my pissant two cents

Sunday, December 05, 2004

it's about to get interesting.

ohio is about to certify its election results, and then the whole shithouse is going to go up in flames, in the immortal words of jim morrison (who also said "i am the lizard king" at a time when that seemed to mean something...).

the provisional ballot count cut into president bush's presumed margin of victory, dropping it to about 118,000 votes in the crucial buckeye state. as ohio goes, so goes the electoral college. the greens, libertarians and nader people have been on tenterhooks waiting for the certification so they can make their demand for a recount. the $113,000 necessary to fund the recount is raised, and they're ready to get down to it.

they believe what happens in the recount could very well change the presumed result of the election. but i have my doubts that the recount can deal with the violations that we know happened. a recount can only look at the ballots cast, not the ones that were prevented from being cast. voter harassment and intimidation, excessive delays at polling places because of faux voting machine shortages, disappearing registration forms... let's just say that the ukraine hasn't made number one on the fraudulent election hit-list just yet.

there is no shortage of evidence of horrible offenses against a free and fair election. if this were a union vote run by the national labor relations board, the number of complaints would militate for overturning the election. of course, when it comes to letting workers determine their future in the workplace, there must be "laboratory conditions" to ensure there is no undue influence on the vote. when it's the relatively minor matter of THE FUTURE OF THE COUNTRY, something less than a laboratory will have to do.

the sheer volume of smoke sure lends itself to the idea that there's a fire somewhere. in fact, democrats on the house judiciary committee sent a letter to kenneth blackwell, ohio's republican secretary of state, who will be certifying the election. in a turn too predictable to be enraging or even shocking, following in the footsteps of 2000's katherine harris from the florida fiasco, blackwell also happens to be the chair of the bush campaign in ohio. what the committee members want to know is, just what has the honorable mr. blackwell done to figure out why there were so many problems with voting irregularities?

the letter is 15 pages long, so i'll give you the highlights:
why did warren county election officials bar reporters from observing the count, claiming a terrorism threat that the f.b.i. denied?
why did perry county report 124% voter turnout before the error was caught, and how can it be that a "double-counting" error can almost exactly double the votes?
how is it that monroe township had exactly 150% voter turnout?
how is it that an underdog democratic candidate for state supreme court pulled in more votes than the democratic candidate for president in five counties?
why are spoiled ballots so much more phenomenally common in traditionally democratic precincts than in republican precincts?
why were there fewer voting machines in the democratic city of columbus than the republican suburbs?
(for the whole thing: http://www.house.gov/judiciary_democrats/ohblackwellltr12204.pdf)

the sweet, sweet irony is the lack of play these matters have gotten in the mainstream press up until now, while colin powell's pronouncements and the ukrainian supreme court's decisions about that country's electoral insanity are treated like the second coming of the velvet revolution. it seems that only countries that don't have george w. bush at the helm deserve to have free and fair elections.

we may not have thousands wreaking havoc in the streets like the ukraine. (that only happens when a hometown team wins a major sports championship. or loses one.) but we have some really smart people who seem to be asking the right questions. common cause is hosting an event on tuesday that will bring together leaders of progressive and voter rights organizations, as well as republican and democratic politicos, to discuss just what the hell happened on november 2. not just in ohio, but all across the country. there should be some interesting discussion and thought-provoking propositions. and it won't make a lick of difference.

the election won't be overturned by the recount in ohio. i don't doubt that very bad things happened, and that the election is tainted. but the recount is not likely to swing the election for kerry. the thieving ratbastards are too good at their jobs, and there's simply no mechanism for overturning the election results. the supreme court is not likely to follow the lead of their ukrainian counterparts and say the smell is too strong to let the election stand.

such a thing would be judicial activism, which the rehnquist court will not abide. unless a republican stands to benefit.

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