Saturday, June 03, 2006

RFK Jr.: How Republicans Kept Kerry Out

Earlier this week, Rolling Stone placed "Was the 2004 Election Stolen?", Robert Kennedy Jr.'s meticulously researched article on the 2004 elections online. It is well worth a read, here's a taste, complete with footnotes:
[S]omething deeply troubling had taken place in 2004. Nearly half of the 6 million American voters living abroad(3) never received their ballots -- or received them too late to vote(4) -- after the Pentagon unaccountably shut down a state-of-the-art Web site used to file overseas registrations.(5) A consulting firm called Sproul & Associates, which was hired by the Republican National Committee to register voters in six battleground states,(6) was discovered shredding Democratic registrations.(7) In New Mexico, which was decided by 5,988 votes,(8) malfunctioning machines mysteriously failed to properly register a presidential vote on more than 20,000 ballots.(9) Nationwide, according to the federal commission charged with implementing election reforms, as many as 1 million ballots were spoiled by faulty voting equipment -- roughly one for every 100 cast.(10)

The reports were especially disturbing in Ohio, the critical battleground state that clinched Bush's victory in the electoral college. Officials there purged tens of thousands of eligible voters from the rolls, neglected to process registration cards generated by Democratic voter drives, shortchanged Democratic precincts when they allocated voting machines and illegally derailed a recount that could have given Kerry the presidency. A precinct in an evangelical church in Miami County recorded an impossibly high turnout of ninety-eight percent, while a polling place in inner-city Cleveland recorded an equally impossible turnout of only seven percent. In Warren County, GOP election officials even invented a nonexistent terrorist threat to bar the media from monitoring the official vote count.(11)

Any election, of course, will have anomalies. . . . But what is most anomalous about the irregularities in 2004 was their decidedly partisan bent: Almost without exception they hurt John Kerry and benefited George Bush. After carefully examining the evidence, I've become convinced that the president's party mounted a massive, coordinated campaign to subvert the will of the people in 2004. Across the country, Republican election officials and party stalwarts employed a wide range of illegal and unethical tactics to fix the election. A review of the available data reveals that in Ohio alone, at least 357,000 voters, the overwhelming majority of them Democratic, were prevented from casting ballots or did not have their votes counted in 2004(12) -- more than enough to shift the results of an election decided by 118,601 votes.(13) (See Ohio's Missing Votes) In what may be the single most astounding fact from the election, one in every four Ohio citizens who registered to vote in 2004 showed up at the polls only to discover that they were not listed on the rolls, thanks to GOP efforts to stem the unprecedented flood of Democrats eager to cast ballots.(14) And that doesn't?t even take into account the troubling evidence of outright fraud, which indicates that upwards of 80,000 votes for Kerry were counted instead for Bush. That alone is a swing of more than 160,000 votes -- enough to have put John Kerry in the White House.(15)

. . . . Indeed, the extent of the GOP's effort to rig the vote shocked even the most experienced observers of American elections. ''Ohio was as dirty an election as America has ever seen,'' Lou Harris, the father of modern political polling, told me. ''You look at the turnout and votes in individual precincts, compared to the historic patterns in those counties, and you can tell where the discrepancies are. They stand out like a sore thumb.''

1) Manual Roig-Franzia and Dan Keating, ''Latest Conspiracy Theory -- Kerry Won -- Hits the Ether,'' The Washington Post, November 11, 2004.

2) The New York Times Editorial Desk, ''About Those Election Results,'' The New York Times, November 14, 2004.

3) United States Department of Defense, August 6, 2004.

4) Overseas Vote Foundation, ''2004 Post Election Survey Results,'' June 2005, page 11.

5) Jennifer Joan Lee, ''Pentagon Blocks Site for Voters Outside U.S.,'' International Herald Tribune, September 20, 2004.

6) Meg Landers, ''Librarian Bares Possible Voter Registration Dodge,'' Mail Tribune (Jackson County, OR), September 21, 2004.

7) Mark Brunswick and Pat Doyle, ''Voter Registration; 3 former workers: Firm paid pro-Bush bonuses; One said he was told his job was to bring back cards for GOP voters,'' Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN), October 27, 2004.

8) Federal Election Commission, Federal Elections 2004: Election Results for the U.S. President.

9) Ellen Theisen and Warren Stewart, Summary Report on New Mexico State Election Data, January 4, 2005, pg. 2

James W. Bronsan, ''In 2004, New Mexico Worst at Counting Votes,'' Scripps Howard News Service, December 22, 2004. 10) ''A Summary of the 2004 Election Day Survey; How We Voted: People, Ballots & Polling Places; A Report to the American People by the United States Election Assistance Commission'', September 2005, pg. 10.

11) Facts mentioned in this paragraph are subsequently cited throughout the story.

12) See ''Ohio's Missing Votes''

13) Federal Election Commission, Federal Elections 2004: Election Results for the U.S. President.

14) Democratic National Committee, Voting Rights Institute, ''Democracy at Risk: The 2004 Election in Ohio'', June 22, 2005. Page 5

15) See ''VIII. Rural Counties.''

Go read the rest here, and review additional sources and materials here, download and read the House Judiciary Committee Democratic Staff Report, What Went Wrong in Ohio, take a look at Harper's None Dare Call it Stolen, an extensive Wiki piece on the controversey, and Gore Vidal's, Something Rotten in Ohio.

Hail to the Thief?

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