Ten Ways the McCain/Palin GOP is Now Stealing the Ohio Vote

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The McCain/Palin GOP is already in the process of stealing the Ohio vote, as was done in 2004. Among those at the center of the GOP strategy is Bush Family computer operative Michael Connell, who programmed the key vote counting mechanisms that were used to give George W. Bush his second term.

Much has now changed in Ohio, including the transition from a Republican governor (Robert Taft) and secretary of state (J. Kenneth Blackwell) to Democrats Ted Strickland and Jennifer Brunner. Brunner has made strong public commitments to conducting a fair registration process, an orderly election and a reliable vote count this fall. She is being pushed by the King-Lincoln-Bronzeville federal civil rights lawsuit, filed originally against Blackwell.

To help guarantee an election that truly reflects the will of the voters, Freepress.org will convene a conference on election protection procedures webcast from Columbus this September 26-28. It will reinforce the positive steps Brunner has taken, and will help train poll workers and judges to safeguard the vote in Ohio and around the nation.

But much of the electoral apparatus remains beyond public control. Serious questions remain about how reliable the final vote count will be, and how much of it the Republican party will cage, confuse and steal in its crusade to put John McCain and Sarah Palin into the White House.

Here are some of the key factors that still endanger the vote in Ohio and around the nation:

1) Illegal Destruction of Evidence Surrounding the Vote Count:

In a federal court decision delivered in August, 2006, Judge Algernon Marbley ruled that all materials related to the 2004 presidential vote in Ohio must be preserved. Standing federal law required that these materials be protected for 22 months dating from November 4, 2004. In response to the King-Lincoln lawsuit, Marbley’s decision came in time to make it a federal offense to destroy any poll books, ballots and other records relating to the 2004 election in Ohio at any time.

Around the time of the decision, GOP Secretary of State Blackwell, who also served as Ohio co-chair of the 2004 Bush-Cheney campaign, issued ambivalent orders to the state’s 88 county Boards of Elections about preserving these materials.

Blackwell subsequently lost his 2006 campaign for governor of Ohio, and was replaced by Brunner as secretary of state. Brunner publicly announced that she would establish a repository in Columbus for all 2004 election materials. In accordance with the King-Lincoln lawsuit, a definitive recount would then establish what actually happened during the Bush re-election.

But in August of 2007, Ohio Attorney-General Mark Dann informed the King-Lincoln attorneys that 56 of the 88 county Boards of Elections had illegally destroyed all or some of their records and ballots from 2004. No repository has been established for what remains, and no definitive recount is now possible. But no such resource – and no definitive recount – will be possible in Ohio.   There have been no state or federal prosecutions for the illegal destruction of these materials. Nor does there seem to be any guarantee similar destruction will not follow the 2008 election.

2) Massive Residual Elimination of Registered Voters:

In the run-up to the 2004 elections, GOP-controlled Boards of Elections in Ohio eliminated some 308,000 registered voters from the rolls used at the polls to determine whether or not citizens are eligible to vote. The purges were conducted in heavily Democratic districts in Cuyahoga (Cleveland), Lucas (Toledo) and Hamilton (Cincinnati) Counties. The numbers of voters eliminated represented more than 5% of the 5.4 million Ohioans who voted in 2004. The GOP also challenged the right of some 35,000 registered voters to cast ballots, based largely on letters the Republicans sent to voters which then came back undelivered, thus allowing them to claim the lack of a valid address.

Overall, the removals far exceeded Bush’s official victory margin of less than 119,000 votes. After the 2004 election, another 170,000 voters were eliminated in Franklin (Columbus) County, also now heavily Democratic.  Parallel purges were used in Florida 2000, and throughout the US in 2004. There is every reason to believe the GOP will repeat them in 2008 wherever possible.

Go read the other Ten Ways here.

This country can’t afford the debacle that happened in 2004. The GOP is making a concerted effort to usher in McCain & Palin. With the polls skewed by at least 10%, this way the American people won’t realize the true gap between the two politicians. Ergo, no surprise if McCain/Palin ticket wins, it is a perfect set-up. That is why we need everyone to vote so that it will be a landslide victory for Obama that the GOP can’t steal away. Go Obama!!!

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