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Ukraine Celebrates Democracy As Its Denied In Ohio

As Ukraine Celebrates Democracy, It's Being Denied In Ohio


December 3, 2004
By Harvey Wasserman
From: http://www.freepress.org/columns/display/7/2004/1016

As demonstrators cheer the restoration of democracy to their beleaguered country, Ohio officials continue to deny it.

In the face of obvious fraud, Ukraine's Supreme Court has thrown out an apparent coup for the incumbent and ordered a new election. That's what needs to happen here.

But despite growing national pressure and a major demonstration scheduled for tomorrow, Ohio's Republican Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell continues to stonewall a true recount in the state that allegedly gave George W. Bush another term.

Reverend Jesse Jackson and Congressman John Conyers will be among the speakers at a statehouse rally tomorrow demanding explanations for apparent irregularities in the November 2 Ohio vote.

Conyers is Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee. He's being joined by fellow US Representatives Jerrold Nadler, Melvin Watt, Sheila Jackson Lee, Maxine Waters, William Delahunt, Robert Wexler, Tammy Baldwin, Anthony Weiner and Linda Sanchez in demanding that Blackwell respond to a wide range of complaints about irregularities in the Ohio vote.

Among other things, Conyers and his cohorts have written Blackwell saying "we are concerned that these complaints constitute a troubled portrait of a one-two punch that may well have altered and suppressed votes, particularly minority and Democratic votes.

"First, it appears there were substantial irregularities in vote tallies. It is unclear whether these apparent errors were the result of machine malfunctions or fraud."

They also told Blackwell that "it appears that a series of actions of government and non-government officials may have worked to frustrate minority voters. Consistent and widespread reports indicate a lack of voting machines in urban, minority and Democratic areas, and a surplus of such machines in Republican, white and rural areas. As a result, minority voters were discouraged from voting by lines that were in excess of eight hours long.

Many of these voters were also apparently victims of a campaign of deception, where flyers and calls would direct them to the wrong polling place. Once at that polling place, after waiting for hours in line, many of these voters were provided provisional ballots after learning they were at the wrong location. These ballots were not counted in many jurisdictions because of a directive issued by some election officials, such as yourself."

The stinging letter has become part of a floodtide of doubt from national and grassroots groups about the Ohio vote. Among the specific questions the Representatives asked are:

Why did Warren County officials exclude members of the press from observing vote counting on election night, claiming an FBI agent had warned of a terrorist threat that was a "10" on a scale of one to ten, but the FBI has no knowledge of such a warning?

Why did precincts in Perry County apparently record more votes than voters?

Why did Butler County and a number of other counties record more votes for an underfunded Democratic candidate for State Supreme Court than were recorded for the Democratic Presidential candidate?

Why did historically Democratic precincts in Cleveland record up to twenty-two times more votes for the Constitution Party Presidential candidate than all third-party candidates combined received in the 2000 election?

Why did voters in Mahoning County report that when they attempted to record a vote for John Kerry their vote was displayed as being cast for George W. Bush?

Why did there appear to be a shortage of voting machines in traditionally Democratic precincts on election day, causing up to ten hour delays for voters, while there was an apparent surplus of voting machines in traditionally Republican precincts?

The litany of apparent theft, fraud and manipulation surrounding the Ohio vote is growing with each passing day.

Which leads to the ultimate question: if Ukraine can get a new election, why can't we?

*************

Harvey Wassserman is co-author, with Bob Fitrakis, of the upcoming ANOTHER STOLEN ELECTION: VOICES OF THE DISENFRANCHISED, from www.freepress.org, of which he is senior editor. HARVEY WASSERMAN'S HISTORY OF THE US is at www.harveywasserman.com.


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