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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

4 ways Ohio GOP trying to steal election

Electronic voting machines are vulnerable to security breaches. (photo: Alex Halderman/EQN)
Electronic voting machines are vulnerable to security breaches. (photo: Alex Halderman/EQN)

By Harvey Wasserman, Bob Fitrakis
Reader Supported News
readersupportednews.org
05 September 12

he Ohio Republican Party has moved four ways to steal America's 2012 election. The Buckeye State is almost certain to emerge as a decider in this year's presidential election, and the GOP is moving fast to ensure victory, no matter what it takes.

The strategy reflects much of what was done by the Republicans in 2000 and 2004 to steal those presidential elections for George W. Bush, as we report in the newly published "Will the GOP Steal America's 2012 Election?"

If they get away with it, the Ohio GOP could make it virtually impossible for Barack Obama to carry Ohio this November. In the years since Florida 2000 and Ohio 2004, the Democratic Party has made little headway in reforming our electoral system to make such thefts impossible:
  1. Since 2009, the Ohio GOP has purged roughly a million citizens from the state's voter rolls. This accounts for some 15% of the roughly 5.2 million votes counted for president in the state in 2008. The purge focuses on counties that are predominantly urban and Democratic.

  2. Electronic voting machines have been installed throughout the state which are owned, operated, programmed and maintained - and will be tallied - by Republican-connected firms.

  3. The GOP controls both houses of the Ohio Legislature, the governorship, the secretary of state's office, and the state Supreme Court. Soon after the 2008 election, it imposed a draconian photo ID law designed to disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of suspected Democrats, as is being done throughout the US. But Ohio is a referendum state. A statewide grassroots movement recently crushed a GOP-pushed anti-labor law, and many Republicans feared the photo ID law would also go down. Then GOP stalwart Jon Husted (now the secretary of state) was ruled ineligible to hold office over a residency conflict. Ohio's Supreme Court re-instated his eligibility, but he was prompted to oppose the photo ID law. Today a prospective Ohio voter can use 17 different kinds of ID, but in recent elections some poll workers have demanded photo ID anyway. Without a grassroots army of independent election monitors to protect them, many more Ohioans are likely to be disenfranchised.

  4. In 2004, 10.6% of the votes cast in Ohio were so-called "early votes" via absentee ballots. A voter had to be absent from the county to vote absentee. In-person Election Day voters at the 42 predominantly black inner-city precincts in Columbus waited between 3-7 hours to vote.
In 2005, Ohio election law was modified so absentees could vote without actually being absent from their home county. When Ohio went for Barack Obama with 52% of the vote, early voting nearly tripled to 29.7%. This included voters able to vote in person at locations all over the state for 35 days prior to Election Day, including on weekends.

This summer the Ohio GOP attempted to allow Republican counties to use weekend voting, while denying the right to counties that are predominantly Democratic. By banning all voting the weekend before the election, Husted took credit for "leveling the playing field." But African-American State Representative Charleta Tavares immediately charged that the exclusion of weekend voting represented a deliberate attempt to suppress Democratic voters, and particularly black voters who voted 95% for Obama in 2008.

On Friday, August 17, while some 500 Ohioans protested outside his office, Husted suspended Democratic Montgomery County (Dayton) Board of Election members Dennis Lieberman and Tom Ritchie, Sr. because they introduced and supported - and then refused to rescind - a motion for weekend voting.

Lieberman told the Dayton Daily News that, "I believe that this is so critical to our freedom in America ... that I'm doing what I think is right, and I cannot vote to rescind this motion." Lieberman also argued that the directive did not specifically prohibit weekend hours.

The Ohio Association of Election Officials, overwhelmingly dominated by Republicans from Ohio's rural counties, endorsed the idea of cutting the final three early voting days. They argued that they needed the extra time over the weekend to prepare for Election Day, although some of the counties have very small voting populations compared to the nine urban counties that support keeping the three final early voting days. Doug Priesse, Chair of the Franklin County (Columbus) GOP, sparked a firestorm when he explained that "I guess I really actually feel we shouldn't contort the voting process to accommodate the urban - read African-American - voter turnout machine."

The Obama campaign has sued, arguing that weekend voting be restored for all Ohioans, as it has been for members of the military. The GOP has charged Obama with trying to deny those in the military their right to vote, which would be impossible for him to do. Husted and GOP Attorney General Mike DeWine responded with a suit saying: "There is no fundamental right to in-person early voting."

Under intense pressure, Husted has since reinstated the two Dayton Election Board members. But by purging registration lists, limiting voting times, messing with voter ID requirements and controlling electronic voting machines, the GOP has a huge leg up on winning what has often been America's key swing state.

Clearly the Ohio GOP is once again geared up to deny the vote - and vote count - to as many Democrats as it can. If it succeeds, as it did in 2004, Barack Obama stands little chance of being re-elected.


Harvey Wasserman's Solartopia Green Power & Wellness Show is at www.progressiveradionetwork.com, and he edits www.nukefree.org. Harvey Wasserman's "History of the US" and "Solartopia! Our Green-Powered Earth" are at www.harveywasserman.com along with Passions of the PotSmoking Patriots by "Thomas Paine." He and Bob Fitrakis have co-authored four books on election protection, including "How the GOP Stole America's 2004 Election," at www.freepress.org.

Bob Fitrakis is a Political Science Professor in the Social and Behavioral Sciences department at Columbus State Community College. He and Harvey Wasserman have co-authored four books on election protection, including "Did George W. Bush Steal America's 2004 Election?," "As Goes Ohio: Election Theft Since 2004," "How the GOP Stole America's 2004 Election & Is Rigging 2008," and "What Happened in Ohio?"
Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.

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+21 # anntares 2012-09-05 08:01
Don't forget the Diebold voting machines that also rigged votes remotely - and the quote from the head of Diebold who said, in 2004 and/or 2010 that he knew Ohio would go Republican
+17 # Guy 2012-09-05 08:04
What you need in the US are monitors for the up and coming elections,just as there are in somewhat 3rd world countries,to monitor if the elections were fair.
Controllable computerized voting,what a joke . And for a nation that claims the right to call itself fair and democratic.
+3 # LeeBlack 2012-09-05 09:22
Imagine a bank that said, "we can't give you a paper record of your deposit/withdrawal". Saying they can't provide voting trails is ridiculous. E.G. put a number on the ballot and also on the voter's receipt - afterwards make the records with numbers, not voter name, available.
+13 # walthe310 2012-09-05 08:26
CNN is now discussing what Barack must do to win in November. Get more votes obviously. Not so obviously, the votes must be counted honestly. I believe that a dishonest count in Ohio stole our last close election in 2004. How to prevent that from happening again in another close election? I'm not sure, but I hope and pray that the Obama campaign will do everything possible to prevent a stolen election for Mitt. All the laws against voter fraud are in aid of preventing legitimate voters from voting. Nothing in these GOP-sponsored laws to prevent cheating after the ballots are cast.
+15 # Nell H 2012-09-05 08:28
The person in charge of a state election system should be a professional elections expert, NOT be a partisan politician.
+13 # Nell H 2012-09-05 08:29
Congress needs to establish early voting guidelines to be used in all states for all federal election.
+3 # FLAK88 2012-09-05 09:01
If you go to any other developed western democracy, the voting/ elections process is completely centralized,uni form and across-the-board no matter what province, district, state or department you're in. This whole idea of 'states rights' interpretation of voting laws is absolutely primitive and shameful. They are obviously unfit to be making these determinations.
+4 # BobbyLip 2012-09-05 08:33
For "democracy" until the vote seems to be going against them. Right now it's majorly a Republican thing. Too bad we as a country also have an extensive record of collusion in suppressing democratic elections in Vietnam after WWII, Central and South America, Iran, and elsewhere. We humans are a pretty lousy species (not that I mean to imply that the Republicans aren't worse and that some of us aren't decent)>
0 # FLAK88 2012-09-05 08:56
Well then, I guess it's close to the time to roll in the NATIONAL GUARD, isn't it ?
+3 # noitall 2012-09-05 09:05
Isn't it sad and interesting that big-time criminals are not charged and tried and govt'-connected election ripoffs are allowed to go unfettered. Its no wonder we are a feared joke in the world. While "we" fight against health care for all, we shield war criminals and target whistle blowers. Couldn't even write a fiction book this weird.
+2 # Regina 2012-09-05 09:09
What symptoms of fascism are Americans forgetting? Ohio is not alone in such depravity -- every state with a Republican governor is guilty of selective vote suppression. The phony claims of voter fraud were ginned up by the RGA -- Republican Governors' Association. Any vote for a Republican candidate, for any office including dogcatcher, is a nail in the USA's coffin.

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