Sunday, December 26, 2004

Elections! Here...

Ohio Republicans aren't the only ones trying to hinder recounts of election results. The Green and Libertarian parties have also filed for a recount in New Mexico, and the Democratic administration there is throwing up as many roadblocks as it can, with support from state courts, which are no more eager than are those in Ohio to deal with these upstart outsiders eager to disturb the established order.

The State Canvassing Board demanded that Cobb and Libertarian presidential candidate Michael Badnarik pay the full estimated cost of the recount in advance, even though there is no legal requirement for the campaigns to do so. On Wednesday, the state Supreme Court upheld that decision. In a December 23 press release, Green Party presidential candidate David Cobb called that
an insult to the democratic process and the citizens of New Mexico.

"We are seeking a recount in New Mexico to protect the right to vote and ensure that all votes are counted. We came here expecting cooperation, or at least compliance with the law, from New Mexico's Governor and Secretary of State. However, despite broad support across the political spectrum for an honest audit of New Mexico's voting system, we have been stonewalled and obstructed at every step by the Democratic Party leadership of this state," said Cobb.

"The New Mexico Supreme Court has apparently decided it is more interested in protecting the rights of corporations who make electronic voting machines than the rights of citizens to ensure that their votes are counted accurately. To call this a travesty of justice is understating the nature of the outcome," said Rick Lass, New Mexico coordinator for the recount effort.
The Board estimated the cost at $1.4 million. Why the projected cost of a recount in New Mexico would be so much higher than that of one in Ohio is unexplained.

- Speaking of Ohio, the Greens have asked the federal courts to step in to insure evidence is preserved in the recount.
"It is time for the federal judiciary to step in and ensure the integrity of the recount in Ohio, something which Ohio's blatantly partisan Secretary of State is either unwilling or thoroughly incapable of doing," said Cobb.

Papers filed with the court state that "voting machines in multiple counties may have been tampered with during the recount by an employee of Triad Governmental Systems, Inc.-the company whose computer program tallied the punch-card votes cast in 41" of Ohio's 88 counties.
In the most notorious of the cases, in Hocking Country a company representative
reprogrammed a computer used for tabulating votes and instructed the county's Deputy Director of Elections to create a "cheat sheet" so "the count would come out perfect and we wouldn't have to do a full hand recount of the county."
If a sample check of 3% of ballots produced results clearly different from the overall totals produced by the machines, it was supposed to trigger a full hand recount. What the company agent was telling the elections official to do was to jigger the results so the sample matched the reported total and so avoid a hand recount. Which would seem to be illegal on its face - and if it's not, it damned well should be.
The Cobb campaign has also learned of questionable ballot security procedures in Ashland, Greene and Coshocton counties. Improper interference with voting machines may also have taken place in Union, Monroe, Lucas, Belmont, Fairfield and Harrison counties.
I still doubt that all of this together would change the outcome but the deeper this goes, the slimier it gets. I suggested last month that I didn't think the election was stolen but that the GOPpers were prepared to steal it if it was both necessary and possible: No large-scale cheating (too easy to uncover) but small-scale creepiness that would be harder to suss out but would be sufficient to turn an small loss into a small victory. That appears to me an increasingly likely scenario.

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