Friday, December 17, 2004

Starting Over in Ohio…

In Ohio, the original Supreme Court case filed on Monday challenging the election was thrown out on a technical issue, but it was refiled today.

The group filed the request Monday, the day the Electoral College cast votes for Bush. Chief Justice Thomas Moyer of the state Supreme Court threw out the complaint Thursday, saying the voters improperly included a second election challenge in the complaint.

Anyway, the lead on the AP story regarding the Ohio recount recalls images from Florida in 2000, with “two teams of Republican and Democratic election workers held punch-card ballots up to the light Wednesday and whispered back and forth as they tried to divine the voters' intent from a few hanging chads.”

According to Ohio Law:

Workers must hand-count 3 percent of ballots. If the results match the certified results exactly, all other ballots can be recounted by machine. If the totals are off, all ballots must be counted by hand, adding days or weeks to the process.

What I am unclear on is how the paper-less voting machines effect this process. Still, I suspect that we’ll be waiting for those “days or weeks” to find out the new Ohio totals.

Another interesting tidbit, not a new one, but always a bit disturbing. “Statewide, about 92,000 ballots cast in last month's presidential election failed to record a vote for president, most of them on punch-card systems.” Dosen’t this just automatically raise eyebrows? You cannot tell me that people show up at the polls and say to themselves, “Well, I was going to vote on the Presidency, but since I get to vote with punch cards, I’ll skip that section of the ballot.”

Now, there could be something to this. What are the demographics of these precincts? I have a feeling that there could have been a higher percentage of abstentions in blue collar neighborhoods, where people are too disgusted with the process to vote for either of the candidates. Unfortunately, I fear the flaw with this theory is that disenfranchised blue collar people tend to abstain by not voting at all.

And finally…

It seems that workers for Triad, the vendor for some of the vote counting software used in Ohio, showed up at precincts and tinkered with the voting machines before the recount. The company says that this is just the standard procedure…

Brett Rapp, president of Xenia, Ohio-based TRIAD, said it's standard procedure to prepare the machines for a recount so they only tally the presidential race. He said company representatives have worked on computers in every county that uses TRIAD software.

However, “a sworn statement from Sherole Eaton, [Hocking] county's deputy director of elections,” makes these visits sound a little more concerning. In this AP article, the parts of the statement reported sound fairly ambiguous, but I have heard more extensive reports on this statement, and the incident she reports definitely sounds a bit more sinister.

Something is being done about this…

Rep. John Conyers D-Mich., a senior Democrat on the House Judiciary, urged the FBI to investigate possible election tampering in Hocking County involving an employee of TRIAD Governmental Systems Inc., the company that wrote the voting software used in 41 of Ohio's 88 counties.

I suppose we’ll have to wait and see if anything comes of this. It cannot be allowed to stop with just one Representitive urging an investigation.

Not this year, not any year.

Investigate the Vote
Ohio Voters Refile Election Challenge
Hanging Chads Make Reappearance in Ohio
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