Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Why Can't Democrats Be More Like Ukrainians? 

From Raw Story, via Zemblan patriot K.Z.: After receiving tens of thousands of individual complaints, a group of thirteen House Democrats has prevailed upon the Government Accountability Office to investigate various voting irregularities in the Nov. 2004 election:
The GAO told CNN it will not investigate every charge listed by the Democrats, but will examine “the security and accuracy of voting technologies, distribution and allocation of voting machines and counting of provisional ballots.”

Reps. John Conyers, Jr., Jerrold Nadler, Robert Wexler, Robert Scott, and Rush Holt, cosignatories of the original letters, issued a statement saying they were pleased the nonpartisan agency was getting involved . . . .

“On its own authority, the GAO will examine the security and accuracy of voting technologies, distribution and allocation of voting machines, and counting of provisional ballots,” they added. “We are hopeful that GAO’s non-partisan and expert analysis will get to the bottom of the flaws uncovered in the 2004 election.

“As part of this inquiry, we will provide copies of specific incident reports received in our offices, including more than 57,000 such complaints provided to the House Judiciary Committee,” they said.
Meanwhile, a federal judge in Ohio told Green Party presidential candidate David Cobb and Libertarian candidate Michael Badnarik that their request for a recount of Ohio's ballots will have to wait until the official statewide tally is certified on December 2:
Judge James G. Carr in Toledo ruled that the candidates have a right under Ohio law to a recount, but said it can wait. The judge wrote that he saw no reason to interfere with the final stages of Ohio's electoral process. Officials have said the results will be certified by Dec. 6 . . . .

The two candidates have said they raised more than $150,000 to cover the state's fee for a recount. Ohio law requires payment of $10 per precinct, or $113,600 statewide, but election officials say the true expense would be far greater.
And Keith Olbermann reports that even the Democrats are finally on board with the Ohio recount -- albeit in a timid, vacillating way:
Early Monday afternoon, Ohio Chairman Dennis White released a comparative bombshell inside the still tiny world of the Recount-Conscious. It bore the headline “Kerry/Edwards Campaign Joins Ohio Recount” and advised that “assuring Ohioans receive an accurate count of all votes cast for president has prompted the Democratic Party to join the initiative to recount the results of the November 2 presidential election.”

But by 8 p.m. Eastern, a second press release was out, with two notable tweaks. Now the headline read “Kerry/Edwards Campaign Participates In Ohio Recount,” and the lead sentence read “…has prompted the Democratic Party to participate in the initiative to recount the results…”

The switch from “join” to “participate” reduces the Democratic commitment from virtual co-sponsorship to nearly the level of acquiescence. In late afternoon, Ohio Dems’ spokesmen Dan Trevas told us that the remains of the national Kerry/Edwards campaign had approved the original press release and “gave us the authority to proceed with this. Tomorrow we expect to have a letter from them to Kenneth Blackwell” which would ask Ohio’s Secretary of State to proceed with a recount . . . .

As Kerry himself calculated early on November 3, the Provisional Ballots alone obviously could not provide anything close to enough bona fide Democratic votes to overcome President Bush’s 135,000 vote plurality in the Ohio election night tally. But as Howard also pointed out — and my colleague David Shuster so thoroughly extrapolated
in a previous post on Hardblogger — the Provisionals plus the “Undercount” could make things very close indeed. The punch-card ballots “where it looks like nobody marked anything” when read by an optical scanning machine, might produce thousands of legitimate votes if hand-counted and judged by Ohio’s strict laws defining how many corners of the proverbial chads have to be detached to make a vote valid.

In Ohio, the reality of the recount is beginning to sink in, and local governments aren’t happy about it. The Associated Press ran a story Monday afternoon in which its reporter quoted the incoming president of the Ohio Association of Election Officials, Keith Cunningham. “The inference is that Ohio election officials will not count every vote,” said the man who is currently head of the Board of Elections in Allen County (that’s the Lima area, northwest of Columbus). “That’s just insulting; it’s frivolous and simply harassment.”
Half a globe away, 200,000 Ukrainians are marching in the streets to protest the election of Kremlin-backed Viktor Yanukovych over pro-Western reform candidate Viktor Yushchenko in a presidential contest tainted by allegations of fraud:
The commission's official results, with more than 99.48 percent of precincts counted, showed Yanukovych leading with 49.39 percent to Yushchenko's 46.71 percent. But several exit polls had found Yushchenko the winner . . . .

Sen. Richard Lugar, chairman of the U.S. Senate's Foreign Relations Committee, said in Kiev that there had been "a concerted and forceful program of election-day fraud and abuse.'' He called on Kuchma "to review all of this and take decisive action in the best interests of the country.''
With a few minor changes, Sen. Lugar could deliver the same speech to Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell. We are therefore nonplussed to report that the Senator has not yet put in a call to Columbus.

UPDATE (via our distinguished colleague Avedon Carol): In re: the Florida exit polls, from an Orlando Weekly article entitled "Was It Hacked?"
Center for Research on Globalization's Michael Keefer states, "The National Election Pool's own data – as transmitted by CNN on the evening of November 2 and the morning of November 3 – suggest very strongly that the results of the exit polls were themselves fiddled late on November 2 in order to make their numbers conform with the tabulated vote tallies."

How do we know the fix was in? Keefer says the total number of respondents at 9 p.m. was well over 13,000 and at 1:36 a.m. it had risen less than 3 percent – to 13,531 total respondents. Given the small increase in respondents, this 5 percent swing to Bush is mathematically impossible. In Florida, at 8:40 p.m., exit polls showed a near dead heat but the final exit poll update at 1:01 a.m. gave Bush a 4 percent lead. This swing was mathematically impossible, because there were only 16 more respondents in the final tally than in the earlier one.

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