Columbus, OH. The ruling elites are at it again, baiting and switching your votes. What could have been honest election reform in Ohio turns out to be a way for officials to concentrate their power, removing it from voters.

Issue 2, mail-in voting, allows for a secret vote count, because we citizens aren't watching the ballots get deposited and then counted. "There are some civic duties for which your presence is required - voting is one of them." [1] When we trust our elections officials, we get what happened in '00 and '04. Without much thought, it's easy to see how mail fraud can happen. Vote no on Issue 2.

Issue 3 returns campaign limits from $10,000 per person to $2,000 - which was the law on the books before the Ohio legislature secretly increased the limits in late December - without allowing for public comment. Vote for this issue, but understand that our goal is to implement publicly financed campaigns and eliminate private contributions. Big Money has dirtied our elections process.[2] In our current system, those with more money get to vote more. This is not democracy - this is plutocracy, which is what we have today.

Issue 4 sets up a redistricting commission appointed by judges and dominated by the two major parties. There are four ways democracy is attacked by this ballot issue.

a) Redistricting is about politicians choosing their voters. This is not democracy. In a democracy, voters choose politicians. Instead, the ballot issue should have been to end redistricting and adopt full representation.

b) To have voting districts drawn up by the major parties is to keep power in the hands of the current power holders. Throughout the '04 election cycle, the Dems and Repubs worked hand in glove with each other to thwart the people's vote. Ohio Dem Party Chair Denny White, Columbus Mayor Mike Coleman, and several other Dems, stated publicly there was no fraud in the '04 election, despite the volume of evidence in John Conyers' Report, [3] the Fitrakis-Rosenfeld-Wasserman book, [4], and the DNC report [5]. When the Franklin County Repub BOE Director, Matt Damschroder, was caught accepting a $10,000 bribe from voting machine vendor Diebold, and forwarding a $50,000 bribe from Diebold to the Repub Party, the Franklin County Dem Party Chair, Bill Anthony, defended him. No one has gone to jail over this, btw. In Ohio, it's a minor matter for an elections official to accept a bribe, apparently.

In Ohio, there is no difference between the major parties - they represent the interests of Big Money and ignore the needs of the populace. If you doubt this, take a look at the Ohio budget which both parties passed on June 30 th - tax increases for those earning less than $45K a year, and tax decreases for those earning over $640K. Because this causes a tax deficit, the Budget then goes on to eliminate social programs for the needy. This is the Bush blueprint for America - akin to suspending wage laws in Louisiana and Mississippi reconstruction and giving no-bid contracts to firms that hire illegal immigrants at minimum wage. A socially responsible act would be to pay prevailing wage to those 100,000 citizens who lost everything in that foreseeable flood. (And remember, Bush suspended environmental laws during the clean-up, too.) To concentrate power in the two major parties is to subvert democracy.

c) Judges appoint this Board. That means, instead of an elected official like the Secretary of State who is accountable to the people, this body is further removed from public accountability. Granted, Blackwell still has yet to answer under oath questions about his performance during the '04 election, and - if the vote count were honest - he would be voted out of public office. But by adding another layer between public accountability and official impropriety, at best, this Board subverts democracy.

d) Blind redistricting is the process whereby voter information is withheld from those who are redrawing the precincts and districts. Issue 4 allows the Board to see how voters are registered. This violates voter privacy and subverts democracy.

Issue 5 sets up an Elections Board of Supervisors, and a statewide centralized voter registration database. On this Board, again, the two major parties (Repub and Repub Lite) dominate, and judges appoint them. The '04 election taught voters that Ohio judges have no interest in implementing the will of the voters, issuing rulings that thwarted the recount process. Yet ballot issues 4 and 5 will make it harder for people to hold their elections officials accountable by allowing judges appoint the Board.

Secondly, Issue 5 sets up a centralized voter database. This information is sacrosanct and should not be given over to a statewide body, especially since all Electors are awarded to the President when a majority is declared. The international body that monitors elections advises against this, calling for decentralized elections. [6] Uniformity makes it easier to defraud the voters. A fair election would have voter databases held at the county level and county officials would forward the results of an election to the State Elections Officer.

Citizens who want to institute fair elections in Ohio should vote NO on Issues 2, 4 and 5. Let's tell the major parties we're not going to take it anymore. Then again, we are voting on computers and I have yet to meet a computer that isn't hackable. As an alternative, set up a Parallel Election, run by citizens, like we did in the special August 2nd election. Vote in Parallel Elections because this is our best chance at determining the true will of the people.


[1] Lynn Landes,

[2] Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Office for Democratic Institutions & Human Rights, USA 2 November 2004 Elections, OSCE/OHDIR Election Observance Mission Final Report, 31 March 2005.

[3] Conyers, John. "Preserving Democracy: What Went Wrong in Ohio." House Judiciary Committee Democratic Staff. January 5, 2005.

[4] Fitrakis, Bob; Rosenfeld, Steve; and Wasserman, Harvey, eds. "Did George W. Bush Steal America's 2004 Election? Essential Documents." Columbus: CICJ Books, 2005.

[5] Democratic National Committee

[6] Conference for Security and Co-operation in Europe, Second Conference on the Human Dimension of the CSCE, Document of the Copenhagen Meeting of the Conference on the Human Dimension of the CSCE, Copenhagen, 5 June- 29 July, 1990.