Palast-How They Stole Ohio
And the GOP 4-step Recipe to 'Blackwell' the USA in 2008
Abracadabra: Three million votes vanish
A Buzzflash Exclusive
June 1, 2006
By Greg Palast
[Heads up! Catch Robert Kennedy Jr., Mike Papantonio and Greg Palast this Saturday on Air America's 'Ring of Fire' on the shoplifting of the last election … and the next one.]
This is a fact: On November 2, 2004, in the State of Ohio, 239,127 votes for President of the United States were dumped, rejected, blocked, lost and left to rot uncounted.
And not just anyone's vote. Dive into the electoral dumpster and these "spoiled" votes have a very dark color indeed.
In another life, I taught statistics. And these statistics stank: the raw data tells us that if you are a Black voter, the chance of you losing your vote to technical errors in voting machinery is 900% higher than if you were a white voter.
Any guesses as to whom those African-Americans chose for president on those junked ballots? Check Ohio's racial demographics, do the numbers, and there it is: Kerry won Ohio. And that, too, is a fact. A fact that could not get reported in the USA.
But the shoplifting of those votes in Ohio was just the tip of the theft-berg. November 2, 2004 was a national ballot-box bonfire. In total, over three million votes (3,600,380 to be exact) were cast -- marked, punched, pulled -- YET NEVER COUNTED. I'm not talking about the Ukraine or Uganda. I'm talking about the United States of America "with liberty and justice for all."
Well, not "all." The nine-to-one Black-to-White ballot spoilage rate is a national statistic -- not just an Ohio trick. Last year, I flew to New Mexico to investigate the 33,981 cast but not counted ballots of that state in the 2004 race. George Bush "won" New Mexico by 5,988 votes. Or did he? I calculated that, of the all the ballots rejected and "spoiled," 89% were cast by voters of color. Who won New Mexico? Kerry won -- or he would have, if they had counted the ballots.
But they didn't count them. And that was deliberate. It's in the plan. It's the program. And the program for 2008 is simple. Two million ballots were cast but not counted in the 2000 race. (Over half, 54%, were cast by African-American.) In 2004, the GOP kicked it up to THREE million. Get ready, these guys aim high: "four in '06" and "five in '08" looks to be their game plan.
How will they pile up five million un-voters in 2008? Let's start with the three million "disappeared" of 2004:
Step 1: "Spoiling" ballots -- 1,389,231 of them. In the vote-count game, these are called "undervotes" and "overvotes." You can recognize these lost ballots by their hanging chads, punch cards without punches (an Ohio specialty), paper ballots eaten by scanners, and touch screens that didn't know you touched them.
Step 2: Rejecting "provisional ballots"-- 1,090,729 in this pile. Voters finding themselves at the "wrong" precinct, or wrongly "scrubbed" from voter rolls get these back-of-the-bus ballots first inaugurated in 2002. In '04, provisional ballots were passed out like candy to voters in the poorest precincts. They handed them out -- then threw them away -- one million dumped in all. In Ohio, Republican Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell changed state rules, allowing him to toss out the ballots of legal voters who cast ballots in the wrong precinct although these citizens were told their vote would count after confirming their registration.
Step 3: Not counting absentee ballots -- 526,420 of them. At least, that's what we figure from official stats. But it's anyone's guess how many mailed-in votes were dumped. (However, in one case, in Palm Beach, Florida, Jeb Bush's candidate for Elections Supervisor, Theresa LaPore, counted more absentee votes than absentee ballots mailed in. Not the brightest bulb in the vote-fix biz, that Theresa.)
Step 4: Scrub'm, Purge'm, Block'm. These are the voters who never got to vote at all. This group includes those who found their registrations were never entered on the voter rolls. In Ohio, about one-fourth of those registered by Jesse Jackson's 2004 voter drive, found their registrations delayed beyond the election date or lost.
Add to this un-voter group, those who were wrongly "scrubbed" from registries as "felons." For example, there was Bernice Kines, purged in Florida in 2004 because she was convicted of a felony on July 31, 2009. I repeat: 2009. There was something especially odd about the Ohio felon purge: ex-cons are ALLOWED to vote in that state, Mr. Blackwell.
How many lost their chance to vote by scrubbing, purging and blocking? That's anyone's guess, but one million would not be an unfair estimate -- and that's not included in the 3.6 million tally of ballots uncounted.
Was it deliberate? Oh my God, yes. I'd like you to take a look at the "caging" lists the Republican National Committee concocted to challenge voters with "suspect" addresses. It included page after page of African-American soldiers, like one Randall Prausa, shipped overseas. Mission accomplished, Mr. President?
And there's some new tricks for these old dogs. For the 2006 and 2008, the GOP is pushing new Voter ID requirements. Your signature won't be good enough anymore.
What's wrong with the new ID laws? This: in the 2004 election, 300,000 voters were turned away from the polls for "wrong" ID. For example, in the "Little Texas" counties in New Mexico, if your voter registration included a middle initial but your driver's license had none, you were kicked out of the polling station. Funny, but they only seemed to ask Hispanic voters. We should see the number of voters rejected for ID to quintuple by 2008 based on the new "voting reform" laws recently passed in several states.
Also, coming to a polling station near you: more caging lists, scrub lists, ID challenge lists and more. Exactly why do you think they are compiling those "War on Terror" and War on Immigration databases? Behind the 2000 felon purge lists and behind the 2004 caging lists were databases from the same companies that now have those homeland security contracts. Are they saving us from Osama -- or from Democrats?
I wish I could give you a book on a page, because information is our weapon: Turn on the lights and the cockroaches scatter. That's why I'm asking you to read RFK's article on the Theft of Ohio -- and GET ANGRY. Then read, "Armed Madhouse: … The Scheme to Steal '08' -- AND GET READY.
BBC investigative reporter Greg Palast is author of ARMED MADHOUSE: Who's Afraid of Osama Wolf?, The Scheme to Steal 'O8, No Child's Behind Left and other Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Class War -- out Tuesday. Or order it at www.ArmedMadhouse.com.
Also, check Bradblog.com and AirAmericaRadio.com for the audio of Janeane Garofalo, Brad Friedman and Randi Rhodes reading "Kerry Won" and other sections of Armed Madhouse.
Then belly up to the beast: Join Greg Palast and the Reverend Jesse Jackson (in Chicago), Amy Goodman (in New York), Bob Fitrakis (in Columbus) and others for the 24-city US/UK Armed Madhouse Class War Boot Camp meetings. They begin this Monday, sponsored by Ohio Citizens Alliance for Secure Elections, Operation PUSH, Oregon Voter Action, Activist San Diego and Pacifica Radio. For dates and locations, go to www.GregPalast.com