Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Assault on Precincts In Ohio

I'm posting this as a "work in progress." I'm still working on it, and, unfortunately I have to go to work, but I feel it's important to post what I can of it since the clock's running out very shortly: Objection Day is Thursday.

One of my favorite Websites - The Raw Story - is running a big story that best explains why at least one member of our Senate should join House Rep. John Conyers this Thursday in contesting the 2004 election results and force both houses to hold a debate. Marginalization, schmarginalization: our democracy is in jeopardy and a senator must STAND UP! Besides, last time I checked, a certain ex-congresswoman managed to mount a comeback and regain her stature despite being "marginalized" by a sloppy, misquoting mainstream media (I'm talking about you, Grey Lady down).

John Byrne's exclusive report contains a copy of a letter that Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell mailed out to Ohioans as a fundraising plea for his unofficially declared (as of yet) pursuit of the governorship. Recipients are asked to contribute as little as $35 or as much as $3500, though the J. Man did thoughtfully provide contributors the option to pick their own amount. But, no, he's not exactly asking for donations, the Bad Santa wants gifts.

Mr. Byrne reveals that, in the letter, "Blackwell boasted of helping “deliver” Ohio for President Bush and said he was “truly pleased” to announce Bush had won Ohio even before all of the state’s votes had been counted[.]" As Mr. Byrne wisely notes, "Blackwell’s use of the word “deliver” finds striking resonance with another controversial fundraising letter sent by the CEO of voting machine manufacturer Diebold Walden O’Dell in the summer of 2003 when he said he was “committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year.”"

Let's take a look back at the job Mr. Blackwell has done in Ohio since being elected S.O.S. in 1998.

First stop: Cuyahoga County, where Kerry defeated Bush by 448,486 to 221,606.

In 1996, Cuyahoga County contained 2,126 precincts to handle a total of 904,258 registered voters (580,030 turned out, a 64.14 percentage).

In 2004, Cuyahoga County contained 1,458 precincts to handle a total of 1,007,187 registered voters (687,260 turned out, a 68.23 percentage).

In 2000, Cuyahoga County contained 1,505 precincts to handle a total of 1,010,764 registered voters (590,473 turned out, a 58.41 percentage).

The Cuyahoga County Board of Elections consists of four members each appointed to a four-year term by the Secretary of State. The board has two Democratic Party and two Republican Party members.

Next stop: Summit County, where Kerry defeated Bush by 156,578 to 118,553.

"Since the 2000 presidential election, the Summit County Board of Elections has eliminated 149 of its precincts -- more than any other Ohio county. Why did Summit get rid of so many precincts -- nearly a quarter of the 624 it had in 2000? Although the two Democrats on the board remember it differently, the answer given by Republicans, when the decision was made three years ago, was simple: to save money by reducing the need for increasingly hard-to-find poll workers." (


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