In the lead-up to the November 3 referendum on pot legalization in Ohio, reputable mainstream polls show it winning.

Then, amidst the usual “glitches” that distinguish the Buckeye State’s electronic elections, it officially failed by a 2:1 margin.

The outcome is a virtual statistical impossibility.  But it fits a pattern that has made Ohio elections infamous since the 2004 “selection” of George W. Bush over John Kerry.  

As in 2004, this year’s balloting was supervised by a Secretary of State with a heavy partisan stake in the outcome.

In 2004, the presidential voting was supervised by J. Kenneth Blackwell, who simultaneously served as the co-chair of Ohio’s Committee to Re-Elect Bush and Cheney.

In 2015, the general voting was supervised by Jon Husted, who vehemently opposed pot legalization and threatened legal action against the sponsors of the referendum.  

In both 2004 and 2015, the vast majority of votes were cast on electronic machines owned by private corporations, with proprietary software.  When a federal judge mandated a recount in a class action suit in 2004, 56 of Ohio’s 88 counties failed to produce the required documentation.  No recount was ever conducted. (disclosure: Bob was a lead attorney and Harvey a plaintiff in that federal lawsuit).  

This year many registrations in the state were compiled on electronic polling books.  In Cincinnati, the poll books “broke down” and citizens were denied the ability to vote.  Husted provided no provisional ballots or other means by which potential voters could have cast ballots until the machines were fixed.  Most were told to “come back later.”  

It is unclear if the sponsors of the referendum will demand a recount.  There are no easily available public means to monitor or verify the poll books or the final electronic tally in Ohio.  

As a result of the Cincinnati breakdowns, official electronic reporting was delayed for the entire state, which has become a common occurrence in Ohio elections.  

The Free Press obtained polling data supplied by Jon Zogby of Zogby Analytics and from the Kitchens Group that provide a snapshot on how voters felt about Issue 3 in the weeks before Election Day.

The internationally renowned Zogby Analytics completed its poll on October 17. Their results showed Issue 3 supporters with 49 percent of the vote, 35 percent were opposed, and 16 percent remained undecided.

In order to move from the Zogby poll results to the Ohio Secretary of State’s official results on November 3rd, 100 percent of the undecided people would have had to vote against Issue 3 and 14 percent of its supporters would have changed their minds and voted no.

In essence, one would have to believe that in a short period of time, those opposed to Issue 3 nearly doubled from 35 percent to 65 percent.

The Zogby poll surveyed “likely voters.” The Kitchens Group poll a week later surveyed “very likely voters” and found Issue 3 leading by a margin of 45 percent to 43 percent. The Kitchens Group also surveyed “somewhat likely voters” and found Issue 3 with a large lead of 49 to 26 percent.

This November’s Election Day had a higher than expected turnout of somewhat likely voters. Averaging the two Kitchens Group polls reveals 47 percent of very likely and somewhat likely voters supporting Issue 3, very similar to Zogby’s 49 percent. The Kitchens average of opposing votes at 35 percent, mirrors the exact number Zogby reported. The average number of undecided voters in the Kitchens polls was 18 percent.

The Kitchens poll found that 57 percent of the undecided voters favored marijuana legalization. Zogby found 58 percent of Ohioans polled supported legalization.

The Free Press also received numerous complaints of election irregularities from voters. In Huron County, a voter noted that a “fat sharpie pen” was given to him to mark his Scantron ballot. He complained that “…the sharpie bled completely through to the back side of my ballot. These deep dark circles then came all the way through over the back of my ballot, that’s where Issues 2 and 3 were.”

Once again, voters found themselves unexplainably registered under their maiden name. A woman in the Dayton area complained that she had been registered for the past two years under her married name and suddenly her voter registration appeared with her maiden name.

One of the voters who provided the Free Press with screen shots showing Issue 3 passing [Was Ohio’s Corporate Pot Vote Stolen?] complained that when she and other people called the Ohio Secretary of State’s office to inquire why there was a sudden reversal of election results, “the person who answered called us potheads, ridiculous, [and] said there was no way to do a recount and hung up.”

One voter reported that on election night when he saw the vote flip from 65 passing to 65 percent failing on TV, he tried to restart the news program and snap a photo but was only able to access the live program.

The Ohio Secretary of State’s office is blaming Cox Communication, according to Bradblog, for the vote flipping error. Repeated calls to four different Cox Communication employees remain unanswered as we publish.

The Free Press also received numerous reports from Cincinnati and Columbus from voters whose names were not in the pollbooks. Some had registered with a new address, but their voter registration was missing with both their old address and the new address. Some Cincinnati area voters complained that they registered well in advance but when they attempted to vote on the electronic tablet pollbook a sign flashed up saying they had “registered after the cut off” and had to vote provisionally.

One provisional voter who claimed he registered on September 30, in advance of the registration cut-off date of October 5th, told the Free Press that a Cincinnati election official told him that there were “bugs in the software causing a large number of voters to cast provisional ballots.”

The pot legalization in Ohio was sponsored by a cartel of ten investors who hoped to profit from the likely billion-dollar annual pot crop here.  They invested some $25 million in this year’s Proposition 3 campaign.  It remains unclear if they will pursue a recount, especially in light of Husted’s attempt to prosecute for alleged fraud, and in light of the 2004 failure to get a true reading of what really happened to Ohio’s actual vote count despite a federal court order.

Whatever finally happens with the electronic outcome of this year’s referendum, anyone with a serious interest in the 2016 presidential election in this crucial swing state might do well to take s notice.  

Bob and Harvey’s THE SIXTH JIM CROW:  ELECTRONIC ELECTION THEFT & THE 2016 SELECTION will be published soon. Bob’s FITRAKIS FILES are at; Harvey’s AMERICA AT THE BRINK OF REBIRTH will be out in 2016.