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See the Bush in 30 Seconds Ad produced by Mike Cuenca.


Wake up, Americans. The election is not over and it's not official.  
By Mike Cuenca | November 23, 2004
If you watch only the television networks and read only the mainstream press, you probably think the 2004 presidential election is over and settled, and that GW Bush won. Fortunately, none of that is true. The election outcome is still very much in doubt and most of the uncertainty is based on the mess in Ohio. And it's pretty clear that the election was rigged. And the uncertainty includes whether every vote will indeed be counted.

What you're not reading or seeing in the media are the many clear indications that the GOP once again has at least attempted to steal a presidential election.

What you probably know is that it takes 270 votes in the Electoral College to win the presidency. As the count stands today, GW has 286 and John Kerry has 252. Ohio represents 20 electoral votes. Right now, those votes are in GW's total. But if they were taken away and added to Kerry's, we would have a new president.

So, until the Electoral College meets to vote in December, it's all up in the air.

Here's a review of just a little bit of what's been happening:

Two days after November 2, journalist Greg Palast reported that there are more than 90,000 so-called "spoiled" ballots and more than 155,000 provisional ballots, presumably from mostly Democratic counties and precincts. GW's unofficial margin in Ohio is only 138,000.

The Columbus Dispatch reported on November 5 that 4,258 votes were cast for GW in a precinct that had only had 638 voters cast votes.

As of last week, a statewide recount had been assured by the Green Party, which was able to raise the $113,600 dollars necessary to pay for the recount. They had raised the money within four days after announcing a call for donations.

A coalition of democracy-protection groups held public hearings in Ohio to try to identify specific problems and efforts to disenfranchise voters (which should be the job of our government.) As a result of the public hearings they  announced on November 20 their preparations to file a challenge of the Ohio election results to the Ohio Supreme Court. Ohio law requires that the challengers be able to prove the wrong candidate was elected.

Just today, a group of U.S. representatives announced that the Government Accountability Office, a non-partisan office of the Congress, will investigate the complaints pouring in about election problems.

The only holdup on the recount, apparently, is the certification of the vote. No recount can happen until the vote is certified. And the man responsible for that certification and the conduct of the recount is Ohio's Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell, who is in charge of the election and the counting of votes in Ohio. Blackwell also just happens to be the co-chair of Ohio's Bush/Cheney reelection committee. In an editorial published by the ultra-conservative Washington Times (which is owned and operated by the Reverend Sun Myung Moon of the "Moonies",) Blackwell himself wrote that the election was "tremendously successful," while assuring us that "there was no widespread fraud and no disenfranchisement."

How Blackwell could have already determined that there was no fraud is questionable, especially since he still has not yet certified the election results. And his claim that there was no disenfranchisement was just simply a lie and a lot of evidence and sworn testimony indicate that Blackwell and his office coordinated a lot of it.

Public hearings conducted in Ohio by various democracy-protection organizations revealed that Blackwell's election officials caused massive voter disenfranchisement with verified methods and in areas that would result in a suppression of African-American (mostly Kerry) voters. Some of those methods included placing too few voting machines in those precincts most likely to vote for Kerry, which caused long lines and waits up to several hours, which suppressed the vote by discouraging voters and making it too hard for working voters to have enough time to vote. In an account of election problems published by the Cleveland Scene weekly, reporters quoted an election official as saying that the reason the voting was taking so long in her precinct was because they only had one pen. They reported that of the 17 voting machines allocated to one heavily African-American precinct, half of them would not function and one woman said she waited seven hours to vote.

You have to figure that Karl Rove and Blackwell assumed that they could fudge a little here and there with the vote count and suppress votes by causing long lines and frustration for many likely Democratic voters and have it add up to a Bush win. They've succeeded so far. They got the initial numbers they wanted. But those numbers might not hold up if there are enough obviously fraudulent votes—or even accidentally miscounted votes—to counter the number of votes that were suppressed.

As far as I'm concerned, some of the people who are hanging in there and fighting to preserve democracy deserve the highest honors that we can bestow upon them. Democracy is sacred. We must preserve and protect our democracy. If we lose the right to represent ourselves, we could lose all of the rights most of us take for granted. All Americans should want elections to be fair, honest, transparent and conducted in the light of day.

My biggest disappointments are the near total invisibility of the Democratic Party, which has been my own party, and journalism, which is my own profession.

Where are those who we elected to represent us and to protect the Constitution of the United States? I don't expect Republicans to make any noise about election fraud. But the Democrats are showing an indifference, cowardice or malfeasance that reveals too much about how little they've been willing to steadfastly fight the right-wing.

And where are the journalists, who are supposed to be the electorate's source of information about their government? This is blatant, flagrant dereliction of a journalist's duty to fully inform the electorate. Three weeks after the election and we've been told a lot more about Desperate Housewives than the tabulation of our vote and the discernment of our true democratic intent.

Keep an eye on blackboxvoting.org and freepress.org for the latest information.

 


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