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Ken Blackwell Has Some Explaining to Do

Ohio was the ground zero of the election; Franklin county was the ground zero of Ohio. Ken Blackwell, who is both the Ohio Secretary of State and the co-Chair of the Bush-Cheney campaign in Ohio, appears to have screwed us royally.

In the 2000 election, there were 681,949 registered in Franklin county, for which we had 2,780 voting machines available. In 2004, when we all knew there would be a huge turn-out, there were 845,720 registered voters. If Blackwell had used the same ratio of machines per voter as there were in 2000 (roughly 245 votes per machine), there should have been 3452 machines in Franklin county — an increase of 672 machines. Instead, Blackwell only gave us a pathetic 13 new machines. That is in itself is outrageous.

But it gets worse, much, much worse. If you look at the two maps attached to this message, you will see that the first map shows that the inner city (= predominantly African-American and young voters) voted heavily democratic, while the outer suburbs (= predominantly white) voted Republicans. Then compare this with the second map. This shows where there were more and fewer machines in 2004 than in 2000. There is a very strong correlation here. The machines were systematically moved out of the inner city, African American and young neighborhoods toward the largely white Republican suburbs.

Then you take into consideration that we had numerous reports of machines in African-American neighborhoods breaking down, not working, stopping in mid-vote… It just gets worse and worse. This is why you had long lines of black people and students waiting 4-9 hours, while white guys in the suburbs sailed through in 20 minutes.

And this is why Blackwell demanded that we all vote in our registered precinct…. i.e., so he could systematically suppress the vote, especially the black and youth vote, which were overwhelmingly democratic.

Franklin county is only the beginning, however. There are severe irregularities in several other counties, such as Cuyahoga, where 29 precincts had vote tallies that exceeded the number of registered voters, leading to an excess of over 93,000 votes, and Warren county where a false “terror alert” was issued and the media were not allowed access to the building where the votes were counted.

Conclusion: Ken Blackwell has a lot of ‘splainin to do.

Hugh Urban teaches in the Department of Comparative Studies at Ohio State Universion. He is the author of Tantra: Sex, Secrecy, Politics and Power. Urban can be reached at: urban.41@osu.edu