Thursday, December 30, 2004

Congressmen to challenge Ohio's certification of presidential vote -- senators shouldn't wuss out

Can you imagine how incompetent an election official must be to set up polling stations that result in eight hour lines?

Eight hours.

That's a full work day.

That's what happened in Ohio.

Where, again, the official in charge of elections (Kenneth Blackwell) is a partisan Bush supporter.

And I understand those eight-hour lines were all in Democratic precincts.

Republican voters didn't have to wait in line for eight hours.

Democratic voters did.

That's bull.

And some Members of Congress, led by John Conyers, ranking Democratic Member of the House Judiciary Committee, are challenging the certification of Ohio's electoral votes.

They need one Senator to join them in order the challenge to heard and debated by the Congress.

This site has the scoop.

Now I can just hear all the liberals rolling their establishment eyeballs and muttering something like "come come, DJW, don't be such a fringe element type of guy. Just let it go. Don't engage in conspiracy theories. If you ask a Senator to challenge the results -- when we know the GOP-majority will reject the challenge -- why, we'd *look bad* and we'd appear to be *sore losers*"

Can't you hear that?

And I say to that: give me a break.

Did the House Republicans in 1998 say "gee, if we impeach President Clinton, we'll look bad, and we know we don't have the votes in the Senate to convict him, so we'd best not raise a fuss." Hell no! They did what they believed in! It's about time we did the same.

We believe there is grounds for debate to challenge the Ohio results.

So let's debate it in Congress!

Object to the certification and start the debate!

Dick Durbin, step it up!

And can Barack Obama bring a challenge? I think he gets inaugurated on the 4th of January. If so, step it up! Let's have a debate!

The House Members need one Senator to bring a challenge.

Remember in Farenheit 9/11 (confession: haven't seen it; this is hearsay) the part when the House Members discussed how they needed one Senator to join them in challenging the certification of the Florida 2000 electoral votes -- you know, the ones where the press recount clearly showed that more people intended to vote for Gore than Bush?

That one?

And no Senator would join in the challenge.

Well, Dick Durbin and Barack Obama, step it up!

If the truthout.org site is correct and Congressman Conyers is going to continue his vigorous and necessary investigation into the Ohio irregularities -- read here to get familiar with them -- by objecting to the Ohio certification, then I expect a Democratic Senator from Blue America not to get scared of a Congressional debate on the Ohio election and how the establishment media might react by joining in the objection.

6 comments:

Phocion said...

Dan,
Durbin didn't step up to the plate to help out Gore, so he won't do it here. And you will find the first of many disappointments to come with the junior Senator from Illiois when Obama. Obama is far too careful a politician to go out on a limb like that. I hope to have to eat my words, but, well, you'll see...

FightforJustice said...

In Illinois,elections are run by county election officials, not by the Secretary of State. Is it different in Ohio? My point is that in Democrat counties, chances are the local election officials are Democrats, not Republicans conspiring to make Democrats stand in long lines. Four years ago the Florida irregularities were in counties controlled by Democrats. The butterfly ballots in those counties were designed by Democrats (just like the butterfly ballots in Cook County are).

Since 2000, Democrats claimed Bush didn't win. That didn't work to prevent him from winning in '04. Some of us call that cheater's proof.

Dan Johnson-Weinberger said...

It's my understanding that the Secretary of State in Ohio has more authority over county elections than county clerks in Illinois do. Plus, Katherine Harris made some very important decisions as Secretary of State that unfairly favored the Bush campaign. The best book on this subject is Too Close To Call by Jeffrey Toobin.

FightforJustice said...

Then there's King County in Washington state, speaking of dubious counts in a heavily Democrat county.

FightforJustice said...

The King County voter file contains the names of only 895,660 voters recorded as voting on Nov. 2, a significant discrepancy from its hand recount certified total of 899,199. If there's anywhere that deserves close scrutiny its King County.

Friend of FPL said...

I've been an election judge (off-and-on) for about four years, in Lake County Illinois. I've seen butterfly ballots and electronic scanning machines, high turnout and low turnout. In Lake Co, the (very small) County Clerk's office has a tremendous effect on every election simply by making out schedules for the election judges.

There is a constant shortage of election judges. Although every judge that I've met sincerely wants fair and efficient elections, some judges are barely able to perform their duties. The most self-confident judge almost always makes every important decision in a polling place, and self-confidence usually correlates with election-experience and age.

With that in mind, I believe that a partisan office can easily manipulate elections through the routine process of assigning election judges, even when those judges are honest (or even inclined to the opposite partisan pole). I'd go as far to say that the biases of administrators, even when they are neither malign nor conscious, can create huge disparities at the polling places. This liability is almost entirely due to our shoe-string means of financing and organizing elections. (Does anyone know of a state where election institutions are adequately funded or staffed?)

So, one conclusion and one caveat: Aside from my political leanings, my experience as an election judge leads me to believe the claims about Ohio and many other places. It's just too easy to manipulate an election -- through a million little decisions. There's a strong parallel with the way that a federal administration can change the character of an organization (e.g. NSF, FDA) without any shift in policy. A partisan election office virtually guarantees unfairness in the individual voters' experiences of voting. (Fairness in counting votes in a separate matter, in my opinion.)

My caveat: I really don't have these complaints about the Lake County Clerk's office. They work hard to be as fair as possible. My antennae are extremely sensitive to unintended bias, especially from the rank-and-file of the Clerk's office -- and I haven't noticed anything beyond the ordinary over-generalizations that serve as the "wisdom" of an institution. I know a few other election officials as friends. Their party affiliations are eclipsed by the sheer enormity of pulling off an election, and they see themselves as holding a public responsibility that is analogous to a teacher's.