Supports Ohio Vote Investigation, Jackson says
by Steven Rosenfeld
Columbus Free Press, November 28, 2004
John Kerry supports a "full investigation" into voting
irregularities in Ohio, Rev. Jesse Jackson said Saturday, during a
teleconference with media regarding a recount and legal challenge of
the Nov. 2 vote.
John Kerry supports a full investigation," Jackson said. He
recently spoke with the Democratic presidential nominee and reported
that Kerry said he conceded the race on the morning after Election Day
because "originally, he was inclined to believe what he was told"
about the results. On Wednesday, Nov. 3, Kerry said there was little
chance he could close George W. Bush's 130,000-vote lead with the
uncounted provisional and absentee ballots.
Jackson's brief remarks may be the first that shed some light
on Kerry's fast concession - a decision many supporters felt was
too hasty. Jackson will be in Ohio today, Sunday, Nov. 28, to declare
his support for a recount of the Ohio vote and for a broader
investigation into voting patterns that he said were "suspicious"
and could have given votes to Bush that he did not earn.
"We want to look at the exit polls," Jackson said, referring
to at least two non-partisan Election Day polls, by Zogby and CNN,
which gave Kerry 53 percent and 51 percent of the vote, respectively.
"We don't want to be presumptuous, but these numbers in the
Butler, Clarmont, Warren and Hamilton counties are suspicious."
By suspicious, Jackson is referring to the latest analysis of
the Nov. 2 vote by a coalition of Ohio voting rights activists. In
analyzing the still-unofficial results, the totals reveal that C.
Ellen Connally, an African-American Democratic candidate from
Cleveland for Ohio Chief Justice, received 257,000 more votes than
Kerry. [Editor's note: Rev. Jackson was referring to Connally's
margin of votes as a benchmark, not actual more votes. Jackson was
referring to margin calculations instead of actual votes. In Butler
County, Connally the Democrat received 59,532 running against
Republican Chief Justice Moyer who received 66,625 votes. Connally
received 5347 more votes than Kerry. For example, in Butler County,
the difference between Connally and Moyers's votes was 7093. Bush
received 106,735 votes and Kerry received 54,185 votes, with a
difference of 52,550. Subtracting 7093 from 52,550 equals 45,457.
Statistically the margin is significant only as a place to look for
votes that could have been electronically shifted from Kerry to Bush.
The 52,550 difference in Butler County between Bush and Kerry, when
contrasted with the 7093 vote difference between Moyer and Connally
provides a place to investigate and recount. The Connally race should
be seen as a Democratic benchmark in Republican counties with the
sample ballot, since she is endorsed by pro-choice and civil rights
groups. While the vote totals for Bush and Kerry should be higher than
for Connally and Moyer, the percentage by which they won should not be
so different. Moyer wins over Connally with 52.8% eliminating minimal
third party votes, Bush won over Kerry with 66%. See below for
The reason these vote counts are suspect is because Connelly, a
retired African-American judge, was vastly outspent in her race, and
did not have the visibility of the presidential race.
"This looks like a computer glitch or a computer fix," said
Bob Fitrakis, a lawyer, political scientist and Editor of the
Columbus Free Press (http://freepres.org) who has written about election
irregularities since Bush was declared the winner. Fitrakis is among
the team of lawyers who announced they would soon file an election
challenge in the state's Supreme Court.
"Statistically, Kerry, as the Democratic presidential
candidate, should have more votes than Connally. In a presidential
election, most voters have the priority of casting a vote for
president and the votes for president are almost always much higher
than those of candidates farther down the ticket. When voters vote for
Democratic candidates farther down the ticket, it is usually being
driven by a sample ballot from the Party, starting at the top with
president. Many voters simply don't vote for Supreme Court justices.
It is highly improbable that Connally's vote totals would be so much
higher than Kerry's," Fitrakis said.
The fact that Warren County has such odd vote counts is no
surprise to Fitrakis. "The Republican-dominated county threw out all
the media and independent vote watchers when votes were being counted
at the end of Election Day, claiming 'homeland security' issues.
This would have easily allowed for the wholesale shifting of a large
amount of votes from Kerry to Bush. If you're behind closed doors,
it is easy enough to do. The November issues of Popular Science
and Popular Mechanics magazines show how easy it is to hack the
vote and steal an election. The articles are called 'E-vote
emergency: And you thought dimpled chads were bad' and 'Could
hackers tilt the election?' I think they did," explained
There were 15 Ohio counties where Connally's margin was 5,000
votes or more better than Kerry's unofficial results. In five
counties, Connally had a 10,000-vote margin or better. These counties
used punch card, optical scan, and touch screen voting machines -
with most using punch card systems.
This analysis is merely the latest that has been uncovered about
how Ohio's Nov. 2 vote was tilted toward Bush. Immediately after the
election, there were reports that the number of voting machines
brought to the state's urban, Democratic-leaning precincts was
deliberately shorted. There were numerous sworn statements from voters
in urban areas that the voter rolls were old and out-of-date, forcing
voters, many registered for years, to use provisional ballots -
which get counted last or do not get counted at all unless the voter
was in the right precinct. Voters also testified under oath about
machines malfunctioning and recording votes for Bush when people
believed they had selected Kerry.
All of these trends - plus the fact that the Bush victory did
not jibe with at least two non-partisan exit polls taken on Election
Day in Ohio - are behind Jesse Jackson's trip to the state today,
Sunday, Nov. 28.
Jackson will visit Columbus and Cincinnati to meet with voters,
civil rights activists, ministers and others who are working for a
full accounting of the Ohio presidential vote. Jackson said he hoped
to coordinate these activities and his organization, Rainbow-PUSH,
would join litigation seeking to challenge Bush's alleged victory at
the state Supreme Court.
Jackson also joined the call by many, from Common Cause to the
Green and Libertarian Parties, for Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth
Blackwell to recuse himself from tallying the state's presidential
election result, because he was co-chair of the Bush-Cheney
re-election team in Ohio.
"We need to investigate, coordinate, litigate, recount and
recuse," he said, referring to the legitimacy of the Ohio vote.
"Mr. Blackwell cannot be both the owner of the team and the
*Chart of the measurement of margin between Connally and
A negative sign immediately below means that the margin for
Kerry (in his race) was less than the margin for Connally (in her
race) by the indicated amount. All counties where Connally's margin
exceeded Kerry's by 2,000 votes or more should be on this list. There
are 37 such counties.
In counties listed above, the total margin for Connally (in her
race) exceeded the margin for Kerry (in his race) by 257,546
If the selection criterion is a Connally margin 5,000 better
than Kerry's, there are 15 such counties where, collectively,
Connally's margin exceeded Kerry's by 190,437 votes.
If the selection criterion is a Connally margin 10,000 better
than Kerry's, there are 5 such counties where, collectively,
Connally's margin exceeded Kerry's by 119,960.
The seven (7) counties with some type of DRE voting machine are:
Auglaize, Franklin, Knox, Lake, Mahoning, Pickaway, Ross. Two (2) of
these counties (Auglaize and Pickaway) appear on the list above of
counties in which Connally's margin exceeded Kerry's.
The thirteen (13) counties with some type of optical scan
machine (not punch card) are: Allen, Ashland, Clermont, Coshocton,
Erie, Geauga, Hancock, Hardin, Lucas, Miami, Ottawa, Sandusky, and
Washington. Six (6) of these counties (Allen, Clermont, Geauga,
Hancock, Miami, and Washington) appear on the list above of counties
in which Connally's margin exceeded Kerry's.
Steven Rosenfeld is senior producer of The Laura Flanders Show
on Air America Radio.
Editor's note: This article has been updated in order to provide
additional information about county voter margins and to correct an