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Monday, December 13, 2004

Buckeyed 

You have probably read that the Cliff Arnebeck-Jesse Jackson-Alliance for Democracy lawsuit asking the Ohio Supreme Court to review the statewide election tallies from November 2 was finally filed today. Before the court could act on that request, however, Ohio's twenty Republican electors cast their ballots in favor of George Bush:
Critics of the election claim there were disparities in vote totals for Democrats, too few voting machines in Democrat-leaning precincts, organized campaigns directing voters to the wrong polling place and confusion over the counting of provisional ballots by voters whose names did not appear in the records at polling places.

The challengers allege unlawful ballots were added to the total and legally cast ballots were altered. Without listing specific evidence, the complaint alleges 130,656 votes for Kerry and John Edwards in 36 counties were somehow switched to count for the Bush-Cheney ticket.

The complaint also cites several reports of Election Day problems, including people who allegedly saw their vote "hop" to Bush on touch-screen machines after they voted for Kerry.

If the court decides to hear the challenge, it can declare a new winner or throw out the results.

"While the existence of anomalies could possibly be explained by human error or technical malfunctions, the fact that, in every case in Ohio known to the contestors, the error favored the Bush-Cheney ticket, strongly indicates manipulation or fraud," the challengers said in a court filing.
Meanwhile, Donald J. McTigue, legal counsel for the Kerry-Edwards campaign in the state of Ohio, has sent a letter to the individual boards of election throughout the state, setting forth the campaign's "requests regarding the conduct of the recount."

But the really interesting news comes from BradBlog (via Suburban Guerrilla): Florida programmer Clinton Curtis testified under oath at the Conyers hearings in Columbus today, reportedly causing jaws to drop:
Then, [Arnebeck] asked Curtis something like whether voting machines could be hacked. He said yes. Arnebeck asked him on what he based that opinion. He said because I wrote a program that could do it. Arnebeck asked when that happened. Curtis said [Republican Rep. Tom] Feeney had asked him to design such a program at Yang Enterprises.

Jaws dropped. Tubbs Jones and Waters looked shocked.

Tubbs Jones, Waters and Nadler asked questions. Waters asked him to repeat who asked him to do it. Congressman Feeney, he said. Nadler asked him some questions, as did Tubbs Jones and a state senator.

Curtis was asked what he would conclude if there was such a substantial deviation between exit polls and actual results. He said he would conclude the election had been hacked. Gasps. Could have heard a pin drop.
Streaming video of Curtis's testimony is available here (RealPlayer) and here (WMP).

Curtis was followed by Green Party candidate David Cobb, whose testimony was potentially even more explosive:
A representative from Triad Systems came into this county’s Board of Election’s office unannounced, that is on this Friday. He said he was just stopping by to see if they had any questions about the upcoming recount.

He then headed into the back room where Triad supplies tabulators, that is the machine that counts the ballots, is kept. This Triad representative told them that there was problem with the system, that the system had a bad battery and it had ‘lost all its data.’

He then took the computer apart and started swapping parts in and out of it. And in another [incomprehensible] in the room. And he had spare parts in his coat, as one of the people moved in [sic] remarked how very heavy it was.

He finally reassembled everything and said it was working but not to turn it off. He then asked which precinct would be counted in the 3 percent recount test and that one which had been selected as if it had the right number of votes was relayed to him he then went back and did something else to the tabulator.

The Triad Systems representative suggested that since the hand recount had to match the machine count exactly and since it would hard to memorize the several numbers which would be needed to get the count exactly right, that they should post this series of numbers on the wall where they would not be noticed by observers such as to make them look like employee information or something similar.
Cobb claimed that similar practices were going on "all over the state."

For a catalogue of low-tech voter-suppression techniques employed in Ohio -- withholding voting machines from predominantly Democratic neighborhoods, intimidating minority voters, and the like -- see Bob Fitrakis's excellent summary of the Conyers hearings in the Columbus Free Press.

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