17 October 2014

I give my heartfelt thanks to Steven Elias for obtaining the precinct canvass data and producing the spread sheets that made it possible for me to write this report in a timely manner.

A 14-page letter dated December 2, 2004 from four Members of Congress to J. Kenneth Blackwell, Ohio Secretary of State, and posted online at

http://www.spidel.net/ohblackwellltr12204.pdf

contains many disturbing allegations concerning the presidential election in Ohio. Here is an excerpt:

“According to post election canvassing, many ballots were cast without any valid selection for president. For example, two precincts in Montgomery County had an undervote rate of over 25% each ? accounting for nearly 6,000 voters who stood in line to vote, but purportedly declined to vote for president. This is in stark contrast to the 2% of undervoting county-wide. Disturbingly, predominantly Democratic precincts had 75% more undervotes than those that were predominantly Republican. It is inconceivable that such a large number of people supposedly did not have a preference for president in such a controversial and highly contested election.”

To examine this allegation, I have utilized the precinct by precinct canvass data for the 2004 election, as I have done for other counties where such records have been made available. For Montgomery County, I had Steven Elias provide an extra column on his spreadsheet, subtracting the total votes for president from the total ballots cast, on a precinct by precinct basis.

Shortly after the election I obtained from the website of the Ohio Secretary of State the data I needed to make a statewide compilation on a county by county basis of the uncounted votes, exclusive of provisional ballots. These data have since been taken down from said website. I present them here.

Montgomery County

Registered Voters       391,914
Ballots Cast            279,801
Votes Counted           274,147
Votes Uncounted           5,654
Provisional Ballots       9,227



John F. Kerry           138,262
George W. Bush          134,716
Other candidates          1,169

Thus, according to the Ohio Secretary of State’s own data, the countywide percentage of uncounted votes, exclusive of provisional ballots, was 2.02%.

The Montgomery County Board of Elections has provided its precinct canvass records dated November 22, 2004. These include the counting of provisional ballots:

Montgomery County

Registered Voters       391,914
Ballots Cast            287,635
Regular                 258,337
Absentee                 29,298
 
John F. Kerry           142,977
George W. Bush          138,361
Other candidates          1,214

By comparing the two counts, one may deduce that 7,834 provisional ballots have been ruled valid and counted, and 1,393 provisional ballots have been ruled invalid and not counted, though hopefully not discarded. Of these 7,834 provisional ballots, 4,715 were cast for Kerry, 3,645 for Bush, and at least 45 for other candidates, excluding write-ins.

Already we have a discrepancy. 8,405 new votes have been counted, and 1,393 have not been counted, which works out to 571 more than the number of provisional ballots, 9,227, reported by the Ohio Secretary of State. If these 571 newly counted votes came from the 5,654 previously uncounted regular ballots, that should leave 5,083 regular ballots uncounted. The Montgomery County canvass records indicate that 5,085 ballots remain uncounted. Thus there are 569 newly counted regular ballots, and we may never know in which precincts these ballots were cast.

This brings us to the central question of this study: Where did the uncounted regular ballots come from?

Dayton Ward 13, Precinct C, had the most uncounted regular ballots, 37 in all, or 7.0% of the 525 ballots cast. Dayton Ward 14, Precinct A, had the highest percentage of uncounted ballots, 15.6%, or 7 of 45 ballots cast. Here is a table of the precincts with the highest percentages of uncounted ballots:

PRECINCTS WITH 4.0% OR MORE UNCOUNTED BALLOTS
Precinct   Ballots Cast  Uncounted  Bush  Kerry
DAYTON 14-A         45    7  15.6%    14     23
DAYTON 3-L         295   25   8.5%    10    260
DAYTON 21-B        122   10   8.2%     2    109
DAYTON 22-C        293   22   7.5%     8    263
DAYTON 21-D        459   34   7.4%    24    400
DAYTON 19-D        277   20   7.2%     8    249
DAYTON 13-C        525   37   7.0%    19    468
DAYTON 13-E        245   17   6.9%     5    223
DAYTON 14-B        139    9   6.5%     5    125
TROTWOOD 2-C       497   31   6.2%    59    406
TROTWOOD 2-G       309   19   6.1%    22    268
DAYTON 4-I         398   24   6.0%    63    311
DAYTON 6-G         501   29   5.8%    17    453
DAYTON 8-F         348   20   5.7%   145    177
DAYTON 6-A         418   24   5.7%    23    371
DAYTON 17-E        325   18   5.5%    52    253
DAYTON 14-I        528   29   5.5%    35    463
DAYTON 16-G        510   28   5.5%    39    443
DAYTON 21-A        549   30   5.5%    52    464
HARRISON A         415   21   5.1%   149    242
DAYTON 7-G         204   10   4.9%    15    178
DAYTON 5-B         250   12   4.8%    20    218
DAYTON 5-E         499   23   4.6%    34    438
DAYTON 5-D         262   12   4.6%     8    242
TROTWOOD 4-E       488   22   4.5%    38    427
DAYTON 19-H        335   15   4.5%    13    306
DAYTON 16-B        606   27   4.5%    39    539
DAYTON 18-F        292   13   4.5%    19    260
DAYTON 5-I         269   12   4.5%     5    252
DAYTON 6-C         499   22   4.4%    19    454
DAYTON 8-I         431   19   4.4%   195    209
DAYTON 5-F         500   22   4.4%    63    412
DAYTON 15-C        618   27   4.4%    35    552
DAYTON 15-D        550   24   4.4%    18    507
DAYTON 2-E         619   27   4.4%   187    401
HARRISON H         391   17   4.3%    79    294
DAYTON 7-C         231   10   4.3%    10    209
DAYTON 16-H        324   14   4.3%    21    289
DAYTON 1-G         395   17   4.3%   121    256
DAYTON 4-E         353   15   4.2%   103    231
DAYTON 14-C        330   14   4.2%     8    306
DAYTON 15-G        356   15   4.2%    18    323
DAYTON 6-I         263   11   4.2%     9    243
DAYTON 14-H        366   15   4.1%     5    346
TROTWOOD 2-E       518   21   4.1%    74    422
DAYTON 4-J         421   17   4.0%    91    309
DAYTON 17-C        324   13   4.0%    34    277

The data presented above does not include absentee ballots, which are not broken down by precinct.

Montgomery County
Absentee ballots cast       29,298
George W. Bush              14,302
John F. Kerry               14,180
Other candidates               120
Absentee ballots uncounted     696   

Thus there are 696 uncounted absentee ballots (2.38% of 29,298), and 4,387 uncounted regular ballots (1.70% of 258,337) in Montgomery County. These, along with any uncounted provisional ballots, need to be examined by hand during the recount. The same holds true for every other county in Ohio.

The strikingly partisan distribution of the uncounted ballots is nothing short of shocking. There are 588 precincts in Montgomery County. As the above table shows, the percentage of uncounted ballots is 4.0% or more in 47 precincts, and every single one of these precincts was won by John Kerry, nearly all of them by overwhelming margins. Only two were even close.

Altogether, in these 47 precincts, Kerry won 14,871 votes to 2,032 for Bush, a margin of 7 to 1. In these 47 precincts there are 920 uncounted regular ballots, or 21.0% of the county wide total. In the other 541 precincts in Montgomery County, among which the uncounted regular ballots are distributed at a rate of 6.4 per precinct, Kerry won 128,106 votes to 136,329 for Bush. Thus, 21.0% of the uncounted regular ballots are in 8.7% of the precincts that accounted for 6.0% of the votes in the county.

In these 47 precincts, which went for Kerry by a margin of 7 to 1, the “spoilage” rate of regular ballots was 5.16%, compared to 1.31% for the rest of the county, and 1.70% for the whole of the county.

There is an old political adage which says that only a close election can be stolen. In a close election, uncounted ballots can make all the difference.