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Investigation into the 2004 US Election


Project: Investigation into the 2004 US Election

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August 2001

       In Summit County, Ohio, congressional redistricting prompted by the 2000 census is accompanied by a 19 percent reduction in the number of voting precincts—from 624 to 507. Republicans support the move claiming that the cuts will save taxpayers an estimated $45,000 for each countywide election. [Akron Beacon Journal, 12/11/2004] Further reductions in 2003 (See 2003) will reduce the number of precincts to 475. Overall, most of the reductions occur in the city of Akron where there is a significant Democratic majority. As a result of the cuts, the Akron precincts will experience long lines in the 2004 elections (See November 2, 2004), “especially in the city's predominantly African-American wards.”


       Ohio's Summit County Board of Elections eliminates 32 more voting precincts. [Akron Beacon Journal, 12/11/2004] This follows a previous reduction, which occurred in 2001 (See August 2001). Since the 2000 elections, the total number of precincts in the county has dropped from 624 to 475, or a countywide decrease of 24 percent. Most of the cuts have occurred in the city of Akron where there is a significant Democratic majority. Akron has lost 81 of its 234 precincts, or more than a third. [Akron Beacon Journal, 12/11/2004] Other counties in Ohio do not feel the need to consolidate precincts. More than half of Ohio's 88 counties either increase or make no changes in the number of precincts. [Akron Beacon Journal, 12/11/2004] As a result of the cuts, the Akron precincts experiences long lines in the 2004 elections (See November 2, 2004), “especially in the city's predominantly African-American wards.”

July 17, 2004-October 12, 2004

       According to, Sproul & Associates—a political consulting firm run by 32-year-old Nathan Sproul, a former Christian Coalition activist and one-time director of the Arizona Republican Party—receives $812,864 from the Republican National Committee to do voter outreach and $736,665 for political consulting. [; San Francisco Chronicle, 10/28/2004] During the months preceding the election, the firm is accused of instructing its workers to register only Republican voters, and in one case actually destroying registrations forms filled out by Democrats. The alleged activities reportedly occur in Nevada (See October 12, 2004), Oregon (See Early September 2004, (October 2004), and (October 12, 2004)), Pennsylvania (See Before September 6, 2004, October 19, 2004 and October 19, 2004) and West Virginia (See Before August 20, 2004). The company—which operates under several names, including Voters Outreach of America, America Votes and Project America Votes—denies these charges. [San Jose Mercury News, 10/14/2004]

Before August 20, 2004

       Sproul & Associates, a Republican-financed consulting firm, contracts a temporary employment agency in West Virginia to hire people to register only Republicans. The hirees are provided with scripts that encourage deceptive practices and are told little about the consulting firm for whom they will be working. One of those initially hired for the job is Lisa Bragg, a 37-year-old resident of St. Albans. Responding to an ad for a “customer service” position, she visits Kelly Services, a national temp agency, in August 2004 and is offered a job. At first, the company doesn't provided any details about the job. But the next day, when she attends an orientation, she learns that she will be registering Republican voters. Though another voter registration group in the same community which registers people of all political persuasions pays canvassers only $5.50 an hour, this job is paying $9 an hour. She and the other applicants will be canvassing at One Stop convenience stores throughout the Charleston region. According to a script provided by Kelly Services, the canvassers will approach One Stop customers and ask whether they support George Bush or John Kerry. If they indicate that they plan to vote for Bush, the canvassers should ask if the person is registered to vote and then offer a voter registration card if the person answers no. However, if the person is a Kerry supporter, they should only say thank you and provide the person with a registration card if asked. If anyone asks questions, the firm advises, “Only state you are there to conduct a simple field poll to see what neighborhood support is ... a nonpartisan registration drive.” If the person becomes angry, they should quietly listen and remember, “The goal is to register Republicans and to remain positive.” The canvassers are also told that people will be checking up on them in the field. Bragg later says in interviews with the press that she thinks the purpose of the monitoring was to make sure the canvassers keep to their script and avoid registering Democrats. The script is printed on Sproul & Associates and America Votes letterhead. But Sproul & Associates is not affiliated with America Votes. Kelly Services does not divulge information about Sproul to the canvassers. According to Bragg, instead the temp agency advises, “[T]he less you know about the company, the better off you are, especially if the media would come asking questions.” Bragg, a Democrat, declines the job and instead tells her story to the Charleston Gazette and Salon. [Salon, 10/21/2004; The Charleston Gazette, 8/20/2004]

Early September 2004

       A person calling himself Harry Miller and claiming to represent American Votes contacts the director of the Jackson County Library in Oregon and asks him to call an 800 number to give permission for the organization to conduct a non-partisan voter registration project at the libraries. [Source: September 16, 2004 email from Meghan O'Flaherty] When librarian Meghan O'Flaherty attempts to verify the person's identity with America Votes, its Oregon State Coordinator says that no Harry Miller works for the organization (see September 16, 2004 or before).

Early September 2004

       In Medford, Oregon, Meghan O'Flaherty, the county librarian, receives a one-page fax from the Republican-financed political consulting firm, Sproul & Associates. The fax says it wants to hold a voter registration drive at the local library and claims to be acting on behalf of a nonpartisan group called America Votes. The fax reads: “Our firm has been contracted to help coordinate a national nonpartisan voter registration drive, America Votes!, in several states across the nation.” The fax also says it intends to “equally register all those who wish to register to vote.” The fax is sent to three other Oregon libraries as well. [Mail Tribune, 9/21/2004; CBS News, 10/14/2004] When Flaherty calls Kevin Looper of American Votes, she learns that the organization did not hire Sproul & Associates and that they had nothing to do with America Votes. [KGW News and The Associated Press, 10/13/2004] Nathan Sproul, owner of the consulting company, claims that it was an innocent mistake. “We were not trying to copy their name,” he says. Sproul also tells a Mail Tribune reporter, “You telling me that they even exist was really the first time I'd heard it.” He said his company, hired by a number of clients to register voters, came up with what he believed was a generic name. Yet Sue Noel, a temporary employee at Sproul & Associates, says the voter drive is called Project America Votes and she knew about the redundant name. “What we try to do is tell people we are not affiliated with America Votes,” she says. Looper expresses doubt about the company's claim. “You'll have to forgive me for not finding it credible that they would not have heard of a group that is one of the largest in the country and is in every one of the 17 swing states and that could hardly be missed in any political circle.” [Mail Tribune, 9/21/2004]

Between September 2004 and mid-October 2004

       The Ohio Republican Party, headed by Robert T. Bennett, sends 232,000 letters to all of Ohio's voters who registered between January 1 and August 31. The letter reportedly welcomes the newly registered voters and encourages them to vote Republican. Roughly 30,000 of the letters are returned as undeliverable either because the intended recipients don't exist, have moved or died, or because the letters went to vacant houses or bogus addresses. Commenting on the large number of returned ballots, Bennett later tells the Columbus Dispatch, “It was an astounding number. The potential for these fraudulent registrations to produce fraudulent votes at the ballot box is very real.” David Sullivan, Ohio coordinator for the Democrats? voter-protection project, disagrees, claiming that the Republicans' mass mailing was “an unprecedented effort to throw tens of thousands of voters off of Ohio's voting rolls.” [Columbus Dispatch, 10/23/2004]

Before September 6, 2004

       Employees of the Republican-financed political consulting firm, Sproul & Associates, contact the Carnegie Library in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to request space outside its buildings to register voters. According to Holly McCullough, special assistant to the library director, a woman from the firm claims that she represents America Votes, a nonpartisan but liberal-leaning organization. McCullough agrees to provide the space on the condition that their activities are non-partisan and that there is “no issue advocacy.” But several days later, McCullough will receive a call from Ryan Hughes, director of the Woods Run library branch, saying that patrons have complained about the behavior of the canvassers (September 7, 2004). [Philadelphia Daily News, 10/19/2004; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 10/20/2004]

September 7, 2004

       At the Carnegie Library in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a library patron complains that canvassers registering voters in front of the library are asking people for whom they intend to vote. “There's this person out there asking me who I was voting for,” the person says. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 10/20/2004] The canvassers are working for Sproul & Associates, a firm that claims to be non-partisan (See Before September 6, 2004). When librarian Holly McCullough calls the company to complain, she's told that the workers are asking people about their political affiliations “because they were doing some market analysis in the area.” In response, McCullough counters they were only supposed to be doing registrations, not market analysis. Then Sproul claims that the temp agency is at fault because it is not following the rules. When asked if the firm is really with America Votes, they claim, “We've always represented that we were Sproul, and America Votes is a non-partisan group we're working with,” adding that there “is another, partisan America Votes, and we're not affiliated with them.“ McCullough then tells them that they are no longer welcome at her library. [Salon, 10/21/2004]

September 16, 2004 or before

       Kevin Looper, the Oregon State Coordinator for America Votes, informs Oregon Jackson County librarian Meghan O'Flaherty that a person who had contacted her purporting to be from American Votes (See September 16, 2004 or before) does not work for his organization. He says in an email to her: “Here is what I know: We do not have a Harry Miller in our employ. This organization is absolutely not representing America Votes, and my National leadership is initiating action to get them to cease and desist representations that infringe upon our rights and mislead voters.” [Source: September 16, 2004 email from Meghan O'Flaherty]

(October 2004)

       According to Ohio's voter registration database, the level of registered voters in Perry County is a remarkably high 91 percent. A substantial number of these voters, however, appear never to have voted and “have no signatures on file.” The database also indicates that 3,100 voters registered on the exact same day, November 8, 1977—despite there being no federal elections during that year. [Source: Letter from US House Judiciary Democrats to Kenneth Blackwell, 12/2/2004]

October 2004

       In Franklin County, there are reports that people have received prank phone calls providing false information about the upcoming elections. For example, in one case, a man claiming to be from the Board of Elections called a elderly couple in the North Side precinct and said that their voting site had been changed and that they would need to go to a South Side precinct to vote. In other cases, the caller has offered to pick up an absentee-ballot application for the voter, deliver the ballot to the voter and then submit the completed ballot to the elections office. [Columbus Dispatch, 10/22/2004]

(October 2004)

       In Franklin County, Ohio, a Holiday Inn employee reportedly observes 25 people from the “Texas Strike Force” using payphones to call likely voters, targeting people recently in the prison system. According to the hotel worker's account, one of the callers threatens someone with being reported to the FBI and returning to jail if he shows up at the polls to vote. When another hotel worker calls the police to report the crime, the police come to the hotel, but do nothing. [The Free Press, 12/13/2004] Though the members of the “Texas Strike Force” paid their way to Ohio [Human Events, 12/1/2004] , their hotel bill is reportedly paid by the Ohio Republican Party, whose headquarters is located across the street. [The Free Press, 12/13/2004]

(October 2004)

       In Oregon, Douglas County Clerk Barbara Nielsen receives complaints from voters who claim that canvassers working for the political consulting firm, Sproul & Associates, tried to push them into registering as Republicans, saying that if they registered as Democrats the canvassers wouldn't get paid and that the forms might not make it to the clerk's office. In the state of Oregon, it is a class-C felony, punishable by five years in jail or a $100,000 fine, to destroy registration forms. [KGW News and The Associated Press, 10/13/2004]

October 12, 2004

       Thieves break into Lucas County Democratic headquarters in Toledo, Ohio and remove computers that contain sensitive campaign information like candidates' schedules; financial information; phone numbers of party members, candidates, donors, and volunteers; and emails from the party's office manager discussing campaign strategy. Computers belonging to Lucas County Commissioner Tina Skeldon Wozniak and to a Texas attorney—who has been working with the Kerry/Edwards presidential campaign to ensure election security—are also stolen. Commenting on the impact of the break-in, party spokesman Jerry Chabler tells the Toledo Blade: “This puts us behind the eight ball. This can affect our entire get-out-the-vote operation.” Chabler also tells the newspaper that it was apparent the burglars “knew what they wanted.” The burglars left two other computers containing less sensitive information and ignored other items that would have likely been taken if the burglary had been driven my monetary interest. Ohio Democratic spokesperson Dan Trevas says that the political importance of Lucas County cannot be overstated. “It's a major Democratic county in a swing area, surrounded by Republican and moderates,” he explains. “A lot of votes come out of northwest Ohio.” For some reason the building's alarm system did not detect the break-in. [Toledo Blade, 10/13/2004]

October 12, 2004

       In Nevada, Eric Russell, a former employee of the Republican-funded political consulting firm, Sproul & Associates, claims in a signed affidavit that the company's employees were paid to register only Republicans. His former employer told him to ask prospective voters, “Who would you vote for in the next election?” Only people who indicated they would vote for President Bush were to be registered, he says. When Russell refused to follow instructions and registered both Democrats and Republicans, his employer docked his pay. Russell also says that he witnessed his supervisor take out eight to ten Democratic registration forms from a pile and destroy them—a felony in some states. He added that hundreds, if not thousands, of forms were destroyed. “I personally witnessed my supervisor at VOA, together with her personal assistant, destroy completed registration forms that VOA employees had collected” he explains. [CBS News 10/14/2004; The Las Vegas Review-Journal 10/14/2004; The San Jose Mercury News, 10/14/2004; KGW News and The Associated Press, 1/13/2004] “We caught her taking Democrats out of my pile, handed them to her assistant, and he ripped them up right in front of us.” [CNN, 10/14/2004] “All of the destroyed registration forms were for registrants who indicated their party preference as ‘Democrat.’” [The San Jose Mercury News, 10/14/2004] Russell's account is supported by another of the firm's former employees, Tyrone Mrasak, who tells the Las Vegas Review-Journal that workers were encouraged to register 18 Republican voters per day. He says that they were permitted to finish the day at anytime after meeting this quota and would still be paid for eight hours of work. “We didn't get credit for forms we brought back marked Democrat,” he explains. He also recounts how he would often loiter in front of homeless shelters and give homeless people cigarettes in exchange for registering as Republicans. “As long as they have an address, they can register,” Mrasak says. “If they were looking to bum a cigarette I'd say, ‘I'll trade you a cigarette if you sign this.’” [The Las Vegas Review-Journal 10/14/2004] These charges are adamantly denied by the Republican National Committee, which provides the San Jose Mercury News with affidavits from two other employees of the firm claiming that no voter-registration forms had been destroyed. [The San Jose Mercury News, 10/14/2004] The firm also denies that its employees were instructed to destroy forms, but does not dispute that they were encouraged to register more Republicans than Democrats. [San Francisco Chronicle, 10/28/2004] Republican consultant Paul Senseman says that Sproul is “very professional, very mission-oriented,” adding, “He's somebody that gets things done.” [San Francisco Chronicle, 10/28/2004]

(October 12, 2004)

       In Portland, Oregon, Mike Johnson, age 20, tells KGW News that he formerly worked for Voter Outreach of America—a name used by the Republican-financed political consulting firm, Sproul & Associates—as a canvasser registering people to vote. He says that his former employer instructed him to only accept Republican registration forms. His boss also told him that forms turned in by Democrats might be “destroy[ed]” since he was being paid by the Republican party. [KGW News and the Associated Press, 10/13/2004]

(October 12, 2004)

       In Eugene, Oregon, several students from the University of Oregon say they were told by canvassers circulating a petition to crack down on child molesters that they must register as Republicans in order for their signatures to “count.” Elizabeth Thygeson, age 19, a registered Democrat, explains to KGW News, “They told me that by registering as a Republican, I would be helping people fight child molesters.” [KGW News and The Associated Press, 10/13/2004]

October 19, 2004

       Michele Tharp, of Meadville, Pennsylvania, says that as a volunteer canvasser for Sproul & Associates, a Republican-financed political consulting firm, she was instructed not to register Democrats. “We were told that if they wanted to register Democrat, there was no way we were to register them to vote,” she tells the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “We were only to register Republicans.” Tharp further explains that volunteers were sent door-to-door to seek registrants but were told to first ask which candidate they planned to support. “If they said Kerry, we were just supposed to say thank you and walk away.” She also complains that she was paid only $14 for 15 hours of work after being hired at a rate of $11 per hour. But Brenda Snyder, a volunteer with the Republican Victory Center in Erie, who disputes claims that workers were told not to register Democrats, denies that workers were docked for registering Democrats, saying instead that the problems were due to “discrepancies in their paychecks.” [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 10/20/2004]

October 19, 2004

       Michael Twilla, of Meadville, Pennsylvania, tells the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that as an employee of Sproul & Associates, a Republican-financed political consulting firm, he was instructed not to register Democrats. “If they were a Kerry voter, we were just supposed to walk away.” A copy of the script that he and other canvassers are given tells them to offer unregistered Bush supporters a registration form and to tell them that the form would be personally delivered to the local courthouse. However, in order to avoid registering Democrats, the script also recommends asking registrants two questions: “Do you consider yourself pro-choice or pro life?” and “Are you worried about the Democrats raising taxes?” If voters say they are pro-life, the form says, “Ask if they are registered to vote. If they are pro-choice, say thank you and walk away.” If anyone asks who the canvassers are working for they are to respond, “Project America Vote,” a name that is nearly identical to the liberal-leaning national non-partisan group, America Votes. Other workers were reportedly also advised to say they were working for Career Concepts, a local employment agency. But a spokeswomen for Career Concepts told the Post-Gazette that the company did not employ the canvassers. Twilla also complained that he was paid for only eight of 72 hours he worked. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 10/20/2004]

October 22, 2004

       In Ohio, Republican Party officials submit a list of 35,427 registered voters in 65 different counties whose mailing addresses, they say, are questionable to county election boards. 17,717 names on the list are of newly registered voters from Cuyahoga County, which includes Cleveland, a Democratic stronghold. [Columbian Dispatch, 10/23/2004; New York Times, 10/23/2004]

4:00pm October 22, 2004

       The Republican Party provides Ohio election officials with lists of the people they have recruited to work as “challengers” on election day. According to a 1953 Ohio state law—which critics says is rooted in a blatantly racist 1886 statute that emerged after the Civil War—“challengers” are permitted to challenge the qualifications of voters who they suspect are not eligible to vote. [Associated Press, 11/1/2004; New York Times, 10/23/2004] Before a challenger can ask a poll worker to question a voter, it must first be shown that there is “reasonable” justification for doubting a voter's qualifications. All eligible voters must be citizens, at least 18, a resident of the county and must have lived in Ohio for the previous 30 days. The Republicans' list includes 3,600 challengers, many of whom will be working in the heavily Democratic urban neighborhoods of Cleveland, Dayton and other cities. For example 1,436 of the Republican challengers will be stationed in Cuyahoga County, which includes Cleveland, a Democratic stronghold. The Republicans claim that using challengers is necessary because the Democrats may have fraudulently registered thousands of ineligible voters. The Democrats enlist more than 2,000 recruits as challengers who they hope will protect legitimate voters from being denied their rights by their Republican counterparts. But in some of the most critical counties the Democrats will be grossly outnumbered. For Cuyahoga County, the Democrats will only have 300 challengers. [New York Times, 10/23/2004] Election officials are concerned about the huge number of challenges that are expected at the polls. “I'm not sure how we're going to accomplish this,” says John Williams, deputy elections director in Hamilton County. “We've never had anything like this before.” Some fear that the challengers intend to reduce voter turnout. “Some observers worry the parties will indiscriminately challenge voters in heavily Democratic or Republican precincts as a strategy to discourage people from voting,” The Columbus Dispatch reports. [The Columbus Dispatch, 10/23/2004]

Between October 22, 2004 and October 29, 2004

       The GOP withdraws about 5,000 challenges (See October 22, 2004) in Hamilton County after discovering errors. [Cleveland Enquirer, 10/30/2004]

October 23, 2004-October 29, 2004

       County election boards in Ohio hold hearings to verify the voting addresses of roughly 30,000 recently registered voters whose eligibility to vote has been challenged by the Republican Party (See October 22, 2004). [WTOV, 10/27/2004; New York Times, 10/29/2004] According to Democratic officials, Republicans challenging voters at the hearings have little or no evidence to support their claims, other than that the voter's registration card was returned “undeliverable” (See Between September 2004 and mid-October 2004). In Summit County, elections officials reject all 976 challenges after the challengers fail to provide evidence. Similarly, in Warren County, officials throw out every one of the county's 23 challenges. [Cleveland Enquirer, 10/30/2004]

October 28, 2004

       In Ohio, the Lake County Board of Elections issues a notice warning that some of the county's newly registered voters have received phony letters claiming that the recipients may have been registered illegally and consequently may not be eligible to vote in the November 2004 elections. The unsigned fake letter, dated October 22 and printed on stationary that looks similar to that of the board, reads: “[I]ndependent efforts by the NAACP, America Coming Together, John Kerry for President and the Capri Cafaro for Congress campaigns have been illegally registering people to vote and apply for absentee ballots.... If you have been registered by any of these entities then you may run the risk of being illegally registered to vote. Please be advised that if you were registered in this capacity, that you will not be able to vote until the next election.” [source: Phony Lake County Board of Elections Letters, 10/22/2004; The Washington Post, 10/31/2004; News 5 [Ohio], 10/28/2004]

October 28, 2004

       In Lebanon, Ohio, Warren County officials decide behind closed doors that they will close the county administration building to the public on election night (See After 7:30pm, November 2, 2004). [Cincinnati Enquirer, 11/5/2004] Email memos dated October 25 and October 26 indicate that detailed discussion about the proposed measure began earlier. [Cincinnati Enquirer, 11/16/2004] The decision follows a recommendation by Warren County Emergency Services Director Frank Young based on information allegedly received from the US Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation during recent weeks. However officials from both those agencies later say they are unaware of any specific information relating to Warren County that would have caused the lockdown (See November 9, 2004). The public will not be informed of the decision to close the administration building until election night, after the polls close. [Cincinnati Enquirer, 11/5/2004]

Late October 2004

       In Akron, Ohio, the Summit County Democratic Party goes to the federal district court in an attempt to block the Republican's plan to station some 3,500 “challengers” at voting sites in 65 different Ohio counties (See 4:00pm October 22, 2004). They say that the 1953 vote-challenge law—which critics say is rooted in a blatantly racist 1886 statute that emerged from the Civil War—jeopardizes people's fundamental right to vote. The law allows citizens to be denied the right without an opportunity to be represented by an attorney or rebut evidence. The case will be decided Monday morning (See Early morning, November 1, 2004) [Cincinnati Enquirer, 11/1/2004; Columbus Dispatch, 11/1/2004; Los Angeles Times, 11/2/2004]

October 28, 2004

       Judge Susan J. Dlott, of Federal District Court in Cincinnati, blocks the election boards of six Ohio counties—Franklin, Lawrence, Medina, Cuyahoga, Scioto and Trumbull—from holding voter verification hearings (See October 23, 2004-October 29, 2004). [New York Times, 10/29/2004; WTOV, 10/27/2004]

Morning, October 29, 2004

       The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit upholds Judge Dlott's October 28 ruling (See October 28, 2004) halting voter registration hearings (See October 23, 2004-October 29, 2004) in six Ohio counties. [New York Times, 10/29/2004]

October 29, 2004

       In Cincinnati, Donald and Marian Spencer, elderly African American civil rights activists, go to federal district court to challenge the 1953 Ohio law that permits poll watchers to challenge voters (See 4:00pm October 22, 2004). Critics of the law say it is rooted in a blatantly racist 1886 statute that emerged after the Civil War. The couple is supported in their case by the Democrats. The couple complains that most of the Republican challengers will be deployed in the heavily black precincts in the Cincinnati area in order to suppress minority voters. [Los Angeles Times, 11/2/2004; Cincinnati Enquirer, 11/1/2004] David Maume, a sociologist from the University of Cincinnati, testifies that demographic data show a disproportionate number of Republican challengers would be sent to precincts that are predominantly Africa-American. Maume further explains that perhaps as many as 77 percent of black voters would encounter a challenger on Election Day, compared with 25 percent of white voters. There is “a clear correlation between a voting population that is black and the placement of Republican challengers,” Maume concludes. [Cleveland Enquirer, 10/30/2004] The court resumes hearing on the case Sunday evening (See Evening, October 31, 2004). [Los Angeles Times, 11/2/2004]

Afternoon, October 29, 2004

       Judge Dlott issues an injunction halting challenge hearings (See October 23, 2004-October 29, 2004) in all of the state's 88 counties. [New York Times, 10/29/2004]

Afternoon, October 29, 2004

       Following Judge Dlott's ruling (See Afternoon, October 29, 2004), Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell instructs Ohio Attorney General Jim Petro to recommend to federal judges that all challengers be barred from polling locations. [Columbus Dispatch, 10/31/2004; Cincinnati Enquirer, 11/1/2004] He reasons that poll workers hired and paid by the local election boards and supplied by the parties should be able to protect against voter fraud. He also says the challengers could generate confusion. [Cleveland Plain Dealer, 10/31/2004; New York Times, 10/30/2004] But Petro refuses, saying that to do so would be a violation of Ohio law. “Neither the secretary of state nor I can negotiate away the legal rights of Ohio's citizens,” Petro says in a statement. “Thus, I cannot submit to the federal courts the secretary's unlawful proposal to ban all challengers for all parties, candidates or issues on Election Day.” Both officials are Republicans. [Cleveland Plain Dealer, 10/31/2004; Columbus Dispatch, 10/31/2004; Cincinnati Enquirer, 11/1/2004]

October 29, 2004

       In a fax to US District Judge Susan Dlott, Assistant Attorney General R. Alexander Acosta, offers the Justice Department's unsolicited opinion on a pre-election lawsuit that has been filed by Donald and Marian Spencer (See October 29, 2004), elderly African American civil rights activists, who claim that Republican plans to deploy thousands of partisan challengers to Ohio polls on election day violates the US Constitution and the 1965 Voting Rights because it targets black neighborhoods in Hamilton County. Copies of the fax are sent to Al Gerhardstein, who is representing the Spencers, and Ohio Attorney General Jim Petro. [Beacon Journal, 10/31/2004; Cleveland Plain Dealer, 10/31/2004] Acosta writes in his letter that civil rights lawyers for the Bush administration's Justice Department see no reason why the plan would be illegal. “[N]othing in the Voting Rights Act facially condemns challenge statutes,” the letter claims. Bush's Justice Department also argues that “[r]estricting the ability of citizens to make challenges when they have such information would undermine the ability of election officials to enforce their own state laws that govern the eligibility for voting.” [Cleveland Plain Dealer, 10/31/2004; Beacon Journal, 10/31/2004; Los Angeles Times, 11/1/2004] Gerhardstein says he believes the Justice Department may have breached legal rules by contacting the judge directly. “It is totally unusual, it is unprecedented for the Justice Department to offer its opinions on the merits of a case like that,” he tells the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “This is the civil rights division saying it is OK for voters to be ambushed when they reach for a ballot.” [Cleveland Plain Dealer, 10/31/2004] Similarly, he tells the Los Angeles Times: “The Justice Department is not a party to the case. They have not filed a motion to intervene in the case or filed an amicus brief. They volunteered information that goes beyond any federal interest.” [Los Angeles Times, 11/1/2004]

October 31, 2004

       Ohio Attorney General Jim Petro, a Republican, files a suit in the 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals asking for a stay of the court decisions in Akron (See Late October 2004) and Cincinnati (See Evening, October 31, 2004). Petro claims that the two federal judges, one of whom was appointed by George Bush in 2002, are “injecting themselves” into the presidential elections and rewriting Ohio's election laws. [Plain Dealer Reporter, 11/2/2004] The court will grant the stay early the following morning (See 1:24 am November 1, 2004).

Evening, October 31, 2004

       In Cincinnati, Donald and Marian Spencer, go to federal district court to resume their challenge (See October 29, 2004) of a 1953 Ohio law that permits poll watchers to challenge voters (See 4:00pm October 22, 2004). The couple contends that most of the Republican challengers will be working in the heavily black precincts in the Cincinnati area in order to suppress minority voters. The court decides early Monday morning (See 1:24 am November 1, 2004). [Los Angeles Times, 11/2/2004]

1:24 am November 1, 2004

       In Cincinnati, US District Judge Susan J. Dlott rules on a case brought by Donald and Marian Spencer (See Evening, October 31, 2004), in which the couple challenged the GOP's plan to deploy challengers to polling sites in Hamilton County (See 4:00pm October 22, 2004). Dlott, appointed by Clinton in 1994, rules against the Republican plan, noting that there is no need to have challengers since Ohio already requires the presence of election judges at precincts in order to avoid voter fraud. “Under Ohio law, each polling place is staffed by four election judges, no more than two of whom can be from a single party,” the Los Angeles Times explains. “One of the four is appointed by each county election board to be the presiding judge, who can rule on challenges to a voter's qualifications.” Dlott warns in her 18-page decision that the Republican plan, if permitted, could cause “chaos, delay, intimidation and pandemonium inside the polls and in the lines outside the door.” She notes “that 14 percent of new voters in a majority white location will face a challenger ... but 97 percent of new voters in a majority African American voting location will see such a challenger.” Dlott says also that the law permitting challengers does not sufficiently protect citizens' fundamental right to vote. [Los Angeles Times, 11/2/2004; Cincinnati Enquirer, 11/2/2004; Cincinnati Enquirer, 11/1/2004; Columbus Dispatch, 11/1/2004] Dlott ruling is very similar to another one that is delivered a few hours later in a similar case in Akron (See Early morning, November 1, 2004). Commenting on the two rulings, two election law experts, professor Edward Foley of Ohio State University Law School in Columbus and Richard L. Hasen of Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, both tell the Los Angeles Times that they consider it significant that the two judges have provided similar rationales for their rulings. “It is quite striking that the reasoning of both judges is the same and they echo one another,” Foley says. [Los Angeles Times, 11/2/2004]

November 1, 2004

       In Franklin County, electronic voting machines are delivered to polling places in Columbus and its suburbs. But they are unevenly distributed, with more machines being placed per registered voter in the higher-income areas than lower-income areas. [The Free Press, 12/16/2004] According to the Columbus Dispatch, the manager of election operations, a Democrat, recommended the placement of machines. [Columbus Dispatch, 12/11/2004] At the end of the day, County Elections Director Matthew Damschroder, a Republican, reportedly orders workers to deliver another 99 voting machines, which were held in reserve in case there was a serious accident or a problem with a truckload, to the inner city precincts where long lines are expected. But only 44 of the reserve machines are delivered. Four machines are delivered the next day (See (Morning) November 2, 2004), 29 machines are “are delivered by the close of polls,” and 22 are left in a warehouse (See Morning-early afternoon, November 2, 2004). [Columbus Dispatch, 12/11/2004]
Uneven distribution - In past elections, the county has aimed to have one machine for every 100 voters, with the maximum being 125 voters per machine. This formula assumes that the average voter will take roughly 5 minutes to cast his or her ballot. 200 voters per machine is considered the absolute maximum. [The Free Press, 12/16/2004; Columbus Dispatch, 12/11/2004]
After the elections, statistics will reveal that the voter-to-machine ratio was higher in Columbus than in its surrounding suburbs where the income level is higher. (See Morning-early afternoon, November 2, 2004)
Analysis by Dr. Richard Hayes Phillips - According to a signed affidavit by Dr. Richard Hayes Phillips, who holds a PhD in geomorphology from the University of Oregon, the uneven distribution of machines “cost[s] John Kerry 17,000 votes.” His conclusion is based on statistical analysis of Franklin County's election results which shows that wards with greater than 300 registered voters per machine had a lower voter turnout than wards with fewer than 300 registered voters per machine. Since areas with a lower density of machine placement were predominantly in Democratic Columbus inner-city precincts and since these precincts experienced lower than usual voter turnout, the implication is that many voters who would have voted for Kerry did not vote because of long lines. [Source: Affidavit, Richard Phillips, 12/10/2004]


Early morning, November 1, 2004

       In Akron, Ohio, US District Judge John R. Adams rules on a case brought by local residents (See Late October 2004), challenging the Republicans' plan to station challengers at polling sites in 65 Ohio counties (See 4:00pm October 22, 2004). Adams, appointed by Bush in 2002, rules against the GOP plan. In his decision he notes that Ohio already requires the presence of election judges at precincts in order to avoid voter fraud and that there is therefore no need to place challengers at the polls. “Under Ohio law, each polling place is staffed by four election judges, no more than two of whom can be from a single party,” the Los Angeles Times explains. “One of the four is appointed by each county election board to be the presiding judge, who can rule on challenges to a voter's qualifications.” Judge Adams also expresses concern that “random challenges or challenges without cause advanced by members of any political party ... could result in retaliatory ‘tit for tat’ challenges at the polling places.” Furthermore, he argues, “If challenges are made with any frequency, the resultant distraction and delay could give rise to chaos and a level of voter frustration that would turn qualified electors away from the polls” Finally, Adams also says that the law permitting challengers does not adequately protect a citizen's fundamental right to vote. [Los Angeles Times, 11/2/2004] Adams ruling is very similar to another one that was delivered just a few hours ago in a similar case in Cleveland (See 1:24 am November 1, 2004). Commenting on the two rulings, two election law experts, professor Edward Foley of Ohio State University Law School in Columbus and Richard L. Hasen of Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, both tell the Los Angeles Times that they consider it significant that the two judges have provided similar rationales for their rulings. “It is quite striking that the reasoning of both judges is the same and they echo one another,” Foley says. [Los Angeles Times, 11/2/2004]

November 2, 2004

       The Associated Press reports: “By the close of polls across the country, despite heavy turnout and hints of a vote-counting saga dead ahead, there were only scattered reports of equipment trouble and human error at the voting stations. And none were major.” [Associated Press, 03/11/2004]

November 2, 2004

       Voters in 68 of Ohio's 88 counties, or roughly 73 percent of the electorate, use punch-card ballots to cast their votes. In the counties that use electronic voting systems, 0.8 percent of the votes cast do not register a vote for president whereas in counties that use punch-card ballots, the figure is 1.9 percent, or 76,068 ballots. [Dayton Daily News, 11/21/2004] According to some groups who later dispute the election results, the punch-card ballots that fail to register a vote for the president do register votes for the other offices. [Guardian, 12/1/2004]

November 2, 2004

       In Ohio, Gambier residents and Kenyon college students and faculty wait in extremely long lines to vote—many of them in the rain. There are only two electronic voting machines for the 1,170 people that will eventually cast their vote by 4 am when the polling place finally closes. [Mount Vernon News, 11/2/2004; Beacon Journal, 11/4/2004; News 5 (Ohio), 11/4/2004; November 17, 2004] Kenyon College student Maggie Hill says during an appearance on the “Today Show” that her and hundreds of other students and Gambier residents had to wait up to 10 hours to cast their votes. [News 5 (Ohio), 11/4/2004]

November 2, 2004

       4,438 (Early reports say 4,530 votes) votes are lost in North Carolina's Carteret County because officials believed the computer that stored ballots electronically could hold more data than it actually could. The officials claimed that the voting system's manufacturer, UniLect Corp., had said that each of the storage unit could hold 10,500 votes when in actuality, the limit was 3,005. [The News and Observer, 11/17/2004; Associated Press, 11/4/2004; Journal Gazette, 11/13/2004] According to the North Carolina News and Observer, “Most of the votes lost were by registered Republicans.” [The News and Observer, 11/17/2004]

November 2, 2004

       A dozen precincts in the southwest part of Merced County, Ohio experience problems with electronic voting machines that were purchased in 2001 from UniLect Corp. Machine malfunctions in these precincts are compounded by problems with the paper ballots that are used as a back-up. [Vindicator, 11/3/2004; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 12/9/2004] All of the precincts experiencing these problems have a Democratic majority. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 12/9/2004] Some of the problems that voters experience include:
20 to 30 of the machines need to be recalibrated when votes intended for one candidate are instead counted for another. [Vindicator, 11/3/2004]

About twelve machines freeze up and have to be restarted. [Vindicator, 11/3/2004]

In the precincts of Hermitage, Farrell, Wheatland, West Middlesex, Shenango Township and Sharon, some machines never operate or offer only black screens while others display the ballot backwards, requiring the voter to start with the last page of the ballot and work towards the beginning. [Vindicator, 11/3/2004]

In polling places where the machines are inoperable, election officials have to provide a back-up supply of paper ballots. But the county only has an emergency stock of 2,000 paper ballots, and as a result they have to print “a couple thousand more.” [Vindicator, 11/3/2004]
But this creates new problems. Some of the paper ballots are missing candidates' names and in some precincts there are complaints that poll workers require people to sign their paper ballots. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 12/9/2004] Additionally, critics later note that the failure to have had enough paper ballots on hand may have disenfranchised voters. Some people who left the polls when voting was not possible may not have returned to vote when the new supply of paper ballots arrived. [Vindicator, 11/6/2004]
At the Farrell municipal building, where 289 people are known to have voted, the voting machines record only 51 votes for president—48 votes for John Kerry and 3 for George W. Bush. Missing presidential votes are a problem in other precincts as well, as the county reports a few days later that 51,818 people cast ballots but only 47,768 of those included a vote for president. [Vindicator, 11/6/2004]
About a month later, the total undervote in Mercer County is determined to have been 7.29 percent. Typically, candidates will challenge results when the undervote exceeds 2 percent . [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 12/9/2004]
For some races machines tabulated negative 25 million votes. [Vindicator, 11/3/2004]

Finally, there is at least one incident involving the harassment of voters. Challengers from both the Democratic and Republican parties assigned to Warren 2E are ordered to leave the polling station after precinct judges say they are being disruptive. [Vindicator, 11/3/2004]


November 2, 2004

       Polls in Akron, Ohio experience long lines, “especially in the city's predominantly African-American wards.” The county elections director, Bryan C. Williams, tells the Akron Beacon Journal, “We had lines and waits everywhere in the morning, mainly between 6:30am and 9am.” He says the longest wait reported to him was 95 minutes. [Akron Beacon Journal, 12/11/2004] The long lines might have been avoided had there not been major cuts to the number of precincts in Summit County in 2001 (See August 2001) and 2003 (See 2003). Most of those reductions took place in Akron where there is a significant Democratic majority. According to the Akron Beacon Journal, the city's importance to Democrats is significant—“Enough to change Summit County from blue to red.” The paper explains: “John Kerry won Summit County by 38,000 votes, according to official returns. Take Akron's votes out of the totals, and President Bush would have won the county by 423 votes.” [Akron Beacon Journal, 12/11/2004]

November 2, 2004

       The Election Protection Coalition, an umbrella group of volunteer poll monitors that is operating a telephone hotline, says it has received reports of problems with electronic voting machines from nearly 1,100 voters across the US. [Associated Press, 11/02/2004]

November 2, 2004

       In several Ohio counties, Democratic candidate for State Supreme Court C. Ellen Connally receives more votes than Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry (Auglaize County, Connally - 7,312, Kerry - 5,729; Brown County, Connally - 7,407, Kerry - 7,058; Clermont County, Connally - 29,464, Kerry - 25,318; Dark County, Connally - 8,817, Kerry - 6,683; Highland County, Connally - 6,119, Kerry - 6,012; Mercer County, Connally - 6,607, Kerry - 4,924; Butler County, Connally - 59,532, Kerry - 54,185; Miami County, Connally - 17,206, Kerry - 17,039). As the US House Judiciary Democrats note in a December 2 letter to Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell, these results “run counter to the established principle that downballot party candidates receive far less votes than the presidential candidate of the same party.” The totals also deviate significantly from the statewide trend in Ohio, where Kerry receives 48.5 percent of the vote and Connally receives 46.6 percent. Even more striking about the figures is that fact that Connally's campaign was not very well funded. The same letter, referring to the results of Butler County, comments: “[I]t appears to be wildly implausible that 5,000 voters waited in line to case a vote for an underfunded Democratic Supreme Court candidate and then declined to cast a vote for the most well-funded Democratic Presidential campaign in history.” In addition to the bizarre voter numbers of the Connally and Kerry campaigns in Butler County, the results of the Republican side of those races are also hard to explain. The winning Republican candidate for the State Supreme Court receives 40,000 less votes than presidential candidate George Bush. [Source: Letter from US House Judiciary Democrats to Kenneth Blackwell, 12/2/2004]

(1:00am) November 2, 2004

       The US 6th Circuit Court of Appeals overturns a ruling made by a federal district court the previous day (See Evening, October 31, 2004) which had barred Republicans from challenging voters at the polls (See 4:00pm October 22, 2004). The appeals court is presided by three judges, two of which were appointed by Republican presidents—Judge John M. Rogers, who was appointed by President Bush in 2002, and Senior Judge James L. Ryan, who was appointed by President Reagan in 1985. Judge Rogers writes in the court's decision: “Longer lines may, of course, result from delays and confusion when one side in a political controversy employs” challenges “more vigorously than in previous elections,” but “such a possibility does not amount to the severe burden upon the right to vote” that would justify a court order. Appeals Court Judge R. Guy Cole Jr., a 1995 appointee of President Clinton, disagrees. In his dissenting opinion, he says that under the Republican plan, “partisan challengers for the first time since the civil rights era seek to target precincts that have a majority African American population and without any legal standards or restrictions, challenge the voter qualifications of people as they stand waiting to exercise their fundamental right to vote.” He adds: “In this case, we anticipate the arrival of hundreds of Republican lawyers to challenge voter registration at the polls. Behind them will be hundreds of Democrat lawyers to challenge these challengers' challenges. This is a recipe for confusion and chaos.” [Los Angeles Times, 11/2/2004]

(Morning) November 2, 2004

       In Franklin County, Ohio, four additional electronic voting machines are delivered to precincts in inner city Columbus. However 51 machines remain in a warehouse. [Columbus Dispatch, 12/11/2004]

Morning-early afternoon, November 2, 2004

       In some heavily democratic Columbus, Ohio precincts, people wait 2-7 hours in long lines to cast their votes because of a shortage of voting machines. Machines delivered the previous day were distributed unevenly throughout the county, with a greater concentration (machine to registered voter) being placed in the higher-income suburbs (See November 1, 2004). 51 machines remain in a warehouse (See Afternoon November 2, 2004). [Columbus Dispatch, 12/11/2004; The Free Press, 12/16/2004] After the elections, statistics show that the voter-to-machine ratio was higher in Columbus than in its surrounding suburbs where income levels are higher. In the affluent Republican stronghold of Upper Arlington not one of its 34 precincts had a voting machine which cast more than 200 votes. Only one machine, in ward 6F, came close to the maximum. It was used by 194 voters. However, in the Democratic city of Columbus, there were 34 polling machines which logged on more than 200 votes per machine and 42 machines that were over 190 votes per machine. In another words, in Columbus, 17 percent of the city's machines were operating at 90-100 percent over the optimum capacity while in Upper Arlington the figure was 3 percent. The high voter ratios in Columbus were due to a combination of increased voter participation and fewer voting machines. In Columbus, despite increased voter registration in the city, 139, or 29 percent, of the 472 precincts had fewer machines than in the 2000 presidential election. In some precincts, the number of machines was reduced by as many as five. This contrasted sharply with Upper Arlington, where only two precincts had fewer machines. In one of those precincts, voter registration had declined by 25 percent. [Columbus Dispatch, 12/11/2004; The Free Press, 12/16/2004]

Afternoon November 2, 2004

       In Franklin County, election officials call the county warehouse where 51 electronic voting machines are being kept to see if additional machines are available and can be delivered to some of Columbus's inner city precincts where voters are experiencing long lines (See November 1, 2004). But they are reportedly told that only 29 machines are there. Workers then program counting cartridges for the 29 machines and attempt to deliver the machines to the inner-city precincts. But for some reason, 17 of the machines are never activated. As a result, these 17 machines, in addition to the 22 machines that were apparently left at the warehouse—representing 1.4 percent of the county's 2,840 machines—are never used. Officials later are at a loss to explain what happened, saying only that perhaps the polls were closed when the machines arrived or poll workers told those making the delivery that additional machines were not needed. [Associated Press, 12/11/2004; Columbus Dispatch, 12/11/2004]

After 7:30pm, November 2, 2004

       In Lebanon, Ohio, Warren County officials close the county administration building to the public where the vote is being tallied. The lockdown—the only one to occur in the state—is a result of a decision that was made during a closed-door meeting the previous week (See October 28, 2004). Warren County Emergency Services Director Frank Young had recommended the increased security because of information received from the US Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. [Cincinnati Enquirer, 11/5/2004] An FBI agent reportedly said that Warren County ranked a “10” on a terrorism scale of 1 to 10. The threat was said to be of domestic origins. [Cincinnati Enquirer, 11/10/2004] But these claims are later challenged when officials from the FBI and DHS say that they were not aware of any such threats. Media organizations protest the lockdown, arguing that the officials are violating the law and the public's rights. “The media should have been permitted into the area where there was counting,” Enquirer attorney Jack Greiner complains. “This is a process that should be done in complete transparency and it wasn't.” In other Ohio counties, such as Butler County, people are permitted to observe ballot checkers through a window. In past elections, the Warren County commissioners' room was open to the public so they could observe the process. [Cincinnati Enquirer, 11/5/2004; Cincinnati Enquirer, 11/3/2004] The news director at WCPO-TV, Bob Morford, says he's suspicious of the decision to close the building to the public. I've “never seen anything like it,” he says. “Frankly, we consider that a red herring.... That's something that's put up when you don't know what else to put up to keep us out.” [Cincinnati Enquirer, 11/5/2004] Additionally, election officials fail to set up an area with telephones for the media as they were supposed to. When reporters attempt to enter the building, they are refused, although they are later permitted into the building's lobby located two floors below the elections office. The Associated Press, which has reporters at every Ohio board of elections site, says that Warren County is the only county to implement such tight restrictions. County Prosecutor Rachel Hutzel claims that having reporters and photographers around could interfere with the vote count. [Cincinnati Enquirer, 11/5/2004] It is later explained that these restrictions were also due to homeland security concerns. [Cincinnati Enquirer, 11/10/2004]

November 3, 2004

       In Ohio's Cuyahoga County, some Cleveland precincts with large African-American populations, report an extraordinarily high number of votes for third party candidates even though few voters in these precincts have voted for these candidates in the past. For instance, in precinct 4F in the 4th Ward, where voting took place at Benedictine High School, there are 290 votes for Kerry, 21 for Bush, and 215 for Constitution Party candidate Michael Peroutka. And in precinct 4N, where voting occurred at the same location, the tally was 318 for Kerry, 21 for Bush, and 163 for Libertarian Party candidate Michael Badnarik. Yet in the previous presidential election, a total of only 8 votes were cast by those two precincts for all independent candidates combined. City Councilman Kenneth Johnson, who has represented the 4th Ward since 1980, tells Juan Gonzales of the New York Daily News: “That's terrible, I can't believe it. It's obviously a malfunction with the machines.” Similar results appear in other Cleveland precincts, including the 8th Ward's G and I precinct at Cory United Methodist Church. In G, there were 51 votes for Badnarik and in I, there were 27 votes cast for Peroutka. However in 2000, third party candidates received only 9 votes from these precincts. [Source: Letter from US House Judiciary Democrats to Kenneth Blackwell, 12/2/2004; New York Daily News , 11/30/2004] It is later suggested that the problems were caused by voters in one precinct using machines intended for another. According to Katie Daley, an observer for the Democratic Party, voters waited in a single line between adjacent precincts and entered the voting booths as they became available, without regard to precinct assignment. [Associated Press, 12/10/2004] Reporter Juan Gonzales suggests that the votes cast for the third party candidates may have been meant for John Kerry: “In virtually all those precincts, Kerry's vote was lower than Al Gore's in 2000, even though there was a record turnout in the black community this time, and even though blacks voted overwhelmingly for Kerry.” [New York Daily News , 11/30/2004]

November 3, 2004

       In Montgomery County, two precincts—one in Kettering and another in Washington Twp.—report extraordinarily high numbers of ballots cast with no presidential vote. The two precincts, both of which used punch-card ballots, had undercounts of more than 25 percent, far exceeding the county's overall undercount of 2 percent. Undercount rates were 75 percent higher in the precincts that voted for John Kerry. Of the 231 precincts that went to Kerry, 2.8 percent of the ballots cast lacked a vote for the president. In the 354 precincts that supported President Bush, the figure was 1.6 percent. (But there were some exceptions. In fact, seven of the 10 precincts with the highest rate of undercounted presidential ballots went to Bush. For example, the highest undercount rate in Montgomery County occurred in precinct Washington X, a Bush stronghold, with 27.5 percent of the 611 ballots cast lacking a vote for president.) Larry J. Sabato, a political scientist from the University of Virginia, tells the Dayton Daily News that the extremely high rate of undercounts indicates that something went wrong. “It is very difficult to believe that a quarter of the people would not vote for president, especially in a year like this,” he says. “If I were the election officers in those areas I would be doing some very extensive checks of those machines.” But the presiding judge of Washington X, Shirley Wightman, tells the Dayton Daily News that her precinct reported no problems. [Dayton Daily News, 11/18/2004]

November 5, 2004

       In Ohio, Matthew Damschroder, director of Franklin County Board of Elections, reports that an error with its electronic voting system gave President Bush 3,893 extra votes in Precinct 1B in Gahanna where only 638 voters were known to have cast ballots. The actual tally of Bush votes was 365. [Associated Press, 11/05/2004; Associated Press, 11/06/2004; The Columbus Dispatch, 11/5/2004] Franklin is the only Ohio county where the older-style touchscreen voting system manufactured by Danaher Controls Inc.'s ELECTronic 1242 is used. [Associated Press, 11/05/2004]

November 9, 2004

       FBI officials and homeland security officials at both the state and federal level say they are not aware of any specific election day threats against Ohio's Warren County where local election officials had locked down the county administration building on lection day citing security concerns. County officials had claimed that the move had been prompted by information they had received from the FBI and Homeland Security. But FBI officials, charged with overseeing anti-terrorism activities in southern Ohio, tell the Cincinnati Enquirer that they received no information about a terror threat in the county. “The FBI did not notify anyone in Warren County of any specific terrorist threat to Warren County before Election Day,” FBI spokesman Michael Brooks explains. And a spokeswoman for Ohio's top homeland security official, Public Safety Director Ken Morckel, likewise contends that they knew of no heightened terror warning for the Greater Cincinnati area on election night. [Cincinnati Enquirer, 11/10/2004]

November 11, 2004

       Attorneys scrutinizing the close vote in Broward County, Florida notice that vote totals for some constitutional amendment questions changed in an unexpected way after 13,000 final ballots were counted. Election officials quickly determine the problem was caused by the Unity Software that adds the vote totals together from five machines tabulating absentee ballots. The software was developed by ES&S of Omaha, Nebraska. According to Broward County Mayor Ilene Lieberman, the glitch was discovered two years ago but was not fixed for reasons that are disputed. ES&S claims that they were unable to fix the bug because they were not granted certification for the change from the state of Florida. However Florida denies that that was the case. An attorney for the Secretary of State's office says that state certification is not needed to fix bugs. [Miami Herald, 11/04/2004]

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