01 April 2014

In an astonishingly limp report on the stolen 2004 election, the Democratic Party has once again proven why it is unworthy to lead this country and incapable of mounting significant resistance to the far-right GOP juggernaut.



The Democrats much-vaunted "investigation" entitled “Democracy at Risk: The 2004 Election in Ohio” could well have been conducted by a high school class in elementary polling. It consists almost entirely of post-election phone interviews. It says nothing about the devastating discrepancies between exit polls and the highly improbable and virtually impossible vote total that gave George W. Bush a second term. It makes no case about precinct-by-precinct illegalities including unguarded ballots, election machine tampering, an unexplained bogus Homeland Security alert, the firing of whistle-blowing election board officials, and much more.



In point of fact, as we have outlined in Did George W. Bush Steal America’s 2004 Election? Essential Documents (CICJ Books), any third world election that was as rife with fraud and theft as was Ohio's this past November would have been summarily thrown out by the United Nations or any other body of international observers.



But as has been so typical of the Democrats' performance on so many issues, the party's report appears to have been drafted on the top floor of a high-rise office building staffed with a phone bank. There is no connection at all to the actual Election Day realities on the ground in Ohio, and the researchers appeared unwilling to read the local newspapers and internet reports about what happened in the election they allegedly studied.



In the interviews conducted, the Democratic National Committee Report “Democracy at Risk” still manages to confirm some crucial assertions made by http://freepress.org pre- and post-election. For example, the study finds that the average wait to vote for a black voter in Ohio was nearly an hour, while the average wait for a white voter was less than 15 minutes. Of course, this was widely covered, even by mainstream news media at the time.



Still, the report downplays the wait of African-Americans in Franklin County where the average wait in the inner city wards on the near east side was over 3 hours, and where some waited 7-8 hours. The statisticians accomplished this by using a statewide survey of all African-Americans instead of focusing on the obvious Republican voter suppression tactics in the three major cities of Columbus, Cleveland and Cincinnati.



The report documents that in the Columbus area “74 percent of voters waited more than 20 minutes to vote” and “There were also proportionally fewer voting machines in Franklin County’s minority neighborhoods than it its predominantly white neighborhoods.” The report fails to note that the Director of the Franklin County Board of Elections, Matt Damschroder, the former Chair of the Franklin County Republican Party held back 76 machines, all the in Democratic city of Columbus and 42 from the primarily African-American wards of the city.



Let’s see. If a white suburbanite in Upper Arlington votes in 21 minutes and an African-American in ward 55 waits, on average, 3 hours and 15 minutes, is the best measurement “more than 20 minutes?”



The obvious corollary is then confirmed: as many as “three percent” of Ohio's would-be voters LEFT THE POLLING PLACES WITHOUT VOTING because of those long lines. As the report points out, that alone involves enough raw votes to have swung the state for John Kerry. But then, astonishingly, the Democrats assert that those who walked away without voting were equally divided between supporters of Kerry and Bush.



This is statistically highly improbable and is absurd on its face. If black voters went overwhelmingly for Kerry (83%) and whites for Bush, and the wait for black voters was so much longer than for whites, who went home? And who is harmed? Is there a mystery here?



The Free Press canvassed one inner city mostly African-American precinct and found 20% of the voters never voted after standing in line at least one time.



There is much, much more, as would befit the Rove/GOP strategy of "doing everything," i.e., employing a wide range of tactics to steal as many votes as possible through as many different means as they could get away with.



A long, convoluted discussion of electronic voting machines does endorse the need for all of them to produce an auditable paper trail. But the Democrats never follow up on the fact that approximately 15% of the 5,625,631 votes certified as official in this state were cast on electronic voting machines that were manufactured, programmed and operated by companies whose officers and directors are overwhelmingly sympathetic to Bush and the Republicans. That means more than 800,000 votes were counted without any meaningful monitoring in an election that was officially recorded as being won by George W. Bush by about 118,000.



Does it matter to the Democrats, for example, that the Triad Corporation, whose representatives mysteriously jiggered the central tabulating machine in Hocking County before a recount could be conducted, is a corporate partner with the same company that produced the infamous butterfly ballots that helped give Bush Florida in 2000?



There is far too much more to document here short of writing another book, which we are doing, and which we hope to have in print by October.



Suffice it to say: to read this report as Ohioans is to enter a dream state in which the "opposition party" seems content to let elections float by with a wave and a nod. To say the least, this does not bode well for 2008, or for the future of American democracy.



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Harvey Wasserman and Bob Fitrakis are co-editors, with Steve Rosenfeld, of DID GEORGE W. BUSH STEAL THE 2004 ELECTION: ESSENTIAL DOCUMENTS, published by CICJ Books and available from http://freepress.org.