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  • Friday, November 19, 2004

    Voting in the "beacon of freedom and democracy"

    Several good articles to have a look at here about the validity of the 2004 US Presidential election results: Ohio Finds Possible Double Votes, Counts Prosecutors were trying to determine Wednesday whether charges should be filed against a couple in Madison County accused of voting twice. In addition, Summit County election workers investigated possible double votes found under 18 names. In the other case, Sandusky County election officials discovered that about 2,600 ballots from nine precincts were counted twice, likely because of worker error, elections director Barb Tuckerman said. The couple who voted twice in Madison County cast absentee ballots in October, then voted in person on Election Day, county elections director Gloria Herrel said. The couple said election workers told them their absentee votes were lost, prosecutor Steve Pronai said. Three More Indiana Counties Report E-Vote Errors Indiana's law has a quirk many voters may not realize. Voters who vote a straight ticket but want to vote for candidates of another party in multi-candidate races like at-large council will lose all votes for candidates in that race from their own party. If a voter votes a straight Democratic ticket but picks one Republican in the at-large race, no votes count for the Democratic candidates. Only the Republican vote is counted. Bush regime loyalists target MSNBC's Olbermann for reporting election irregularities Olbermann's commitment to addressing voting irregularities has been coupled with commentary on the lack of media coverage they have received, which Media Matters for America has also noted. "Even assuming there's nothing nefarious about the national election," Olbermann asked Newsweek senior editor and columnist Jonathan Alter, "why has the cascade of irregularities around this country occurred virtually in a news blackout?" Alter responded by saying that "I'm not justifying this, but by way of explanation, I think it is that there's no sense that, with a three-and-a-half-million vote difference [between President George W. Bush and Senator John Kerry], that this would affect the outcome, even if there were widespread irregularities found." On the November 11 edition of Countdown, Congressional Quarterly columnist and MSNBC political analyst Craig Crawford offered another perspective: "The glib answer, which is part of the truth, is I think everybody was tired after that election. ... [W]e're often wimps in the media. And we wait for other people to make charges, one political party or another, and then we investigate it." Hearings on Ohio voting put 2004 election in doubt On Saturday, November 13, and Monday, November 15, the Ohio Election Protection Coalition’s public hearings in Columbus solicited extensive sworn first-person testimony from 32 of Ohio voters, precinct judges, poll workers, legal observers, party challengers. An additional 66 people provided written affidavits of election irregularities. The unavoidable conclusion is that this year's election in Ohio was deeply flawed, that thousands of Ohioans were denied their right to vote, and that the ultimate vote count is very much in doubt. Unease Over E-Voting Some e-voting critics have focussed on the close links between machine makers and the Republican Party, such as Diebold Inc CEO Wally O'Dell, who said in 2003 he was ”committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year.” The absence of a paper trail in many precincts this year fuelled speculation, first on the Internet and later in the mainstream press, that the Bush camp had ”hacked the vote.” U.S. Electoral System Flawed — Russian Officials Russia’s Central Electoral Commission, headed by Alexander Veshnyakov who monitored the U.S. elections in California, cited numerous flaws in the U.S. electoral system, including equipment breakdown, unreliable protection of the electronic system, and the fact that some states refused to let OSCE observers into polling stations. “Had we had that kind of figure in Russia, many serious political statements would probably have been issued, and so on. But it did happen there, and no one can deny it,” Veshnyakov said in a Channel One television broadcast. Observer claims monitors barred from some US voting stations Some observers from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), a Europe-wide security and rights forum, have been barred from entering some United States polling stations, one of the observers said. "We were not allowed to enter polling stations," said Soeren Soendergaard, a Danish parliamentary deputy. "Although we were officially invited to follow the [US presidential] election, the message was not passed on to the polling stations," he told the Danish news agency Ritzau. He said he had been personally refused admission at three out of four polling stations in Columbus, Ohio. Study Claims E-Voting Irregularities Found in Florida Voting irregularities in three Florida counties that used electronic voting machines in this month's election may have awarded as many as 260,000 votes more to President George W. Bush than were expected, according to researchers at the University of California, Berkeley. "Something went awry with electronic voting in Florida," says Michael Hout, a sociology professor, who led the research effort. Hout says that the odds of the Florida irregularities happening by chance were less than 1 in 1000, and he calls for an examination of the results. "It's like a smoke alarm and it's beeping," he says. "We call upon the voting officials in Florida to determine whether there's a fire." Election update: Ohio to recount vote A recount of the presidential vote in Ohio will take place. Third-party presidential candidates David Cobb (Green) and Michael Badnarik (Libertarian) announced their intention to request a recount last week. Pamphleteers dissuade students from voting Unidentified volunteers circulated pamphlet-sized posters paid for by the New Hampshire Republican State Committee under students' doors in several College residence halls. One side of the leaflet promoted President Bush's record while the other listed possible legal repercussions for students registering in New Hampshire under a header that said "Are you an eligible voter?" Fake News story circulates to suppress voter turnout A flyer with a doctored Chicago Sun-Times news story is circulating on campus telling students that if they vote in Pennsylvania they will lose any grant money from their home state.

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