VOTING IRREGULARITIES IN OHIO - Mitch Perry

12/08/04

The Reverend Jesse Jackson said today the burden is on Congress to investigate countless reports of election irregularities in Ohio and elsewhere.

While he stopped short of calling for a delay in the Inauguration, Jackson repeatedly said the election is not over…His comments came as Michigan Democrat John Conyers conveyed a meeting to examine the accusations.

Conyers, the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, said Democratic lawmakers have received tens of thousands of reports of voting problems.

Those included disparities in vote totals for Democrats on the same ballot, too few voting machines in Democrat-leaning urban precincts, organized campaigns directing voters to the wrong polling place and confusion over the counting of provisional ballots cast by those whose names did not appear in the books of registered voters at polling places.

The Government Accountability Office said it would study the 2004 election, and Conyers said Democrats on the Judiciary Committee plan to review each reported problem.

In a sometimes raucus hearing that was attended by Democratic Members of the House Judiciary Committee, the hearing took over 3 hours in Washington this morning.

Cliff Arnebeck is the Legal Affairs Committee Chair from Common Cause of Ohio…He had specific questions he believed are essential that need to be answered regarding voting irregularities in Ohio (roll tape#1 o.q.�

Steve Rosenfeld is the Producer for the Laura Flanders show , heard weekends on the Air America radio network (roll tape#1 o.q.�it was old school thuggery�)

Much has been said about the extremely long lines that took place in many precincts in Ohio on Election Night – some taking voters as long as 9 hours to cast their vote….

Professor Robert Fitrakis is the Editor of the Columbus Free Press…He said that skeptics would counter that long lines took place at Republican favored precincts

(roll tape#2 o.q.�heavily Democratic areas�)

3rd Party candidates David Cobb from the Green Party and Michael Bednarik from the Libertarians are paying for a recount of the entire state of Ohio’s Presidential Election – but that will not begin for several more days…

John Boniface is the Founder of the National Voting Rights Institute based in Boston…He blasted Ohio’s Republican Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell, saying he has done everything possible to stall a recount of Ohio’s election before the state electors

Convene next Monday (roll tape#3 o.q.�he should be stopped�)

Many of the skeptics of the Election returns in Ohio and Florida blame the exit polls which showed that John Kerry led those states in the first returns……Famed Pollster John Zogby also ended up having egg on his face on election night…Late in the afternoon on November 2nd, he predicted that John Kerry would smash George W. Bush in the electoral college, by possibly 200 electoral votes.

A representative from Zogby International, Communications Director Shawnta Walcott – said that Zogby was as interested anyone else on the panel to find out about possible voting irregularities in Ohio (roll tape#4�

Boca Raton Democratic Congressman Robert Wexler has been one of the most vocal critics of the voting situation in Florida over the past 4 years, and took Secretary of State Glenda Hood to court this year, challenging the state to add printers for the electronic voting machines used in 15 Counties in the state (roll tape#4 o.q.�was lost�)

Robert Fitrakis, Editor of the Columbus Free Press tried to respond to Wexler’s query

(roll tape#5 o.q.� we don’t have a final count�)

The Reverend Jesse Jackson expressed frustration that the 3 hours of hearings wouldn’t amount to anything constructive – his call for a Constitutional Amendment to guarantee fair and free elections did NOT appear to move Democrats on the Judiciary COmmittee

(roll tape#6 o.q. “and owned the machines�)

In a written statement, John Kerry weighed in before today’s hearing. Kerry said, “"It's critical that we investigate and understand any and every voting irregularity anywhere in our country, not because it would change the outcome of the election but because Americans have to believe that their votes are counted in our democracy�.

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