Wednesday :: Mar 15, 2006

Here's Your Answer, Simpletons!

by pessimist

"I am a black man. Why would I sit there and disenfranchise voters in my own community?" he said. "I feel like they’re accusing me of suppressing the black vote. I’ve fought my whole life for people’s right to vote."

William A. Anthony, Franklin Co. Ohio Democrat Chairman & Franklin Co., Ohio Board of Elections Chairman
Posted by dipshit at March 15, 2006 11:42 AM

Ooops. And then there was silence! They don't seem to have an answer for you DS.
Posted by Talons at March 15, 2006 12:27 PM

Take this and put it where Guckert goes:

Testimony By William Anthony, Chairman, Franklin County Board of Elections

[N]early one hundred thousand more people voted on Election Day 2004 than during 2000 – this is almost a 25% percent increase over the previous presidential election.

In 2000, the Board of Elections owned an inventory of 2,904 voting machines for 680,000 registered voters in 759 precincts. Four years later, in 2004, the Board of Elections owned an inventory of 2,904 voting machines – the exact same number of voting machines as in 2000 – a static resource that had to be spread even thinner to meet the increased demand of voting machines for 847,000 registered voters in 788 precincts.

Could we have purchased or leased more machines? No. With the passage of HAVA [PDF] by Congress and Ohio’s House Bill 262 requiring a Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail, all previously discussed plans to purchase additional machines were cancelled for implementation in 2004.

Would a 'good cause' include 'cancelling plans to purchase additional machines' by the GOP dominated Ohio State legislature? Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell is known to have been aware of this well in advance of the election.

Cincinnati Enquirer, Saturday, August 14, 2004:

"We are headed for a train wreck because the state has not done its job," said Scott Greenwood, general counsel for the Ohio chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, which is suing the state over the continued use of the old-fashioned ballots.

"If we have a close election here in Ohio, we're in big trouble because we're using a voting system that doesn't handle close elections very well," said Daniel Tokaji, an Ohio State University law professor working with the ACLU. "The margin of victory could well be smaller than the margin of error, and that's when you're risking an election night meltdown."

Franklin County, which includes Columbus, is one of the few Ohio counties with an electronic voting system, but it doesn't have a verifiable paper receipt, which the Ohio General Assembly recently insisted upon as a security measure.

Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell helped draft a 2002 federal law giving states millions for more accurate voting machines.

So he knew well what the law would allow - and what he could get away with. You can read the law for yourself, just like Blackwell did:

According to HAVA:

PUBLIC LAW 107–252—OCT. 29, 2002 Page 6-7

42 USC 15302.


(3) Deadline.

(A) IN GENERAL Except as provided in subparagraph (B), a State receiving a payment under the program under this section shall ensure that all of the punch card voting systems or lever voting systems in the qualifying precincts within that State have been replaced in time for the regularly scheduled general election for Federal office to be held in November 2004.

This is how the Ohio GOP made sure that HAVA wasn't going to benefit Franklin County voters:

(B) WAIVER If a State certifies to the Administrator not later than January 1, 2004, that the State will not meet the deadline described in subparagraph (A) for good cause and includes in the certification the reasons for the failure to meet such deadline, the State shall ensure that all of the punch card voting systems or lever voting systems in the qualifying precincts within that State will be replaced in time for the first election for Federal office held after January 1, 2006.

But Blackwell wasn't taking any chances. He saw to it that a Republican voting official of Franklin County who opposed him over voting machine issues was tainted:

Franklin County Board of Elections Director Matthew Damschroder has clashed with Blackwell’s office since before the 2004 elections, when he criticized and sometimes defied directives he said would hinder voter registration. In the months since the election, he has questioned orders by Blackwell that first would have had counties choose paper-ballot voting systems and then would have limited their electronic-voting choices to only Diebold machines.

A contractor who represents Diebold Election Systems arrived at the office of Damschroder with an open checkbook on the same day the county was opening bids for voter-registration software [in 2004]. Pasquale "Pat" Gallina arrived unannounced, Damschroder said. "I’m here to give you $10,000," the elections director recalls Gallina saying. "Who do I make it payable to?"

"Well, you’re certainly not going to make it out to me," Damschroder says he told Gallina.
"But I’m sure the Franklin County Republican Party would appreciate a donation."
The check incident remained between Gallina and Damschroder until late last month when an assistant county prosecutor called Damschroder.

Election Systems & Software, a company that is suing Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell over the state’s policies for buying electronic voting machines, wanted to talk with Damschroder about allegations that Diebold was paying to play, the prosecutor told him.

Damschroder told [the assistant county prosecutor] about the $10,000 check and had another story to tell.

In April, Blackwell announced that he had negotiated a new price for touch-screen voting machines from Diebold, which would allow the state to buy enough touch screens for counties that want them. Based on state rules requiring such systems to have paper printers, Diebold’s machine would be the only choice.

In May, [Damschroder] said, Gallina called him and bragged about a $50,000 check he had written to Blackwell’s 'political interests'. "Isn’t it great that Diebold and the county are going to do business?" he says Gallina asked him.

Damschroder said Gallina went on to tell him that he had met with Norm Cummings, a Blackwell campaign consultant, in Washington, D.C., to work out a deal: Diebold would cut the price of its electronic voting machines to $2,700 each if the company had a guarantee that it would receive all of the state’s business.

Meanwhile, ES &S wants to depose Blackwell, Gallina, Cummings and Dana Walch, Blackwell’s director of legislative affairs.

ES &S sued Blackwell in May, saying it was unfairly excluded from the selection process. Blackwell ordered counties to make their selections by May 13, but only Diebold was certified to sell electronic voting machines in Ohio. ES &S said Blackwell had met secretly with officials from the North Canton company.

So how did this bribery aid and abet the GOP theft of the election in Ohio?

The Democratic National Committee's study of the 2004 election in Ohio (Democracy at Risk: The 2004 Election in Ohio) finds that throughout the state, failures in election administration caused racial disparities in voters' election day experiences. The least one can say is there was shamefully negligent administrative failure that deprived thousands of voters of their right to vote.

African-American voters reported waiting an average of 52 minutes before voting, while white voters reported waiting an average of 18 minutes. Three percent of voters who went to the polls left their polling places and did not return due to the long lines. Throughout Ohio, reductions in voter turnout are associated with inadequate provision of voting machines. The DNC study finds that turnout is typically two to three percent lower in precincts that were allocated fewer machines.

And that is a generous assessment of the situation. Why did Black voters have to wait so long? They had fewer machines to work with:

Walter Mebane (Cornell University) had done [an] analysis of data from Franklin County.

If one uses the November 2004 electorate as the standard, the allocation of voting machines clearly and disproportionately reduced turnout among African American voters. Franklin County apparently used a measure of the active voter electorate computed as of mid-June, 2004.

Further research, dated February 11, 2006, indicated:

... an inadequate number of voting machines in precincts in Franklin County, Ohio, in 2004 produced long lines and caused voter turnout to decrease.
The allocation of voting machines in Franklin County was clearly biased against voters in precincts with high proportions of African Americans when measured using the standard of the November, 2004, electorate. In precincts with high proportions of African American voters there were 13.6 percent more active voters per voting machine than in precincts having low proportions of African American voters.
Using plans made in "mid-summer" meant that Franklin county officials ignored information during the late summer and fall that should have showed them that the November electorate would be substantially larger.
Between April [when Ken Blackwell 'certified' Diebold as the only authorized vendor] and November, the active voter population in the county increased by more than 15 percent. If nothing else, the surge of new registrants should have indicated that their plans made in mid-summer would prove woefully insufficient.

There are many testimonials on the record about these delays in voting. This lack of sufficient numbers of voting machines led to this observation:

Ohio's new poll tax: if you can't afford to wait four hours in line, you don't vote.
The shortage of voting machines was particularly acute in high-Democratic precincts. New registrations and GOTV efforts by 527 organizations were also largely concentrated in these shortchanged Democratic precincts. The lines thus created by the unequal machine allocation throttled the effect of registration and GOTV efforts of ACT, MoveOn and other 527 groups in Franklin County.
With the servers (polling booths) operating at maximum capacity, queuing theory predicts long queues - and that was observed all over Franklin County.

There were even additional voting machines that were available - and weren't used:

Document reveals Columbus, Ohio voters waited hours as election officials held back machines

The Board of Elections’ own document records that, while voters waited in lines ranging from 2-7 hours at polling places, 68 electronic voting machines remained in storage and were never used on Election Day.

An analysis of the Franklin County Board of Elections’ allocation of machines reveals a consistent pattern of providing fewer machines to the Democratic city of Columbus, with its Democratic mayor and uniformly Democratic city council, despite increased voter registration in the city.

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

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

A clear pattern and practice of voter disenfranchisement is emerging:

Franklin County BOE Director Matt Damschroder [remember him from above?] admits he ran the election with a “fixed and exhausted” pool of voting machines, the Dispatch reported. Franklin County Commissioner Mary Jo Kilroy pointed out that Damschroder and Franklin County election officials told her “We’re fine, we’re fine” and never requested additional money over the initial allocation - despite an increased registration of more than 167,253 new voters.
Franklin County’s voting machine allocation report shows that Damschroder deployed his Danaher (formerly Shooptronics) voting machines, which have been in use since 1992, in a formula that favored Bush over Kerry.
In precinct 55-B on Columbus’ near east side, there were 1,338 registered voters and, according to Franklin County Board of Elections estimates, 956 active voters who had voted in the last two federal elections. Despite voter registration being up 17%, and by the BOE’s own guidelines the polling place requiring ten machines (one per 100 voters), the polling site had only three machines, one less than for the 2000 elections.

Other irregularities have been reported:

In Cuyahoga County, according to the Secretary of State’s website there are 24,788 provisional ballots, most of them from the city of Cleveland, not its surrounding suburbs.

In Cincinnati, sworn testimony was taken on vote buying, the lack of machines in African American neighborhoods and the deliberate destruction of new voter registration cards by a private company hired to process the forms.

Exit polls on Election Day from both the polling firm Zogby International and CNN projected John Kerry winning the state of Ohio. University of Pennsylvania Professor Steven Freeman calculated the odds that the exit polls in Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania all being wrong are 250,000,000 to one.

Pollster John Zogby, President of Zogby International, is quoted as telling the Inter Press Service of Stockholm that “something is definitely wrong.” Zogby commented that he was concerned about the discrepancy between the exit polls and the official vote tallies stating “We’re talking about the free world here.”

There also seems to be an abnormally high vote count for third party candidates who received less than one-half of one percent of the statewide vote total combined. For example, in precinct 4-F, the right-wing Constitutional Law candidate Peroutka received 215 votes to Bush’s 21 and Kerry’s 290. In this precinct, Kerry received 55% of the vote where Gore received 91% of the vote in the year 2000.

These numbers suggest that Kerry’s votes were inadvertently or intentionally shifted to Peroutka.

Remember when Pat Buchanan admitted that he probably wasn't getting as many votes from Florida Jews as the polling results indicated? [PDF] It worked once, it would work again! Adding all the non-Bu$h votes from Precinct 4-F (just a coincidence, right?), Kerry would have received 96% of the votes - more in line with the exit polling, no doubt.

December 2004 [video] sworn testimony by Clinton Curtis to the Judiciary Committee Democrats in Columbus, Ohio caused gasps in the chamber room.

Q - "Do you have an opinion whether or not the Ohio presidential election was hacked?"

A - "Yes, I would say it was, I mean, if you have exit polling data that is significantly off from the vote then it's probably hacked."

Reading the laws written and implemented by and for Ken Blackwell (much too long to go into here!), one gets the impressions that when the GOP began its focus on Ohio toward the end of the campaign season in 2004, they knew exactly what they had to work with. For instance:

125 HB 262 as introduced:

Introduced by Rep. Jim Carmichael, (R) District 03 Majority Whip, HB262 was originally a bill designed to facilitate alleviating a shortage of electoral judges.

Fiscal Note & Local Impact Statement

· Permits employees of the state and political subdivisions to work as judges of elections.

· Allows employees of the state and political subdivisions working as poll workers to receive poll worker pay, in addition to their regular compensation.

Which was 'amended' to benefit Blackwell's Federal HAVA bill in these ways:

125 HB 262 as enacted added millions of dollars into the Secretary of State's coffers, and almost nothing into the funds available to county electoral officials.

HAVA implementation provisions:

· Creates four new funds within the Secretary of State's Budget, and lists certain requirements placed on the office for the implementation of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA).

· Creates the county electronic voting machine maintenance fund, which will consist of HAVA revenues that are not approved by the Controlling Board as of January 1, 2006.

Until well after the 2004 election.

In addition, under this law, the voting machines "must not provide the voter any type of receipt or confirmation, which can be retained after leaving the polling place."

Blackwell was given even additional power over the electoral process:

HB 262 As Enrolled

Sec. 3506.05. (H)(1) The secretary of state, in consultation with the board of voting machine examiners, shall establish, by rule, guidelines for the approval, certification, and continued certification of the voting machines, marking devices, and tabulating equipment to be used under Title XXXV of the Revised Code.

(2) Nothing in any rule adopted under division (H) of this section shall be construed to limit the ability of the secretary of state to follow or adopt, or to preclude him the secretary of state from following or adopting, any guidelines proposed by the federal elections election commission or, any entity authorized by the federal elections election commission to propose guidelines, the election assistance commission, or any entity authorized by the election assistance commission to propose guidelines.

There would be no way to verify the results as certified by a shady electoral official known to have had intercourse with the voting machine industry. Does this not begin to smack of deliberate pre-planned malfeasance?

Troy Davis, at the time President of the Cincinnati Programmers Guild, thought it could, and he had great hopes for HB 262:

Ohio HB 262 Passes, voter-verified paper audit trails to be required
Date: Wed Jul 14 2004

A State of Ohio bill requiring voter-verified paper audit trails (VVPATs) has passed in the state Senate and House, it will next go to Governor Taft to be signed into law. Despite the fact that all branches of Ohio's state government are dominated by conservative majorities, the bill gained wide-spread support.

Many comments I've read that supported HB 262 reminded those in power that when corporations control vote counting, the corporations are in the position of power, not the politicians. These companies have been doing everything they can can to avoid accountability or allow for audits, and I for one am glad that they were overruled.

Politicians [who] have lost corporate backing will never have the opportunity to know if they really lost an election without VVPATs.
Secretary of State Ken Blackwell is probably not happy with this development. Despite a lack of supporting evidence, he stuck to neocon dogma that claimed VVPATs would allow for vote-buying, were costly to implement, impractical and unnecessary. Cincinnati's largest newspaper, The Enquirer, tried to influence public perception of the law here in my home town by publishing a disinformation editorial piece entitled "Paper receipts make for risky voting", trying to persuade my neighbors that VVPATs would put everyone's vote on an auction block.

The editorials from the Cincinnati Enquirer indicate that Blackwell had assistance from well-connected individuals:

Vote Fraud 2004: How Ohio was "Delivered" to Bush

IN mid-August 2003, Walden W. O'Dell, the chief executive of Diebold Inc., sat down at his computer to compose a letter inviting 100 wealthy and politically inclined friends to a Republican Party fund-raiser, to be held at his home in a suburb of Columbus, Ohio.
"I am committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year," wrote Mr. O'Dell, whose company is based in Canton, Ohio. [New York Times]

And whose voting machines were 'certified' by Ken Blackwell in April of the next year.

Bu$hCo had to know that the fix was in:

October 21, 2004 - "The Bush campaign is confident it can win the state [Ohio]; as if to prove its comfort level, today marks 14 days since the Republican president last set foot in Ohio." [Cleveland Plain Dealer - Saturday, October 16]

The Ace up the Sleeve: Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell served as Co-Chair of the Bush/Cheney Ohio reelection committee.

Ohio’s Republican Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell boasted of helping “deliver” Ohio for President Bush and said he was “truly pleased” to announce Bush had won Ohio even before all of the state’s votes had been counted in his own fundraising letter, RAW STORY has discovered.

The letter, which was received by a Butler County resident Dec. 31, is a plea to support Blackwell’s campaign for governor. The resident has asked to remain anonymous.

In apparent disregard for his nonpartisan role as Ohio’s chief election official, the Republican Secretary and chairman of Bush’s Ohio reelection campaign slammed Senator Kerry as a “disaster” who would have reaped “terrible” and “horrible” results on both Ohio and the United States.

Further, Blackwell’s use of the word “deliver” finds striking resonance with another controversial fundraising letter sent by the CEO of voting machine manufacturer Diebold Walden O’Dell in the summer of 2003 when he said he was “committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year."

And what of those seeking to verify whether or not the election was legitimate?

On Friday December 10 [2004] two certified volunteers for the Ohio Recount team assigned to Greene County were in process recording voting information from minority precincts in Greene County, and were stopped mid-count by a surprise order from Secretary of State Blackwell’s office. The Director Board of Elections stated that “all voter records for the state of Ohio were “locked-down,” and now they are not considered public records.”

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

Even if the election was legitimate (and I don't think it was), the blocking of the Recount team is a violation of the law all by itself. Ken Blackwell deserves indictment and trial - but as the GOP hasn't put away their criminal governor yet, I don't think that justice for Blackwell is going to appear any time soon.

For those of us who seek a return to the rule of law over the law of the cruel, the options open to us are diminishing. The implications of this will prove to be disastrous, and will mean the end of this nation as we've come to know it. Any indication that this is occuring and our foreign creditors will demand reimbursement for their largesse.

So I recommend that everyone read up on Argentina and the crisis they have been living since the IMF and the World Bank imposed economic controls on their nation to benefit foreign creditors because it is going to happen to us - and I think we can expect many of our own people to be among the enforcers, for they have sold out to the Dark Side.

Just like Ken Blackwell - and the assclowns who infest our comment threads - did.

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