23 November 2014

Opponents of a recount and revote in Ohio say the first won't change the election's outcome and the second is unwarranted.  But history demands them both. 

Lets deal with the recount first.  Various Republican minions complain that a full recount of the Ohio vote will cost upwards of $1.5 million and won't shift the state from George W. Bush to John Kerry.

But that money represents less than 0.1% of the $200 billion minimum figure the Bush Administration will spend to "bring democracy to Iraq."  The litany of fraud and manipulation that has surrounded the 2004 Ohio election is staggering ... and growing.  Its footprints are posted in part at http://freepress.org and numerous other web sites.   

The Ohio election, which will determine this most heavily contested of all US presidential campaigns, has no credibility with tens of millions of Americans and hundreds of millions the world over.

Simply put:  if this government can't spend $1.5 million to re-check its own presidential vote counts, it has no credibility as a proponent of global democracy.

It also betrays US history.  When opponents say a recount is uncalled for because it "won't change the outcome," ie won't result in a Kerry victory, they are wrong on two counts.

First, a true electronic investigation might well throw the vote to Kerry.  There are more than enough Ohio votes stashed in electronic machines with no paper trail to change the victor.  The range of other dubious events surrounding this election far exceeds the roughly 116,000 vote margin now being claimed for Bush. 

But equally important is the fact that virtually all survey histories of the United States carry tables of presidential vote tallies.  They are the stuff of our past.  Their meaning is not merely in who won, but with how many votes, in which states, and by what margins.  An election's significance is not in just that one candidate beat the other; it's also crucial to know how, where and by how much. 

The vote count also has bearing on what kind of mandate a president can claim.  It has been significant to the world that George W. Bush was a minority president in his first term.  Whoever finally occupies the White House in January will also point to what happened here as a marker of his political capital.  Each vote that goes one way or the other has tangible weight. 

Finally, and most important, it is a sacred American right that every vote be properly counted, no matter what.  A Vietnam vet recently burst out on talk radio here in Columbus that "I don't care who won the election!  I want my vote counted!!"  That, he said, is what he fought and could have died for. 

Given the clouds of anger and doubt surrounding the Ohio vote, to not do a recount would be a sign of contempt for the American soul, and for all this administration says it is fighting and killing for worldwide in the name of democracy.

As for a re-vote, this controversial step has been made necessary by the stunning contempt shown people of color and other residents of the inner city.  As widely reported, misallocation of voting machines and other problems made it virtually impossible for tens of thousands of Ohioans to vote November 2.  Waits of three to eleven hours in the pouring rain are not a reasonable price for casting a ballot, especially when those costs are levied in a discriminatory fashion. 

We will never know how many tens of thousands of Ohioans were turned away at the polls, were forced to leave before voting, or never went once they heard how long the lines were.  This was a de facto denial of the Fifteenth Amendment right to vote, as surely as were the poll tax and literacy tests of the Jim Crow south.

As co-chair of Ohio's Bush-Cheney campaign, Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell, who officiated over this election, was clearly a partisan.  Without a re-vote to restore the rights of all Ohioans, this election's stench of manipulation will fester through the history books as surely as all those staged in Stalin's Soviet Union.

Ukraine has now taken the obvious step of re-running a national election so that its fledgling democracy can maintain its credibility.  Ohio can do no less.

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Harvey Wasserman and Bob Fitrakis are senior editor and publisher of http://freepress.org which in January will publish ANOTHER STOLEN ELECTION: VOICES OF THE DISENFRANCHISED, 2004.  Wasserman is author of HARVEY WASSERMAN'S HISTORY OF THE US (http://harveywasserman.com).  Fitrakis's numerous books include SPOOKS, NUKES & NAZIS (http://freepress.org).