's Democrats had filed a lawsuit challenging Blackwell's directive instructing county elections boards not to give ballots to voters who come to the wrong precinct and to send them to the correct polling place on Election Day.

Blackwell has said allowing voters to cast a ballot wherever they show up, even if they're not registered to vote there, is a recipe for Election Day chaos.

U.S. District Judge James Carr on Oct. 14 blocked Blackwell's directive, ruling that Ohio voters who show up at the wrong polling place still can cast ballots as long as they are in the county where they are registered. Blackwell appealed to the 6th Circuit.

Democrats said Saturday they were disappointed by the ruling but were ready to move on with election preparations.

"To avoid any confusion, we are not going to appeal this ruling," David Sullivan, voter protection coordinator for the Ohio Democratic Party, said in a statement.

Copyright © 2004, The Springfield News-Leader
http://www.news-leader.com/today/1024-Election20-209138.html  



24 Oct 2004 @ 10:12 by jazzolog : Newsweek: Ohio The Next Florida
MSNBC.com
The Next Florida
CASE STUDY: It's a game of inches in Ohio, as both sides hunt new voters and rev up the air wars. Will we get a winner on Election Day?

By Howard Fineman
Newsweek International

Nov. 1 issue - Presidential candidates love baseball in October. Sitting in front of a tube, they can bond with couch-potato America without having to give a speech, work a rope line or risk being booed at the ballpark. It was that kind of light duty for George W. Bush and John Kerry last Wednesday night. The president, a baseball executive whose childhood hero was Willie Mays, kept an eye on the Astros-Cards playoff game as he flew east from Wisconsin aboard Air Force One, then caught the Yankees-Red Sox nightcap at the White House. At a Holiday Inn near Youngstown, Ohio, Kerry summoned the press corps to observe him—Bud in—hand, buddies at his side—watching his beloved Red Sox complete their improbable comeback as he testified to his own fan history, which includes playing hooky and taking the "T" to town to see the legendary Ted Williams at Fenway. Even as the Red Sox piled up early-inning runs, the cautious Kerry cautioned caution. "There's a lot of game left," he said. "You gotta play every out, every day."

Indeed you do, which is precisely what party workers across Ohio were doing that very night—with no baseball on the TV—in the campaign offices in places such as Stark County, an exquisitely representative slice of what is perhaps the ultimate swing state of 2004. In the county seat of Canton, Democrats and

Republicans were working late, calling thousands of newly registered voters listed on CD-ROMs distributed by the County Board of Elections. In a storefront on a suburban road, Randy Gonzales, a Democratic organizer, touted the "women-to-women project"—a row of women calling undecided women. At GOP headquarters downtown, county chairman Curt Braden had his own callers, among them students from the local evangelical college. A few blocks away and 108 years ago, William McKinley sat on his ornate front porch and won the presidency for the Republicans by using tons of money and the technology of the day—railroads—for person-to-person campaigning. "That was grass-roots action at work," said Braden, looking around an office piled high with literature, computer printouts, laptops and yard signs, "and so is this."

In Ohio, and across the country, the election has the feel of a slow-motion Civil War for the soul of America: urgent, thrilling, ominous, evenly and therefore bitterly divided. From the beginning of his presidency, George Bush has striven to make sharp cultural distinctions, appealing to his base on emotional issues such as abortion and gay marriage. Democrats waved the bloody shirt of Florida 2000, decrying Al Gore's court-supported loss there by 537 votes. Now, for the first time since 9/11, the world's only superpower will define itself to itself——and to a watchful planet—by the act of choosing a leader: either a self-proclaimed "wartime president" with no reverse gear, or a man who says he can bring reluctant allies to "the table" of the war on terrorism with globally negotiated answers. In university bookstores, they sell vote or die T shirts; in TV ads with dirgelike music, Bush and Kerry depict each other as avatars of peril.

The contest is close because it is intense, but also intense simply because it is close. A classic bellwether precinct—a leafy grid of middle-class streets called "Canton 8E"—is festooned with roughly equal numbers of Bush and Kerry yard signs, and inhabited by families who express sharply divided assessments of the candidates. Statewide in Ohio, the surveys show the same thing: a neck-and-neck race, with Bush having lost the lead he had before he went prospecting in other, Bluer Midwestern states. (He was in Canton last Friday, and will make seven more stops in Ohio by Nov. 2.) The new NEWSWEEK Poll mirrors it all on a grand scale. Among registered voters, Bush and Kerry are tied at 46 percent; among likely voters, the president enjoys—if that is the word—a 48-46 percent lead (down from 50-44 last week). It's well within what is known as "the margin of error."

Make that "the margin of litigation"—in the phrase of Kenneth Blackwell, the Ohio secretary of State. Election officials nationwide say they have never seen such a flood of newly registered voters, some 14 million by one estimate. In Stark, there are 21,000 of them, in a county where 178,000 citizens voted four years ago. "It's unprecedented," said Jeff Matthews, who heads the County Board of Elections, a meticulously run but vaguely Dickensian place piled high with black-bound signature books. In that tide of voters, Democrats see a righteous victory of the disenfranchised—and Republicans see fraud in the offing. Accordingly, party officials are planning for an extra-inning game. Ohio Republicans last week officially questioned the validity of 35,000 new registrants (out of 800,000 statewide), 80 of them in Stark. Using a little-known state law, the GOP is dispatching "challengers" to thousands of precincts, including all 364 in Stark. Democrats will challenge some, too, but not as many. "We never had a challenger—now we have hundreds of them," Matthews marveled. Blackwell, whose controversial rulings on ballot procedures are under review in federal appeals court, predicted a deadlock. "This may well not end on Election Day," he said.

In such a close-run race, every decision is potentially decisive: every TV ad, every speech, every move of a surrogate or a candidate on the chessboard of the Electoral College. Both camps vow to avoid the mistakes of four years ago. For Bush and Karl Rove, that means storing a supply of messages, energy and pyrotechnics for a final week—as they failed to do in 2000, in what Rove wrongly thought would be a comfortable victory. "Karl knows that we couldn't coast the way we did last time around," said one top Republican strategist. As the Republican convention wrapped up, NEWSWEEK learned, Rove finalized his plan for a post-debates endgame. The president will give a series of "new" speeches in the last week—standard material honed and repackaged—designed to dramatically depict the "clear choices" between Bush and Kerry on the war on terror, taxes, health care, education and cultural issues.

The ad campaign will proceed on a parallel track. Late last week the Bush campaign unloaded what Rove and his inner circle regard as their most lethal Daisy Cutter ordnance: a "Blair Witch Project"-style TV ad depicting the world as a scary forest full of lurking terrorists and Kerry an appeaser of wolves because he once voted in 1996 (along with many Republicans) to cut the intelligence budget. The ad is a knockoff (an inferior one) of one of the most famous ads in political television, Ronald Reagan's 1984 "Bear" ad against Walter Mondale. Carefully tested long ago in focus groups, Rove believes the "Wolves" are a winner—and is planning to run them wall-to-wall in battleground states. Another new ad will follow: an excerpt of a Bush speech playing up his skills as a plain-spoken man of conviction, a leader who never wavers in the wind. The campaign is spending a whopping $15 million on the one-two punch.

Bush's sales pitch is clear—and the new NEWSWEEK Poll shows that he is playing to his strengths. He leads Kerry on several of what the polltakers call "leadership dimensions," among them "strong leadership qualities" (64 percent think Bush possesses them, only 53 percent think Kerry does); "says what he believes, not what people want to hear" (65-45), and, perhaps most important, "would trust in an international crisis" (54-47). In terms of handling issues, the president has a firm lead in only two. One, despite all the bad news, regards the situation in Iraq, on which voters prefer Bush to Kerry by a 51-40 percent margin. The other one is the big one: terrorism and homeland security. Bush now holds a crucial 55-37 edge. Walk around Canton 8E and you hear echoes of this judgment among those planning to vote for the president. "He's solid and knows where he stands," said Diana Hinton. "Kerry seems to me to be double-minded, and the Bible says a double-minded man is unstable."

The Kerry team's theory is that the war on terrorism isn't enough to win it for the president. Indeed, in their view, Bush's faulty handling of the war in Iraq (incompetent at best, cruelly manipulative at worst) shows a coldhearted arrogance across the board. With record oil prices, a flat stock market and 1.6 million fewer private-sector jobs than when he took office, the president, they say, simply has a record he can't run on. "We think that voters have decided to fire him," said Mike McCurry, the avuncular Clinton spinner and strategist who now shapes the daily message of the campaign. "We have to take them by the hand and lead them to John Kerry." In other words, Bush may be losing the election, but Kerry still has to win it. The NEWSWEEK Poll contains numbers that support the strategy. Bush's job approval stands at 46 percent, close to the lowest of his tenure. His "re-elect" number is also at 46 percent, another ominous sign.

But Kerry still has to make the sale on a personal level. One target: women. Appealing to them as a paragon of strength on the war, Bush has been doing relatively well among female voters. Kerry has reopened a gender gap in his favor, but has to widen it to win. He aims to do so, especially among single women and among working moms, by stressing health care, stem-cell research, the environment and overseas threats to jobs—areas in which Kerry bests Bush in the NEWSWEEK Poll.

To lure wavering men, the appeal isn't so much to the issues as it is to character. The challenge: to convince some guys—including union members in Ohio—that Kerry is not (just) an elitist stiff. No one needs to invite the press to see Bush watch ESPN; everyone knows that the president would rather watch "SportsCenter" than "The NewsHour." Kerry requires more stagecraft. In Youngstown, aide John Sasso, a certified regular guy, sat on the couch next to him. Early next morning, Kerry went hunting in borrowed camouflage. The bottom of the AM-radio dial in Ohio crackled with jokes about Kerry on every local station, but it was the pictures that counted—and they showed Kerry with a shotgun. He wasn't hunting wolves, but the fowl would do. "I feel sorry for the geese," said a top labor organizer in Ohio. "They gave it up for a good cause." (Later, when Kerry wanted to play classical guitar on the plane—a decidedly non-Budweiser type of relaxation—an aide blocked the press corps' view of the front cabin.)

Locking in their late-inning speeches and campaign personas, Bush and Kerry had to decide where to go—and where to send (or bring) their surrogates. Appealing to women on the stem-cell issue, Kerry hit Columbus with Dana Reeve, widow of Christopher Reeve. The next day it was Milwaukee with Caroline Kennedy. On Monday, Kerry planned to campaign in Philadelphia with the empathizer in chief, Bill Clinton, who would be making his first campaign appearance since undergoing quadruple-bypass surgery. The former president was scheduled to travel to Florida for Kerry (where Al Gore already was working the crowds), and later to Nevada and New Mexico if his strength allowed. Here was another attempt to avoid the mistakes of 2000, when Gore refused to deploy the best campaigner in modern Democratic history. Republicans planned to counter with industrial-strength charisma of their own: California Gov. Arnold —Schwarzenegger, who was scheduled to campaign in Ohio and who doesn't need to shoot geese in the golden autumn fields of the Buckeye State to prove he's not a "girlie man." And Bush will continue his frequent flights to Florida, where baby brother Jeb's approval ratings are hovering near 70 percent. The plan: to stoke the base while making one last stab at swaying undecided voters. As the campaign neared the finale, Rove was taking a page from the Ringling Brothers, choreographing dramatic presidential landings in Marine One and surrounding Bush with Fourth of July fireworks displays.

In the rockets' red glare, the campaigns were looking ahead to Nov. 2—and beyond. The Electoral College map dictates that Ohio and Florida will be central. By late last week the campaigns had narrowed their attention primarily to those two states plus about 10 others, including Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Iowa, New Mexico, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, Colorado, Minnesota and New Jersey. It will be hand-to-hand combat in all of them. In Florida—bloody Florida—the two campaigns submitted lists of poll watchers they want to deploy. Under a federal ruling in New Jersey several years ago, a party's motives are suspect if it deploys such poll workers only in minority areas. In Florida, therefore, both parties are planning to cover as much of the state as they can—although the GOP planned to have as many as five poll watchers in minority precincts. Cries of "fraud!" (from Republicans) and of "voter suppression!" (from Democrats) echoed across the Sunshine State—long before Election Day.

In Ohio, the outcome could rest on the finest of fine print. Under a recently enacted federal law, voters are entitled to a so-called provisional ballot if questions are raised at the polling place about the validity of their registration. The idea is to save time and prevent backups as poll watchers ("challengers" in Ohio) complain about certain voters. But in 26 states, voters aren't entitled to a provisional ballot if they try to vote in a precinct other than the one to which they were assigned by the local board of elections. On behalf of Ohio (and with the backing of the Bush Justice Department), Secretary of State Blackwell tried to enforce that rule. Democrats objected, and took the matter to federal court. A judge ruled in their favor, saying that challenged voters can get a provisional ballot at any polling place in their county. Late last week, however, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati sided with Blackwell. (Ohio Democrats said Saturday night they would not appeal the ruling.) In any event, provisional ballots aren't counted in Ohio until 11 days after Election Day. "That could be the ballgame here," said Blackwell. "Provisional ballots from new registrants." In the baseball world, fans want to know who will throw out the first pitch next April 15 in Washington, when the new Washington Whatevers debut against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Soon enough we'll know who that presidential pitcher is. But maybe not on election night.

With Tamara Lipper with Bush, T. Trent Gegax and Susannah Meadows with Kerry and Arian Campo-Flores in Florida

© 2004 Newsweek, Inc.
URL: http://msnbc.msn.com/id/6315866/site/newsweek/  



24 Oct 2004 @ 18:08 by ov : Four more years
Yup, no paper trail, and all the newspapers and polls are telling us it's neck and neck, so it must be legitimate, and when the voting machines declare that Bush won once again there will be so much reasonable doubt that there won't be the political will to contest it, and it will be four more years for the Bush.

Meanwhile, it would be interesting to see what kind of skull duggery is going on that isn't getting any publicity right now because everybodies attention is on the magicians election. We might find out what this stuff was in hindsight a few months down the road, but I predict that there is a whole lot, more than usual, heavy shit coming down that has nothing to do with the election.  



26 Oct 2004 @ 09:52 by jazzolog : I've Written A Letter To Blackwell
and will let you know what he says. In the meantime, The New York Times has an editorial today about us~~~

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The New York Times
October 26, 2004
MAKING VOTES COUNT
Election Day Misdeeds

The Republican Party has announced plans to place thousands of election challengers in Ohio polling places next week. It says it is only trying to prevent fraud. But there is a real danger that these challengers could be used to block eligible voters from casting their ballots or, just as bad, to drastically slow down voting in some parts of the state. Election officials must be vigilant about ensuring that partisan challengers do not disrupt the voting.

Republicans have been raising a lot of charges of fraud lately. Fraud is a danger in any election, and neither party has a monopoly on it. But the Republicans have come up with little in the way of specifics. They have pointed to a few instances in which paid canvassers apparently submitted registrations with phony names. But it is highly unlikely that anyone will show up on Election Day claiming to be Mary Poppins or Dick Tracy. The Republicans have made much of the fact that some jurisdictions have more names on their rolls than they have eligible voters. But that is generally because election offices are slow to remove the names of people who move away or die.

In the name of fraud prevention, the Republicans plan to use 3,600 challengers in Ohio, a pivotal state where the race is dead even and there has been a big surge in first-time registrations for Democratic voters. There is no telling how many partisan challengers there will be nationwide next week because many states do not require them to be identified in advance. If challengers behave properly, they can help make elections better. But partisan challengers acting in bad faith can do considerable damage. Aggressive challengers have been known to bully poll workers, many of whom are elderly and have only limited knowledge of election law.

It is likely that some voters will be challenged next week not because they appear to be ineligible, but because partisan challengers think that they will vote for the other side. There is a long history of challengers' targeting minority precincts and minority voters. It is troubling that in Ohio this year, the Republicans appear to be focusing much of their effort on Cleveland, Dayton and other cities with large African-American and Latino populations.

One of the gravest dangers is that partisan teams will challenge many, if not all, voters in selected precincts, with the goal of slowing voting to a standstill. In Ohio, every challenge will require a deliberation over whether the person in question should be allowed to vote. In presidential elections, lines in urban polling places are often hours long under normal conditions. If the challengers can add 10 minutes per voter, waiting times may become so long that thousands of voters will simply give up.

Ohio law gives election officials broad authority to keep order at the polls and to make sure that voting is "unobstructed." Poll workers should be quick to dismiss baseless challenges, and if they see challengers acting in bad faith, they should not hesitate to have them removed from the polling place. Election Day voting is far more fragile than most people realize. A small number of challengers, strategically placed and up to no good, could disenfranchise thousands of voters, and even change the outcome of a presidential election. Having been put on notice, election officials in Ohio - and around the country - must make sure that this does not happen.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/26/opinion/26edt1.html?th  



27 Oct 2004 @ 15:20 by jazzolog : Blackwell In Federal Lawsuit Today
No answer to my letter from Blackwell's office yet---but perhaps they are too busy there. The fight already down to vote by vote~~~

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The Columbus Dispatch
GOP sued over challenges
Democrats want a federal court to stop hearings that elections boards have set
Wednesday, October 27, 2004
Mark Niquette

The Ohio Democratic Party filed a federal lawsuit yesterday seeking to stop the state GOP from challenging the eligibility of thousands of newly registered voters statewide.

Saying the challenges were sloppy and violate federal law, Democrats want an order halting hearings that county boards of elections have scheduled to determine whether those voters live where they are registered and should remain on the rolls.

A preliminary hearing on the lawsuit is scheduled for 11:15 a.m. today before U.S. District Court Judge Susan Dlott in Cincinnati. She was appointed by President Clinton in 1995.

Unless a court says otherwise, Franklin County elections officials said they plan to proceed with hearings on 2,371 challenges Thursday. Boards in 61 other Ohio counties also have scheduled hearings.

Regardless of how the court rules, any new voter who is successfully challenged won’t be permanently removed from the rolls, Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell said in a directive to county elections boards yesterday.

Blackwell said at the very least, such voters will be able to cast a provisional ballot on Tuesday. Those ballots are held for 10 days while election workers determine if the voter was eligible before counting them.

But Democrats say the Ohio Republican Party is trying to "discourage and intimidate eligible voters" — many of whom would be expected to vote Democratic — by challenging them without adequate notice in violation of federal laws that dictate how voters can be removed from the voting rolls.

They cite examples such as Lisa Potts of Westerville, who was challenged on the basis she doesn’t live where she is registered. In fact, she is registered from her mother’s address while serving in the U.S. Marines, the lawsuit said.

"The Republican Party is trying to throw tens of thousands of legitimate Ohio voters off the voting rolls," said David Sullivan, Ohio coordinator of Democrats’ voter protection project.

Republicans say they’re not targeting legal voters but trying to prevent fraud they say was committed by groups supporting Democrats who paid people to register voters.

"Democrats are sending out their fraud-protection team again," GOP spokesman Jason Mauk said. "This is just the latest effort to break down every possible safeguard against fraud at the ballot box."

Last week, the Ohio GOP filed challenges in 65 counties against 35,427 voters, on grounds they don’t live in the precinct where they registered because mail sent to them was returned as undeliverable.

The GOP suspects fraud, but Democrats said there are legitimate reasons mail is returned, including people moving or mail being misaddressed. By itself, returned mail isnot evidence of fraud, Democrats say.

Democrats cite examples including Amy Miller of Wadsworth, who received mail at a post office box but moved and updated her registration. She was challenged because mail was sent to her post office box, which had been closed.

Miller has been told to appear at a hearing Thursday to prove her residency, but she is pregnant and was told by her doctor not to attend, Democrats said.

Democrats note that Republicans have withdrawn all challenges filed in Fairfield, Hamilton, Montgomery, and Wood counties because a computer glitch caused errors on a significant number of the filings.

Mauk estimated about 20,000 to 25,000 challenges statewide remain. County elections boards must hold hearings on each.

Republicans say many examples of fraud already have been uncovered, including the apparently illegal registration of a Somali man in Columbus — ineligible to vote because he is not a U.S. citizen — accused of plotting to blow up a central Ohio mall.

"We have no question there are legitimate voters in the mix," Mauk said. "But clearly, there are questions . . . This is an effort to allow (voters) to clarify those questions in advance of Election Day."

Republicans plan to challenge voters at the polls they suspect to be fraudulently registered. Both parties have have filed the names of thousands of lawyers and others to allow them inside polling locations.

Some observers fear the challenges could lead to longer lines or cause more provisional ballots to be cast — which could affect the ability to declare a presidential winner in Ohio on election night.

Elections officials say the scope of the challenges is unprecedented, and elections boards have been scrambling to hold the required hearings.

Besides the 2,371 hearings scheduled in Franklin County, Cuyahoga County — where 17,717 challenges were filed — has rented the Cleveland Convention Center for hearings Friday and Saturday.

Officials don’t expect all of those challenged to appear and have said hearings can quickly be resolved if voters show identification proving they live where they are registered.

But the challenge process already is generating angry reaction from voters who are being told they must appear at a hearing. Franklin County elections chief Matthew Damschroder said he received about 100 such calls yesterday.

Clintonville resident Erin Duffy said she can’t make the hearing on such short notice because of her job. An elections worker told her to sign an affidavit about her residency and have it notarized.

Duffy, 24, was told she was being challenged because her address changed. She moved two miles to her new home in August and changed her address with the Board of Elections in September, she said.

"I went though all the trouble to make these calls because I really care about voting," said Duffy, who thinks she is being "picked on" as a Democrat.

The Democrats’ lawsuit names six boards of elections, including Franklin County’s, and Blackwell, who oversees elections. But it seeks to represent every newly registered voter who was challenged.

Blackwell is following the law and will abide by the court’s decision on the case, spokesman Carlo LoParo said.

Dispatch reporters Suzanne Hoholik and Mary Beth Lane contributed to this story.

mniquette@dispatch.com
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Copyright © 2004, The Columbus Dispatch
http://www.columbusdispatch.com/election/election-president.php?story=dispatch/2004/10/27/20041027-B1-01.html  



27 Oct 2004 @ 18:14 by ov : Ohio
The credibility of the entire system is about to fall. The new variation of an old Soviet joke as applied to the USA: we prentend we live in a democracy and the government pretends to give us a vote.  


28 Oct 2004 @ 10:12 by jazzolog : Blackwell Writes Back---
Or, Provisional Voting Revealed

sort of. On both counts.

Let's see if I can make this really simple...right here at the top: If you're already registered to vote in a town, city or crossroads in Ohio, but today "reside" somewhere else in this State, you may vote "provisionally." "Reside" means you're present continuously in a room I guess, and preferably can get mail delivered to you there. If you're in college or at a worksite for an undefined length of time [and the mail(wo)man can find it] but most of your stuff is back "home," you still can vote "provisionally." (If you're homeless, I don't know what you can do.)

If you live in Cleveland but work in Columbus, and drive back and forth every day, can you vote provisionally in Columbus? No. You must vote in Cleveland...and, to be on the safe side, it really ought to be in your precinct's designated voting place.

My main concern in worrying about all this is the Student Vote. When I was a student, and my parents still maintained a room for me where they lived, and yet most of the year I was in a dorm halfway across the country, I really didn't know what my "legal" address was. These days some students move all the time---depending on roommates or an off-campus apartment at a better price. Who remembers to notify the Board of Elections each time---or even the Rolling Stone subscription office? So what happens when you get told it's Election Day and you can vote at some central location on campus?

Then I heard about the Provisional Ballot and J. Kenneth Blackwell, Ohio's Secretary of State. He was issuing new directives to the Boards of Election of Ohio, which are under his jurisdiction. The first was about the weight of the paper on which was printed the voter registration form. The second was about provisional ballots. The Democratic Party sued him over that one and they were upheld in the Ohio Court. Blackwell appealed and won at the Federal level late Saturday. Surprise! But what did he win and where are we with this provisional voting?

I wrote to the local Democratic Party, and got this reply on Monday:

"Richard, the ruling does not effect Baker Center. What does change is that instead of going to any precinct to vote provisionally, voters must now either go to the Board of Elections, Baker Center, or the precinct where they currently reside if they wish to vote provisionally. The rulings have little effect on our local operations because Baker Center has always been designated by the Athens County Board of Elections as a provisional voting only location. The rulings did not effect the local election boards power to designate special provisional voting locations, so Baker Center voting will remain intact.

Kevin Berry
Email Coordinator
Athens County Democratic Party"

I worried maybe Athens has some little quaint arrangement with OU about all this, and Blackwell is just waiting to throw all those votes away as being illegal. In the election of 2000, Alyssa Bernstein and I were told yesterday at the Board of Elections, some 1100 students voted provisionally on campus at OU. We figured there's bound to be more than that this time---and we're only one town in Ohio. So I wrote to Blackwell himself. This is what I wrote on Tuesday:

"Dear Friends:

This question is about provisional voting in Athens, Ohio. It is my understanding the Board of Elections here has designated a portion of Baker Center at Ohio University a place to cast a provisional ballot for students. In the past, I am told, students have voted there, even if they are registered anywhere else in the State. I also understand that OU is telling students to go there to vote...and there even are ads running here on the media. Given the new regulations and the Federal Court ruling on Saturday, is this procedure still correct...and will those votes be allowed?

Sincerely,
Richard Carlson"

Yesterday morning, I sent a followup Second Request. This is what came back from the Office of the Secretary of State:

"Richard,

This is something you need to discuss with your county board of elections. The Athens County Board of Elections number is: 740-592-3201 and their e-mail is: athens@sos.state.oh.us

Thanks,
Robin Fields"

Great. So yesterday afternoon Alyssa and I went in there. She teaches political theory or something at OU. I do whatever I do at the Athens City Schools. We thought that should be enough clout to get the answer. As I feared, it was extremely busy---with some provisional voters already voting! We spoke to the director of the place, who was very helpful and patient...and even printed out copies of Blackwell's directives for us. We also were given a sheet of paper which information they said is on "the website," but Google does not reveal the URL. At the bottom these official "Election Day Instructions" say,

"ANY 'WALK-IN' VOTER THAT APPEARS IN THIS PRECINCT and declares that he or she is currently REGISTERED TO VOTE IN ANOTHER COUNTY IN OHIO AND WISHES TO REGISTER AND VOTE IN ATHENS COUNTY May vote a PROVISIONAL BALLOT at their NEW PRECINCT or BAKER CENTER - E. UNION STREET, ATHENS or THE BOARD OF ELECTIONS. They will be permitted to vote, after filling out the approapriate forms (new registration and yellow identification envelope to seal ballot in).
"ALL voted ballots by "WALK-IN" VOTERS will be held UNOPEN (sic) - at the Board of Elections and counted during the official tabulation - AFTER THE BOARD VERIFYS (sic) THAT THE 'WALK-IN' VOTERS:
1. ARE currently registered.
2. Have voted the Correct Ballot for the New Precinct
3. Have NOT voted in another location"

I believe---and I think Alyssa agrees---what happens is the provisional voter is re-registering at the time he or she votes. The process is essentially an on-the-spot re-registration. The Board of Elections has 10 days after November 2nd to do the verifying. If things are close and everything ends up in Ohio, you can bet this process is going to get all the scrutiny that Florida did in 2000. If the Boards around the State have different ways of doing things, will we go again to the Supreme Court and get a similar ruling about "equal protection under the law"? Stay tuned.  



2 Nov 2004 @ 09:56 by jazzolog : Shit!
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The New York Times
November 2, 2004
OHIO
G.O.P. in Ohio Can Challenge Voters at Polls
By JAMES DAO and ADAM LIPTAK

COLUMBUS, Ohio, Tuesday, Nov. 2 - In a day of see-sawing court rulings, a Federal appeals court ruled early Tuesday morning that the Republican Party could place thousands of people inside polling places to challenge the eligibility of voters, a blow to Democrats who argued those challengers will intimidate minority voters.

The ruling, by the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, in Cincinnati, reversed two lower courts that had blocked the challenges just a day before. It also came as squadrons of lawyers from both parties in Ohio and other swing states from Pennsylvania to Florida to New Mexico were preparing for Election Day skirmishes that will include using arcane laws that allow challenges at the polls.

The lawyer for a pair of Cincinnati civil rights activists who had challenged the Republican plans to challenge voters said he would appeal Tuesday morning's decision to the United State Supreme Court.

But it appeared likely that when Ohio polls open, the Republicans would be able to put 3,500 challengers inside polling places around the state. Democrats also planned to send more than 2,000 monitors to the polls, though they said those people would not challenge voters.

The cases may foreshadow lawsuits that are likely to be filed if the election is close in any state crucial to the Electoral College calculus. Lawyers for both sides are already examining disparities in election policies, nuances in court rulings and potential irregularities at polling places for material that may be used to challenge results in places where margins are paper thin.

The battle over Election Day challenges has been most intense in Ohio, not only because the race here is so close and so vital to President Bush and Senator John Kerry, but also because the Republican Party has announced larger and more aggressive plans to challenge voters here than in other states.

The Republicans contend that challenging - a practice that has been allowed under state law for decades but rarely used - will weed out fraud often missed by election workers. Democrats assert that the challenges would disproportionately single out low-income and minority voters, which Republicans deny.

In their separate rulings in the lower courts, Judge Susan J. Dlott of Federal District Court in Cincinnati and Judge John R. Adams in Akron agreed that procedures already existed to prevent fraud at the voting place. And they said aggressive, time-consuming challenges inside polling stations might create chaos and delays that could intimidate voters or rob them of the chance to vote.

In seeking the delicate balance between preventing fraud and upholding voting rights, the judges said, the scales should tip toward voting rights.

"Voter intimidation severely burdens the right to vote, and prevention of such intimidation is a compelling state interest," wrote Judge Dlott, who was appointed by President Bill Clinton. Judge Adams was appointed by President Bush.

Mark Weaver, counsel to the state's Republican Party, said: "The goal of the Ohio Republican Party is to guarantee a fair election for everyone. Each time the Democrats remove an additional safeguard, the potential for voter fraud increases."

Mr. Weaver argued that even if voters had been successfully challenged at the polls, they would have been allowed to cast provisional ballots, which are reviewed after Election Day to ensure that the voter is eligible. Democrats and many experts in election law say the rules for counting provisional ballots are varied and unclear, which could lead to valid ballots being rejected.

The Ohio Republicans have repeatedly argued that the Democratic Party and allied groups have engaged in widespread fraud. On Monday, they filed a motion in state court asserting that the Democrats and an independent group, America Coming Together, which supports Senator Kerry, have been contacting Republicans and giving them incorrect information about polling locations and other Election Day issues.

Democrats and the group denied the assertion.

In a similar and perhaps redundant decision in New Jersey, a federal judge, Dickinson R. Debevoise, ruled Monday that the Republican National Committee and people under its control may not challenge Ohio voters using a list of 35,000 people prepared by local Republicans here. The list is based on mail returned as undeliverable.

Judge Debevoise, ruling on a challenge filed by minority voters in Federal District Court in Newark, based his order Monday on a 1982 decision that prohibited the Republican National Committee from using so-called ballot security measures to frustrate efforts by members of minorities to vote. Judge Debevoise ruled that the 1982 decision, a consent order entered as part of a settlement in New Jersey, was national in scope and continued to be in effect.

Lawyers for the Republicans filed an immediate appeal to the federal appeals court in Philadelphia.

Even as the Ohio dispute was working its way through the courts, lawyers in other states were gearing up for Election Day challenges.

In Philadelphia, Republicans have said they plan to challenge 10,000 voters in the heavily black West Philadelphia section because of what they say are concerns of registration fraud. Democratic Party lawyers are expected to ask judges to remove the challengers if they are overly aggressive.

In Florida, Republicans have said they will challenge 1,700 people with felons convictions if they show up to vote. Democrats have mustered thousands of poll watchers whose job will be to ensure that voters are not intimidated.

In New Mexico, officials in both parties said they were placing hundreds of lawyers in polling places as monitors. Democrats have said they will not challenge voters, but Republicans have held out the possibility of doing so.

And in Wisconsin, a dispute over Election Day challenges was resolved amicably over the weekend when the two parties agreed to prepare a list of 5,512 people with questionable registrations, like those with discrepancies in their addresses. If those people attempt to vote, they will be asked to produce documentation showing their address. If they have no such proof, they will be allowed to vote, but their ballot will be tagged as challenged, meaning they might be rejected during a recount, officials said.

As the parties geared up for Election Day and beyond, it was clear both had marshaled impressive forces, though the Democrats claimed to have the edge in troop strength.

Robert F. Bauer, the Democratic National Committee's national counsel for voter protection, said the party had assembled the biggest collection of volunteer lawyers ever.

"It is the largest law firm in the United States," Mr. Bauer said of his team. "If we paid everyone at the prevailing market rate, it would rank among the more robust economies in the world."

Mindy Tucker Fletcher, a senior adviser to the Republican party in Florida, said she was unimpressed. "Why is that something to be proud of?" she asked, adding that "we have lawyers in every county, and at the state level."

Daniel J. Hoffheimer, the state legal counsel for the Kerry campaign in Ohio, said he had recruited lead lawyers in virtually every one of the state's 88 counties. He said three issues could ripen into postelection lawsuits if the vote was close in Ohio: provisional ballots, challenges to voters and absentee ballots.

Both sides agreed that no one knew where significant trouble would break out or what specific legal issues would be involved. But all concerned said they had tried to learn from the litigation chaos in Florida in 2000.

"Last time everybody was entirely unprepared," said Barry Richard, who represented the Bush campaign in Florida in 2000. "We had to organize very quickly. Nobody expected it to begin with and nobody expected the magnitude of it or the length of it. We suddenly found ourselves facing three trials, any one of which could have made the difference in the election."

James Dao reported from Columbus for this article, and Adam Liptak from New York.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/02/politics/campaign/02ohio.html  



2 Nov 2004 @ 18:00 by ov : Tight race?
Heard a few different informed opinions this morning on the radio about how close a race this actually is. The opinion polls were questioned since they were all based on land lines, rather than cell phones, and changes the numbers because a lot of the disenfranchised only have cell phones, (of course the more affluent have cell phones but they also have the traditional phone). There are a lot more youth registered this time around than before and this is a mystery. Now it sounds like there is intimidation, send people home for some ID and hope they won't be willing to come back and stand in line for another couple of hours. And all of this doesn't really matter on the actual votes cast as much as it does on presenting a list of reasons and excuses for why the black box voting machine declares more people voted for Bush. If it was clear that Kerry would win then it would look suspicious if the machine says Bush won, but if it is a close race then people will accept the judgement of the voting machine. The fix is in, we should get confirmation of that within a day.  


10 Nov 2004 @ 10:32 by jazzolog : From John Kerry's Legal Counsel
The following just in from the Chairperson of our county Democratic Party~~~

Voters who want to be sure it was all done right.

I am pasting an email from the Kerry campaign recieved at 7:00PM tonight. If you think something is wrong go help investigate. We need you tomorrow. We are meeting at 10:00am at Shostak law office. Please come ready to hit the road, gas, map and a little cash. We will have a spread sheet for your things to check for. The things you need your brains and heart so if something tells you something is wrong. A brief training will ocurr at that time. Please help us uncover or prove to ourselves nothing went wrong. If you can't help find some other smart free person.

Sorry about the short notice. I have attached the email. Read it but don't worry about organizing it we will do that.

Susan Gwinn

Dear Regional Counsel,

Well, it seems the presidential election is not quite over yet.
John Kerry called National Counsel with his request that Ohio legal counsel not retire quite yet but rather take vigorous steps to assure that the vote in Ohio, including the provisional ballots, is accurately counted. This is to live up to his pledge to do everything possible to assure that all votes in this election would be accurately counted. We do not expect the outcome of the election to change. However, there are widely-circulating reports of election irregularities, some of which we knew about, and a lot of speculation about election fraud. This is in addition to the voter suppression activities performed by the GOP on election day. We want to identify and record as best we can precisely what happened.
We need to assure that, at least in the key counties, we have our duly-appointed witnesses or other permitted volunteers actually present to witness the analysis of and the counting of the provisional and regular ballots, to keep accurate notes of what they observe, and that they put together a report back to you and through you to me so that I can report to National Counsel and they to Senator Kerry.
Here is what I think we need to do. Please contact your County Counsel, at least in your most populous counties, and in any other counties where realistically you believe you have witnesses or other volunteers who can do this. You may forward this email to them or edit it as you prefer.
The following list of questions to be investigated with the Board of Elections is very comprehensive. It may well be that some of your County Counsel cannot obtain information in this much detail, or that it is not available, or that it is too cumbersome to obtain. Hence, I will follow the comprehensive list with a shorter, alternative, fall-back list for those counties where the comprehensive information is not reasonably available.
Preferably, we would like to obtain this information from each county Board of Elections, by precinct in each county:

1. Total number of HAVA provisional ballots (as defined by the Help America Vote Act (HAVA)) issued at each precinct in the county.
2. Total number of HAVA provisional ballots issued at the BoE office or site designated by the board.
3. Total number of regular, non-HAVA provisional ballots issued at each precinct in the county.
4. Total number of regular, non-HAVA provisional balllots issued at the BoE office or site designated by the board.
5. Total overseas civilian and military ballots issued.
6. Total overseas civilian and military ballots counted on election night.
7. Total regular absentee ballots received by the close of the polls and not counted on election night.
8. Total regular absentee ballots received after the close of the polls through Tuesday, November 9, 2004, with a postmark on or before November 2, 2004.
9. Voting equipment malfunction or errors. Please describe each instance of a mechanical or programming malfunction or error of voting equipment used at the polls or for absentee voting. Please describe the nature of the malfunction or error and whether any votes were affected and if so in what way.
10. Tabulation equipment failures or errors. Please describe each instance of a mechanical or programming malfunction or error of tabulation equipment. Please describe the nature of the malfunction or error and whether any votes were affected and if so in what way.
11. Presidential candidate rotation errors. Please describe any errors discovered with respect to the rotation of Presidential candidates' names either in programming or on ballot pages.
12. Absentee overvotes. Please provide the number of absentee ballots that contain overvotes in the Presidential election.
13. Were the names of Nader/Camejo removed from all absentee voting pages? If not, were stickers placed over the names? If not, what steps were taken to inform voters that Nader/Camejo had been removed from the ballot and that a vote for them would not be counted?
14. Regular ballot overvotes. Please provide the number of regular ballots that contain overvotes in the Presidential election of each precinct in the county.
15. Were the names of Nader/Camejo removed from all regular voting page ballots? If not, were stickers placed over the names? If not, what steps were taken to inform voters that Nader/Camejo had been removed from the ballot and that a vote for them would not be counted?
16. Provisional ballot discrepancy (1). Is the number of provisional ballots cast different than the number of persons who signed the provisional poll book at the board of elections office or in the precincts? If so, please state the discrepancy for each.
17. Provisional ballot descrepancy (2). Is the number of cast provisional ballots in the board of elections' custody different than the number of provisional ballots cast at the board office and for each precinct? If so, please state the discrepancy for each.
18. Regular ballot discrepancy (1). Is the number of regular ballots issued different that the number of persons who signed the regular poll book at the board office or in the precinct? If so, state the discrepancy for each.
19. Regular ballot discrepacy (2). Is the number of cast regular ballots in the board's custody equal to the number of regular ballots cast for each precinct? If not, state the discrepancy for each.
20. Provisional ballots refused. Please state the number of persons, if known, who were not permitted by election officials to cast a provisional ballot by precinct.
21. Insufficient provisional ballots. Were there any precincts that ran out of provisional ballots on Election Day?
22. Insufficient regular ballots. Were there any precincts that ran out of regular ballots on Election Day?
23. Anomalous results (1). Please compare the precinct-by-precinct results for Kerry and Bush with the results for Connelly and Moyer. Please identify the precincts in which Connelly received more votes than Kerry and the number of votes received by each in those precincts for Connelly and for Kerry.
24. Anomalous results (2). Please review all precincts and describe any other anomalous results.

The above list can serve as a questionnaire that County Counsel can submit in writing to each Board of Elections. Or you may choose to do so yourself directly in the key counties in your charge. It can also serve as a roadmap for each witness or other volunteer inside the Board of Elections.
As an alternative, the following are the most essential items to pursue:

1. Does County Counsel have an appointed witness or other volunteer committed to attending inside the Board of Elections to observe the counting of the provisional and regular ballots?
2. How is the validity/invalidity of the provisional ballots being ascertained?
3. Is this pursuant to a written policy of the BoE, or are they following directions of the Secretary of State? Please provide copies of any written policies.
4. Who will be present for the vote count?
5. When did the count begin, or when is it scheduled to begin?
6. When will the count be completed?
7. When will the official vote count be certified by the BoE?
8. What statistics are being developed on the reasons for the validity/invalidity of the provisional ballots?
9. What are the reasons for validity/invalidity with numbers for each reason by precinct?

I understand that this is a terrible burden. If County Counsel in key counties are not able to do this, I need to know so that we can find a successor to pursue this with each, key BoE. The rumors now parsing through the internet are raising questions about the fairness of the election in Ohio. This also raises questions about the choice of our President. We need to obtain the truth on this, not only for the sake of this election but for the sake of the public's confidence in Ohio's electoral system and in our democracy.
Thanks very much.
Daniel J. Hoffheimer
State Legal Counsel, OHIO
Kerry-Edwards 2004, Inc.
Taft, Stettinius & Hollister LLP
425 Walnut Street, Suite 1800 | Cincinnati, Ohio 45202-3957
(513) 381-2838 | Fax (513) 381-0205

hoffheimer@taftlaw.com | {link:www.taftlaw.com}  



12 Nov 2004 @ 10:23 by jazzolog : Those Exit Polls!
In "The Unexplained Exit Poll Discrepancy," Dr. Steven F. Freeman says:

"As much as we can say in social science that something is impossible, it is impossible that the discrepancies between predicted and actual vote counts in the three critical battleground states [Ohio, Florida, and Pennsylvania] of the 2004 election could have been due to chance or random error."

The odds of those exit poll statistical anomalies occurring by chance in all 3 of those particular polls are 250,000,000 to one. 250 MILLION to ONE.

He concludes the paper with this:

"Systematic fraud or mistabulation is a premature conclusion, but the election's unexplained exit poll discrepancies make it an unavoidable hypothesis, one that is the responsibility of the media, academia, polling agencies, and the public to investigate."

http://www.buzzflash.com/alerts/04/11/ale04090.html

{link:http://www.ilcaonline.org/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=973}

Dr. Steve Freeman is Visiting Scholar in the Center for Organizational Dynamics and teaches courses on organizational resilience and organizational innovation in the Organizational Dynamics graduate program at the University of Pennsylvania. Since 1998, he has been Professor of Management at INCAE (Central American Institute of Business Administration), Alajuela, Costa Rica, an international MBA program established by Harvard University. During 2002, he was Karel Steuer Chaired Professor in Entrepreneurship at Universidad de San Andreas, Buenos Aires, Argentina. His research interests include strategy, entrepreneurship, loss, change, and resilience. A recent paper (with Maltz and Hirschorn), "Moral Purpose and Organizational Resilience: Sandler O'Neill & Partners, L.P. in the Aftermath of September 11th", was chosen by the Academy of Management as 2003 Best Paper on Organizational Change and Development. He received his Ph.D. in Organization Studies from the MIT Sloan School of Management.  



12 Nov 2004 @ 16:03 by jazzolog : What It Means
I had not had the opportunity to read Dr. Freeman's paper before getting to work this morning. I now have read it 3 times. You need Adobe 6 to access it---although undoubtedly it's on some message boards and blogs by this time.

What he is saying is, from a social scientific point of view, it is impossible that the Exit Polls in those 3 states particularly could have been so far off from what the final tallies are. Impossible...unless 1) something radical is wrong with the polls themselves, 2) fraud or 3) screwup in the tabulation process with the data. Dr. Freeman emphasizes that we must find out what happened...and right now. He urges that confidence in the President and the United States election system is at stake. This is not propaganda. He knows what he's talking about.  



12 Nov 2004 @ 17:40 by ov : Ohio
I think that Dec 1st is a big deadline for getting any changes made to this recent selection. Lots of data is coming out on this but the mainstream has yet to connect the dots for everybody and say that it is real.

Nader and the Green Party are calling for a recount in a lot of this areas. It's interesting that it should have to be him that steps up to the plate rather than Kerry. Looks to me like Kerry was a poliltical strawman, a turncoat and mole. Time will tell but my impression so far is that Kerry was a "Job's comforter" for the progressives.

Just came across more information on the Green Party and recounts. They want money, but heh the amount they need is like small change to what the repugs throw around.

The Cobb and Badnarik campaigns are in the process of raising the required fee, estimated at $110,000, for filing for a complete recount. The campaigns are accepting contributions through their websites. The Cobb-LaMarche website is http://www.votecobb.org . The Badnarik-Campagna contribution page is
{link:https://badnarik.org}.  



12 Nov 2004 @ 18:08 by ov : Citizen Action This Weekend
CALL FOR DEMONSTRATION AND PUBLIC HEARINGS THIS SATURDAY IN COLUMBUS,
OHIO!

DEMAND ACCOUNTABILITY!

DEMAND ACKNOWLEDGMENT!

DEMAND ELECTORAL JUSTICE FOR ALL!

Nov 12, 2004 - Demonstrate @ 10:30 am at The State House followed by
March to The Hearings @ 12:30 pm at the New Faith Baptist Church (See Full Hearing Info Below)

Together we stand to share our experiences, march to testimony, and forever move our democracy toward electoral justice for all. We ask your support to:

1: Circulate this message, talk to your organizations, family and friends and plan to attend both events.

2: Plan transportation, car pooling etc.

3: Bring signs, banners, flags, drums, and all necessary materials to advocate your message at our permitted demonstration.

Speakers: To Be Announced.

Location: http://www.statehouse.state.oh.us/maps.cfm

Event Endorsed by: Reach Out Bowling Green.

Contact: Jeff Nolish 419-575-2385 JNolish@bgnet.bgsu.edu

FULL SAT. AND MON. HEARING INFO:

Nonpartisan Hearings to Convene in Ohio to Investigate Voting Irregularities and Voter Suppression

They might have conceded - but we haven't conceded our right to a
free and fair democratic process. Public hearings convening in Columbus to investigate voting irregularities and voter suppression in Ohio surrounding the 2004 General Election. THIS IS A NONPARTISAN STATEWIDE CALL TO ACTION. VOTERS AND POLL WORKERS FROM AROUND THE STATE ARE INVITED TO TESTIFY.

They might have conceded - but we haven't conceded our right to a free and fair democratic process. Public hearings convening in Columbus to investigate voting irregularities and voter suppression in Ohio surrounding the 2004 General Election:

THIS IS A NONPARTISAN STATEWIDE CALL TO ACTION. VOTERS AND POLL WORKERS FROM
AROUND THE STATE ARE INVITED TO TESTIFY AT ONE THE FOLLOWING TIMES:

Saturday November 13, 1-4 PM
New Faith Baptist Church
955 Oak Street
Columbus, Ohio 43205

Monday November 15, 6-9 PM,
Auditorium (Meeting Room A)
Courthouse, 373 S. High St.
Columbus, OH

Did we have free and fair elections in 2004? Here is your chance to tell us bout what happened to you on Election Day.

We are calling for anyone who experienced or observed election
irregularities or voter suppression on Election Day to come forward and give their testimony.

We are calling for any individuals or organizations that have
information about election irregularities or voter suppression that occurred before, during or after the elections to give their testimony.

We are calling for our public officials, community representatives
and the media to come and hear the testimony of the people.

We will document and/or videotape the testimonies for use in a report
and a formal complaint to the Franklin County Board of Elections.

This is a public space to respond to the systemic undermining of our democratic process and assess how to respond to racial disenfranchisement and suppression of democratic rights.

We are seeking support from US Congressional Representatives, Ohio
State Representatives, nonpartisan organizations, and community and national leaders. Experts and investigative reporters are invited to present testimony as well.

To get involved, sponsor this call, or testify on Saturday or Monday, contact:
Columbus League of Pissed Off Voters
Amy Kaplan, 614-405-2160 amy (at) indyvoter.org

Endorsed By:
The Ohio Citizens Alliance for Secure Elections (CASE-OH), Common Cause Ohio, This Time We're Watching, Driving Votes, International Labor Communications
Association, Ohio Election Reform Now, Columbus Institute for Contemporary Journalism, WVKO Radio, Columbus League of Pissed Off Voters, Code Pink, Global Exchange, People for the American Way, IPPN, Election Protection Coalition, This Time We're Watching, Driving Votes, Truth Force
Training Center, International Labor Communications Association, No Stolen Elections Coalition, Liberty Tree, Reach Out Bowling Green  



21 Nov 2004 @ 11:20 by jazzolog : A Federal Lawsuit
NewStandard
News Article

Voter Suppression Challenged by Ohioans, Allies
by Ariella Cohen
http://newstandardnews.net/content/?action=show_contributor_bio&contributorID=347

After two days of public hearings in Columbus, voters’ rights activists are compiling information for legal action against election officials and working for electoral reform.

Columbus, OH , Nov 20 - Two separate voter advocacy coalitions are putting together federal lawsuits against election officials in Franklin County, Ohio, alleging unfair allocation of polling materials, staff and equipment that disenfranchised thousands of voters in the county's low-income and African-American precincts.

Drawing from testimonies gathered at public hearings concluding Monday at the Columbus courthouse, a coalition of voter advocacy groups including People for the American Way, Common Cause Ohio, Citizens Alliance for a Fair Election (CASE Ohio) and The League of Pissed-Off Voters contend that state election practices suppressed voters in lower-income precincts and violated constitutional law guaranteeing all US citizens the right to vote.

"In previous years we had five or six voting machines at our polling place, this year we had three," said Carol Shelton, a librarian and poll worker in a low-income, primarily African-American neighborhood in Northeast Columbus who volunteered to testify under oath at Saturday's hearing.

Common Cause Ohio, a democracy advocacy organization, rests its federal complaint against the Franklin County Board of Elections on the 14th amendment guarantee to equal protection and the 1965 Voting Rights Act declaring federal protection against racially discriminatory electoral practices. Grounding their suit in the public testimonies as well as county records of Election Day procedures, Common Cause intends to challenge this election and push forward more astringent electoral legislation.

Current Ohio code is fraught with advisories and guidelines, but many decisions remain up to the discretion of local officials. For instance, in 1992, when e-voting replaced paper ballots in Franklin county, guidelines advising that polling locations provide one voting machine per 100 registered precinct resident were issued. Yet, no laws regulate or enforce this advisory and witnesses at the public hearings said that at some polling places 160 to 200 voters used each machine.

Bob Fitrakis, who moderated both hearings, said that a group he is working with came up with a list of polling places that would have benefited significantly from more voting machines. "Election Protection specifically cited 58 precincts in African-American, urban, Democratic precincts where just one machine could have really quickened the process and given more people a chance to vote," said Fritakis, who is a Columbus State Community College political scientist, as well as a legal advisor for Election Protection, a coalition of civil rights and civic organizations working on voting rights issues.

New Faith Baptist Church in East Columbus had never sat a court reporter before Saturday, when a stenographer contracted by The League of Pissed-Off Voters took to a front pew and began transcribing sworn testimonies of voter experiences with malfunctioning electronic voting equipment and under-staffed, under-equipped polls where the wait for the five-minutes of allotted voting time was up to four hours in some of Franklin County's lower-income precincts.

"I saw a man wait for over an hour and then get turned away from the polls because he was not at the correct precinct," Columbus resident Victoria Lovegren recounted during the hearing. "The clerk told him she couldn't find his correct poll in the database. My son stayed home from school that day and came with me to the polls. He found that gentleman's location in the computer easily."

According to legal observers, problems resulting from inadequately prepared county employees at inner-city polls ranged from unfairly towed and ticketed cars to illegally discouraged voters.

"My neighbor waited on line for two hours and then he got to the front of the line and he told him he couldn't vote because he is an ex-felon," Jeanne Smith said at the hearing. In the state of Ohio, there are no restrictions on ex-felons' voting rights. Smith ended her testimony with a plea that no other young people leave the polls without voting because of a misinformed poll worker.

Eliza Schneider, a New Yorker who had monitored Columbus polls as a volunteer with MoveOn, said she saw the polls at Columbus Alternative High School, an urban precinct, turn away a line of voters at 8:30 a.m. because of broken machines.

Even among those potential voters who could afford to leave work, school or family commitments long enough to wait out snaking Election Day lines -- described as "Ohio's first poll tax" by one witness -- widespread confusion over new precinct borders meant more people showed up at the school or church where they voted in 2000 only to be told that they were at the wrong place. While federal law allows such voters to cast provisional ballots, Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell had earlier ruled that all provisional ballots must be cast at the correct polling location in order to count.

Schneider's November 2 afternoon was spent with Franklin County voter Samuel Doughty, shuttling between county polling locations and the masonry where he works, in an effort to see that Doughty's vote counted.

"First we went to Worthington Elementary where he always voted in the past. There, he was told that he was at the wrong location but he could fill out a provisional ballot, which he did," Schneider said, explaining how subsequently she and Doughty learned from another observer that the provisional ballot wouldn't count since it was cast in the wrong precinct.

"After that," explained Schneider, "we tried to go to his correct polling place to vote, but then, we were told that if he did go there and vote it would be considered voter fraud since he already filled out a provisional [ballot]" -- one that was guaranteed by state ruling not to count. The hearing ran overtime with similar reports of misinformed poll workers, long lines and misbehaving machines.

According to People for The American Way attorney Leslie Huffy, who served as a hearing panelist, the first-hand experiences documented Saturday and Monday could prove useful as in legal proceedings concerning the 2004 elections as well as any electoral reform legislation that may come up in the next months.

According to Fitrakis of Election Protection, following Saturday's hearing, the court reporter offered to reduce her rate by one dollar a page and deliver transcripts sooner than originally agreed so as to allow the community advocates to move forward with their cases. "After she heard what was going on, she wanted to help," Fitrakis said Sunday.

Like any public conversation, the hearings were studded with hearsay and the stray misnomer. One person who spoke at Saturday's hearing opened her account of a dodgy voting machine by relaying an erroneous report of falsified Bush votes in Cuyahoga County. In fact, the source of the discrepancy, news of which was circulated widely on the internet in the days after the election, was an error in the way votes were displayed on the county's website and was not reflected in the final count. Other witnesses spoke about independent findings of voter large-scale fraud that may or may not be revealed as simple, easily spread misunderstanding of bureaucratic record, as was the case with the Cuyahoga County hypothesis.

League of Pissed Off Voters Cleveland Organizer Mexie Wilson holds Blackwell personally responsible for many of the doubts surrounding election results. Already the Secretary of State has spoken publicly of intentions to run on the Republican ticket in the 2006 Governor's race.

"I feel like Kenneth Blackwell delivered Ohio to the Republicans," Wilson said, offering clues into the Ohio League's next campaign. "The governor's race is in two years. We --the young people who started voting this election -- need to keep voting, and fix things so Blackwell can't make any more messes," Wilson said.

On Monday morning, at the Franklin Board of Elections office, three temporary employees sat at a long, computer-clad desk sorting provisional ballots by precinct, assigning each legal-size envelope a new barcode as part of a 14,446-ballot count that remains incomplete as of Friday.

Matthew Damschroder, director of the Franklin County Board of Elections, said he had long anticipated trouble on Election Day. "We've been warning people about the changed precincts and telling people since June to expect long lines," he said in an interview with The NewStandard.

While this was Damschroder's first presidential election with the BOE, he believes the proceedings were routine. "The difference this year was the increase in voter turnout. We deploy machines on the basis of voting trends and the site's turnout in previous years, so this year, all over the country, there were lines. Even my brother waited in line an hour," he said.

A Columbus native, Damschroder served as Executive Director of the Franklin County Republican Party until moving downtown, to the Board of Elections.

This year the Board of Elections in Franklin County received between five and ten million dollars in Help America Vote Act (HAVA) funds. Yet, Damschroder and voter advocates agree: the money was not enough. Further reform may be necessary, legal observers, citizens and county officials say.

Damschroder proposes offering early voting at pre-Election Day polls and the option of "no-excuse" absentee voting. Current Ohio law requires residents apply for an absentee ballot with a request that gives specific, state-approved pleads. Damschroder says anyone should have the right to vote by mail, whether out on business, feeling under the weather, or just plain busy on Tuesdays.

No Board of Elections administrators attended the hearings. After direct invitation from The NewStandard, Damschroder expressed interest in reviewing the transcripts promised on local television and radio coverage of the events. "I want to make sure that every one is given the right to vote if they want to. I hope that the report from the public hearings will be a key part of reviewing our process," he said.

Referring to provisional ballots cast by voters at the wrong precinct, Damschroder said, "I would count those provisional ballots in a heartbeat if a federal judge told me I could."

Back at the Columbus County Courthouse, Monday's lawyerly proceedings broke up after three hours of evenly-moderated, sworn testimony -- the one witness to cry stifled sobs until after all follow-up questions were answered. There were a few wild calls for immediate action and spontaneous chants against tyranny. Then there was the announcement that David Cobb and Michael Badnarik, the 2004 presidential candidates for the Green and Libertarian parties, intended to use funds raised through the internet to file a formal demand for a recount of the presidential ballots cast in Ohio.

While voter advocacy organizations involved in the hearings plan to pursue separate lawsuits, interest in electoral reform unites them. "Most likely, a lawsuit will not overturn this election. Our goal is to take prophylactic measures so [as] to make sure that every voter is heard at the polls next time," CASE Ohio attorney Susan Truitt said.

Public voter hearings succeeded once before in Ohio. After the 2000 election, Ohio state Senator Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) brought in citizens from around country to testify on voting accuracy. The Joint Committee on Ballot Security hearings ended up as the groundwork for her introduction of a ballot security bill that mandates voter verified paper trail audits on all e-voter machines by the 2006 election. Such a success provides hope to some of the reformers who participated in hearings and have committed themselves to long-term change in the Midwestern state that may well dominate national attention again in 2008.

© 2004 The NewStandard.
http://newstandardnews.net/content/?action=show_item&itemid=1249  



23 Nov 2004 @ 16:19 by jazzolog : Freeman Expands Exit Poll Data Today
Posted on Tue, Nov. 23, 2004

Election numbers still leave questions for some
By Larry Eichel
Inquirer Staff Writer

It's been three weeks since the election, but a few people still see some loose ends in need of cleaning up.

In Ohio yesterday, the presidential candidates of the Green and Libertarian Parties, who plan to seek a statewide recount, asked a federal judge to order the state to speed up its initial vote tabulation.

The suit's goal is to provide enough time for the recount to be held before Ohio's 20 Electoral College votes are cast Dec. 13. Ohio was the decisive state in the election.

And in Philadelphia, Steven Freeman, a faculty member at the University of Pennsylvania, was finishing up a second version of his much-discussed paper titled "The Unexplained Exit Poll Discrepancy."

The first draft, widely circulated on the Internet, created a stir among Americans worried about the variance between President Bush's 3.3 million popular-vote margin and exit-poll numbers that had him trailing.

In Ohio, the two presidential candidates, Libertarian Michael Badnarik and David Cobb of the Green Party, have raised the $113,600 the state requires before conducting a recount. The unofficial tally has Bush ahead of Democrat John Kerry in the state by 136,000 votes, more than 2 percent of the total votes cast.

No recount can occur, however, until a first, official count is complete. The Ohio Secretary of State's Office, citing state law and practical considerations, has said a recount might not be able to start until Dec. 11, only two days before electors meet.

The secretary of state, J. Kenneth Blackwell, was a cochair of the Bush campaign in Ohio.

"I know a recount will change the results," Cobb said yesterday in a conference call with reporters. "I don't know whether it will change the results sufficiently to determine who wins Ohio's electoral votes."

Last week, the Ohio Democratic Party sued the state in federal court over the standards for counting Ohio's 155,000 provisional ballots, the ballots that initially delayed Kerry's concession. The Democrats' attorney said at the time that the party had no expectation of overturning the outcome of the election.

Among the issues raised in the new lawsuit, filed yesterday in Toledo, is the accuracy of the electronic voting machines that have no paper trail. Such machines were used in seven Ohio counties. But as Cobb acknowledged, there is no way to conduct a meaningful recount of votes cast on them.

In his exit-poll paper, Freeman, a lecturer and visiting scholar at Penn's Center for Organizational Dynamics, found that the gap between the poll results on election night and the vote count itself was beyond any easy explanation. "That the President did not legitimately win the election is still a very premature conclusion," he wrote in the revised version, "but the election's unexplained exit poll discrepancies make it an unavoidable hypothesis."

Since the original paper was posted (initially without his permission) 10 days ago, Freeman said, he has received roughly 1,500 e-mail messages and 100 phone calls, mainly from voters thanking him for raising the issue.

"The reaction has been overwhelming," said Freeman, whose field is business management. "I started looking at the situation just for my own curiosity. I'd seen the exit-poll numbers on Election Day, and thought Kerry had won. The subsequent articles trying to explain what had happened made no sense to me."

Any number of pollsters, political scientists, and professionals in both the Democratic and Republican Parties have said they see no reason to suspect there is anything significantly amiss with the vote count, regardless of what the exit polls said.

The consortium of news organizations sponsoring the polls has commissioned an investigation to learn why the results ended up skewed toward Kerry.

While the investigation is not complete, Warren Mitofsky, whose company designed and helped conduct the poll, has suggested more Republicans than Democrats refused to be polled, skewing the numbers. Such refusals, the theory goes, might stem from distrust some Republicans feel toward the so-called mainstream media, whose logos the pollsters wore on Election Day. Exit polls have overstated the Democratic vote in other recent elections as well.

Freeman, who said the theory had "some plausibility," expects to post the revised version of his paper today on his Web site, www.appliedresearch.us/sf/

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
. Contact staff writer Larry Eichel at 215-854-2415 or leichel@phillynews.com.
http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/news/nation/10249937.htm?1c  



27 Mar 2005 @ 09:19 by jazzolog : Christian Conservatives For Blackwell
plus more on the agenda of these tax-exempt political churches~~~

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The New York Times
March 27, 2005

Movement in the Pews Tries to Jolt Ohio
By JAMES DAO

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Christian conservative leaders from scores of Ohio's fastest growing churches are mounting a campaign to win control of local government posts and Republican organizations, starting with the 2006 governor's race.

In a manifesto that is being circulated among church leaders and on the Internet, the group, which is called the Ohio Restoration Project, is planning to mobilize 2,000 evangelical, Baptist, Pentecostal and Roman Catholic leaders in a network of so-called Patriot Pastors to register half a million new voters, enlist activists, train candidates and endorse conservative causes in the next year.

The initial goal is to elect Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell, a conservative Republican, governor in 2006. The group hopes to build grass-roots organizations in Ohio's 88 counties and take control of local Republican organizations.

"The establishment of the Ohio Republican Party is out of touch with its base," said Russell Johnson, the pastor of the Fairfield Christian Church and the principal organizer of the project. "It acts as if it lives in Boston, Mass."

Pastor Johnson's challenge to the party establishment could have far-reaching consequences in a state dominated by Republican elected officials but still considered a bellwether in presidential politics. Conservatives in other swing states are watching closely.

"In Ohio, the church is awakening to its historic role as the moral voice in the community," said Colin A. Hanna, president of Let Freedom Ring, a conservative group based in Pennsylvania that trains ministers in political activism. "Ohio is in the vanguard of that nationally. I very much want Pennsylvania to be with them."

The church leaders say they will try to harness the energy of religious conservatives who were vital not only to Mr. Bush's narrow victory in Ohio but also to passage of an amendment to the state constitution banning same-sex marriage. The amendment, known as Issue 1, was credited with drawing large numbers of rural and suburban conservatives to the polls and increasing Mr. Bush's support among urban blacks.

"We're calling people to act, not just wring their hands in the pews," said Rod Parsley, senior pastor of the World Harvest Church outside Columbus, who is considered a rising star in the religious broadcasting world and will be an inspirational speaker for the project. "We got people motivated last year, and then the election was over. We don't want folks to think our work is over."

Republican officials are watching warily. The chairman of the state party, Robert T. Bennett, warned that the decade-long dominance of his party could be jeopardized if it was pushed too far to the right. "This is a party of a big tent," Mr. Bennett said. "The far right cannot elect somebody by itself, any more than somebody from the far left can."

The conservatives point to the governor's race as an example of what they consider wrong with the state Republican Party. Of the three Republican candidates, only Mr. Blackwell has the solid support of religious conservatives. Jim Petro, the attorney general, opposed the same-sex marriage amendment on the grounds that it would invite litigation against companies that provided domestic partner benefits. Betty D. Montgomery, the state auditor, has supported some abortion rights.

Gov. Bob Taft, who cannot run for re-election because of term limits, allowed a sales tax increase to close a budget shortfall and opposed the marriage amendment.

"We're very confused that you have a Republican Party platform, and yet people running for higher office pay no attention to it," said Phil Burress, the leader of the Issue 1 campaign, who is also helping organize the Restoration Project. "Why don't they just become Democrats?" he asked.

[On March 22, Mr. Petro announced that his running mate for lieutenant governor would be Phil Heimlich, a conservative from Cincinnati, and Ms. Montgomery has asked for a meeting with Pastor Johnson. Conservatives said that was evidence that the candidates recognized the churches' power.]

"They understand what happens when 100,000 people committed to our views are on the same page," Pastor Johnson said. "In their little political gatherings and cocktail meetings at the country club, they can't build that kind of loyalty. They can't spend millions to buy what our people will give for free."

In a three-way primary, many Republican leaders say, Mr. Blackwell has a solid chance of winning because conservatives represent much of the party's base. But moderates worry that he could alienate independent voters and lose the general election. Some are discussing enlisting the White House to prod Mr. Blackwell to quit the race.

In a recent meeting of leaders from some of the state's largest churches, many of them in booming Republican suburbs, the Restoration Project issued a blueprint calling for Patriot Pastors to register 500,000 new voters by the May 2006 primary, then inform and energize them with voter guides, rallies and so-called e-prayer networks on the Internet. The group hopes to raise $1 million and is considering creating a political action committee to provide direct donations to candidates.

The project, which describes itself as nonpartisan and nonprofit, will not endorse candidates. But Mr. Blackwell will be invited to speak to pastoral meetings and to a statewide Ohio for Jesus rally next spring, along with other prominent Christian conservatives like the Rev. Franklin Graham, Dr. James Dobson and Charles Colson, the plan says.

Democrats say they are buoyed by the insurgency of Mr. Blackwell. "He's formidable in many ways, but he's the candidate we'd most like to run against," said Greg Haas, a strategist for Michael Coleman, the mayor of Columbus, who is seen as a favorite for the Democratic nomination.

In an interview, Mr. Blackwell, who is black, said that Ohio had shifted to the right and that he now represented mainstream voters. He also predicted that he would draw black religious conservatives into the Republican Party, breaking the Democrats' hold on urban precincts.

"I think what's happening is we're seeing a struggle for the heart and soul of the Republican Party," he said. "And that's healthy."

Experts said that religious conservatives could bring energy to campaigns, but that they had mixed results trying to win control of local political organizations.

"For short periods of time, they often had successes," said John C. Green, a professor of political science at the University of Akron. "But it was very difficult to sustain."

Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said the Restoration Project might have greater impact because it was more homegrown and had ties to a wider array of denominations than previous groups like the Moral Majority.

"This represents a new wave in organizing on the part of conservative evangelicals," Mr. Lynn said. "From my standpoint, as someone who doesn't agree with their conclusions, this is a more dangerous model."

Pastor Johnson says the project can sustain political energy. Among conservative leaders, his church, which draws 2,500 regular Sunday worshipers in a heavily Republican suburb of Columbus, is considered a model for activism. In the last five years, a half dozen of its congregants have been elected to local offices, including a judge, several Lancaster city councilmen and the Fairfield County sheriff, Dave Phalen.

Mr. Phalen said he was encouraged by church members to run for office in 2000, when the incumbent was under investigation for corruption.

Sheriff Phelan's official letterhead now reads, "With God, all things are possible."

"These people turn out to vote," he said of Christian conservatives. "They give money and will become active. And there will always be issues to keep people mobilized."

Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/27/politics/27OHIO.html?th=&emc=th&pagewanted=all&position=  



3 May 2006 @ 09:31 by jazzolog @207.69.137.39 : Governor Blackwell of Ohio?
Blackwell, Taft affected more than one race
JOHN McCARTHY
Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Scandals in Gov. Bob Taft's administration played a role in more than one primary race as Republicans who tied their opponents to Taft were victorious.

Kenneth Blackwell spent the past few weeks calling Jim Petro "Taft-like" or "Taft-light," and featured the two in his advertising. Blackwell, Ohio's secretary of state, cruised to a victory Tuesday over Petro, the attorney general.

Taft became a target because of an investment scandal that led to him becoming the first Ohio governor charged with a crime while in office. He pleaded no contest last year to ethics charges of failing to report golf outings and other gifts.

With 93 percent of precincts reporting, Blackwell had 429,564 votes or 56 percent, while Petro had 333,528 or 44 percent.

In November, Blackwell will face Democrat Ted Strickland, a congressman from Lisbon, who easily defeated former state Rep. Bryan Flannery. Strickland had 550,346 votes, or 80 percent, to Flannery's 138,540 votes, or 20 percent.

In acceptance speeches, both candidates hinted at the intensity that will mark their campaigns.

"To brother Strickland," Blackwell said, "you can run but you can't hide. We're coming right atcha. We represent change, we represent the future, and there is no retreat in our bones."

Strickland called Blackwell's conservative views "far outside the mainstream," and said a majority of Ohioans will not support him.

Taft also cast his shadow on the GOP primary for treasurer. Incumbent Jennette Bradley, a Taft appointee, narrowly lost to Sandra O'Brien, the Ashtabula County auditor who said Bradley should have had more control over state investments. O'Brien will face Democrat Richard Cordray in November.

O'Brien also credited her anti-abortion position and support of Ohio's ban on gay marriages for her success. Bradley favors abortion rights and, as a member of the Columbus City Council, once voted to grant benefits to city employees' domestic partners, including gays.

"I'm not associated with any current scandals in the state, ... but as I said throughout the whole campaign, I am the one who represents mainstream Republican values," O'Brien said.

Bradley campaign consultant Mary Anne Sharkey said another factor proved the difference.

"Ken Blackwell was able to mobilize his supporters and clearly moderate, socially liberal moderates stayed home," Sharkey said.

In the Democratic primary for attorney general, state Sen. Marc Dann easily defeated Subodh Chandra, a former Cleveland city attorney. Dann will face state Auditor Betty Montgomery, who won over state Sen. Tim Grendell in the GOP primary.

In Democratic primaries for Ohio Supreme Court, Judge William O'Neill of the 11th Ohio District Court of Appeals beat Montgomery County Common Pleas Judge A.J. Wagner of Dayton and will face Republican Justice Terrence O'Donnell. Former state Sen. Ben Espy beat Cuyahoga County Juvenile Judge Peter Sikora for the seat held by retiring Justice Alice Robie Resnick, the only Democrat holding a statewide office, and will face Republican appeals Judge Robert Cupp in the fall.

Republican U.S. Sen. Mike DeWine and Democratic U.S. Rep. Sherrod Brown easily won their primaries, with voters validating what already had been considered one of the country's top Senate races.

A write-in U.S. House candidate won a Democratic primary with unprecedented help from the national party to set up a highly anticipated showdown with the GOP for a key open seat in Ohio.

The victory of state Sen. Charlie Wilson means Democrats can still compete to hold onto the seat Strickland is leaving. That's crucial in a year when Democrats hope to seize on GOP ethics scandals in Columbus and Washington to make gains in Ohio and cut into the GOP's 30-seat advantage in the U.S. House. Wilson will face state Rep. Chuck Blasdel of East Liverpool, who easily won his primary.

U.S. Rep. Jean Schmidt had another tough race, narrowly beating former U.S. Rep. Bob McEwen in the GOP primary in southwest Ohio. Other primary winners included Democrat Betty Sutton, a former state representative who is seeking Brown's seat, and Zach Space, who will try to defeat Republican U.S. Rep. Bob Ney, who has been tied to a Washington lobbying scandal.

In Legislative races, state Sens. Robert Hagan, a Youngstown Democrat, and Lynn Wachtmann, a Napoleon Republican, won primaries that all but guarantee their return to the Ohio House. State Rep. Steve Buehrer of Delta beat fellow Rep. Jim Hoops in the GOP primary for Wachtmann's Senate seat.

http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/politics/14484800.htm  



3 May 2006 @ 15:03 by Quinty @68.226.88.25 : Our crazy politics

Do you think DeWine can win?

As for the "cultural values," please, please don't complain if your gas prices are too high and the polar ice caps are melting and we are bogged down in a senseless war in Iraq if you vote on the basis of abortion and gay marriage.

(That of course was a rhetorical question which was not aimed at you (in all probability.))

And I still have troubling dreams about Diebold. Is this just a form of nascent, unreasonable paranoia?  



3 May 2006 @ 15:50 by jazzolog : Blackwell's Portfolio
You may be interested, Paul, that Blackwell bought 178 shares of Diebold stock at $53.67 per share in January 2005. He said it was an "accident."
http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/politics/14256784.htm  



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