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RFK Jr. on Election 2004:

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has turned his attention from the environment to the 2004 election, with predictable results. In this Rolling Stone article, Kennedy argues that Republicans used dirty tricks to steal the 2004 presidential election. The article cites a wide variety of sources, but Kennedy's claim ultimately rests on the discrepancy between exit polls and the reported results — and that is a thin reed upon which to base his claim.

Election law experts are not convinced by Kennedy's account. Ohio State's Dan Tokaji is sympathetic to some of Kennedy's arguments, and believes the 2004 election offers many important lessons for election reform, but finds the argument that Kerry won "strains credulity." Salon's Farhad Manjoo is far less generous, finding Kennedy's "argument is filled with distortions and blatant omissions." Bob Bauer concurs, concluding Kennedy's "case does not stand up to even casual scrutiny," and may even set back the case for "progressive election reform."

While Kennedy is focusing on a new issue, it appears his penchant for overstatement and exaggeration remains. As I've documented time and again (and again, again, again, and again), Kennedy's attacks on the Bush Administration's environmental record were error-filled and overwrought. This is not a defense of Bush's environmental policies, for it is a record worth criticizing on many fronts. But any critique should be based on factually accurate accounts — and Kennedy's were not. Kennedy may be aiming at a new target, but his accuracy remains poor.

UPDATE: More on RFK Jr's election 2004 claims here, here, and here.

Houston Lawyer:
It seems that the one dirty trick that Democrats are not concerned about is fraudulent voting. With millions of illegal immigrants in this country, it is hard to believe that many of them are not already voting. Verifying that someone is actually entitled to vote is not voter suppression. Photo ID should be mandatory at all polling stations. It should be included as a provision of the renewed voting rights act.
6.5.2006 12:47pm
Russ Meyer (mail):
So long as the democrats continue to cry about elections because they can't possibly understand how so many people could disagree with them, Republicans will continue to win. Only when dems figure out that maybe condescension isn't working and they actually try to convince people via the realm of ideas will they, perhaps, start winning again.
6.5.2006 1:17pm
JohnAnnArbor:
He is a good example of someone for whom environmentalism has become religion. That way, anyone who disagrees are evil heretics, and anything they present can be ignored.

He also made false claims about Vieques (remember all that?).

Basically, RFK Jr. was happy to take bogus data "showing" higher cancer rates on the island and to attribute that to the proving ground. The REAL data showed LOWER cancer rates than normal; one wonders if that's proof that nearby bonbing is good for your health? Or that statistics don't tell the whole story?
6.5.2006 1:18pm
JohnAnnArbor:
"bombing" not "bonbing"
6.5.2006 1:19pm
Stuart Buck (mail) (www):
One of Kennedy's supposed pieces of evidence is this:
Take the case of Ellen Connally, a Democrat who lost her race for chief justice of the state Supreme Court. When the ballots were counted, Kerry should have drawn far more votes than Connally -- a liberal black judge who supports gay rights and campaigned on a shoestring budget. And that's exactly what happened statewide: Kerry tallied 667,000 more votes for president than Connally did for chief justice, outpolling her by a margin of thirty-two percent. Yet in these twelve off-the-radar counties, Connally somehow managed to outperform the best-funded Democrat in history, thumping Kerry by a grand total of 19,621 votes -- a margin of ten percent.(181) The Conyers report -- recognizing that thousands of rural Bush voters were unlikely to have backed a gay-friendly black judge roundly rejected in Democratic precincts -- suggests that ''thousands of votes for Senator Kerry were lost.''(182)

Kucinich, a veteran of elections in the state, puts it even more bluntly. ''Down-ticket candidates shouldn't outperform presidential candidates like that,'' he says. ''That just doesn't happen. The question is: Where did the votes for Kerry go?''

They certainly weren't invalidated by faulty voting equipment: a trifling one percent of presidential ballots in the twelve suspect counties were spoiled. The more likely explanation is that they were fraudulently shifted to Bush. Statewide, the president outpolled Thomas Moyer, the Republican judge who defeated Connally, by twenty-one percent. Yet in the twelve questionable counties, Bush's margin over Moyer was fifty percent -- a strong indication that the president's certified vote total was inflated. If Kerry had maintained his statewide margin over Connally in the twelve suspect counties, as he almost assuredly would have done in a clean election, he would have bested her by 81,260 ballots. That's a swing of 162,520 votes from Kerry to Bush -- more than enough to alter the outcome. (183)

''This is very strong evidence that the count is off in those counties,'' says Freeman, the poll analyst. ''By itself, without anything else, what happened in these twelve counties turns Ohio into a Kerry state. To me, this provides every indication of fraud.''
As I pointed out last year, there were at least eight Ohio counties where the Republican Supreme Court candidate got more votes than Bush, including one county alone where she got some 40,000 votes more than Bush. Clearly, then, this is proof that Democratic election officials were stealing votes from Bush in those counties. Right?
6.5.2006 1:24pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
In this world of electronic forever-archinving, the dems ought to be more careful.

During the 2000 count in Florida, the dems sent several hundred lawyers to Florida for the sole purpose of arguing against military absentee ballots in the various election offices.

C-Span has some tape of that on file. I saw it during the counting fiasco.

If anybody cares, I suppose.
6.5.2006 1:41pm
Brett Bellmore (mail):
Contra Bob Bauer, we could do far worse than to take the possiblity of ballot fraud seriously, and make an all out effort to secure the ballot against ALL sorts of fraud. The sort favored by Republicans, AND the sort favored by Democrats.

It does little good to secure my right to vote, if my vote gets canceled out by somebody's poodle, or an absentee ballot fraudulently filed on behalf of somebody who didn't really vote.

And when I see "progressives" arguing against ballot security, it does nothing but inflame my suspicions as to who might really be stealing elections.
6.5.2006 1:48pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
I went to a baby shower for a colleague Saturday evening and had to listen some idiot from Chicago go on about RFK Jr’s latest pack of lies Rolling Stone article. The only other Republican at the party asked me what I thought and I told her that most of his claims were already debunked in Mother Jones last December but that I was glad that the Dims are still obsessing over “stolen elections” because their shrillness is a handicap to winning future ones.
6.5.2006 1:54pm
Mark F. (mail):
I wonder why John Kerry, with millions of dollars and the best attorneys at his disposal, decided to concede the election if there was even a hint of any serious election fraud in Ohio that could be proven?

Actually, the pre-election polls were highly accurate in predicting the actual election results of 2004.
6.5.2006 2:06pm
Joe Jackson:
Actually, the pre-election polls were highly accurate in predicting the actual election results of 2004.

No kidding. Kerry consistently trailed Bush by 3 1/2 - 4 1/2 percent and then lost by that amount. This is hardly a surprise.
6.5.2006 3:19pm
Anon1ms (mail):
R.A.: "During the 2000 count in Florida, the dems sent several hundred lawyers to Florida for the sole purpose of arguing against military absentee ballots in the various election offices."

Actually, the argument was not about whether or not the ballots were military, but rather, whether or not they were postmarked [or perhaps received, I forget which was the determining factor] before the deadline, as specified by law.

R.A.'s contention that the "sole" reason was to discount military absentee ballots is misleading.
6.5.2006 3:37pm
Russ Meyer (mail):
Anon1ms,

The postmark thing was a farce so that he could discredit military absentee ballots, especially from counties in the panhandle, since they were considered more likely to go for Bush. Gore was a man who wanted to be Commander in Chief, yet not count the absentee votes of the men and women he wanted to lead.

There was no shortage of shenannigans on both sides in Florida 2000, but don't try and pretend Gore had some altruistic motive for discounting absnetee ballots. The Mark Herron memo clearly showed what Gore intended.
6.5.2006 3:56pm
PaulV (mail):
ANON1MS,
By federal law and by FL consent agreement military ballots are treated differently than other ballots because servicemen are sent to remote locations serving country. It is not misleading to say that democrats attempted to suppress the military vote but the honorable Senator Liebermann would not go along.
6.5.2006 4:00pm
M. Python:
Clearly the real winner was Tarquin Fin- tim- lin- bin- whin- bim- lin- bus- stop- F'tang- F'tang- Olé- Biscuitbarrel.
6.5.2006 4:01pm
Rockport Writer (mail):
Pardon me but wasn't it Lyndon Johnson, Dick Daley, and Bobby Kennedy (senior) who perfected that old political trick of holding your vote report until you're sure of the opponent's count and then filing your tally that includes enough manufacred votes to win?

Ohio purged voters who hadn't voted in 12 years; they tried to validate the addresses of new voters by sending MAIL to that new address (horrors!); they refused to let people vote who showed up at the wrong polling place. These are actions we need to take to secure the election.

What about the states that didn't do those things? Shall we ask about the warped results in Kerry's favor in New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Washington state? How many electoral votes are there?
6.5.2006 4:25pm
Frank Drackmann (mail):
Paybacks are a bitch, somewhere back in 2000, Richard Nixon was smiling.
6.5.2006 4:28pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
. . . while LBJ and JFK were being poked in the arse with a pitchfork.

;)
6.5.2006 4:45pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
Folks, I am not convinced of Kennedy's broad claim that the election was stolen, but there does seem to be quite a lot of denial from the conservatives in this comment thread.

First, Kenneth Blackwell seems to be quite dishonest. Indeed, I would say if there is one thing that we have learned from 2000 and 2004, it is that partisan secretaries of state who openly support presidential campaigns should not be supervising election counts. We would never accept this in a foreign election that we monitored. Kennedy's article is quite persuasive that Blackwell was selectively enforcing the law to benefit Bush.

Second, there are some allegations in the article that as far as I know are factual. For instance, one Republican-controlled county really did illegally lock the media observers out of the vote count. That's just unacceptable-- they could have done anything in that room in that situation.

And some voting machines really did register votes for Bush or no votes at all when the voter attempted to vote for Kerry. (As soon as we get rid of the partisan election officials, the next task is to have voter-verified paper ballots. Again, if nothing else, the machines create the APPEARANCE of impropriety and may be doing more than that.)

It is also clear that polling place and voting-mahcine allocations were rigged so that heavily-Democratic precincts had to wait in long lines, and some people were prevented from voting at all; these problems were not present in heavily-Republican precincts.

Finally, there were clearly shenanigans with provisional ballots, which were supposed to ensure that everyone voted and that frivolous "challenges" (which both parties have used in the past but which Republicans have been particularly abusive with) could not be used to prevent people from voting, because the challenge could be adjudicated and the ballot counted if it was proper to do so. These provisional ballots were mandated by Congress; however, Ohio refused to release them to voters who went to the wrong polling place, but also did not put correct information up on the web so that voters could go to the right polling place and vote.

Again, I don't make the broader claim that the election was stolen. But there definitely were serious improprieties that cost Kerry votes, and I get the feeling that a lot of the comments here are motivated by pure partisanship rather than the facts.
6.5.2006 4:49pm
Paddy O. (mail):
Dilan, the argument isn't that there were not improprieties that cost Kerry votes. The argument is that there were serious improprieties which cost both sides votes. All elections have improprieties. The partisanship comes in only highlighting specific improprieties in certain ways which suggests there was one side that benefited more than the other. The partisanship comes in manipulation of the facts, by overemphasizing some, ignoring others, and distorting the rest.

Partisanship hardly ever requires outright lying, depending instead mostly on selectively seeing.
6.5.2006 5:05pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
Paddy:

While I agree that there are always improprieties that cost both sides votes in every election, I still think that the evidence at least shows that in Ohio in 2004, a highly partisan Bush campaign operative was Secretary of State and took various actions that were intended to tilt the playing field Bush's way. It's impossible to quantify how many votes this cost Kerry, but Blackwell's actions were clearly helping Bush, not Kerry, and indeed were explicitly designed to do so.

There simply isn't a corresponding amount of stories of improprieties that worked in Kerry's favor in 2004 in Ohio.
6.5.2006 5:43pm
Wintermute (mail) (www):
I don't like losing elections, period; but if they're fair, it's easier to accept. Electronic voting for speed and cost-savings has the potential for mistake and fraud beyond even the worst in world history to date; and I don't think too much attention can be paid to securing the vote. I posted Lee Atwater's repentance for his Dirty Tricks, along with a little intro to the topic. Enjoy.
6.5.2006 6:04pm
JohnAnnArbor:

It's impossible to quantify how many votes this cost Kerry, but Blackwell's actions were clearly helping Bush, not Kerry, and indeed were explicitly designed to do so.


Quite an assertion. Care to back it up?
6.5.2006 6:24pm
just me:
Of all the RFK-type "2004 was stolen" rants I've seen, I have never seen one explain these two major problems, nor the items collected in the third point:

1. They rely heavily upon the gap between midday exit polls and the final results, and point to the millions spent on refining exit-polling techniques. But the final results matched pretty well with virtually ALL of the final-week PRE-election polling, both as to national results and state-by-state results. So if the exit polls were right, what explanation is there for why virtually all of the major pre-election polls were wrong, and, coincidentally, wrong in a way that matched the "fraudulent" numbers that were actually reported as final vote tallies? Was it that the Bush people managed to target the fraud so carefully that they made their fake #S match the pre-election polls, even in States where the election machinery was run by Dems or on a bipartisan basis?

2. More important, the exit poll #s were off in a pro-Kerry direction not just in Ohio, but around the country. If the exit polls were faulty in methodolgy (e.g., more Bush people refused to answer, or whatever), that would explain the shift around the country, in one feel swoop. Or, alternatively, it would make sense to believe that the GOP fraud was focused in Ohio, or 2-3 other States as backup farud targets, IF those States had bigger gaps between exit polls and final tallies than the other States had. But the exit-to-final gap was SIMILAR across the country (as far as I know, and I've never seen anything note otherwise). In other words, the exits polls had Kerry winning by even more in California that the final tally, and had him losing Texas by not as much, and so on. That would mean that if the gap was explained by GOP fraud, the GOP people were thorough enough to slide in fake votes EVEN WHERE IT DIDN'T MATTER, as in CA and TX, just to cover their tracks. Not only is that implausible on its face, but also, even the most rabid conspiracy theorists don't seem to point to incidents in Calif and Tex to match the stories in Ohio. And of course, while a conspiracy in Ohio alone would be pretty wide-ranging, an even larger national conspiracy would involve so many players that it's hard to see how no one would crack. "I admit it! I was the computer geek who slipped in 5,000 extra votes in Orange County, CA!"

So those are the big two things, for me. It's not that I don't find the RFK-types' explanation satisfying, it's that I've never seen them even acknowledge or address these glitches.

3. The Rolling Stone piece has several other points that are too slanted o take seriously. For example:

a. The piece portrays Ohio, esp. Franklin County, Ohio, as if the GOP runs the elections. But Ohio has bipartisan election boards, with 2 R and 2 D members. The Directors and Assistant Directors are always of opposite parties, with the Directorship going to the party that won the last Governor's election. But the Assistants in Ohio are in on management, and there's a good reason to cooperate -- every time the Gov's office changes hands, the Director may become the Assistant, and vice-versa. In Franklin County, a Democrat elections official happens to also be the county Democrat party chair, and he said repeatedly that there was no plot, etc., and he was in on the decisions to allocate X machines at each precinct, etc.

Perhaps there is an argument as to how the GOP folks outfoxed their Democratic co-managing counterparts, but if there is, I'd like to see it. The piece would have a lot more credibility if it explained that rather than just implying that it was a GOP monopoly. It reminds me of how some people implied/assumed that all of the Florida election stuff was under Gov. Jeb Bush's control, or under Secy of State Harris's, when most of the machinery was under local control (e.g., the Palm Beach stuff, including the infamous "butterfly ballot," were all Democrat products).

b. The article shortcuts the legal history by saying that in one lawsuit, regarding poll-site "challengers," that the district judge enjoined the practice, but Justice Stevens reinstated it. Actually, a 6th Circuit panel reversed the district court; Justice Stevens was then rejecting a motion for an emergency stay. That may seem picky, but it shows again that the article uses selective pieces of data even in little things.

All in all, just more Kool-aid. If I were a Democrat, I'd be mad that my party spends more time on this junk than on figuring out how to actually win.
6.5.2006 6:35pm
GregHH (mail):
Uh Dilan, I am an Ohio resident and the evidence does not show that. Please review Salons article
Among its points:

'Kennedy's headlining claim is that 357,000 voters, "most of them Democratic," were either prevented from voting or had their votes go uncounted, making Kerry (who lost by 118,000) the likely true winner. Kennedy finds these "missing votes" in the damnedest places. He counts 30,000 voter registrations that were deleted from voter rolls, in keeping with state law, as mostly Kerry voters, though it's impossible to know if those were even real people. He says that 174,000 mostly Kerry voters didn't vote because they were put off by long lines. But the source states it was actually 129,543 voters, and that those votes would have split evenly between Kerry and Bush. And that same source — the Democratic Party's report once again — notes conclusively: "Despite the problems on Election Day, there is no evidence from our survey that John Kerry won the state of Ohio." But Kennedy doesn't tell you that.'


Or you can go to the Mother Jones atricle (via windofchange) :

'Go read both articles, if you want to - but here are some highlights.
Jr's claim:

In Warren County, GOP election officials even invented a nonexistent terrorist threat to bar the media from monitoring the official vote count.

Hertsgaard:

Now to Warren County, where officials locked down the building used to count votes and told a Cincinnati Enquirer reporter that there'd been a terrorist threat. The skeptics are right that the FBI denied issuing any such warning. But it's not true that votes were counted in secret, say both Susan Johnson, the Republican Board of Elections director, and Sharon Fisher, the Democratic deputy director. Not only were Johnson and Fisher present, so were the four Board of Elections members (two Democrats, two Republicans) plus an observer from each party. The only person shut out, Johnson says, was the reporter, "but reporters have never been allowed into our counting room before."'

I suppose that, if you really want to believe that the election was stolen, you'll believe it whether it happened or not.
6.5.2006 6:39pm
Greedy Clerk (mail):
This blog is such a joke now. Completely one sided bloggers and all the liberal commenters have left or been banned. Adler is not a serious person by the way, he should continue to blog under a pseudonym --- I took him more seriously then.
6.5.2006 7:00pm
EricK:
It is also clear that polling place and voting-machine allocations were rigged so that heavily-Democratic precincts had to wait in long lines, and some people were prevented from voting at all; these problems were not present in heavily-Republican precincts


The Democratic districts just had more voters show up than the actual population. Lets not forget the democrat voting guide in CO that told people to make false statements about voter imtimidation.
6.5.2006 7:03pm
Leland:
Dilan wrote:

It's impossible to quantify how many votes this cost Kerry, but Blackwell's actions were clearly helping Bush, not Kerry, and indeed were explicitly designed to do so.


Indeed, that is that point. It is impossible, yet Kennedy went about the process anyway and concluded that there were more than enough votes to turn the state to Kerry (thus Bush stole the election). The criticism is simply that Kennedy is using flimsy reasoning to cook the numbers and come up with a inflammatory conclusion.

Dilan also wrote:

There simply isn't a corresponding amount of stories of improprieties that worked in Kerry's favor in 2004 in Ohio.


Right. And if Republicans wanted to play this game, how many "stories of improprieties that worked in Kerry's favor in 2004" existed in other states?

The more I see Democrats focusing on one state to flip an election (Florida in 2000 and Ohio in 2004) instead of considering the entire electorate, the more I wonder exactly who is trying to steal the election. After all, it was Gore's legal team complaints about "hanging chads" that lead us to "electronic ballot" machines.
6.5.2006 7:18pm
Splunge (mail):
Eh, this Kennedy guy is sharper than he seems. Consider: the fact that the exit polls were so much at variance with the actual results should be a reason to ask sharp questions of the exit pollers, and especially the news organizations that went to town with those results. I remember how loooong it was before the networks were willing to call the last few states that put GWB over the top. I recall them not calling N. or S. Carolina (forget which, hopefully one of them) until 98% of the precincts had reported, because (1) that would help put GWB over the top, and (2) the actual results were sharply different from earlier exit polls. (Which had the hysterics over at National Review Online peeing themselves.)

Rational people looking at these results might start to ask themselves: just how objective was the polling and reporting on polling? Just how much should we continue to trust the frequently-made bland assertion that newsmen leave their political convictions at home when they step into the studio?

But here RFK Jr. steps into the breach with a clever spin on the whole uncomfortable event: Wait a minute! You might (foolishly) think that experimental reality (the actual election results) should make us question the theory (that any idiot will see that nice Mr. Kerry will be a better President than mean old Bush, Jr.) -- but actually the obvious correctness of our theory should make us question the experimental results. They just can't be right. I've just got a feeling in my gut. Damn the numbers anyway -- there must be some vast conspiracy going on, things They aren't telling us, Area 51, coverups, Illuminati, Big Oil, the missing 18 minutes, et cetera mumble mumble blah fnee fnord.

But it's a clever effort not because anyone really expects it to succeed -- because anyone really expects the country to look thunderstruck, scratch its collective head, and demand a new Presidential election. It's clever because it distracts people from taking that hard look at what these events say about the quality and objectivity of our national news establishment. And that helps preserve the MSM Fifth Column to fight another day, a day (by an odd coincidence) coming up in a mere five months, and in some places (e.g. the California primary) almost immediately.
6.5.2006 7:49pm
juris_imprudent (mail):
Greedy Clerk-

Are we to take it then, that in your opinion Mother Jones is a Republican mouthpiece?
6.5.2006 9:45pm
Lev:
"Large-scale hog producers are a greater threat to the United States and U.S. democracy than Osama bin Laden and his terrorist network." Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
6.6.2006 12:51am
Ammonium (mail):
Living in Illinois, I have a hard time taking Democrat complaints about "rigged voting" very seriously.

Here's a little example of the stuff that takes place in my city:

My Republican-leaning precinct had 1130 registered voters during the primary election. A Democrat-dominated precinct had 2504 registered voters.

My precinct had 348 ballots cast. The Democratic precinct had 5 ballots cast.

But in the 2004 general election, my precinct had 954 ballots cast (a 174% increase) while the Democratic precinct had 1669 ballots cast (a 33,280% increase).

In the 2004 general election, my precinct was 462 Bush to 467 Kerry. The Democratic precinct was 585 Bush to 1042 Kerry.


Being Illinois, this didn't affect the Presidential race, but it certainly has the possibility of swinging some of the local races. This is the most extreme example I could find, but there were several precincts that had fewer than 15 voters in the primary but large numbers of registered voters and voters in the general election.
6.6.2006 1:39am
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
"Being Illinois, this didn't affect the Presidential race, but it certainly has the possibility of swinging some of the local races."

And that's the point. The improprieties that DID affect the Presidential race (although it is impossible to prove whether they swung the race or not) happened in Ohio and were perpetrated by Republicans.

Comments of the style "the Democrats do it too" are not credible and are simple partisanship. Yes, the Democrats do it. But the 2004 Presidential election turned on Ohio, and there, a prominent supporter of Bush's campaign rigged the process to help Bush.

As for Greg's comment, I guess it comes down to the fact that the Republicans DID fabricate a terrorist alert to keep a reporter out of the counting room, but the count was accurate anyway. Sure it was.
6.6.2006 2:06am
GregHH (mail):
Dilan,
OK then, if the Republican Board of Elections director, the Democratic deputy director, the four Board of Elections members (two Democrats, two Republicans) and two observers (one from each party), all of whom were present for the counting, said that it was accurate, why, exactly, do you say that it wasn't?
Do you understand that when Democrats, presented with such facts, insist that something had to be, just had to be, amiss, just because, I suppose, you're the Good fighting the Evil, that you simply make yourselves look ridiculous to the non-ideological middle?
Why do you think that smart people on the left are attacking this article? It's because they want to be taken seriously, and when they get associated by the middle with this tinfoilhatwearing crap it costs them credibility.
6.6.2006 2:25am
Anon y mous (mail):
Dilan writes:
"As for Greg's comment, I guess it comes down to the fact that the Republicans DID fabricate a terrorist alert to keep a reporter out of the counting room, but the count was accurate anyway."

In Mother Jones:
http://www.motherjones.com/cgi-bin/print_article.pl?
url=http://www.motherjones.com/arts/books/2005/11/recounting
_ohio-3.html

The Terrorist Threat That Never Was

Now to Warren County, where officials locked down the building used to count votes and told a Cincinnati Enquirer reporter that there'd been a terrorist threat. The skeptics are right that the FBI denied issuing any such warning. But it's not true that votes were counted in secret, say both Susan Johnson, the Republican Board of Elections director, and Sharon Fisher, the Democratic deputy director. Not only were Johnson and Fisher present, so were the four Board of Elections members (two Democrats, two Republicans) plus an observer from each party. The only person shut out, Johnson says, was the reporter, "but reporters have never been allowed into our counting room before."
6.6.2006 2:40am
Questioner:
I think it's safe to say that Bobby Jr. knows as much about the environment and election law as his uncle and cousing know about driving...
6.6.2006 2:59am
David Matthews (mail):
"Yet in the twelve questionable counties, Bush's margin over Moyer was fifty percent -- a strong indication that the president's certified vote total was inflated."

So, on the one hand, "[d]own-ticket candidates shouldn't out-perform presidential candidates," and when they do, it's evidence of fraud; but, on the other hand, when the presidential candidate out-performs the down-ticket candidate, it's also evidence of fraud...
6.6.2006 11:08am
Shake-N-Bake (www):
Look, I voted for Kerry, and at this point with the fundamental religious hijacking of large swaths of the Republican party's platform I don't see myself voting Republican any time in the near future, but the election wasn't stolen. These kinds of articles and discussions about whether or not it was stolen are not particularly productive.

HOWEVER, it is abundantly clear that things are broken in the system. There is no valid reason not to have a paper trail in electronic voting machines that are checkable by the voter to make sure no monkey business happens. Yeah, it makes them more likely to have a malfunction (more moving parts), so make sure polling places have enough of them. Not difficult. Lines of two hours to vote in any area, poor or affluent, are inexcusable. All election commissions should be bipartisan, not run by a GOP or Dem operative as Sec of State. ID should be shown at the voting place.

These things are not difficult to understand. I'm sure there are more things that could be done to fix problems to avoid any appearance of impropriety, which obviously is eroding at the confidence in our election system. Erosion in the confidence of our elections erodes the confidence in our entire government, as it is, for those of us who aren't George Soros or WalMart, our primary way to have a say in the course of our nation. If there is ANYTHING we should be spending federal funds on, it's making sure these elections are as close to perfect as is realistically possible. It is clear this is not being done.
6.6.2006 12:34pm
David Matthews (mail):
"If there is ANYTHING we should be spending federal funds on, it's making sure these elections are as close to perfect as is realistically possible. It is clear this is not being done."

Amen. And I might add to your list of necessary improvements that, like it or not, the Democrats are going to have to face up to the fact that there must be a better accounting of who is actually doing the voting (living citizens who are current residents of the precinct in which they are voting only, please.) A utility bill (which is accepted for voting purposes in Minnesota) is not a proof of citizenship.

Erosion of confidence is a trans-partisan problem, and unless a comprehensive solution is introduced (one that addresses the traditional concerns of both Democrats and Republicans), things will just get uglier and uglier.
6.6.2006 12:46pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
Count me as another liberal who doesn't disagree with a photo ID requirement. I think it is outrageous that it is so easy to vote without being registered or vote multiple times under the current system. However, the ID's need to be free and easy to get. I get the feeling that one of the reasons many good-government types oppose these requirements is because they are afraid that Republican officials are going to design the system so that likely Democratic voters are less likely to be able to vote.

And that is why I think the conservatives here are protesting way too much about RFK Jr's article. Let's set aside his conclusion about the 2004 election result-- does anyone here really think that the things he describes in Ohio are desirable events in our election process? Are fake terrorist scares to lock reporters out of election counts good things? Are partisan secretaries of state who only enforce election laws that hurt one party and not the other the way we want to go? Are voting machines that are at least theoretically hackable, which malfunction, and which don't provide a verifiable paper trail the right way to count votes?

Really, we need to get past the partisanship and fix our system. Because trust me, if we don't, in the future, there's going to be a similar close election that goes the Democrats' way and you conservatives are going to be saying "we wuz robbed!".
6.6.2006 3:58pm
SmokeandAshes (mail):
Dilan - One more time with feeling

Or you can go to the Mother Jones atricle (via windofchange) :

'Go read both articles, if you want to - but here are some highlights.
Jr's claim:

In Warren County, GOP election officials even invented a nonexistent terrorist threat to bar the media from monitoring the official vote count.

Hertsgaard:

Now to Warren County, where officials locked down the building used to count votes and told a Cincinnati Enquirer reporter that there'd been a terrorist threat. The skeptics are right that the FBI denied issuing any such warning. But it's not true that votes were counted in secret, say both Susan Johnson, the Republican Board of Elections director, and Sharon Fisher, the Democratic deputy director. Not only were Johnson and Fisher present, so were the four Board of Elections members (two Democrats, two Republicans) plus an observer from each party. The only person shut out, Johnson says, was the reporter, "but reporters have never been allowed into our counting room before."'

I suppose that, if you really want to believe that the election was stolen, you'll believe it whether it happened or not.



Continuing to repeat a falsehood does not make it true and considering that Salon has also gone to the trouble of debunking Kennedy's screed, calling it a conservative protest isn't accurate either.

Please feel free to move past your own partisanship.
6.6.2006 5:08pm
David Matthews (mail):
"Really, we need to get past the partisanship and fix our system."

If you truly want to get past the partisanship, then stop making or supporting inflammatory partisan accusations.

I mean: "does anyone here really think that the things he describes in Ohio are desirable events in our election process?"

Short answer: no. And a little longer answer: and there's no evidence that what he described actually did happen.

If the intention is really to "get past partisanship," then you've got to dump the partisan accusations entirely. Put forward comprehensive good-faith proposals, free of recrimination and insinuation. See what happens, then.

And as to the practical concerns, how do we get a "non-partisan" Secretary of State? Look at any so-called non-partisan city council (e.g. St. Paul, MN) to see whether it's fooling anyone as to the true party affiliation of the elected officials. Or, if you need an example from the "other side," tell me that the Unicameral of Nebraska is actually non-partisan.

Plenty of scare-mongering and duplicitous behavior exists on all sides of this issue. (For fun, look into how "open" the vote counting was in Detroit, MI, or Milwaukee, WI -- Wisconsin's vote was, after all, much closer than Ohio's, but, since Kerry won Wisconsin, it was obviously completely aboveboard -- or at least, Rove's minions failed to steal Wisconsin....)
6.6.2006 10:44pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
David:

Only a partisan would say that NONE of it happened. For instance, the court decisions he details DID happen, and concern attempts by Blackwell to tilt the rules against Democrats. And the people being shut out of the polls DID happen-- it was PROVEN IN COURT. You are just saying that because you don't agree with some of RFK Jr's examples, that NONE of them happened. That's nothing but partisan dishonesty.

Smoke:

One more time. A terrorist alert was fabricated to illegally keep a reporter out of the counting room. You can repeat how "bipartisan" the counting process supposedly was, but that doesn't exactly erase the suspicion that is created when A FAKE TERRORIST THREAT IS CONCOCTED TO KEEP A REPORTER FROM VIEWING THE COUNT.

Come on, you guys are just a bunch of Republican partisans. You had some very sleazy people doing bad things on the Republican side in battleground states in both 2000 and 2004. And it's clear that whether every single detail in RFK Jr.'s report happened, many of the things are NOT disputed and cannot be.

You either want to fix the election system, or you want a fixed election system.
6.7.2006 4:35am
Anon y mous (mail):
The only person shut out, Johnson says, was the reporter, "but reporters have never been allowed into our counting room before."

They kept a reporter out of a room in which reporters had never not allowed into.
6.7.2006 11:04am
Anon y mous (mail):
Should be "never been allowed into".
6.7.2006 1:17pm
andrew (mail) (www):
"it is that partisan secretaries of state who openly support presidential campaigns should not be supervising election counts."

I beleive it was in the new yorker I read this, but in the Alabama election scandal a few years back (it was a piece on Rove's campaign in Alabama which he lost but contested the election results and won) for judges there was a qoute that mentioned that a democrat was 5% more likely to dispqualify a republican voter and vice versa when their ballot was contested or not filled out correctly. Human beings run these elections and are likely to skew their perspectives even when they don't intend too. Regardless, when I lived in Florida during 2000 I registered to vote at the DMV and had my application declined becuase the person behind the counter had failed to enter my social security number. This happened to a lot of college age friends of mine too. I think moving to an electronic system similar to Australia's open source voting machines is probably a better idea than continuing to trust votes in the hands of partisans.
6.7.2006 3:48pm
Bic (mail) (www):
Dilan,
I didn't really want to jump into this but from your posts you sound like you seem totally oblivious to the fact that almost every case of clear cut election fraud/interference was done by either a Democrat or an organization directly affiliated with them.

From slashing tires on election day to trashing opponents campaign headquarters, to paying for voter registrations with crack to having the dead vote, and just to get back to Ohio in particular, to falsifying several thousand of registration forms (you can Google the activities of ACORN, America Coming Together, the AFL-CIO and the NAACP National Voter Fund if you want to see the reports yourself), pretty much every provable charge and conviction is against a Democrat.

Just last week you had a, now former, Democratic Congressional hopeful clearly state that she supported illegal immigrants voting.

Oddly enough, despite many on the lefts claims to the contrary, most proposals to actually help clean up the election mess, like voter id requirements, are almost universally proposed by Republicans and shot down by Democrats, in all 50 states. Even in cases where the ID's would be free they are shot down for other reasons.

And I'm not saying Republicans trying to get elected are above the fray, but if you look at the history, while the Dems tend to participate in blatant cheating, Repubs tend to work more through the courts. They'll stretch a law as far as possible to get an advantage but they still tend to stay just this side of legal. They may violate the spirit but rarely the letter of the law.
6.8.2006 2:34am