Airbrushed From History
With the clamor over Bobby Kennedy’s article in Rolling Stone, that has thankfully re-ignited interest in the theft of the 2004 election, I want to make sure that certain people aren’t airbrushed out of the picture. This important grassroots history was left out of the article.
First, let me make it clear that the original Kennedy article included specific references to the Free Press (the paper and website I publish) and my good friend Harvey Wasserman. Harvey and I wrote a piece prior to the 2004 election outlining how Bush was planning to steal the vote. Most of the evidence turned up about Ohio was a result of public hearings about election irregularities held on November 13 and 15, 2004 in Columbus, Ohio under the auspices of the Columbus Institute for Contemporary Journalism/Free Press. The co-sponsors of the hearings included: the Alliance for Democracy, CASE-Ohio, and the League of Pissed Off Voters. Cliff Arnebeck of the Alliance and Susan Truitt of CASE played key roles in the hearings and were two of the four lawyers who challenged the election results in Ohio. Amy Fay Kaplan and Jonathan Meier of the League were invaluable in organizing the public hearings where sworn testimony was taken.
The election challenge team also included the tireless Pete Peckarsky and myself. The Rev. Bill Moss and his wife Ruth courageously served as the lead plaintiffs in the Moss v. Bush challenge. Benson Wolman and Susan Gellman graciously lent their office and pro bono assistance to allow the challenge to go forward. But the media wasn’t really covering the theft until the arrival of Rev. Jesse Jackson. His appearance in Columbus forced the national media to focus on the racist nature of the voter suppression in Ohio. Also, with his ally Congressman John Conyers, Democratic members of the Judiciary Committee held a historic forum covered by C-SPAN on voting irregularities in Ohio on Dec. 8, 2004. Jackson played a key role in lobbying for the challenge to Ohio’s votes in Congress on January 6, 2005 by Ohio Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones and Barbara Boxer. Tubbs Jones really displayed unprecedented courage for an Ohio politician and history will reward and record her efforts. Jackson’s role as the catalyst is usually overlooked, but for those of us in Ohio, he is the real hero.
Investigative reporter Greg Palast wrote one of the very first non-Free Press reports about the theft and raced into Ohio on Dec. 4, 2004 to speak and urge voting rights activists to fight back. That same night Rep. Barbara Lee of Texas became the first Congressional representative to come into Ohio. Rep. John Conyers would later hold a forum at the Columbus City Hall.
Steve Rosenfeld, Air America producer, in many ways was the first electronic media representative to take the story seriously and it was his efforts through the Laura Flanders Show that helped raise money for the election challenge. He also began to write fulltime for the all-volunteer Free Press when our meager staff was overwhelmed. See the freepress.org Election Coverage section: https://freepress.org/departments/display/19
Steve was also instrumental as the co-editor of the first book of documents the CICJ Books published detailing the election theft, Did George W. Bush Steal America’s 2004 Election? Essential Documents. Wasserman and I were the other editors. Harvey and I also co-wrote a digest of the Documents book entitled How the GOP Stole America’s 2004 Election & Is Rigging 2008.
Other major players we should mention are Dr. Richard “Purple” Hayes Phillips, Dr. Ronald Baiman and Dr. Werner Lange who all served as expert witnesses and also produced much of the early evidence of the theft of votes – Hayes and Baiman continue their ongoing work for the Free Press; Cynthia Butler, helped on the lawsuit and election challenge; Judith Powell, a local Black activist, was essential in organizing the hearings; Paddy Shaffer continues to help with investigations and events; Kat L’Estrange and Sheri Myers organized the Winter Freedom bus tour; and there’s many other people to acknowledge. Journalists like Christopher Hitchens and Mark Crispin Miller wrote about the 2004 Ohio election while it was still being blacked out by the mainstream media.
Finally, we would be remiss without mentioning two key people who warned us early on about the coming theft in Ohio: Bev Harris of Black Box Voting and the late Athan Gibbs of TruVote who warned about the dangers of the privatized corporate control of the voting process.
To all of the grassroots people I’ve left out, you are in my book and in my memory. See the Documents book for a comprehensive list.
Special thanks to Bobby Kennedy and Rolling Stone for their provocative and much-needed article!
We all know the naysayers ignore the facts of his momentous event in American politics.
It is with great respect and honor to have met some of these people and know how hard they have worked on getting the truth out to the average individual.
These are the people fighting for true justice under the arch of a unabashedly totalitarian administration.
The sad part is that even now a lot of good people who hate Bush and what he’s done to America still won’t take the last step and agree the election was stolen. If the mainstream media began to publicize the facts, the doubters would quickly change their minds.
Thanks to Mr. Fitrakis and all the others who’ve worked so hard on this issue. Keep up the good work.
The election may or may not have been stolen. Thats the sad part—the unfair rigging (which takes place by both major parties) creates a system where no one knows truth, no one knows who has really won, no one knows what to believe. The government that is this dishonest can not be trusted, and when the government can not be trusted the fabric of culture becomes unraveled. This, anyway, was Plato’s theory.
The following from;
freelance journalist with the Pacifica Radio Network.
It was indeed gratifying to see so accurate and thorough an explanation of what went wrong in Ohio’s 2004 federal election – especially for this Ohioan who witnessed first hand much of what was cited in the article. I must add, however that there is a larger context that the author appears to have overlooked.
First to a few of the facts; I co-led the team of volunteers that conducted the survey in Cuyahoga County that included the precinct where the voter turn-out was seemingly improbably low (7%). In fact we were asked by the Columbus Free Press to examine several Cleveland area precincts with similar low turn-outs but we decided not to knock on any doors in the one with the lowest turn-out for the simple reason that there were scarcely any doors there to knock on. The entire precinct had been either boarded-up or razed which is indicative of a meta-trend with perhaps even greater potential to impact voter access to the polling process; urban decay and economic displacement. Another nearby precinct where the reported voter turnout was in the low 30% range further confirmed our impressions as the voters we spoke with there lived in conditions of abject squalor despite many of them holding several subsistence part-time jobs. The reasons voters in that precinct gave for not voting ranged from having no time due to their work schedules to health problems and infirmities on election day and also having moved since they last registered to vote. As a rule in urban areas where poverty is the highest residents tend to change addresses with greater frequency.
I also led the team of volunteers who surveyed the Miami County precinct with the reported 98.55% voter turn-out. There we spoke with fully half of the total number of registered voters and while we found enough voters who affirmed that they did not cast ballots to prove the reported 98.55% figure fictional we also noticed something else about that precinct and others like it that we surveyed in neighboring counties. These are examples of white-flight suburban bedroom communities that now congest the Ohio countryside and which tend to attract a disproportionately affluent Republican demographic. The streets there are clean and wide with adequate lighting, the roads are smooth and the houses, schools and churches are warm and spacious, much like the SUV’s and luxury sedans favored by the residents. Comparing the 98.55% (inaccurate) turn-out rate in suburban Miami County to the 7% ( probable) figure for the ruined inner city slum in Cleveland and you begin to see a larger picture that adds economic disenfranchisement
– sometimes compounded by racism as an even greater factor in skewing American elections to the benefit of the owning class.
As for the Connally anomaly where a down-ticket gay-friendly black female Democratic candidate for a seat on the Ohio Supreme court won more votes than Kerry our survey results were inconclusive yet in speaking with voters in one suburban precinct where that discrepancy was the greatest we found a surprising number of Republican voters ( mostly
women) who said they voted for Connally and also for George W. Bush. The reasons they most often gave was that they preferred to elect a female to lesser office even if the candidate belonged to a political party other than their own. Most of them knew nothing of Connally’s politics and many also confided that they did not discuss their down-ticket choices with their husbands.
If Republican women in the all-but-gated suburban metasteses at commuter-length from Ohio’s larger cities were unaware of Ellen Connally’s political views, however so, too was a sizable percentage of working class voters inside the outerbelts unfamiliar with the platform of John Kerry who’s plan for healthcare reform was, by his wife’s own admission virtually inconsequential and whose views on the Iraq war seemed vaguely hawkish. Among all of the Kerry voters I spoke with in Ohio both before and after the election I found precious few who expressed any enthusiasm for their candidate, yet all seemed to hold strong views on the war, healthcare, the environment and a number of other issues on which Kerry was conspicuously silent or noncommittal.
One wonders if the margins by which the election in Ohio and nationally apparently deviated from the public’s will were smaller than the potential number of new voters who might have been inspired by a genuine opposition candidate with an actual platform to run on. Now while the Democrats in Washington are busy approving more funding for the war(s) in the Middle East and haggling over the relative severity of the proposed anti-immigrant legislation ( designed, in part to prevent the addition of millions of new likely Democratic voters to the rolls) one wonders if the DLC will produce a viable candidate armed with an agenda of meaningful reforms sufficient to inspire enough voters to overcome the even greater margin of electoral insecurity caused by the addition of faulty electronic voting machines and increasingly restrictive voter registration procedures – not to mention the continual erosion of real wages.
freelance journalist with the Pacifica Radio Network.
Big thanks to Evan Davis for his amazing post. As an Ohio resident who’s been outraged for almost 2 years over what went on here before, during and after the 2004 election, it’s comforting to know that there are people out there who KNOW that things were definitely “amiss” here in Ohio, have taken the time and trouble to substantiate what they’ve discovered and are making their findings public.
Dr. Bob thank you so much for providing your information and documentation to Robert Kennedy. I am sorry it took him so long to get on board with you. Nonetheless, at long last he is running with your (our) ball.
We really appreciate your hard work and your fine writing, where anyone who really cares about fair elections can read your books and articles, which clearly outline how the 2004 election was stolen in Ohio.
We went to bobforohio.com under donate, we sent in a donatation for your run for Governor, Good Blessings.