Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Vote count fixing in the 2004 presidential election

I saw the following post on Representative Conyers's blog a few days ago, and considering that I wrote a lot about the 2004 presidential election, I thought it was worth posting here:
You may recall that I had done a considerable review of the 2004 elections in Ohio, uncovering scores of voting irregularities. ... Today, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports on an issue that I raised in my report, that the Cuyohoga County board of elections had purposely misrepresented voting machine performance to avoid a recount. A special prosecutor issued indictments for three top officials in the county because he has evidence that this is exactly what happened.
The full article that Rep. Conyers links to is much more detailed:
[In Ohio, during the 2004 presidential election recount] Election workers in each county are supposed to count 3 percent of the ballots by hand and by machine, randomly choosing precincts for that count.

If the hand and machine counts match, the other 97 percent of the votes are recounted by machine. If the numbers don't match, workers repeat the effort. If they still don't match exactly, the workers must complete the recount by hand, a tedious process that could take weeks and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

But the fix was in at the Cuyahoga elections board, Baxter charges.

Days before the Dec. 16 recount, workers opened the ballots and hand-counted enough votes to identify precincts where the machine count matched.

"If it didn't balance, they excluded those precincts," Baxter said.

"The preselection process was done outside of any witnesses, without anyone's knowledge except for [people at] the Board of Elections."

On the official recount day, employees pretended to pick precincts randomly, Baxter says. Dozens of Cuyahoga County election workers sat at 20 folding tables in front of dozens of witnesses and reporters.


But observers suspected that the precincts were not randomly chosen and asked a board worker about it, said Toledo attorney Richard Kerger. The worker acknowledged that there had been a precount.
Need I mention that this is exactly what bloggers (and the Green party) suggested was happening back in 2004?

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