In its 5/22 editorial on absentee voting, the Dispatch declared that long lines were the biggest problem "in what turned out to be a clean election in this state."

Sonoma State University's "Project Censored" in its spring newsletter said for one to say the election was honest he would have to ignore the ease with which electronic totals can be changed without a trace; suppress the fact that Diebold, Sequoia and ES&S--the major manufacturers of touch screen voting machines and central tabulators--are owned and run by Bush Republicans, who have made no secret of their partisan intentions; deny the value of exit polls which were "mistaken" only in the swing states; and ignore the bald chicanery of the Bush supporters who ran the central polling station in Warren County, Oh., forcing out the press and poll monitors so they could count the vote in secret.

Rep. John Conyers, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, in a statement 12/13/04 in Columbus, said "The closer we get to Columbus and the Ohio presidential election, the worse it looks.  Each and every day it becomes increasingly clear that the Republican power structure in this state is acting as if they have something to hide."  That might be largely because Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell, co-chairman of the Bush-Cheney committee in Ohio, was so arrogantly reluctant to supply information.

After the recount of 3 percent of the vote in January, although "unnecessary" according to the Dispatch, it "served the useful purpose of reinforcing the system of tabulating the vote." (1/4/05)  Those who continue to suggest that Ohio's vote for president was dirty, the Dispatch said, are "conspiracy theorists."

When there is reason to suspect election fraud, deadly poisonous for democracy, a conspiracy theorist is the model of what an American should look like.  Because of the furor surrounding the Ohio election, we have had the advantage of attention from nationally respected computer experts who without exception affirm that tabulation by computers is extremely easy to alter, and without a paper record, untraceable.  One expert, on a television show, performed an intrusion to alter vote totals in 90 seconds.  An inexpert observer such as a local election official can watch the process having not the slightest idea of what he is seeing.

Ohio's 88 counties, with greatly varying standards for election propriety, counted 5.7 million votes, the national election decided by 188,112 of them to give Bush-Cheney the electoral college and victory.  The Dispatch has asserted that a voter-verified paper trail is not necessary, because "Doctoring the vote would require a wide conspiracy involving Republican and Democratic officials and their technical staff.  The whole election process has bipartisan scrutiny." (Editorial 3/12/05)

The reason Dispatch reassurances fail me is that the radical change we have witnessed in national policy was conceived under Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense in the first Bush administration, re-authored by Paul Wolfowitz in 2000 as The Project for a New American Century, and established as national policy on September 20, 2002, in the National Security Strategy.  Its implementation necessitated a uniquely traumatic event, a "new Pearl Harbor," providentially supplied by the attack on 9/11.  There is no place in its future for a Democratic interregnum.

When one reviews the rules this administration has been willing to break to keep its imperial juggernaut on track, to suggest it would virtuously stand back to subject itself to Democratic prosecutors, the future of its program in strange hands, when there were people in place to guarantee re-election without being seen, doesn't wash.