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2004 Recount Indictments

The April 5 indictment of three top election officials in Cuyahoga County signals the unraveling of the biggest crime in the 21st century — the blatant theft of the 2004 presidential election in Ohio. While Michael Vu, the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections Director, whines about how his staffers are being unfairly treated, the quotes from Special Prosecutor Kevin Baxter describe clearly the criminal activities of Vu’s people.

Baxter told the Cleveland Plain Dealer, “If it didn’t balance [the hand count], they excluded those precincts.” Under Ohio law, the Green and Libertarian Party candidates were entitled to a “random” recount. That means that every ballot has an equal chance of inclusion in the initial 3% hand count. Only in Ken Blackwell and Michael Vu’s world does random mean its exact opposite — nonrandom. You can’t pick up a precinct, count it, and if it doesn’t match the official tally, toss it back and find one that does. That’s a crime.

But many other crimes were committed by Blackwell and Vu. During the recount, Vu’s people changed the rules for recounting provisional ballots, adding new requirements at the last second like date of birth. Cuyahoga election staffers also, at Blackwell’s direction, refused to count provisional ballots cast in the right precinct, when their election workers had made the mistake and issued the paper ballot.

George Taylor, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh, questioned the disqualifying of provisional voters who were in the right precinct. Election rights observers repeatedly warned Cuyahoga County BOE workers that they were engaging in a pattern or practice of illegal activity during the original recount. This pattern was prevalent throughout all of Ohio, encouraged by the Chief Election Officer, Blackwell. In Franklin County, 356 voters who showed up at the right precinct were also disqualified under Blackwell’s directives because pollworkers incorrectly gave them provisional ballots.

The filings of the National Voting Rights Institute document the pervasive and systematic corruption in Ken Blackwell’s Ohio. That corruption continues today.

6 replies
  1. kickass_in_columbus
    kickass_in_columbus says:

    Well, better late than never. Those who were on the ground on election day 2004 and during the recount knew that these things were taking place, but the mainstream media was not covering them.

    Glad they are being exposed now in time to stop another vote theft in 2006 and 2008!

  2. 48thRonin
    48thRonin says:

    Yeah, but the indictments always go after the small fry. Look at Abu Ghraib. Only low-level non-coms, not the Brass.

    I’m hoping we’ll see indictments of Blackwell and Vu. And hopefully before teh 2006 election, when Blackwell will become untouchable!

  3. iwuzglitched
    iwuzglitched says:

    So how come we aren’t reading more about Prof Taylor and the Voting Rights institute in the news? I’m glad we are finally getting these indictments, but I agree that we need higher level indictments. And we need more widespread familiarity with the extent of the corruption and how to stop it.

  4. DieDieboldDie
    DieDieboldDie says:

    It is ESSENTIAL that those who corrupted the electoral process GO TO JAIL. Otherwise they will simply be showing future criminals how easy it is to steal elections.

  5. dael4
    dael4 says:

    I just sent a personal message using the easy one click form at http://www.usalone.com/cgi-bin/petition.cgi?pnum=242 to make policy change happen now. I hope you will join me!

     

    Question Electionline: With 2+ million of funding, is it a lobby for machines and not a real advocate for voting reform?

    Dear Mr. Mitchell,

    I am writing to you about ElectionLine.org, an organization sponsored by Pew Cheritable Trusts. Pew gave Electionline $2,260,000.00 on Sept 2004 to fund them for over 30 mos.

    Please review and investigate the following:

    Electionline seems to be more of an advocate for electronic voting than an impartial and informative reporter of the events occurring across the country.

    Ethics are further eroded by ties of at least one advisor to ElectionLine. Electionline lists Doug Lewis (of the Election Center) as an advisor. The Election Center, under the Directorship of Mr. Lewis — receives funding from voting machine companies. Further, Mr. Lewis has no credentials except for selling computers out of his basement and going bankrupt.

    Why isn’t Electionline consulting with real computer scientists who have no financial ties to voting machine companies?  Just one of many that come to mind are Dr. David L Dill, of Stanford University and founder of http://www.verifiedvoting.org. Or how about consulting any of the learned experts at the organization called “ACCURATE”, “A Center for Correct, Usable, Reliable, Auditable, and Transparent Elections” at the website http://accurate-voting.org/?

    I look forward to hearing the results of your inquiry.

    Thank you.

  6. David K.
    David K. says:

    A line in the Plain Dealer story that “…the fix was in…” is an accurate characterization, given my personal experience.

    During my time as a citizen observer at the Board of Elections (December 16-17, 2004) I listened to Director Michael Vu and Deputy Director Gwen Dillingham explain that the sample of 3% of ballots had been arbitrarily determined, rather than randomly as is required in Ohio.

    The BOE had delayed the start of this recount an additional day at the last minute, giving them more time to “select more representative” precincts to be recounted. This delay also gave them the opportunity to pre-count to insure a clean recount for show the next day.

    Today’s story quotes Mr. Vu as saying it had been done this way for some 23 years. Baloney! The Board of Elections broke the law, plain and simple. The trio indicted has been charged with misdemeanor and felony counts of failing to follow the state elections law.

    My experience as a director and manager in several positions of public trust convince me that these three individuals did not act alone without the knowledge, if not the direction, of the two senior officials. This aspect needs to be investigated further to make certain who knew what and when, before condemning just the 3 women mentioned in the story.

    More attention should be given by the special prosecutor to the accountability Mr. Vu and Ms. Dillingham.

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