Lawmaker Seeks Inquiry into Ohio Vote
By Tom Zeller Jr.
The New York Times
Wednesday 15 December 2004
The ranking Democratic member of the House Judiciary Committee, Representative John Conyers Jr. of Michigan, plans to ask the Federal Bureau of Investigation and a county prosecutor in Ohio today to explore ''inappropriate and likely illegal election tampering'' in at least one and perhaps several Ohio counties.
The request for an investigation, made in a letter that was also provided to The New York Times, includes accounts from at least two county employees, but is based largely on a sworn affidavit provided by the Hocking County deputy director of elections, Sherole Eaton.
Among other things, Ms. Eaton says in her affidavit that a representative of Triad Governmental Systems, the Ohio firm that created and maintains the vote-counting software in dozens of Ohio counties, made several adjustments to the Hocking County tabulator last Friday, in advance of the state's recount, which is taking place this week.
Several Factors Contributed to 'Lost'
Voters in Ohio
By Michael Powell and Peter Slevin
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, December 15, 2004; Page A01
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Tanya Thivener's is a tale of two voting precincts in Franklin County. In her city neighborhood, which is vastly Democratic and majority black, the 38-year-old mortgage broker found a line snaking out of the precinct door.
She stood in line for four hours -- one hour in the rain -- and watched dozens of potential voters mutter in disgust and walk away without casting a ballot. Afterward, Thivener hopped in her car and drove to her mother's house, in the vastly Republican and majority white suburb of Harrisburg. How long, she asked, did it take her to vote?
Fifteen minutes, her mother replied.
… similar problems occurred across the state and fueled protest marches and demands for a recount. The foul-ups appeared particularly acute in Democratic-leaning districts, according to interviews with voters, poll workers, election observers and election board and party officials, as well as an examination of precinct voting patterns in several cities.
In Cleveland, poorly trained poll workers apparently gave faulty instructions to voters that led to the disqualification of thousands of provisional ballots and misdirected several hundred votes to third-party candidates. In Youngstown, 25 electronic machines transferred an unknown number of votes for Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) to the Bush column.
In Columbus, Cincinnati and Toledo, and on college campuses, election officials allocated far too few voting machines to busy precincts, with the result that voters stood on line as long as 10 hours -- many leaving without voting. Some longtime voters discovered their registrations had been purged.
"There isn't enough to prove fraud, but there have been very significant problems in running elections in Ohio this year that demand reform," said Edward B. Foley, who is director of the election law program at the Ohio State University law school and a former Ohio state solicitor. "We clearly ended up disenfranchising people, and I don't want to minimize that."