As a former international election observer, who co-wrote and edited the 1994 report delivered to the United Nations on the first democratic elections since the peace accords in El Salvador, I saw far worse abuses of the election process in Ohio in the 2004 presidential election than I witnessed in Suchitoto, El Salvador.
The elections in Ohio, run by the highly partisan J. Kenneth Blackwell, Co-Chair of the Bush-Cheney Re-Election Campaign, aided by private partisan voting machine companies that use secret proprietary software, did not meet the minimum international standards for nonpartisanship and transparency. Blackwell banned international observers from Ohio polling stations and threatened them with arrest. He allowed Republican-dominated rural counties to avoid posting the election results at the precinct level and, instead, allowed them to be counted at the county level by suspect central tabulators.
Blackwell conducted one of the most corrupt elections in modern American history, as an outspoken partisan advocate of Bush and Cheney, as well as for Issue One — prohibiting gay marriage in Ohio, although it was already illegal under state law.
Blackwell, the new face of high-tech 21st century Jim Crow, was a key Bush ally in the 2000 coup in Florida that stole the election from Al Gore. He’s a close associate of neo-cons like Richard Perle, and recently appeared before the secretive white supremacist Council on National Policy. There’s been parallels to Blackwell in history, who have taken thirty pieces of silver, and sold their souls for power.
Blackwell likes to tell everyone that the Ohio Election Boards are “bipartisan.” What he doesn’t tell you is that every single board member is appointed by him and serves, for pay, at his pleasure.
Much of Blackwell’s voter suppression was captured under oath in testimonies at public hearings throughout the state of Ohio:
- Report on irregularities in 2004 election
- 10 Reasons why the Bush vote does not compute:
part 1 | part 2
There’s a world of difference between losing an election and losing a democracy. The obvious drift in America towards authoritarianism is undeniable. We are now a country that rigs elections, tortures, and eavesdrops on our own citizens without warrants, a la Big Brother.
As an independent Green endorsed candidate, I have developed a 10-point plan to restore democracy in Ohio and in our nation:
- Properly trained international election observers and nonpartisan Ohio citizen verification teams will be duly authorized to randomly visit Ohio polling places
- Partisan party challengers will be banned from all polling places
- Introduction of an amendment to the Ohio constitution guaranteeing all citizens the right to vote
- Establish uniform standards across all of Ohio’s 11,000+ precincts guaranteeing that every vote will be counted
- Establish a well-paid professional nonpartisan commission to administer Ohio elections, making sure that the likes of Kenneth Blackwell will never rig another election in Ohio
- As in 95% of the democracies in the world, including our neighbor to the north Canada, as well as England and Germany, the ballot of record will be a universal uniform paper ballot, hand-counted and posted at the precinct level
- All electronic voting machines will be banned (and they will be dismantled and properly recycled)
- The state shall take on an affirmative duty to register all citizens to vote including the creation of free state voter IDs until we can repeal House Bill 3 that requires an ID to vote
- Stepped up criminal enforcement for anyone interfering with a citizen’s right to vote
- The nonpartisan election commission will also be mandated to create districts that are competitive at both the state and local legislative levels
As I write, the Republicans and Democrats have colluded to keep alternative voices from being heard in Ohio. For example, although the Greens are not a party, we must gather five times as many signatures as the two major parties, to get on the ballot. I don’t believe in a two-party system, although I honestly believe it would work better if the parties were Greens and Libertarians.
The Republican Party is corrupt and the Democrats are spineless. Nothing illustrates this point more than Senator Feingold’s courageous attempt to hold Bush accountable for violating our inalienable rights, but the Democrats refuse to support him.
Check out www.BobforOhio.com for more about my campaign.