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December 15, 2004
Ohio Rules Punch-Card Ballots Not An Eeevil GOP Conspiracy

At CQ today, it's all Ohio, all the time (notify Hugh Hewitt) ... In a ruling sure to disappoint tinfoil-hat brigade members throughout the nation, a federal court ruled this afternoon that the use of punch-card ballots does not amount to racial discrimination, denying an ACLU lawsuit springing from the 2004 Presidential election:

Voting rights are not denied to those who use punch-card ballots, a federal judge ruled in the nation's first trial to challenge the system blamed for woes in Florida in the 2000 presidential election.

The American Civil Liberties Union argued that the punch-card system is error-prone and ballots are more likely to go uncounted than votes cast in other ways. The group claimed Ohio violated the voting rights of blacks, who predominantly live in punch-card counties.

U.S. District Judge David D. Dowd Jr. disagreed.

"All voters in a county, regardless of race, use the same voting system to cast a ballot, and no one is denied the opportunity to cast a valid vote because of their race," Dowd said in his ruling Tuesday.

If it's a conspiracy, then California must have been the epicenter of it, as I voted with punch-card ballots every election until I moved to Minnesota a few years ago. We even used butterfly ballots in almost every major election cycle and managed not to have civic riots, although we also didn't have Republicans winning control of the Legislature, either -- so perhaps the ACLU just didn't notice the evil nature of the process back then.

As far as arguing that punch card balloting represents some sort of racial discrimination, it seems to me that the ACLU wants to argue that certain ethnic types are incapable of punching a ballot card properly. Is that an argument that the NAACP and Urban League want to endorse? Talk about condescension and patronizing attitudes!

The ACLU maintained that punch-card ballot machines were used in primarily African-American areas, while the rest of the state used more recent technology. Never mind, of course, that the Democrats complained about that technology as well. As far the ACLU's assertion goes, though, it appears that no one in their legal offices have any familiarity with a process called research:

Punch-card ballots are used in 69 of 88 Ohio counties, representing nearly 73 percent of registered voters. About 92,000 ballots cast in last month's presidential election failed to record a vote for president, most on punch-card systems.

Punch card systems were used to service 73% of all Ohio voters. The US Census Bureau reports that African-Americans comprise 11.5% of Ohio's population, and that non-white people account for a total of 15%. That adds up to one heck of a lot of non-minorities using punch card systems, making hash of any argument that punch-card use reveals a grand vote-rigging conspiracy.

When do you think the Democrats will regain their senses? 2006? 2008? At this rate, the Greens will have surpassed them before they recover from their paranoia and persecution complex.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at December 15, 2004 12:27 PM

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