The Democrats’ long-awaited study on the presidential election in Ohio produced plenty of complaints of long lines and malfunctioning machines, but did not come close to proving any fraud or suppression by Republicans, despite claims to the contrary by DNC chair Howard Dean:
A five-month study for the Democratic National Committee found that more than one in four Ohio voters experienced problems at the polls last fall, , but the study did not find evidence of widespread election fraud that might have contributed to President Bush’s narrow victory there.
The detailed report, released Wednesday, said that disproportionately high numbers of blacks and young people had complained about long lines, intimidation and malfunctioning machines. But Democratic officials said they could not conclude that Mr. Bush’s Democratic challenger, Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, would have won in Ohio even if voting had gone smoothly. …
But Dr. Dean said the volume of problems reported by blacks and young people suggested that Republicans had tried to suppress the vote in heavily Democratic districts.(NYT)
What the New York Times failed to include in its article is that when Dean made that accusation, the report’s author immediately released a statement saying that the study did not support that conclusion and that he would disassociate himself from any such analysis:
“Where the partisan bias came from, where it went, we really have no basis for making any assertion about that and I don’t believe the report makes any statements about that,” said Cornell University professor of government Walter Mebane Jr.
Dean was forced to backtrack, saying that it at least had the appearance of unfairness for African-Americans in Ohio. Dean blamed the problems for black voters on Republican Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell, an African-American himself.
The Washington Post curiously also omits the backtrack of Dean and the protest of the study’s author. They quote Mebane extensively, however, as stating that the issues could not have changed the outcome in Ohio and that no “large-scale misallocation of vote” occurred to anyone’s benefit from the problems encountered. Dan Balz also allows Blackwell’s response into its report of the issue:
Blackwell’s office in Ohio disputed the claim of voter suppression and said the report contained a number of errors. “The facts do not support their conclusions,” said Carlo LoParo, a spokesman for the secretary of state’s office.
LoParo said census data showed that African American turnout reached record levels last year, increasing by 84,000 from 2000.
He said that the number of provisional ballots issued in 2004 was proportionally about the same as in 2000 and cited an Electionline.org analysis that found Ohio had counted a higher percentage of provisional ballots (78 percent) than either Pennsylvania (49 percent) or Florida (36 percent).
The Washington Times finds its own nuggets of information that the Paper of Record and the Post deem unimportant to its readership. An earlier independent audit of Ohio’s vote conducted by election attorneys for the state legislature did find some evidence of fraud. Not surprisingly, given the source, the DNC’s audit appears to have missed this:
In a stinging reply to the report, Mr. Mehlman agreed that there were numerous election abuses that took place in Ohio last year, but said they were perpetrated by Democrats or their political allies. In one instance, he said, “Democrat allies attempted to disenfranchise Ohio voters by submitting registration cards for Mary Poppins, Dick Tracy and Michael Jordan.”
In March, a group of Ohio election law attorneys conducted a review of the state’s election for the House Committee on Administration. It found, among other things, that “thousands of false and fraudulent voter-registration cards had been discovered and became the subject of numerous investigations by boards of elections, actions by local law enforcement and many media reports.”
“Overwhelmingly,” this report said, “these problems were reportedly traced primarily” to four Democratic political allies who supported Mr. Kerry: ACORN, America Coming Together, the AFL-CIO and the NAACP National Voter Fund.
So, yes, Virginia, there was voter fraud in Ohio. What the Exempt Media wants to keep from us is that it occurred on behalf of the Democrats. The race, unlike in Wisconsin and Washington, wasn’t close enough for it to make a difference. For that, Ohioans can be grateful.