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Today we have a new entry in the Manjoo Wars after the other days interesting and highly debated diary by our own Malcolm.  Bob Fitrakis has jumped into the fray with both feet first.

Posted in it's entirety on Democratic Underground  First Fitrakis sets the stage:

In Farhad Manjoo's "Was the 2004 Election Stolen? No" he claims Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.'s article in Rolling Stone contains "numerous errors of interpretation and his  deliberate omission of key bits of data." As an Election Protection legal observer in Columbus and one of the four attorneys who challenged the Ohio election results, I was struck by Manjoo's own numerous errors of fact and deliberate omissions of widely-known studies and data.

And now with the bona fides out of the way - he gets to the meat... over the flip.

Crossposted on Truth 2 Power

In his first arguement Fitrakis starts where Malcolm left off.  Where Malcolm essentially conceeded the point to Manjoo regarding votes being switched in rural counties - Fitrakis goes the other direction.

In his first claim that the Ellen Connally anomaly, where an under-funded retired municipal judge from Cleveland ran ahead of Kerry in rural southwestern counties fails to indicate vote-shifting from Kerry to Bush, Manjoo deliberately omits several well-known facts. The obvious fact on record is that Democratic nominee Al Gore pulled his campaign out of the state six weeks prior to the 2000 election while Kerry and his 527 organization supporters spent the largest amount of money in Ohio history. So to compare the non-Gore campaign in 2000 to the massive Democratic effort in 2004 seems disingenuous. Moreover, Manjoo conveniently ignores the fact that sample ballots were everywhere in the state of Ohio and voters in these rural counties were repeatedly mailed and handed both party's sample ballots. There were large and active campaigns in the key counties in question - Butler, Clermont, and Warren - passing out Republican and Democratic sample ballots. This is a major omission. Also, Manjoo might actually want to do some research on the amount of money Eric Fingerhut spent vs. John Kerry. Fingerhut's major effort was walking across the state of Ohio because he didn't have any funds. Hardly Kerry's problem.

Just how easy is it to switch votes around using punched cards (or "inka-vote" for that matter)?  Pretty darn easy.

By the way, it is easy to shift votes on punchcard machines due to the ballot rotation law in Ohio. For instance, the hole to punch for Kerry would be "4" in one precinct and the hole to punch for Bush would be "4" in the next precinct. Public records reveal that in key southwest Ohio counties, ballots were counted at the county level, not the precinct level, to save money on counting machines. Thus, all one has to do is shift Kerry cards to a Bush tabulating machine to get a shift. There was more than enough time to do this, when votes came in during the wee hours of the morning. In fact, when we finally got to look at the ballots from four precincts in Warren County, we were surprised to discover that two the pink "header" cards used to separate precinct ballots had holes punched for Bush.

On Kos the discussion of Ohio election law grew quite heated - and Fitrakis seems to feel that Manjoo was quite lacking in this area.  

It appears Manjoo knows very little about Ohio election law. As a licensed attorney in the state and involved in the practice of election law, I'm stunned by the obvious errors that Manjoo makes. The purges in
Ohio were, in fact, deliberate, and they occurred in Democratic strongholds
. Cuyahoga County records indicate 24.93% of all voters in Cleveland were purged between the 2000 and 2004 election. Census data indicates that most of the people who move in urban areas move within the county, which would make them still eligible to vote under Ohio law, and not be purged. What Manjoo leaves out is the standard practice by counties, which would have moved these individuals to "inactive" status before purging them. Additionally, numerous surveys as well as reports by the Toledo Blade and other newspapers reveal that many of these people had voted in local elections or had contacted their county board of elections, which under voting directives indicates activity. This activity would prevent them from being purged.

This also addresses a question that came to my mind as a poll worker for the last several elections - some of the purges in Democratic districts appear to have been at best borderline legal under the "inactive voter" rules -- but where similar purges also done in non-Democratic areas?  The end result of these purges, legal or not, wouldn't have been that someone couldn't vote it would caused them to vote provisionally, and for their vote to possibly be counted only if it could be verified that they didn't try to vote twice, and that they were in fact a legitimate voter.  With Democratic districts specifically targeted for purging this additional provision ballot step, which also tends to slow  down the entire voting process and contribute to longer lines, wouldn't have been required as frequently in rural/Republican areas.  Democrats who hadn't moved out of the county, were wrongly purged without first being placed in "Inactive" status or who had voted in the last four years but hadn't been removed from "Inactive" status would have lost votes both to unverified provisional ballots and to increased wait time in those precincts.

But again, we return to the question - were Democratic areas targeted for purging while Republican areas were ignored?

Yes, there was the deliberate purging in the Democratic strongholds indeed. The Toledo Blade reports 28,000 voters purged from the Democratic stronghold of Toledo in late August 2004. Perhaps Manjoo should make it a practice to do a Lexus Nexus search prior to attacking people for omitting data. The key here is that it is standard for counties to purge in odd-number years, 2001, 2003, etc. Manjoo also ignores the fact that 95.12% of all the provisional voters in Hamilton County came from the Democratic city of Cincinnati, where only 32% of the county's voters resided. Less than 5% of the provisional ballots were handed out in the lily-white suburbs. Perhaps Manjoo has a hard time imagining a man of Karl Rove's high standards targeting black and poor voters.

For those of you keeping score - more provisional ballots mean more people who tried to vote, but weren't listed in the official roster.  Me thinks we've found validation for the problem, and the deliberate targeting of Democrats.

Speaking of the long lines...

Manjoo's claim that the missing voting machines did not impact the African American communities is bizarre and laughable. As an election observer who witnessed lines at 9 inner-city African American precincts, I counted an average of 80 voters leaving per hour without voting in precinct after precinct. I have my logs from that day, if Manjoo would care to see them. I find Manjoo's comments both preposterous and possibly racist. The reality is, Franklin County needed 5000 machines. They went into the election with 2886, but they only put out 2741 on Election Day. I have in my possession a document that shows 125 machines that had been previously allocated, but were blackout out and held back on Election Day - all 125 from the Democratic stronghold of Columbus. Forty-two percent of the African American wards had machines held back at the last second. This constitutes 74% of all the majority African American wards in Franklin County.

It's at this point that Bob start to the serious smack-down.

Perhaps if Manjoo had actually called and asked for the documents, he may have had a better perspective. Mark Crispin Miller, Rolling Stone and Bobby Kennedy all verified their facts before they wrote their pieces. Election Protection volunteers, attorneys and eyewitnesses have yet to hear from Mr. Manjoo. Perhaps this is a new style of investigative reporting. As an award-winning investigative reporter, I'm also quite interested in how salon.com fact checks their writers.

And lastly, on the issue of whether the Democratic and African-American Chair of the Franklin County Election Board is at fault for the failure to allocate the proper amount of voting machines.

While Manjoo's errors are legion and will clearly pass into infamy, one of his most absurd is pretending that Bill Anthony, the Franklin County Board of Elections Chair, had anything to do with the actual allocation of the machines. The allocation of voting machines was drawn up by Matt Damschroder, the Director of the Franklin County Board of Elections. Manjoo actually, in a major error, refers to Damschroder, as the Chair of the Election Board. Manjoo incorrectly cites both Anthony and Damschroder as chairs of the Franklin County Board of Elections. Under Ohio law, there's only one Chair and Damschroder has never been chair. I'm surprised that Manjoo would make an error of this magnitude. Anthony is the Chair. The Board he chairs deals with general policy matters. Damschroder is the Director who deals with the nuts and bolts of Election Day activity.

Oops...

As I had predicted last week the impending Swiftboating of RKF Jr. is well under way, and we have to fight back with every tool available. Tonight RFK Jr. is scheduled to appear on Colbert, and we should be well ready and factually armed.

Vyan

Originally posted to Vyan on Mon Jun 05, 2006 at 08:53 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Recommended (6+ / 0-)

    Manjoo has an agenda.  He wrote the same sort of hit piece back in 2004.  Methinks the Dem Party and progressive news outlets are afraid of being called names by radio talk show demogogues and illiberla conservative pundits.

    "I just had the basic view of the American public -- it can't be that bad out there." Marine Travis Williams after 11 members of his squad were killed.

    by Steven D on Mon Jun 05, 2006 at 08:51:11 AM PDT

    •  He wasn't the only one to roll over (0+ / 0-)

      Gov Bill Richardson will NEVER get my vote for President because he actually helped hide the corruption in NM. Requiring the Greens and Libertarians to pay over $1M to contest the race? http://www.alibi.com/...

      WTF?

      Too many Dems were too dismissive of voter fraud. I applaud the efforts of VotersUnite.org, Common Cause and others to keep the spotlight on this issue. If we want to take back our country, we not only have to take back control of the votes, but also the oversight over vote counters.

  •  there is something almost desperate in these (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    paraphrase, calebfaux, anniethena

    attempts to supress the truth.

    Why are people like Manjoo behind the supression of facts?

    "Rovus Vulgaris Americanus"
    Nasty, freshly-demoted
    Soon-to-be-indicted
    Co-conspirator
    -7.63, -9.

    by shpilk on Mon Jun 05, 2006 at 08:56:17 AM PDT

  •  why do dems always do reps work for them? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    anniethena

    We have concerns about voter protection in 2004.

    If the 2004 elections were stolen and our efforts get us better voter protection then the effort is worthwhile.

    If the 2004 election was not stolen, improving voter protection is still a good idea -- if only because it makes it harder to steal an election in the future.

    I guess some people are concerned the MSM / Reps will accuse of being ridiculous -- but they're going to do that anyway so why not talk about something that matters. Would you prefer the media discussion to be about the Clinton's marriage?

    I am unable to refute this.

    by joel3000 on Mon Jun 05, 2006 at 09:11:06 AM PDT

    •  I'm not sure I follow... (0+ / 0-)

      you seemed to be attacking something or someone.

      My own point and arguement is that we shouldn't leave it up to our so-called "leaders" to get things done.  We need to take action ourselves, drive things upward from the Netroots.  Elected Officials in the Democratic system don't dictate to us, we tell them what the priorities are and where to go.

      No, I wouldn't prefer a discussion of Clinton's marriage, or a discussion of whether Laura Bush has been arguing with hubby of his "closeness" to Condi.  Tabloid claptrap like that is irrelevant. Funny and ironic for Mr.Protection-of-Marriage, but irrelevant.

      Vyan

      Truth 2 Power Radio - Passionate Progressive Protest Rock 24/7/365

      by Frank Vyan Walton on Mon Jun 05, 2006 at 09:42:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Yeah And As Bob Says... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Psyche

    ...because the complications of this issue could never be distilled down to a mere soundbite so that Manjoo's neanderthals could understand it, it would take a week long court hearing to understand what the truth is about electronic voting.  About the shortest sound bite I can think of is; Lets just say that Blackwell and his tainted ilk screwed his own people and the poor by making sure his white/anglo Uber-Furor's ass won...."

    •  Here's a soundbtte... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Psyche

      THEY. CHEATED.

      It really doesn't matter if the efforts implement by Republicans actually changed the final vote or not - just as it doesn't matter whether stabbing someone actually kills them - it's still a crime.

      People have harped on Kerry for failing to say "It was  stolen", but in the process they ignore what he has said which is "No one can tell!".  And frankly, that's worse.  We can't tell who should have been elected?  That sounds like a major problem to me.

      Vyan

      Truth 2 Power Radio - Passionate Progressive Protest Rock 24/7/365

      by Frank Vyan Walton on Mon Jun 05, 2006 at 09:49:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Distortions abound here (0+ / 0-)

    Here are two of them.

    The purges in
    Ohio were, in fact, deliberate, and they occurred in Democratic strongholds. Cuyahoga County records indicate 24.93% of all voters in Cleveland were purged between the 2000 and 2004 election.

    This was debunked about 6 times in the past couple of days. It was not 24.93% of all voters in Cleveland. It was somewhere between 11 and 14%, and that is not an unreasonable number.

    It is within state law to purge voters the way they did. It may have benefitted the Republicans, even, but it's not election fraud if they followed the law.

    Manjoo's claim that the missing voting machines did not impact the African American communities is bizarre and laughable.

    Manjoo didn't say that. This is about the 10th time I have seen his stance on this issue totally perverted from what he actually said.

    Here's what he really said. http://www.salon.com/...

    Kennedy is right to highlight the problem of long lines; every single study of the Ohio race done so far has fingered this problem as by far the single biggest cause of disenfranchisement. And he's right, too, that the problem affected minorities disproportionately. Many, though not all, political scientists who've looked at the question agree that the voters who were turned away would have broken toward Kerry. But the relevant question is how many voters didn't get to vote due to long lines, and who is to blame?

    As to Kennedy's argument that Republicans deliberately engineered the long lines, he's on pretty shaky ground. To be sure, there is ample evidence that election officials throughout the state failed to respond to the surge in voter registration seen in the 2004 race. But it is far more accurate to see their actions as part of a larger picture of incompetence in the midst of massive changes in election procedures -- especially changes in voting technology -- than as part of a GOP plot. Kennedy elides the fact that in Ohio, decisions about voting-machine allocation and precinct location are determined by local boards of elections, which are bipartisan; any Republican effort to allocate machines in a way meant to harm Democrats would have necessarily involved Democratic officials.

    The case of Matt Damschroder, the Republican chair of elections in Franklin County whom Kennedy cites, is instructive. As Cornell's Walter Mebane determined, Franklin County's allocation of voting machines was clearly biased against African-Americans. But Mebane's report (PDF) contains some important caveats. Franklin County's allocation of voting machines can be seen as biased if you look at the number of black voters who were registered by Election Day, but decisions about how to allocate voting machines are made months before then. That's why Mebane also notes that "if the allocation of voting machines is compared to information about the size of the active electorate that was available to Franklin County election officials at the end of April, 2004, then the allocation of machines is not biased against voters who were active at that time in precincts having high proportions of African Americans."

    Listen to the chairman of the board of Franklin's election office, an African-American man named William Anthony, who also headed the county's Democratic Party. As I first pointed out in my review of "Fooled Again," any effort to deliberately skew the vote toward Bush in Franklin would have had to involve Anthony -- and he has rejected the charge that he'd do such a thing. "I am a black man. Why would I sit there and disenfranchise voters in my own community?" Anthony told the Columbus Dispatch. "I've fought my whole life for people's right to vote."

    In fact he says that blacks were disenfranchised. He never says that that were unimpacted.

    This is how you expect to win your argument, with shady misleading statements like this? That's a 'smackdown'? Not in the real world it's not.

    •  This is Bob's arguement (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Psyche

      not mine, but I'm quite familiar with the 14% estimate that orginated in Malcolm's thread.

      Bob says:

      The purges in
      Ohio were, in fact, deliberate, and they occurred in Democratic strongholds. Cuyahoga County records indicate 24.93% of all voters in Cleveland were purged between the 2000 and 2004 election.

      "Voters" to me, generally would mean "People who voted".  Now you could fairly argue he might have meant "people registered to vote" in which case you would be correct, but since he didn't say that the estimate that those dropped from the roles reflected nearly 25% of those who voted  is correct.  It only reflects 14% of those registered to vote.

      Whether this is statistically significant hinges on several questions.  Were most of the voters including in the purgers those who had moved and or died, or were they new voters whose registrations were lost and/or misplaced?

      The real question as I pointed out in my diary is "Was this also done to Republican stronghold district"?  If so, the net effect would be largely moot, the playing field would be even, but from what Fitrakis describes involving the relative amounts of provisional ballots - this is not the case.

      In fact he says that blacks were disenfranchised. He never says that that were unimpacted.

      I think that's a fair point in criticizing Bob, however it doesn't disprove the ultimate impact of the disenfranchisement - it's merely a debate about the critical issue of whether that impact was deliberately engineered or not.  Manjoo claims it couldn't have been deliberate because a black democrat, Anthony, was in charge - while Fitrakis points out that Anthony didn't have control of the machine allocations, but Damschroder the Republican chair of elections, did.

      Republican plot?  Maybe not, but the fact, agreed to by all, is that there was disenfranchisement - which was caused by a Republican, who made the decision which led to it.

      Further the point that "decisions were made months in advance" is belied by Fitrakis own first-hand account that machines were specificially withheld in these areas - on election day.

      The debate rages on.

      Vyan

      Truth 2 Power Radio - Passionate Progressive Protest Rock 24/7/365

      by Frank Vyan Walton on Mon Jun 05, 2006 at 11:26:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  There are people that have closely looked at that (0+ / 0-)

        There is clear indications that it was not 25% but was less than 15%, and that is a reasonable number in an urban area.

        The purges in Ohio were, in fact, deliberate, and they occurred in Democratic strongholds. Cuyahoga County records indicate 24.93% of all voters in Cleveland were purged between the 2000 and 2004 election.

        That's what Fitrakis said.

        The people who were purged were ones that had not voted in 2 election cycles, right? So they were not voters. They were registered voters who had not been voting. The percentage needs to come out of the registered voter pile then. Less than 15%.

        Purging doesn't happen to new voters, so I have no idea why you bring them up!

        The purging was done as per state law and the HAVA. Therefore, it's not evidence of election fraud. Fraud would be doing something illegal.

        It's not merely a debate about the issues when Fitrakis totally misstates what Manjoo says about the disenfranchising of voters. He totally misstated it. The disenfranchisement was not caused by a Republican. You misstate the case again. The individual county BoE did not adjust their distribution of voting machines to compensate for increases in voter registrations. That was not the work of one Republican. That was the work of numerous BoE's across the state.

        So in two blatant cases he was incredibly inaccurate.

        •  Well... (0+ / 0-)

          The people who were purged were ones that had not voted in 2 election cycles, right? So they were not voters. They were registered voters who had not been voting.

          No, it's two federal election cycles - which is four years.  That's what is supposed to happen, but did it?  Fitrakis specifically mentions, and from my own experience this rings true, that these voters should have been marked as "Inactive' before being purged.  He claims that some of them did vote in the previous four years - but were purged anyway (details below). That's not how it's supposed to work, can we agree on that?

          There is also the fact, which we both should be aware of, that Ken Blackwell decided to reject the applications of new voters attempting to register if they used the wrong weight of paper.

          The percentage needs to come out of the registered voter pile then. Less than 15%.
          Purging doesn't happen to new voters, so I have no idea why you bring them up!

          See my last comment regarding Blackwell's handling of newly registered voters. Also add this from Fritrakis...

          Census data indicates that most of the people who move in urban areas move within the county, which would make them still eligible to vote under Ohio law, and not be purged.

          and this...

          numerous surveys as well as reports by the Toledo Blade and other newspapers reveal that many of these people had voted in local elections or had contacted their county board of elections, which under voting directives indicates activity. This activity would prevent them from being purged.

          People who hadn't moved out of the country and had contacted thier board elections - are voters.

          As said before the evidence that Democrats who fully intended to vote, and did attempt to vote were specifically being scrubbed from the rolls is shown in the incredibly high percentage of provisional ballots submitted.  In California where I was a poll worker, and personally handed all he provisional ballots they accounted for a final percentage of 9.2% of the total votes in that precinct.  Compare this to the Ohio experience...

          95.12% of all the provisional voters in Hamilton County came from the Democratic city of Cincinnati, where only 32% of the county's voters resided. Less than 5% of the provisional ballots were handed out in the lily-white suburbs

          Vyan

          Truth 2 Power Radio - Passionate Progressive Protest Rock 24/7/365

          by Frank Vyan Walton on Mon Jun 05, 2006 at 06:45:03 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Give me a break (0+ / 0-)

            I said two election cycles. You don't get to say "no" because I didn't add an adjective! The point was that they were not voters. They were non-voters in two election cycles.

            Voters were not purged because they were not eligible to vote. They were purged because they had not voted. It didn't matter whether they moved or not.

            Contacting the BoE is not voting. That's how the list is made. People don't vote; they get put on the list to be purged. It does not matter if they contacted the BoE before they were purged. It has nothing to do with election fraud.

            People in the suburbs don't move as much as people in the city. People in the suburbs didn't go without voting for as long as those people in the city did. It was a list of inactive voters that formed the purge list. It's not evidence of election fraud, no matter how many times you repeat it. That's a Republican method, that repeating a lie until people think it's true. Don't do that here please.

            In two cases in Fitrakis' story he was blatantly wrong.

            •  There are plenty of (0+ / 0-)

              election cycles which are non-Federal.

              I can understand being skeptical, I have been myself but you're making a lot of claims here that simply go against much of what I've seen reported.

              Voters were not purged because they were not eligible to vote. They were purged because they had not voted. It didn't matter whether they moved or not.

              And your evidence for this claim is what?

              Let me repeat...

              numerous surveys as well as reports by the Toledo Blade and other newspapers reveal that many of these people had voted in local elections or had contacted their county board of elections, which under voting directives indicates activity. This activity would prevent them from being purged.

              This is an issue that Fitrakis has previously reported.

              Nonetheless, tens of thousands of voters turned up in mostly Democratic wards in Cincinnati and Toledo, only to find they had been mysteriously removed from the voter rolls. In many cases, sworn testimony and affidavits given at hearings after the election confirmed that many of these citizens had in fact voted in the previous two federal elections and had not moved from where they were registered. In some cases, their stability at those addresses stretched back for decades.

              The problem was partially confirmed by a doubling of provisional ballots cast during the 2004 election, as opposed to the number cast in 2000. Provisional ballots have been traditionally used in Ohio as a stopgap for people whose voting procedures are somehow compromised at the polls, but who are nonetheless valid registrants.

              Prior to the 2004 election, Blackwell made a range of unilateral pronouncements that threw the provisional balloting process into chaos. Among other things, he demanded voters casting provisional ballots provide their birth dates, a requirement that was often not mentioned by poll workers. Eyewitnesses testify that many provisional ballots were merely tossed in the trash at Ohio polling stations.

              So here we have a situation where legitimate (Democratic) voters were forced onto provisional ballots, and then based on arbitrary decisions by Blackwell - their votes were discarded.

              You said...

              Contacting the BoE is not voting. That's how the list is made. People don't vote; they get put on the list to be purged. It does not matter if they contacted the BoE before they were purged. It has nothing to do with election fraud.

              As discussed in the thread begun by Malcolm when he addressed the Manjoo article Ohio Law states the following.

              The registration of any elector identified as having changed his voting residence to a location outside his current county of registration shall not be canceled unless the registrant is sent a confirmation notice on a form prescribed by the secretary of state and the registrant fails to respond to the confirmation notice or otherwise update his registration and fails to vote in any election during the period of two federal elections subsequent to the mailing of the confirmation notice.

              People can be removed for a particular counties register if they've moved to another county - and they can be removed for non-voting.  Agreed?

              Now, assuming your not calling Fitrakis a bald-faced liar, we have people who have testified to having voted within the specified time frame and not having  moved.  If they had moved, the state would have been required to contact them before their removal -- therefore for those people contacting the BOE would should have kept them on the roles, but indications seem to be that it did not.  

              Why not?

              What makes logical sense to me - and is supported by Fitrakis mention that the purging of inactive voters  are to be removed in Non-Federal election years such as 2001, 2003 - is to remove them on the fifth year of their inactivity, not the month before the election!

              The only logical conclusion from issuing the purge just before it matters is that the intention is to restrict the access to voting, and when these purges are not performed in an consistent manner state-wide -  which seems to be the strong implication - you can't possibly conclude that it's just "business as usual", unless that business is elecction fraud.

              I think the issue of whether they tried to steal the election is essentially settled, all that's left is whether their efforts were decisive in changing the outcome.  All Kennedy has said is that it's possible, and I can't argue with him.

              Vyan

              Truth 2 Power Radio - Passionate Progressive Protest Rock 24/7/365

              by Frank Vyan Walton on Tue Jun 06, 2006 at 10:59:13 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  You are not being truthful (0+ / 0-)

                The evidence that voters were purged for not voting is that this is how they select voters to be purged. There is no evidence that they did anything but exactly that.

                Malcolm's reading of the purging laws was wrong, and he was told that on his diary.

                Kennedy did not just try to say that it's possible.

                He said it happened.

                Other posters here have said it happened. There's virtually no evidence that it did.

                •  In addition (0+ / 0-)

                  Fitrakis claims that there were voters who had voted but had been kicked off the lists.

                  Where's the proof that they had voted?

                  Funny, but extraordinary claims here require extraordinary evidence. Always have, and always will.

                  If they filled out a provisional ballot, but were not registered to vote, then the proper thing to do is to throw out the provisional ballot.

                  Calling the voter registrar's office is not sufficient.

                  They were not tossed off the rolls one month before the election. It happened in August.

                •  You say there's no evidence (0+ / 0-)

                  and Fitrakis says...

                  In many cases, sworn testimony and affidavits given at hearings after the election confirmed that many of these citizens had in fact voted in the previous two federal elections and had not moved from where they were registered.

                  Since you insist on claiming this testimony didn't happen and that Fitrakis reports is erroneous - not by presenting any evidence of your own, but instead only by making the claim the Fritakis "has no evidence" - I'm forced to respond in detail.

                  From the Conyers Report On Ohio, page 69.

                  Just as we witnessed in the Florida presidential debacle four years ago, improper purging and other errors by election officials represent a very serious problem and have a particularly negative impact on minority voters. The fact that 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 and that the NAACP received more than 1,000
                  purging complaints on election day indicate that the overall number of voters who may have
                  been disenfranchised as a result of official mistakes and wrongful purging is in the scores of
                  thousands
                  , if not more. Congressional passage of HAVA’s provisional ballot requirement was
                  intended to mitigate errors such as this, but Secretary Blackwell’s unduly narrow interpretation
                  of this requirement, as well as weak rules for counting and checking provisional ballots, have
                  made it far less likely that individuals whose registration was wrongfully purged or never entered
                  would be able to receive a provisional ballot and have it counted.

                  On Page 90.

                  These records also appeared to indicate that some voters [in Green County]were purged from the voting rolls on the basis that they failed to vote in the previous election [Not since the last 2 Federal Elections - the Previous Election], while other voters who had not voted in several elections had not been purged.

                  <snip>

                  Substantial numbers of provisional ballots appear to have been rejected because voters were purged in the last two years.[Not Four as it should have been, Two]

                  <snip>

                  Third, Greene County’s operation seems to have several Constitutional problems, both
                  federally and at the state level. The selective use of challenges and purges invokes the Equal
                  Protection clause. We were unable to confirm any legitimate reason why some voters were
                  challenged and then purged, and others were not
                  . There are also Due Process concerns as those to
                  be purged were not given sufficient notice to meaningfully participate in their scheduled
                  hearings.

                  The report lists Bob Fitrakis as a witness to the proceedings, where he personally testified and/or  provided the following in documented form:

                  Ohio Republican Party, whose headquarters is across the street. The hotel worker heard
                  one caller threaten a likely voter with being reported to the FBI and returning to jail if he
                  voted. Another hotel worker called the police, who came but did nothing.292

                  On election day, a fake voter bulletin from Franklin County Board of Elections was posted at polling locations, and fliers were distributed in the inner city, telling Republicans to vote on Tuesday and Democrats to vote on Wednesday due to unexpected
                  heavy voter registration.295

                  <snip>

                  In Franklin County there were reports that about a dozen voters were contacted by someone claiming to be from the county board of elections, telling them their voting location was changed.298

                  <snip>

                  At our Washington, D.C. hearing, investigative ournalist Bob Fitrakis highlighted malfunctions in Lucas County: “When the machines in Lucas County, which is a heavily Democratic county, when they are locked in the principal’s office and nobody may vote
                  at that site; when they’re going wrong all day, and the [Lucas County Election Director Paula Hicks-Hudson] admits the test failed prior to that, and the software is provided, of course, by Diebold, whose CEO, Walden O’Dell, is a member of President Bush’s Pioneer and Ranger team, has visited the Crawford ranch and wrote.305

                  <snip>

                  Numerous voters were incorrectly listed on roster as felons, and thus not allowed to vote.308

                  <snip>

                  Secretary Blackwell’s failure to issue standards for the counting of provisional ballots led to a chaotic and confusing result such that each of Ohio’s 88 counties could count legal ballots differently or not at all.371 In turn, this fostered a situation where subsequent to the election, Cuyahoga County mandated that provisional ballots in yellow packets must be “rejected” if there is no “date of birth” on the packet. This ruling was issued despite the fact that the original “Provisional Verification Procedure” from Cuyahoga County stated, “Date of birth is not mandatory and should not reject a provisional ballot” and simply required that the voter’s name, address and a signature match the signature in the county’s database.372

                  So when Fitrakis says there was testimony to a series of hearings in which he was a direct party - I tend to give him the benefit of the doubt.  You are effectively accusing him of Perjury, in which case the burden of proof is on you to indicate that all of his statements are false - that these events didn't happen - not on him or me.

                  Kennedy did not just try to say that it's possible.

                  He said it happened.

                  No, he said this....

                  The issue of what happened in 2004 is not an academic one. For the second election in a row, the president of the United States was selected not by the uncontested will of the people but under a cloud of dirty tricks. Given the scope of the GOP machinations, we simply cannot be certain that the right man now occupies the Oval Office -- which means, in effect, that we have been deprived of our faith in democracy itself.

                  This is not exactly an indication that "their efforts [of fraud] were decisive in changing the outcome".  He's certain that there was fraud, but not that Kerry actually won and was robbed of victory.  He might have won, he might not have won -- we don't know because an accurate vote count of the people's will wasn't done.

                  Vyan

                  Truth 2 Power Radio - Passionate Progressive Protest Rock 24/7/365

                  by Frank Vyan Walton on Thu Jun 08, 2006 at 04:17:47 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

  •  This info below (0+ / 0-)

    From the Board of Elections, indicates to me that the BoE decided where the machines went, not simply one person.

    http://centralohiovoters.home.att.ne...

    Clearly, during this election, there were multiple outside forces that placed unprecedented pressure on the Board, its employees, its precinct election officials, and the voting public, not the least of which included federal Court decisions, appeals, and reversed decisions that created an environment in which the Board found it difficult to execute its responsibilities flawlessly.  However, the Board extends to its full and part time staff and its nearly 5,000 precinct election officials thanks and support for the hard work and dedication provided to hold an election that was accurate, fair, and transparent.

    The whole BoE deals with the nuts and bolts of the elections. That's why it's a bipartisan group.

    •  Then (0+ / 0-)

      fine- it's their fault,  Blame isn't the only thing at stake here, we also should wonder how anyone got it that far wrong, and how to avoid this in the future - regardless of who it is.

      Vyan

      Truth 2 Power Radio - Passionate Progressive Protest Rock 24/7/365

      by Frank Vyan Walton on Mon Jun 05, 2006 at 02:17:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I say that all the time (0+ / 0-)

        So do many others here.

        Almost no one I have ever seen says that there are no problems.

        What they say is either 'fraud was proven, and so we need to blame the Republicans and change the system.' or 'fraud might have happened, and so we need to fix the system so that fraud does not happen.'

    •  On the issue of the BOE (0+ / 0-)

      Fitrakis says this...

      At the time, very few people knew about those first 133,000 voters that had been eliminated from the registration rolls in Cincinnati and Toledo. County election boards purged the voting registration lists. Though all Ohio election boards are allegedly bi-partisan, in fact they are all controlled by the Republican Party. Each has four seats, filled by law with two Democrats and two Republicans.

      But all tie votes are decided by the Secretary of State, in this case Blackwell, the extreme right-wing Republican now running for Governor. Blackwell served in 2004 not only as the man in charge of the state's vote count, but also a co-chair of the Ohio Bush-Cheney campaign. Many independent observers have deemed this to be a conflict of interest. On election day, Blackwell met personally with Bush, Karl Rove and Matt Damschroder, chair of the Franklin County (Columbus) Board of Elections, formerly the chair of the county's Republican Party.

      It may be a bipartisan group, but the Republican Secretary of State has tie-breaking power - so before we claim that "all decisions made by this group were truly bi-partisan" regarding the placement of electronic voting machines I have to wonder and question whether or not the Democrats were simply overriddden by Blackwell on this issue, or where they simply clueless?

      VYan

      Truth 2 Power Radio - Passionate Progressive Protest Rock 24/7/365

      by Frank Vyan Walton on Thu Jun 08, 2006 at 05:24:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Curious why it is so important (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Psyche

    for some on our side, or apparently on our side, to almost enthusiastically support what is arguably one of the most fraud prone elections systems in the world.

    You post a good eyewitness account of what went on in Ohio, filled with fact and insight, and some productive discussion gets going, and someone comes along -- the way they always do -- and claims that the facts are wrong, Manjoo got it right, and law is law and ultimately, though we don't like it, we have to go along with the results in Ohio and the rest of the country, Bush won.

    Well, yes, he "won", he's in the White House, more's the pity, but that doesn't mean that ANYBODY has to simply go along with what happened in Ohio or accept Manjoo's (or anyone else's) prattlements about it. Something is bad wrong with our elections systems. Dangerously wrong. And pointing to what actually happened in Ohio in as much detail as possible and as often as possible is essential if Americans are ever going to grab this bull by the horns and correct the problem, the way nearly every other democracy in the world has long since done. American elections have become shameful jokes.

    Instead of correcting the problems, some people want to "prove" that what happened in Ohio was just fine, that nothing was all that out of line, and nothing was illegal, so we should just accept it and "do better" next time, except that we've already had plenty of experience with getting screwed again "next time" -- because oddly, no matter what we do, that brass ring stays jjjjjuuusssst out of reach.

    And when it occurs to someone that the game is rigged and they adduce information that circumstantially shows that the game is rigged (without necessarily producing the irrefutable photograph of the individual pulling that ring back every time you reach for it) there is all but certain to be someone saying, "No, no! Keep playing! You'll get the ring eventually, as long as you keep going round and round! What you think you see isn't real, no! No! Keep playing! You'll win! You will!"

    It reminds me of a time I was in Las Vegas, playing roulette at a table with half a dozen others. One guy kept betting on 4, and strangely, he kept winning. Time after time, 4 would come up, and those who were betting on 4 with him kept winning too. Then he went away for a while, and they kept betting on 4, and lost. Aw. Cause it didn't come up any more. And then he came back and bet bet on 4 again, and guess what? He WON! Again and again. Pure chance? I think not. Can I prove it? Nope.

    We know there is something very wrong with elections in this country -- and Ohio 2004 is a particularly appalling example as all the testimony of those who were there shows in horrifying abundance. The apologists for it -- and for supporting the outcome -- are becoming more and more insufferable. That there are so many of them apparently on our side is truly revolting. And all the obscurantist smokescreens they throw up are looking more and more ridiculous.

    And did you hear? Bobby Kennedy's voice is really annoying. He should shut up.
    </ snark>

    --felix

  •  Shout it from the mountain tops (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Psyche

    Your country is in desperate need of electoral reform. Nominees for federal positions should be subject to federal laws. (prez, veep, sens, congress)
    That way no individual state can control what happens at this national level.

    Maybe election dates should even be changed (gasp) so that voters are not confronted with so many choices at once. Keep the presidential election separate from purely state elections...so many candidates and ballot initiatives.

    Strange days indeed...most peculiar mama (WWJLD)

    by anniethena on Mon Jun 05, 2006 at 11:11:39 AM PDT

    •  It might also help to make election day (0+ / 0-)

      a holiday or move to two days on the weekend. Two days would make it easier to distribute machines where they are needed and avoid hours-long lines as well as making voting more feasible for those working two or more jobs.

      The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts. Bertrand Russell

      by Psyche on Mon Jun 05, 2006 at 12:33:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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