We’ve all heard the ’04 Ohio nightmares about voters punching the button for Kerry only to see the screen light up for that smirking incompetent who should have lost that year. (Think you’re pretty smart voting for that latte drinking wind-surfer, don’t you? Well, try outsmarting this machine.) Other voters got no choice at all in the presidential race; the screen refused to offer that race. (You live in a district that went 95 percent for Gore, so we don’t want to even know what you think.) Still others voted for Kerry and watched the light by his name fade out. (So sorry. We don’t feel like accepting that opinion. Move along now.) That last sort of problem occurred on 20-30 machines–all day long. Yet oddly enough there were NO undervotes in the precincts where voters signed affidavits describing their inability to vote in the presidential race.
How can you be not missing any votes for president when voters swear they didn’t get a say in that race? It happens when all blank presidential votes get counted for Bush.
And that’s just the shenanigans where DREs had been hacked. Lots of people didn’t even get a chance to be screwed by the e-voting machines. In Franklin County (Columbus), 122 machines were never delivered to the poorer precincts at all. Sixty-six of them were left in the warehouse, and another 54 were driven around town in trucks all day.
I listened to Richard Hayes Phillips speak Sunday morning at the St. Peters Ethical Society about those and all the other dirty tricks Republicans used to steal Ohio and the presidency. With twelve days left to election, his message is timely.
Phillips is not just some conspiracy nut who can be lightly dismissed. He has a couple of different Master’s degrees (in geography and history) and a Ph.D. in geomorphology. He has been called as an expert witness in state and federal proceedings, twice as a geologist and twice as an election fraud investigator. John Conyers relied on Phillips’ three year investigation of the debacle in Ohio, as did Robert Kennedy in the article he wrote about it for Rolling Stone magazine and as did Justice Algernon Marbley in issuing his federal court order protecting the ballots from destruction.
Average citizens also reacted as soon as Phillips published a paper on his findings. Within weeks, he had received letters from 71 Florida voters–in Broward and Miami-Dade counties–asserting that they had had the same experiences.
The one person who was unimpressed was the Chief Justice in Ohio, Republican Thomas J. Moyer. In Ohio, the Chief Justice gets to decide, all by his lonesome, which election challenges get a hearing and which don’t. And Phillips with his mounds of evidence … got zip. Consider the obvious conflict of interest. Not only was Moyers a Republican, but he was also up for election. Denying that hearing was bald and bold, but it was the only viable route when the evidence of fraud was so substantial.
The media were helpful … and not. When Phillips first became aware of some of the anomalies that obviously needed investigating, it was Bob Fitrakis, editor of the Columbus Free Press. who encouraged him to commit himself to the project. Fitrakis told Phillips about the DREs that were kept from delivery in the poorer districts, so that the lines were four hours long. Fitrakis warned him, too, that Phillips was taking on an incredibly complex task because the means of cheating differed in every county.
The Columbus Dispatch, on the other hand, pooh poohed Phillips’ findings. When he calculated that the failure to deliver those 122 DREs had cost Kerry–based on the results from the machines that were delivered–about 17,000 votes, the Dispatch implied that he was foolish. The reason? The missing machines probably only cost Kerry 15,000 votes, by their estimates. Oh well. That’s different, then.
My next posting will sum up two other major types of chicanery Republicans used to steal Ohio in ’04. Touch-screen machines were just the tip of the iceberg.