Was the Ohio Election Honest and Fair?

Institute for Public Accuracy
915 National Press Building, Washington, D.C. 20045
(202) 347-0020 * *

1 p.m. ET -- Wednesday, November 3, 2004

Was the Ohio Election Honest and Fair?

TERESA FEDOR, [via Greg Lestini,]
Ohio State Senator Teresa Fedor said today: "There was trouble with our
elections in Ohio at every stage. It's been a battle getting people
registered to vote, getting to the ballot on voting day and getting that
vote to count. There is a pattern of voter suppression; that's why I called
for [Ohio Secretary of State] Blackwell's resignation more than a month
ago. Blackwell, while claiming to run an unbiased elections process, was
also the co-chair of the Bush-Cheney campaign in Ohio. Additionally, he was
the spokesperson for the anti-business, anti-family constitutional
amendment 'Issue 1,' and a failed initiative to repeal a crucial sales-tax
revenue source for the state. Blackwell learned his moves from the
Katherine Harris playbook of Florida 2000, and we won't stand for it."

Executive vice president of HBCU Connect, which works to connect
historically black colleges and universities, Moss said today: "I stayed in
line two and a half hours. I've never seen anything like this in my life.
There were fewer voting machines in the highly concentrated black areas,
creating the long lines so as to frustrate the voters. But we knew the
Republicans -- many of whom became Republicans because they opposed equal
rights for blacks -- would try to drive down black turnout. ... [Ohio
Secretary of State] Blackwell was confusing things by raising issues like
the paper weight of cards."

Co-founder of the Citizens Alliance for Secure Elections, Truitt said
today: "Seven counties in Ohio have electronic voting machines and none of
them have paper trails. That alone raises issues of accuracy and integrity
as to how we can verify the count. A recount without a paper trail is
meaningless; you just get a regurgitation of the data. Last year, Blackwell
tried to get the entire state to buy new machines without a paper trail.
The exit polls, virtually the only check we have against tampering with a
vote without a paper trail, had shown Kerry with a lead. ... A poll worker
told me this morning that there were no tapes of the results posted on some
machines; on other machines the posted count was zero, which obviously
shouldn't be the case."

Wallach is an assistant professor of Computer Science at Rice University in
Houston specializing in building secure and robust software systems for the
Internet. Along with colleagues at Johns Hopkins, Wallach co-authored a
groundbreaking study that revealed significant flaws in electronic voting
systems. He appeared on an Institute for Public Accuracy news release in
June entitled "Electronic Voting -- Danger for Democracy."

An attorney who monitored the election with the Election Protection
Coalition, Fitrakis said today: "There were far fewer machines in the
inner-city districts than in the suburbs. I documented at least a dozen
people leaving because the lines were so long in African-American areas.
Blackwell did a great deal of suppressing before the election -- like
attempting to refuse to process voter registration forms. The absentee
ballots were misleading in Franklin County. Kerry was the third line down,
but you had to punch number four to vote for him. Bush was getting both his
votes as well as Kerry's."

Senior editor of, an Ohio-based web site, and co-author with
Fitrakis of the recent article "Twelve Ways Bush is Now Stealing the Ohio
Vote," Wasserman said today: "There was a huge fight around ensuring that
the electronic voting machines had paper trails and there was resistance by
the secretary of state, so there is no paper trail. There were some
victories to ensure a paper trial -- by 2006. There were limited numbers of
voting machines in African-American districts. Some people had to wait up
to eight hours, far more than in predominantly white areas."


On November 9, 2003, the New York Times reported: "In mid-August, Walden W.
O'Dell, the chief executive of Diebold Inc., sat down at his computer
to compose a letter inviting 100 wealthy and politically inclined friends
to a Republican Party fund-raiser, to be held at his home in a suburb
of Columbus, Ohio. 'I am committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral
votes to the president next year,' wrote Mr. O'Dell, whose company is based
in Canton, Ohio. That is hardly unusual for Mr. O'Dell. A longtime
Republican, he is a member of President Bush's 'Rangers and Pioneers,' an
elite group of loyalists who have raised at least $100,000 each for the
2004 race. But it is not the only way that Mr. O'Dell is involved in the
election process. Through Diebold Election Systems, a subsidiary in
McKinney, Tex., his company is among the country's biggest suppliers of
paperless, touch-screen voting machines. Judging from Federal Election
Commission data, at least 8 million people will cast their ballots using
Diebold machines next November. ... Some people find Mr. O'Dell's pairing
of interests -- as voting-machine magnate and devoted Republican
fund-raiser -- troubling."

On November 3, 2004, Reuters reported: "Voters across the United States
reported problems with electronic touch-screen systems on Tuesday in what
critics said could be a sign that the machines used by one-third of the
population were prone to error.... "

On October 24, 2004, the Palm Beach Post reported: "A federal judge on
Monday rejected U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler's claim that paperless electronic
voting violates the constitutional rights of Floridians...."

On November 3, 2004, Thomas Crampton wrote in the International Herald
Tribune: "The global implications of the U.S. election are undeniable, but
international monitors at a polling station in southern Florida said
Tuesday that voting procedures being used in the extremely close contest
fell short in many ways of the best global practices...."

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167


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