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Friday, February 08, 2008

Blackwell letter to Congress

Former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell released this letter to Congress today, shortly after the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties postponed its oversight hearing on voter suppression.

House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers Jr. and Subcommittee Chairman Jerrold Nadler had asked Blackwell to testify.

In the letter sent Tuesday, Blackwell suggests the subcommittee seek input from two officials in the Ohio Secretary of State's office who also had worked for the Cincinnati Republican.

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11 Comments:

at 3:57 PM, February 08, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

WHILE OVERALL THE PROVISIONAL BALLOT RATE FOR OHIO WAS 78% SOME DEMOCRATIC STRONGHOLD COUNTIES DIDN'T FARE SO WELL:

Purging of rolls, confusion anger voters
41% of Nov. 2 provisional ballots axed in Lucas County

By FRITZ WENZEL
BLADE POLITICAL WRITER

Ralph and Barbara George are lifelong Democrats who first registered to vote for John F. Kennedy in 1960 and have lived in the same East Toledo house for 44 years.

They called the Lucas County Board of Elections early last year to make sure they still were registered to vote.

Informed that they were, they went on with life, including helping their son, just home from military service, to purchase a new home. Then, last fall, they applied for absentee ballots.

It was then that they were surprised to discover - too late to do anything about it - that they were somehow no longer registered and wouldn't be allowed to vote in the general election.

-snip

http://toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050109/NEWS09/501090334&SearchID=73195662517954

SUBPOENA BLACKWELL! Let justice be served!

 
at 4:02 PM, February 08, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Guess which counties had the largest amount of provisional ballots:

One of the most common reasons for the issuance of a provisional ballot is that the voter has gone to the wrong precinct, in which case, according to instructions from the Ohio Secretary of State, the vote is not to be counted. In many cases in Cuyahoga County there were polling stations for several precincts at the same polling place. Many voters waited in long lines at the wrong table in the right building, were issued provisional ballots, and later found out that their votes were not counted.

According to the Ohio Secretary of State, there were 24,788 provisional ballots issued in Cuyahoga County, 15.95% of the state wide total, and more than in any other county. Franklin County at 14,446 and Hamilton County at 14,386 were a distant second and third.

-snip
http://freepress.org/departments/display/19/2004/1034

 
at 4:17 PM, February 08, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

WHY CONYERS SHOULD SUBPOENA BLACKWELL:

Preserving Democracy:
What Went Wrong in Ohio
Status Report of the House Judiciary Committee Democratic Staff

Wednesday 05 January 2005

Executive Summary



First, in the run up to election day, the following actions by Mr. Blackwell, the Republican Party and election officials disenfranchised hundreds of thousands of Ohio citizens, predominantly minority and Democratic voters:

The misallocation of voting machines led to unprecedented long lines that disenfranchised scores, if not hundreds of thousands, of predominantly minority and Democratic voters. This was illustrated by the fact that the Washington Post reported that in Franklin County, "27 of the 30 wards with the most machines per registered voter showed majorities for Bush. At the other end of the spectrum, six of the seven wards with the fewest machines delivered large margins for Kerry." (See Powell and Slevin, supra). Among other things, the conscious failure to provide sufficient voting machinery violates the Ohio Revised Code which requires the Boards of Elections to "provide adequate facilities at each polling place for conducting the election."

Mr. Blackwell's decision to restrict provisional ballots resulted in the disenfranchisement of tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of voters, again predominantly minority and Democratic voters. Mr. Blackwell's decision departed from past Ohio law on provisional ballots, and there is no evidence that a broader construction would have led to any significant disruption at the polling places, and did not do so in other states.

Mr. Blackwell's widely reviled decision to reject voter registration applications based on paper weight may have resulted in thousands of new voters not being registered in time for the 2004 election.

The Ohio Republican Party's decision to engage in preelection "caging" tactics, selectively targeting 35,000 predominantly minority voters for intimidation had a negative impact on voter turnout. The Third Circuit found these activities to be illegal and in direct violation of consent decrees barring the Republican Party from targeting minority voters for poll challenges.

The Ohio Republican Party's decision to utilize thousands of partisan challengers concentrated in minority and Democratic areas likely disenfranchised tens of thousands of legal voters, who were not only intimidated, but became discouraged by the long lines. Shockingly, these disruptions were publicly predicted and acknowledged by Republican officials: Mark Weaver, a lawyer for the Ohio Republican Party, admitted the challenges "can't help but create chaos, longer lines and frustration."

Mr. Blackwell's decision to prevent voters who requested absentee ballots but did not receive them on a timely basis from being able to receive provisional ballots 6 likely disenfranchised thousands, if not tens of thousands, of voters, particularly seniors. A federal court found Mr. Blackwell's order to be illegal and in violation of HAVA.

Second, on election day, there were numerous unexplained anomalies and irregularities involving hundreds of thousands of votes that have yet to be accounted for:

There were widespread instances of intimidation and misinformation in violation of the Voting Rights Act, the Civil Rights Act of 1968, Equal Protection, Due Process and the Ohio right to vote. Mr. Blackwell's apparent failure to institute a single investigation into these many serious allegations represents a violation of his statutory duty under Ohio law to investigate election irregularities.
We learned of improper purging and other registration errors by election officials that likely disenfranchised tens of thousands of voters statewide. The Greater Cleveland Voter Registration Coalition projects that in Cuyahoga County alone over 10,000 Ohio citizens lost their right to vote as a result of official registration errors.

There were 93,000 spoiled ballots where no vote was cast for president, the vast majority of which have yet to be inspected. The problem was particularly acute in two precincts in Montgomery County which had an undervote rate of over 25% each - accounting for nearly 6,000 voters who stood in line to vote, but purportedly declined to vote for president.

There were numerous, significant unexplained irregularities in other counties throughout the state: (i) in Mahoning county at least 25 electronic machines transferred an unknown number of Kerry votes to the Bush column; (ii) Warren County locked out public observers from vote counting citing an FBI warning about a potential terrorist threat, yet the FBI states that it issued no such warning; (iii) the voting records of Perry county show significantly more votes than voters in some precincts, significantly less ballots than voters in other precincts, and voters casting more than one ballot; (iv) in Butler county a down ballot and underfunded Democratic State Supreme Court candidate implausibly received more votes than the best funded Democratic Presidential candidate in history; (v) in Cuyahoga county, poll worker error may have led to little known thirdparty candidates receiving twenty times more votes than such candidates had ever received in otherwise reliably Democratic leaning areas; (vi) in Miami county, voter turnout was an improbable and highly suspect 98.55 percent, and after 100 percent of the precincts were reported, an additional 19,000 extra votes were recorded for President Bush.

Third, in the post-election period we learned of numerous irregularities in tallying provisional ballots and conducting and completing the recount that disenfanchised thousands of voters and call the entire recount procedure into question (as of this date the recount is still not complete):

Mr. Blackwell's failure to articulate clear and consistent standards for the counting of provisional ballots resulted in the loss of thousands of predominantly minority votes. In Cuyahoga County alone, the lack of guidance and the ultimate narrow and arbitrary review standards significantly contributed to the fact that 8,099 out of 24,472 provisional ballots were ruled invalid, the highest proportion in the state.

Mr. Blackwell's failure to issue specific standards for the recount contributed to a lack of uniformity in violation of both the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clauses. We found innumerable irregularities in the recount in violation of Ohio law, including (i) counties which did not randomly select the precinct samples; (ii) counties which did not conduct a full hand court after the 3% hand and machine counts did not match; (iii) counties which allowed for irregular marking of ballots and failed to secure and store ballots and machinery; and (iv) counties which prevented witnesses for candidates from observing the various aspects of the recount.
The voting computer company Triad has essentially admitted that it engaged in a course of behavior during the recount in numerous counties to provide "cheat sheets" to those counting the ballots. The cheat sheets informed election officials how many votes they should find for each candidate, and how many over and under votes they should calculate to match the machine count. In that way, they could avoid doing a full county-wide hand recount mandated by state law.

-SNIP

http://www.truthout.org/docs_05/010605Y.shtml

 
at 4:38 PM, February 08, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

MORE REASONS BLACKWELL SHOULD BE SUBPOENAED:


OH SOS Investigation of the Lucas County BOE

includes the fact that REPUBLICAN VOLUNTEERS were allowed UNSUPERVISED ACCESS to UNSECURED BALLOTS prior to the election, as well as this list:

*failure to maintain ballot security
*Inability to implement and maintain a trackable system for voter ballot reconciliation .
*failure to prepare and develop a plan for the processing of the voluminous amount of voter registration forms received.
*issuance and acceptance of incorrect absentee ballot forms.
*manipulation of the process involving the 3% recount.
*disjointed implementation of the Directive regarding the removal of Nader and Camejo from the ballot .
*failure to properly issue hospital ballots in accordance with statutory requirements.
*failure to maintain the security of poll books during the official canvass
*failure to examine campaign finance reports in a timely manner.
*failure to guard and protect public documents ....etc.


-One-half of the ballots printed and used in the 2004 general election in Lucas county were stored in an open space on the fhird floor of the county warehouse with no security measures in place.
SOURCE: SOS Investigation on Lucas County BOE page 4



-Live ballots were delivered to polling locations a week in advance of the election. Although the ballots were retrieved, one board employee who was assigned to the warehouse informed the SOS staff that he did not believe all the ballots were successfully retrieved.
SOURCE; SOS Investigation, page 5



-Lucas County BOE failed to record or retrieve ballot stub numbers of absentee voters’ ballots as required by statute OH Revised Code 3505.23. It was reported by an elector that her mother had received not one, but three absentee voter ballots. there was no way to determine if similar incidents occurred and if so how many.
SOURCE: SOS Investigation, page 7




-October 4, 2004 was filing deadline for new voter registrations. At that point there were approximately 20,000 unprocessed voter registration applications with less than a month before the election. One mail tray containing 4,500-7,000 (estimates vary) unprocessed “Project Voter” registrations were discovered on or about October 18,2004.
SOURCE: SOS Investigation pg 10

***Of interest here is information obtained from the SOS website entitled ElectionsVoter/results 2003 and 2004 which show the # of registered voters number change from ‘03-’04 was 11,947 in Lucas County: reg voters 2003 in Lucas=288,190 ; registered voter in 2004=300,137.



-In late September or early October an employee of the Ohio Republican Party contacted Sam Thurber (*involved with politician wife Maggie Thurber in Noe scandal.) wanting to inspect and have copies made of all recently returned voter registrations, Ohio Republican Party offered to furnish volunteers to assist with copying postcards. No one at the Lucas County BOE can confirm that anyone was assigned to supervise Republican volunteers. On their second day of copying, a BOE employee, Jennifer Bernath, Democratic Booth Official) saw republican party volunteers peeling off the yellow return stickers applied by the post office. (Violation of RC 149.43 (B) (I) , and agruably a violation of 149.351.
SOURCE: SOS Investigation, pgs 18-19



-The Swanton 3 poll book turned up missing and has never been recovered.
SOURCE: SOS Investigation pg 16

http://www.solarbus.org/election/docs/lucas.pdf

 
at 4:48 PM, February 08, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

You guys need to give it a rest. Facts are facts. Kerry lost, Bush won. And Kerry didn't complain because he knew it was a fair election. Stop lying about 2004 already.

Move on, haters.

 
at 4:55 PM, February 08, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks, Enquirer. You fed the conspiracy theorists again.

When you freaks realize that your so-called facts are nothing but a farce.

 
at 5:01 PM, February 08, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Right. And every reporter and newspaper editor in Ohio looked the other way while the Republicans stole 2004 except Bob Fitrakis and his band of truth seekers at the Freepress.org. Bravo! you magnificent wingnuts.

 
at 7:46 PM, February 08, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ha! Blackwell throws his ex-employees under a bus. Also, he adopts Brunner's mantra of "let's not worry about the past, let's only talk about 2008". That should be an indicator to anyone still having questions about Brunner's intentions.

Blackwell is so arrogant. I love his jab at the end about "Michigan's provisional rate".

 
at 9:27 PM, February 09, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blackwell took a page right out of W's book >> stonewall, stonewall.
He's gonna fry.

 
at 5:31 AM, February 10, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

George Bush won. Twice. GET OVER IT!

 
at 5:25 PM, February 11, 2008 Blogger LadyofMtAiry said...

One wonders if Ohio votes Democratic in the 2008 how many screams there will of "foul play" from the peanut gallory denying the realities of the 2004 election.

Let's hope SOS Brunner has done her job well and prepared for all the possibilities that might arise with failed voting equipment and poorly trained personnel.

I am tired of Ohio being a joke to places that enjoy fair elections.

 
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