Monday, March 28, 2005

The Ohio Whitewash

Yesterday, The Common Ills posted a summary of Saturday's Laura Flanders show on Air America which featured highlights from last week's hearing in Columbus, Ohio on the 2004 election and the implementation of the Help America Vote Act (link). There were quite a few memorable exchanges between Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell and House Reps Juanita Millender-McDonald (California - D) and Stephanie Tubbs-Jones (Ohio - D).

Today...finally...a transcript of some of the testimony has been posted (but interestingly enough, Thor's testimony is not included though it's posted on the American Center For Voting Rights Website). So I bring you some of Kenneth Blackwell's defiant testimony (link):

"But first, I am compelled to speak to the fabrications, exaggerations, and innuendos that some who dislike the fact that their presidential candidate lost Ohio keep repeating. Unlike Mr. McTigue, they dismiss evidence and simple explanations – and the word of fellow Democrats – when the intimation of some vast conspiracy to steal the election is so much more exhilarating."

"Sadly, these fabrications come not only from disappointed partisans talking to each other on internet boards, but also from people in responsible positions and people with enough experience in electoral politics to know better."

"A reported dated January 5, 2005 by the U.S. House Judiciary Committee minority staff made several misleading and intellectually dishonest assertions regarding the 2004 election in Ohio. That report and its false assertions where shamefully used to challenge Ohio’s electors at the Joint Meeting of Congress to ratify the Electoral College vote. It was a stunning and disgraceful display demonstrating that there are those in Congress who are very willing to cast aside the Constitution and the lawfully certified vote of the people to wage a nasty and disingenuous partisan attack. I am certain that history will not look kindly on those who engaged in the shenanigans of January 6, 2005."

"While the report’s charges were thoroughly examined and debunked by the Ohio media, I would like to address some of the document’s more egregious mistakes. The report stated “the misallocation of voting machines led to unprecedented long lines that disenfranchised scores, if not hundreds of thousands, of predominantly minority and Democratic voters.”

"To believe this statement, you would have to conclude that somebody decided to distribute voting machines with the idea in mind that mostly Democratic voters, when faced with long lines, would give up and go home."

"We can make up numbers all day about the number of voters who might have cast ballots if the lines were shorter. But what would be the point? We can only count the ballots of the voters who registered their preferences, not the phantom voters of someone’s dreams."

"Ohio’s paperweight requirement for voter registration forms was in place for many years. Its goal was to protect the forms from damage by postal equipment and was based on US Post Office requirements for self-mailers."

"I challenge the authors of the report to identify a more comprehensive ballot review system. I doubt that they will even attempt to search. Because, sadly, those individuals are not interested in truth or fair elections, they are interested in bluster and deceptive partisan rhetoric."

"And one last point about Ohio’s bipartisan system. There have been some who have noted as if it were some deep, dark, meaningful secret that I was a co-chair of the President's campaign in Ohio. I confess: I’m a Republican. And with every other Republican elected to statewide office, I was an honorary co-chair of President Bush’s Ohio campaign. It was an honor – one shared by previous Ohio secretaries of state of both parties, in presidential elections – but it was one that carried no responsibilities."

I'm not going to respond to this silliness. I'll leave that to Congressman John Conyers, who I'm sure will refute every silly thing this Bush tool said. One thing's for sure, I do believe that Blackwell will regret claiming that his chairmanship of the Bush/Cheney campaign "carried no responsibilities." That's the statement that I'd start with if I was Congressman Conyers.

But it wasn't just Blackwell and Thor that attacked bloggers and the January 6th heroes in Congress. This hearing was a mostly one-sided charade full of attacks on voter registration efforts by 527 groups, instead of any attempts to get at the truth about what happened.

Blackwell's collaborating testimoniers included Senator Jeff Jacobson from the Ohio Senate; Keith Cunningham, President, Ohio Association of Election Officials and Director of the Allen County Board of Elections; William Anthony (Democrat), Chairman, Franklin County Board of Elections and Dana Walch, Director of Legislative Affairs and Office of the Ohio Secretary of State.

Michael Vu, the director of the Cuyahoga County Board of Election even lied and said that no one waited on line for more than 2 and a half hours even though the polls had to remain open nearly the whole fucking night and we saw it on tv.

It shouldn't come as a surprise that there is no transcript of the testimony of Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs-Jones either. Another disgraceful day in America, folks. What the fuck are we going to do about this? If these undemocratic Americans get their way, there will be no real election reform in America, and we can't let that happen.


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