You can bet your Blackwell the 2004 election was stolen — by the Republican Party — right from under the nose of Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, who, election scholars who studied massive irregularities in the election say, would have won the election if not for massive fraud committed by the GOP in Florida, Ohio, New Mexico and elsewhere, according to a report in Rolling Stone magazine.
The article is far too long to excerpt, and perhaps even to summarize, but it says much of what I documented here in the weeks and months after the election:
The exit polls were not flawed, as was reported after the election results showed wide disparities in the vote totals versus the exit poll results. Instead, the exit poll was one of the most accurate ever performed, except in areas where irregularities have surfaced, such as most of Ohio and Florida.
The Republican Party paid operatives to intimidate and harass thousands of likely Democratic voters to prevent them from voting, illegally wiped thousands of Democratic voter registrations off the rolls, and in Ohio, Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, who once boasted of “delivering” the election to Bush, was running the statewide elections while doing everything he could to disenfranchise Democrats.
In fact, much of the article centers on Blackwell’s illegal activities such as denying provisional ballots to Democratic voters.
Republicans orchestrated the hours-long lines at polling places in predominantly Democratic precincts, causing many voters to give up and go home without ever voting, by reducing the number of precincts in historically Democratic areas and reducing the number of voting machines provided to those areas and providing broken machines to those areas.
In many rural counties, Republicans tampered with ballots by obscuring the vote for Kerry on the ballots and filling in a vote for Bush, and may have tampered with voting machines and tabulators. In one county, they even made up a fake terrorist threat to prevent anyone from seeing what they were doing to the ballots.
And after the Libertarian and Green Party candidates forced a recount of Ohio, election officials rigged the recount. Not that it would have mattered anyway; Blackwell fought the recount so that it was delayed far beyond the point where electors were chosen.
The issue of what happened in 2004 is not an academic one. For the second election in a row, the president of the United States was selected not by the uncontested will of the people but under a cloud of dirty tricks. Given the scope of the GOP machinations, we simply cannot be certain that the right man now occupies the Oval Office — which means, in effect, that we have been deprived of our faith in democracy itself.
American history is littered with vote fraud — but rather than learning from our shameful past and cleaning up the system, we have allowed the problem to grow even worse. If the last two elections have taught us anything, it is this: The single greatest threat to our democracy is the insecurity of our voting system. If people lose faith that their votes are accurately and faithfully recorded, they will abandon the ballot box. Nothing less is at stake here than the entire idea of a government by the people.
Voting, as Thomas Paine said, “is the right upon which all other rights depend.” Unless we ensure that right, everything else we hold dear is in jeopardy. — Rolling Stone