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Ohio Recount Rigging Case Goes to Court 224

The Akron Beacon Journal is reporting that the trial of the three election workers accused of rigging the 2004 presidential election recount in Cuyahoga County is finally underway. As you may recall, this was the case where poll workers 'randomly' selected the precincts to recount by first eliminating from consideration precincts where the number of ballots handed out on Election Day failed to match the number of ballots cast and, then opening the ballot boxes in private and pre-counting until they found cases which would match up. What is interesting here is that they have already admitted doing this and that it was clearly counter to the letter and the spirit of the law, but still insist it wasn't really 'wrong,' presumably since they only did it to avoid having to go to the bother of a full recount as required by law.

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Ohio Recount Rigging Case Goes to Court

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  • by Quilted Porcupine ( 995935 ) <> on Saturday January 20, 2007 @11:28AM (#17694598)
    On when they would do a full hand-count, if needed: "Our plan was to regroup after Christmas and just work through it." That quote strikes me as awfully suspicious itself. If the election results were in dispute, waiting a couple months to actually start counting all the ballots by hand seems incredibly lax, at best.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 20, 2007 @11:39AM (#17694676)

    Did you RTFA?

    Prosecutors do not allege vote fraud or that the mishandling of the recount affected the outcome of the presidential election.

    That's why it's not a big deal. But it doesn't stop you or the editors from making a mountain out of a molehill.

  • Re:Uhhh (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Socguy ( 933973 ) on Saturday January 20, 2007 @11:39AM (#17694684)
    The biggest problem in a case like this is the time it takes to respond. In the time it's going to take this to wind its way through the legal system, multiple elections are going to have come and gone. If the goal really was to commit election fraud, their candidate would have been in office for (potentially) multiple terms before anything is done - assuming that anything would be done anyway!
  • Re:Uhhh (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Saturday January 20, 2007 @11:43AM (#17694704) Journal
    Laziness is a great excuse for election fraud.
    Think of it as an affirmative defense.
    Otherwise, the only excuse is maliciousness...
    And admitting to that would really aggravate the charges against them
  • Re:Uhhh (Score:3, Interesting)

    by spiritraveller ( 641174 ) on Saturday January 20, 2007 @11:44AM (#17694720)
    If the goal really was to commit election fraud, their candidate would have been in office for (potentially) multiple terms before anything is done - assuming that anything would be done anyway!

    Hypothetical: We find out that John Kerry actually won Ohio... so BushCo. gets evicted and Kerry gets to be President for two weeks before Hillary gets sworn in.

    What does he do?

    (think of this as a very unscientific poll)
  • Re:Hypocrisy (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 20, 2007 @11:50AM (#17694758)
    I mean, it's not like they lied about an entire war [], or kept a child molester from prosecution, [] or took bribes, [] or had drunken stripper parties in the Watergate with lobbyists! []

    Yeah, I would have figured it was the other party.

  • OK (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Black Parrot ( 19622 ) on Saturday January 20, 2007 @12:12PM (#17694922)
    Does this mean we'll be seeing criminal charges against others who subvert the voting process, say by shipping machines with different software than they submitted for certification, or trying to obstruct voting on election day?
  • Treason? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rhakka ( 224319 ) on Saturday January 20, 2007 @12:19PM (#17694956)
    Am I the only person that thinks that willfully subverting the electoral process, on which every thing in our country's governance hinges, should be tried as NOTHING LESS than treason?

    I don't care if you're running for dog catcher... the democratic process should be defended with the most uncompromising principles possible, should it not?
  • by fishbowl ( 7759 ) on Saturday January 20, 2007 @12:23PM (#17694996)
    >I think there's too much of an obsession with Ohio

    Ohio was the state that the chairman of Diebold said would be delivered to the president.
  • Ahem! (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 20, 2007 @12:35PM (#17695088)
  • Re:Hypocrisy (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 20, 2007 @01:05PM (#17695324)

    I'm shocked-- the Republican party quite possibly did something illegal and unethical.

    FTA: "In Cuyahoga, a Democratic stronghold where about 600,000 ballots were cast, the recount did not have much effect on the results. Kerry gained 17 votes and Bush lost six." Oh ... my ... God, Kerry actually gained votes and Bush lost them! This is most certainly the work of those evil Republicans!

    FTA: "Kerger said he believes there are two reasons, generally, why an elections board would precount before a recount. The first is to change the results of the vote, which he does not believe happened. The second, he speculated, was that 'the workers were so tired and didn't want to hassle with doing a hand recount.'" If this whole process was biased, it was biased in favor of the Dems.

    My advice: RTFA. There was no fraud. The election workers were just too lazy to do their jobs properly. I'm guessing they must have been liberals because it's obvious you were too lazy to read the article before blaming Republicans, but that's just a guess.

    I mean, it's not like they lied about an entire war, or kept a child molester from prosecution, or took bribes, or had drunken stripper parties in the Watergate with lobbyists!

    Well, I think the other AC handled that one quite well.

  • Re:Hypocrisy (Score:4, Interesting)

    by enharmonix ( 988983 ) <> on Saturday January 20, 2007 @01:14PM (#17695384)

    When a Republican wins a close election, it was stolen.

    When a Dem wins a close election, it's the will of the people.

    See Governor, Washington state. How many selective recounts did it take until the Dem won?

    Starting Score: 0 points
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    Heh. I do believe I find the moderation on this post more interesting than the actual flamewar that it inspired. I almost wish we had meta-meta-moderation so I could see how this plays out...

  • Re:Ahhhh, yes. (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 20, 2007 @01:25PM (#17695470)
    Wow. The dissonance between your reply and your sig is some kinda fierce...
  • Re:Hypocrisy (Score:5, Interesting)

    by wpegden ( 931091 ) on Saturday January 20, 2007 @02:14PM (#17695770)
    In other words, the Democrats, who lost by a narrow margin, did not request the recount. If there'd been any real question about the outcome, they would have done so. So that's not what's at stake.
    I'm not sure about this. In this particular case, you may well be right that there was no real question about the outcome---however, I don't think that necessarily follows from the fact that Democrats didn't challenge the votes. Sure, I agree that in cases where the vote counts are very close, the losing major party will often challenge the vote, hoping that a few incidental errors will be corrected in their favor. On the other hand, I think a losing major party will rarely, if ever, launch a concerted challenge over a bigger issue in voting: for example, challenging the idea evoting (as it is now) or broader voting procedures, even if they potentially stand to gain from doing so in that particular election. Both big parties stand to benefit from the "brave new world" of e-voting and Diebold, etc., and I think they realize that. Neither is willing to launch any sort of crusade to destroy it. Only the political outsiders (greens, libs, socialists, whoever) are in the position where the voting establishment will never work for their benefit, and so they are the only ones who really want to challenge it.
  • Re:Treason? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rhakka ( 224319 ) on Saturday January 20, 2007 @03:50PM (#17696376)
    Perhaps we should pay people to administer polls then. I mean.. it is only the basis for the entire operation of our country, after all. I understand your point, and agree, but this cannot be acceptable. Far too much to gain and too little to lose as it currently stands, IMHO.
  • by nomadic ( 141991 ) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .dlrowcidamon.> on Saturday January 20, 2007 @04:01PM (#17696442) Homepage
    But Badnarik's platform was horrible; he was an anti-libertarian, an authoritarian whose platform consisted of him forcing people he didn't agree with to follow his lead at gunpoint. Let me paste a summary I wrote of his platform on Usenet a few years ago (I won't get offended if nobody reads it, I just always wanted to paste it to Slashdot but there aren't that many Badnarik stories lately):

    No real political experience, no real management experience, no college degree (and I'm not saying a candidate needs all three, but one would be helpful), and his views are just BIZARRE.

    For example, in imagining his first day as president he states he would "Declare that all 20,000+ gun control laws in the United States are unconstitutional and unenforceable." Now you may agree with him, nothing wrong with the idea that all gun laws are unconstitutional (I don't agree with it, but I can recognize there are legitimate arguments for that position), but I'm not sure where he gets the idea that the President has the power to do that. It shows a serious lack of a sense of reality, especially for a man who styles himself a Constitutional scholar.

    On that magical first day he'll also: "Issue another valid executive order to my subordinates executives working for the IRS. That order would instruct them to come to work, make a pot of coffee, and begin working on their resumes' pending a federal grand jury investigation as to the legitimacy of the Sixteenth Amendment and the Internal Revenue Code. High ranking officials from that department would be closely monitored as flight risks, pending indictments for fraud in the event that evidence proves that they knew that no statute exists that requires Americans to fill out a 1040 form and relinquish a significant percentage of their hard earned money to an unconstitutional government that refuses to operate within a budget."

    Which sets off PCT alarms on two points. First is the utterly false belief that the 16th amendment isn't legitimate. It's at this point I'm cutting out the crosspost groups, by the way, I really don't want to argue with too many crazy people over this point.

    Secondly is the weird obsession with holding government employees responsible for laws he doesn't like (he'll also prosecute BATF agents who dare confiscate firearms), a PCT hallmark. The idea that IRS officials have some conspiracy of silence is just bizarre.

    But wait, it gets better! His obsession with punishing people who he doesn't like doesn't end at the executive branch. If elected he states:

    " I would announce a special one-week session of Congress where all 535 members would be required to sit through a special version of my Constitution class. Once I was convinced that every member of Congress understood my interpretation of their very limited powers, I would insist that they restate their oath of office while being videotaped. Those videos could then be used as future evidence should they ever vote to violate the rights of Americans again."

    So, he would violate the Constitution in the most fundamental way I can possibly imagine in order to teach a class on the Constitution. How on earth can you support this guy, even in a completely symbolic way?

    We also get such gems from him such as "The Federal Reserve has been inflating our money supply ever since 1933, which makes our money worth less than Monopoly money." Really, Mike? So you'll trade me real currency for monopoly money? Here, I'll even give you a 2:1 conversion rate.

    Then there are just plain inconsistencies in his position. His support of the electoral college, for example, seems to be based on self-interest more than libertarian ideology. Shouldn't it be one voter, one vote? If the majority of Americans think something, why should their votes be weighted based on where they live? Doesn't sound like a free marketplace of ideas to me. But compared to the rest of his lunatic platform I guess that's not so bad.
  • Re:Hypocrisy (Score:1, Interesting)

    by DavidTC ( 10147 ) <<moc.xobreven> ... .vidavsxd54sals>> on Saturday January 20, 2007 @04:03PM (#17696456) Homepage

    I think it should be a general policy that any sin taxes on addictive substances get corresponding free medical treatments.

    It's idiotic to tax people to try to reduce cigarette use, and not provide at least minimum levels of treatment to get them off of it if they want to.

    It's really funny, sin taxes are odd leftovers from the progressive era, and are just kinda sitting around without anyone saying anything about them, but imagine how much outcry there would be if someone tries to implement them today.

    That said, I don't think there should be sin 'taxes' on cigarettes, because I think tobacco companies should be dismantled, and tobacco products produced and sold by the government. I'm sorry, I believe in the corporate death penalty for companies that have operated in the manner they did. I think we should seize all their asserts and dismantle them, but I realize that is unlikely and I would happy if they, and everyone else, were just barred from producing tobacco products.

    I think we should treat tobacco like we should treat heroin, where the government is the only entity allowed to produce products with it in it, because no company can be trusted to sell such an addictive substance, and it should be sold in carefully regulated places to keep it from children, I'm thinking more OTC in pharmacies than gas stations.

    (Yeah, I know don't sell heroin like that either.)

  • by MarkusQ ( 450076 ) on Sunday January 21, 2007 @12:29AM (#17699398) Journal
    Seriously, having a president willing to change his mind when the situation changes (like the contents of a bill, or the state of a war) is a blessing. Having a president which refuses to change his mind when reality bites us all on the ass is a curse.

    Agreed. But my point (which I made badly) was that in 2004 we were given the choice between an idiot who wouldn't change his mind even when he was obviously wrong, and one that was willing to change his even when he was obviously right.


    I suppose (to paraphrase Rumsfield) you go to hell with the President you've got, not the President you wish you had. But I'd still rather an honest, intelligent statesman that I disagreed with on all the wedge issues than a corporate-puppet moron that parrots whatever they think I want to hear*.


    * Al? Are your ears burning? Your nation needs you.

  • Re:Hypocrisy (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 21, 2007 @08:05AM (#17701218)
    Your an idiot, a liar.

    There are a lot more folks than just the political outsiders that care about voter rights, and
    the complete removal of all electronic voting machines.

    This is a NON PARTY ISSUE.

    You mention "incidental errors" being corrected in someone's favor.
    I call that a "electronic voting machine failure."

    Just because Electronic Voting Machine FAILURES didn't make it into the corporate mainstream media e.g. ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, PBS does not change the FACT it has destroyed our Constitution, wasted billions of dollars, and cost people their lives!

    There are in fact Democrats challenging votes. As there should be Republicans as well as every other party. When you have an electronic voting machine FAILURE, you have denied citizens Constitutional right to vote. You have broken the only link that citizens have to tell the government what their will is.

    You would do well to follow and for the last few years, and then let see what you have to say about "incidental errors" (FAILURES)

    At worst your comments just continue to spread the corporate voting machine manufacture's lies and allow the courts to decide what our votes were, instead of "we the people" physically doing it themselves. Not to mention the FACT that our current president was not elected BY THE PEOPLE, and has taken us into a FILTHY OIL WAR where thousands have been killed.

    Man you better wake the fuck up.

    It's not just OHIO! It's everywhere these fucking electronic voting machines were introduced!

    There are several problems with recounts.

    a.) Physics of electricity
              You CAN NOT re-count an electronic signal that is GONE. You can't validate an electronic signal when it exists.
    b.) Large amount of money demanded by SOS's.
            In order to get a recount, it's costs money, even if the money were raised, the best recount you could get is the same fucking unvalidatable crap coming out of electronic voting machines that have already FAILED! THey will NEVER COUNT ON PAPER.

It's fabulous! We haven't seen anything like it in the last half an hour! -- Macy's