20 September 2014

While commentators, prompted by Republicans, claimed Bush won the 2004 election through the votes of a silent majority concerned with “family values,” Mark Crispin Miller writes that when voters were asked to state, “in their own words the most important factor in their vote,”only 14 percent named “moral values.”  He details how the press (except for Keith Olbermann on MSNBC) ignored “the strange details of the election—except, that is, to ridicule all efforts to discuss them…It was as if they were reporting from inside a forest fire without acknowledging the fire, except to keep insisting that there was no fire.” 



Then he lists the copious evidence pointing to a stolen election, easily available on the web or in paperback, from Michigan Representative John Conyers’ report, Preserving Democracy:  What Went Wrong in Ohio.  More than dirty tricks, it covers “the run-up to the election, the election itself, and the post-election cover-up,” listing “specific violations of the U.S. and Ohio constitutions, the Voting Rights Act, the Civil Rights Act of 1968, the National Voter Registration Act, and the Help America Vote Act.”



The Conyers report details the disenfranchisement of Democrats through “intentional misconduct and illegal behavior, much of it involving Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell, the co-chair of the Bush-Cheney campaign in Ohio.”



  • There was unequal placement of voting machines.

  • County boards of elections were ordered to reject all Ohio voter-registration forms not printed on white, uncoated paper of not less than 80 lb. text weight.

  • Access was limited to provisional ballots.

  • “Caging”was used to challenge 35,000 individuals who did not sign for registered letters sent to new voters.

  • There was restriction of media from covering the election and conducting exit polls.

  • There was a prearranged FBI terrorist attack warning in Warren County which kept reporters from observing a post-election ballot-counting.

  • There was restriction of foreign monitors from “watching the opening of the polling places, the counting of the ballots, and, in some cases, the election itself.

  • Numerous statistical anomalies all deducted votes from Kerry.

  • In Cuyahoga and Franklin Counties, “the arrows on the absentee ballots were not properly aligned with their respective punch holes, so that countless votes were miscast.”

  • In Mercer County, 4000 votes were mysteriously not in the final count.

  • In Lucas County a polling place never opened because no one had the key.

  • In Hamilton County, many absentee voters could not vote for Kerry because his name was not on the ballot.

  • In Mahoning County 25 electronic machines changed Kerry votes to Bush.

  • Dirty tricks told voters to go to false polling places; that Democrats were to vote on November 3; volunteers offered to take absentee ballots to the election office; voters were challenged to prove eligibility to vote.  The “Texas Strike Force” (25 people registered at a Franklin County Holiday Inn, paid by the Republican Party) threatened targeted people from a pay phone, if they voted.

  • Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell created rules for the Ohio recount (requested by the Green and Libertarian Parties) which would prevent “countywide hand recounts by any means necessary.”  The end result was “the Ohio vote was never properly recounted, as required by Ohio law.”

  • On December 13, 2004, it was reported by Deputy Director of Hocking County Elections Sherole Eaton, that a Triad GSI employee had changed the computer that operated the tabulating machine, and had “advised election officials how to manipulate voting machinery to ensure that [the] preliminary hand recount matched the machine count.”  This same Triad employee said he worked on machines in Lorain, Muskingum, Clark, Harrison, and Guernsey counties.



    “Based on the above, including actual admissions and statements by Triad employees, it strongly appears that Triad and its employees engaged in a course of behavior to provide “cheat sheets” to those counting the ballots.  The cheat sheets told them how many votes they should find for each candidate, and how many over and under votes they should calculate to match the machine count.  In that way, they could avoid doing a full county-wide hand recount mandated by state law.  If true, this would frustrate the entire purpose of the recount law—to randomly ascertain if the vote counting apparatus is operating fairly and effectively, and if not to conduct a full hand recount.”




  • In Union County, Triad replaced the hard drive on one tabulator.

  • In Monroe County, “after the 3 percent hand count had twice failed to match the machine count, a Triad employee brought in a new machine and took away the old one. (That machine’s count matched the hand count.)”

  • Green and Libertarian volunteers reported that in Allen, Clermont, Cuyahoga, Morrow, Hocking, Vinton, Summit, and Medina counties, “the precincts for the 3 percent hand recount were preselected, not picked at random, as the law requires.”

  • Even though the 3 percent hand recount in Fairfield County was different than the machine count, there was no hand count as required.

  • “In Washington and Lucas counties, ballots were marked or altered, apparently to ensure that the hand recount would equal the machine count.”

  • “In Ashland, Portage, and Coshocton counties, ballots were improperly unsealed or stored.”

  • At great cost, Belmont County had an independent programmer change the counting machines so they would only count votes for President.

  • “..Democratic and/or Green observers were denied access to absentee, and /or provisional ballots, or were not allowed to monitor the recount process, in Summit, Huron, Putnam, Allen, Holmes, Mahoning, Licking, Stark, Medina, Warren, and Morgan counties.



    Miller writes about the January 6, 2005 Electoral challenge from Ohio Representative Stephonie Tubbs-Jones and California Senator Barbara Boxer.  He decries its rejection by the Congress and the press, with the Republicans calling the Democrats “troublemakers and cynical manipulators”, etc., etc.



    According to Miller, “all this commentary was simply wrong” and “went unnoticed and/or unreported;” and with Bush’s re-inauguration “all inquiries were apparently concluded, and the story was officially kaput.”  Miller emphasizes that, even after the National Election Data Archive Project, on March 31, 2005, “released its study demonstrating that the exit polls had probably been right, it made news only in the Akron Beacon-Journal,” while “the thesis that the exit polls were flawed had been reported by the Associated Press, the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, USA Today, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Columbus Dispatch, CNN.com, MSNBC, and ABC..”



    In conclusion, Mark Crispin Miller does not expect to reverse the 2004 election, but to make it possible for us to move on, and achieve real electoral reform.



     …The point of our revisiting the last election.. is to see exactly what the damage was so that the people can demand appropriate reforms… for there has never been a great reform that was not driven by some major scandal.



    ...In this nation’s epic struggle on behalf of freedom, reason, and democracy, the press has unilaterally disarmed—and therefore many good Americans, both liberal and conservative, have lost faith in the promise of self-government.  That vast surrender is demoralizing, certainly, but if we face it, and endeavor to reverse it, it will not prove fatal.  This democracy can survive a plot to hijack an election.  What it cannot survive is our indifference to, or unawareness of, the evidence that such a plot has succeeded.



    The piece on which this summary is based was originally published in Harper's (http://harpers.org). Mark Crispin Miller is a professor at New York University, a political/media commentator, and author of his latest book, Fooled Again:  How the Right Stole the Election of 2004, and Why They Will Keep Doing It Unless We StopThem, which will be published by Basic Books this October.