Smearing All The Way

In their zeal to overturn the 118,000-vote victory for George Bush in Ohio, Democrats apparently don’t care what damage they do. Their latest conspiracy-theory victim is Ohio’s Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Thomas Moyer, accused by attorneys in the case of having secret knowledge of voter fraud:

A group of voters had claimed Chief Justice Thomas Moyer “wittingly or unwittingly acquired knowledge of deliberate national and statewide election fraud” and should step aside.
Moyer called the voters’ claim “wholly without foundation.” He added that he has no reason to remove himself since the challenge doesn’t involve his own election and he has nothing to gain by a change in the results. …
Cliff Arnebeck, an attorney representing the voters, said Wednesday said he was reviewing the documents Moyer referred to.
As to the chief justice’s refusal to remove himself, “the important thing about the judicial process is the concept that you have a neutral judge,” Arnebeck said. “It’s disappointing that doesn’t seem to be the priority here.”

Once again, the flat-Earthers looking to undermine the very substantial victory in Ohio have resorted to character assassination in order to feed the victim mythology their efforts intend to create. The first victim was Kenneth Blackwell who served as the Democrats’ bete noir for simply following Ohio election law. Since one smear job apparently isn’t enough, they intend on grinding Justice Moyer’s reputation into the ground, using nothing but innuendo and an unsupported whispering campaign.
Perhaps the Ohio Bar should look into the conduct of the attorneys in this case. Publicly denigrating the integrity of the court without any evidence of wrongdoing should result in some sort of sanction. In the meantime, Ohio voters should make clear to Democrats that this whining and post-election nonsense will result in sanctions in the next election — the kind that ends political careers.

A Cost Of $5000 Per Vote

Ohio has officially finished the recount demanded by the Green and Libertarian parties and encouraged by the Democrats and the Kerry campaign. The result? President Bush’s lead diminished … by 300 votes:

Election officials finished the presidential recount in Ohio on Tuesday, with the final tally shaving about 300 votes off President Bush’s six-figure margin of victory in the state that gave him a second term.
The recount shows Bush winning Ohio by 118,457 votes over John Kerry, according to unofficial results provided to The Associated Press by the 88 counties. Lucas County, home to Toledo, was the last to finish counting.
The state had earlier declared Bush the winner by 118,775 votes and plans to adjust its totals to reflect the recount later this week.

That certainly proved a productive use of Ohio’s resources. The Secretary of State estimated that Ohio’s taxpayers will eat about $1.5 million for the complete recount, far outpacing the $113,000 the Greens and Libertarians paid for the effort. When that money isn’t available for more voting machines or a few workers get laid off because of the budget crunch, perhaps Buckeye State voters will remember that this useless bill was brought to them by the Democrats and fringe parties.
I’ve heard of vote-buying before, but $5000 a throw seems a bit steep, even for free-spending Democrats.
UPDATE: Dorian at Alarming News (guesting for Karol Sheinin) notes the AP headline bias that commenter TG Harris also noted.

Ohio Recount Results In Little Change

In a story that most newspapers appear to have left on the wire, Ohio announced that their recounts have almost completed, with both presidential candidates picking up a handful of votes:

With recount results reported in 86 of 88 counties Tuesday, President Bush picked up 438 votes and Sen. John Kerry got an extra 680, narrowing Bush’s 119,000-vote lead by 242 votes, according to an Associated Press survey of the counties. …
Kerry’s concession hasn’t deterred critics who feel that alleged voting problems in Ohio called the outcome into question. The Rev. Jesse Jackson and the Massachusetts-based Alliance for Democracy have accused the Bush campaign of “high-tech vote stealing.”
An AP review of electronic voting found few reports of widespread problems. Elections officials of both parties were confident the election was fair and done properly.

Jesse Jackson and the rest of the reactionaries on the Left need to be cut loose from the mainstream Democratic party if the Democrats ever intend on seriously competing for leadership in this country again. They have done nothing but gripe about the election results in the states they lost, while remaining silent about states with narrower gaps — like Pennsylvania — where they won. Jackson and John Conyers (see below) have a problem accepting reality and grasp at every straw to undermine confidence in the electoral system. Their refusal to admit defeat does a disservice not only to their party, but to the nation and the voters as well.
Until these fools get rebuked by the Democrats, and rebuked strongly and publicly, voters will continue to mistrust the party that wants to transform every election into a lawsuit and every loss into a conspiracy. Americans don’t elect paranoid nutcases to high office, a lesson the Democrats should have learned in the past two election cycles.

Obsessed By Polling (Updated)

I used to chastise Bill Clinton for his obsession with polling data before making decisions, but the current crop of Democratic leaders put Bill to shame. John Conyers, the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, demanded the raw exit-polling data from the 2004 election, saying that it will prove intentional voter disenfranchisement:

Rep. John Conyers Jr. of Michigan said in a letter released Tuesday in Washington that the polling firms that conducted the polls on behalf of the news organizations, Mitofsky International and Edison Media Research, had declined to share the information with the committee.
“Without the raw data, the committee will be severely handicapped in its efforts to show the need for serious election reform in the United States,” Conyers said in the letter. …
Conyers’ letter said the exit poll information could help determine whether there is evidence “of voting irregularities that occurred as a result of poor election practices and intentional voter disenfranchisement.”

First the Democrats attacked the actual ballot counts in Ohio, demanding recounts in 88 counties even though Kerry lost by 119,000 votes. When that proved fruitless, they revert back to the exit-polling data that first gave them hope that their hopeless candidate would win the election — the incomplete, half-assed numbers that even the pollers said had no predictive value. The Democrats value exit polling more than the actual vote.
Let’s explain this to Rep. Conyers, and let’s use small words so he can comprehend understand get it. Exit polling samples voters who cast ballots. Pollsters do not talk to every single person walking out of every single precinct. In fact, they tend to poll in larger precincts because they have a better chance of getting responses. Typically, they poll a couple of thousand voters in each state, if they can. In Ohio, that would amount to 0.03% of the voters.
Now, that can be useful for demographics — er, sorry, Rep. Conyers, that’s a big word. It means that we can see how votes broke out by economic and ethnic divisions. Exit polling has been shown over and over again to be unreliable in predicting winners of elections, especially since the networks all decided to create one shared polling group rather than do their own individual exit polling. In fact, the VNS and the NEP have yet to get it right, even once, in the past three election cycles.
But here’s the big point, Rep. Conyers: America took its own poll on November 2nd, and that was the one that actually used ballots. We don’t take samples to determine elections. We actually send people to cast votes, and we tell them when and where to do it. Perhaps you’ve heard of this. When the day is over, we count the ballots and figure out who won. We don’t go out and ask 2,000 people who they think won.
If any of this confused you, Rep. Conyers, then please let us know. Next time, we’ll draw pictures — and afterwards, maybe you can take a nap to rest up after such a busy day.
UPDATE: Thomas Bray at the Detroit News takes Conyers to the woodshed over his umbrage at Ohio while overlooking the incompetence in his own back yard (via Memeorandum):

If Conyers was so concerned about voting problems, where was he in 1998 when election officials in his hometown of Detroit took a disgraceful two weeks to count ballots due to lost poll books and miscounting of precinct totals?
Where was he in 2001 when the counting of absentee ballots in Detroit had to be halted in midstream by state officials after it was discovered that the city clerk was simply ignoring state requirements for the use of software that would eject ballots that couldn’t be read by machine?
And where was he when a memo allegedly drafted by Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s aides in 2002 claimed that Detroit’s voter rolls were overstated by about 150,000 people — a strong hint that something may be seriously amiss in the Detroit election process, threatening the value of the ballot for people who are genuinely qualified to vote?
Conyers’ outrage appears to be highly selective. The target of his investigative demand — a demand in which he has been joined by Jesse Jackson and others — is the Ohio secretary of state, Kenneth Blackwell, who is black and Republican. In other words, he is one of those non-conforming minorities who is threatening to bust up the liberal plantation from which Conyers and others earn a handsome living.

In the spirit of fairness, then, let’s call for a federal investigation into the chronic voting irregularities in John Conyers’ district. If Conyers truly wants to assure voters that all votes will count, he should have no problem approving of such a probe.

Ohio — One Step Forward, One Step Back

The comedy continues in Ohio today, where the ACLU and Jesse Jackson continue their efforts to manufacture a voting controversy in order to claim victimization for the next four years. Hanging chads have returned to the American electorate as recount teams try to divine voter intent from incompetence, while a federal judge tells Jackson to read the law before filing a complaint:

In a scene reminiscent of Florida circa 2000, two teams of Republican and Democratic election workers held punch-card ballots up to the light Wednesday and whispered back and forth as they tried to divine the voters’ intent from a few hanging chads. …
The scene is being repeated statewide this week in a recount in the state that put Bush over the top in the election last month.

We should have learned the lesson four years ago: any process in which ballots get reviewed for “voter intent” is inherently subjective and should be rejected. Either a voter successfully casts a ballot or not at all. The threshold should be that a ballot can get counted properly by the machine designed for that purpose. Anything else lends itself to partisan mischief.
On a brighter note, a federal judge tossed out another complaint by Jesse Jackson because of his own demonstrated incompetence at understanding electoral law:

The Ohio Supreme Court’s chief justice on Thursday threw out a challenge to the state’s presidential election results. …
Chief Justice Thomas Moyer ruled that the request improperly challenged two separate election results. Ohio law only allows one race to be challenged in a single complaint, he said.
The challenge was backed by the Rev. Jesse Jackson and Cliff Arnebeck, a Columbus attorney for the Massachusetts-based Alliance for Democracy, who accused Bush’s campaign of “high-tech vote stealing.”

I find Jackson incredibly boring and inconsequential; fumbles like this provide the only remarkable aspect to his public works. His racebaiting and paranoid delusions make for interesting copy, but as long as Democrats continue to follow his destructive strategies, they will continue to lose ground among rational voters. How hard can it be to do the legal research necessary to file a valid complaint?
Not only did they screw up the form of the suit, the substance also fails to meet the laugh test. Jackson wants the court to throw out the election results because of an exit poll — later shown to be preliminary — predicted that John Kerry would get 52% of the vote. In other words, Jackson wants to give more legal weight to the few hundred people approached on their way out of polling booths than the actual votes cast in the election. While the ruling today leaves open the possibility of the complaint being refiled, it deserves more to be buried in a landfill.

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.

Even More Ohio Nonsense

The Democratic myth-building in Ohio continues in Washington DC, where Congressman John Conyers wants to ask the FBI to open a vote-tampering investigation in order to cast doubt on the veracity of the presidential-election results. The New York Times reports that Conyers will complain about “inappropriate and likely illegal election tampering”, as if there’s any such thing as legal election tampering. Conyers bases his complaint on the testimony of one election worker, Sherole Eaton, who questioned the conduct of a technician for the company whose machines tabulate the vote as he prepared the machines for the recount:

Ohio recount rules require that only 3 percent of a county’s votes be tallied by hand, and typically one or more whole precincts are selected and combined to get the 3 percent sample. After the hand count, the sample is fed into the tabulator. If there is no discrepancy, the remaining ballots can be counted by the machine. Otherwise, a hand recount must be done for the whole county.
Ms. Eaton contends that the Triad employee asked which precinct Hocking County planned to count as its representative 3 percent, and, upon being told, made further adjustments to the machine.

Here’s the result of this obvious and egregious attempt to disenfranchise Ohio voters:

County officials decided to use a different precinct when the recount was done yesterday. No discrepancies were found.

So apparently whatever the tech did after engaging Ms. Eaton in some harmless shop talk had absolutely no effect on the counting of the vote — and the recount, apparently, did not differ from the original tabulation. Holy cow, we have a conspiracy to conduct an election going on in Ohio! No wonder Conyers wants the FBI to use up its resources to investigate why the Democrats lost instead of other, less pressing issues — oh, say, like counterterrorism.
All of this wailing and gnashing of teeth is designed to give the Democrats an extension on their Florida martyrdom, which has served them so well over the last two election cycles, of course. Two more years of spouting conspiracy theories and sobbing like spoiled children who can’t get their every desire handed to them should firmly establish the GOP as the majority party at state, federal, and electoral levels by 2006.
UPDATE: Corrected Conyers’ title; hat tip, reader Jimmy’s Attack Rabbit.

In Ohio, The Whining Continues

Micheal Powell and Peter Slevin report on Election Day difficulties in Ohio, using spot reports to extrapolate a massive electoral collapse that their own numbers show didn’t happen. As Ohio voted in record numbers, the notion that heavy turnout would bring long lines appears to have surprised Democrats, who interpret them as part of an evil plan to disenfranchise inner-city voters:

Tanya Thivener’s is a tale of two voting precincts in Franklin County. In her city neighborhood, which is vastly Democratic and majority black, the 38-year-old mortgage broker found a line snaking out of the precinct door.
She stood in line for four hours — one hour in the rain — and watched dozens of potential voters mutter in disgust and walk away without casting a ballot. Afterward, Thivener hopped in her car and drove to her mother’s house, in the vastly Republican and majority white suburb of Harrisburg. How long, she asked, did it take her to vote?
Fifteen minutes, her mother replied.
“It was . . . poor planning,” Thivener said. “County officials knew they had this huge increase in registrations, and yet there weren’t enough machines in the city. You really hope this wasn’t intentional.”

In Minnesota, in my predominantly white, middle-class suburb, the line snaked out the doors of the polling place (the local fire station) and out into rainy, 35-degree weather. In fact, that line did not significantly shorten most of the day. Why? Because we had a higher turnout than normal, which most of us agreed was a positive sign. We did have several polling booths, but that might be because we planned better than other counties for that contingency. Seeing as how the counties are run by Democrats in most of the areas that the Washington Post investigated for this article, I would chalk up Thivener’s experience to incompetency on the part of Democrats and not a conspiracy by the GOP.
The entire report is filled with contradictory data. On one hand, Powell and Slevin give credence to these wild conspiracy theories by talking about long lines and the underinvestment in machines, and yet they also report this:

On Election Day, more than 5.7 million Ohioans voted, 900,000 more voters than in 2000.

That’s an increase of 19% over the last Presidential election who successfully voted, and yet Powell and Slevin want to keep the meme of voter suppression alive. If increasing voter participation by almost twenty percent amounts to a conspiracy to suppress the vote, then the conspiracy failed by any rational analysis.
Nor do the other anecdotes provided by the Post make their argument more convincing. At one point, they scold Ohioans for using punch-card ballots:

Congress imposed only the minimal national standards and included too few dollars. Tens of thousands of machines — including 70 percent of Ohio’s machines — still use punch-card ballots, which have a high error rate.

But then Powell and Slevin turn up their noses at the replacement touch-screen machines that advocates swore would be the solution for addled Florida voters who couldn’t figure out the punch-card system:

Berkeley sociologist Michael Hout, who directed the study, said the problem in Florida probably lies with the technology. (Florida’s touch-screen machines lack paper records.) “I’ve always viewed this as a software problem, not a corruption problem,” he said. “We’d never tolerate this level of errors with an ATM. The problem is that we continue to do democracy on the cheap.”

And then they complain when an indirect-recording system like the touch-screen machines get out of calibration:

In northeastern Ohio, in the fading industrial city of Youngstown, Jeanne White, a veteran voter and manager at the Buckeye Review, an African American newspaper, stepped into the booth, pushed the button for Kerry — and watched her vote jump to the Bush column. “I saw what happened; I started screaming: ‘They’re cheating again and they’re starting early!’ ”
It was not her imagination. Twenty-five machines in Youngstown experienced what election officials called “calibration problems.” “It happens every election,” said Thomas McCabe, deputy director of elections for Mahoning County, which includes Youngstown. “It’s something we have to live with, and we can fix it.”

The proof of the election, and Ohio’s preparations for it, is in the final numbers. Ohio was able to successfully record 19% more votes in this election than four years ago. Did individuals have problems voting? Of course; that happens in every election. Did machines fail or need adjustment? Yes, and that also happens in every election. Did some county boards penny-pinch and spend too little money? Apparently so, but the fault of that lies with the counties — and voters should hold them accountable in the next election.
Find the problems and fix them, but quit whining about voter suppression when the US just experienced its best turnout for an election in several cycles.

When We Can’t Win, We’ll Act Like We Did

The Washington Times published a revealing blurb about the strategy Senate Democrats will take in the next session of Congress — pretending they won the last election:

Senate Democrats Monday signaled they would continue to try and unofficially oversee the Bush administration.
Sen. Byron L. Dorgan, D-N.D., and Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., announced several oversight hearings on a range of subjects next hear.

The Democratic leadership in the Senate claim that the Republicans in Congress have not exercised their oversight responsibilities, but that’s not why they’ve scheduled these hearings. The GOP has been happy enough with the performance of the Bush administration. The Democrats simply can’t handle the fact that they’ve been sent packing three election cycles in a row. In order to make themselves feel better, they plan on holding circus-atmosphere hearings to air their complaints on TV. They’re hoping you tune them in to hear their bitch sessions about the GOP.
You may as well. You’re paying for them.

Democratic Competence On Display In Minnesota

Either one of the DFL’s electors in Minnesota decided to make a political statement, or he or she could not remember the name of the Democratic nominee to write on the Electoral College ballot. Whichever the case, it does not reflect well on the DFL’s efforts to project competence and relevance:

One of Minnesota’s 10 presidential electors broke from the pack and cast a vote Monday for John Edwards, the Democratic vice presidential running mate for John Kerry. …
“I’m sure somebody made a mistake,” said elector Michael Meuers of Bemidji. “I’m certainly glad that the Electoral College is not separated by one vote.”

With all of the uproar from the Democrats about the importance of counting each vote, one would expect to see massive condemnations for the DFL elector who just disenfranchised 10% of the Minnesota vote in the Electoral College. Was it a mistake? In order to believe that, you have to believe that the Democrats chose an elector incapable of remembering their presidential nominee, a name in the news for a few days over the last year, after all. That option speaks well of neither the elector, the DFL party members who selected him or her, nor of the thoroughly forgettable candidate who ran a thoroughly forgettable campaign.
On the other hand, it’s entirely possible that the elector filed the vote as some sort of weird protest against both John Kerry and George Bush. That would be an indictment of the relevancy of the DFL in this state, a party full of stupid, pointless gestures. Nice work, DFL.