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.