Monday, November 15, 2004


Whose vote counts in Ohio?

Below from a letter drafted by Hugh Urban on behalf of the Comparative Studies Department of The Ohio State University appeared in the November 27, 2004 Columbus Dispatch.

  • Franklin County was unprepared for the election: In the 2000 election, there were 681,949 registered voters for 2,780 voting machines. In 2004, with 150,000 more registered voters (845,720), only 13 new machines were added -- instead of 672, at roughly 245 votes per machine.
  • Which wards got fewer machines? There is a strong correlation between wards that voted primarily Democratic and wards that had fewer machines. There also appears to be a correlation between wards that are predominantly African-American and wards that had fewer machines.
  • There are documented cases of voters leaving the polls because of the long lines, which seem to have been particularly bad in minority neighborhoods.
  • According to, there were at least 1831 complaints of problems and irregularities across Ohio, ranging from long lines, to lack of provisional ballots, to voter intimidation, to failed machines and computer glitches.

They call for a VOTER'S BILL OF RIGHTS:

  • The number of voting machines must be proportional to the number of registered voters in each precinct;
  • All voters must be able to vote within a half hour of arrival at the polling sites;
  • There must be no differentiation in kind of machines that correlates with voters' ethnicity, race, or income level;
  • All voting machines must have an apparatus and regimen for a manual recount if necessary;
  • The number of "spoiled" votes that have been discounted must be made publicly available, listed by precinct, within three days of the election;
  • The total number of provisional ballots, their precinct and the number that were discarded must be publicly reported when the final vote is certified;
  • Where there are discrepancies in the number of votes cast as compared with numbers of voters in a given precinct (or any other such mathematical irregularities), there must be a full and complete investigation before the count is certified;
  • There should be uniform voting processes across the state and across the country. If electronic machines are used, they must leave a voter-verifiable paper trail, and the software must be subjected to scrutiny by a non-partisan observer.


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