Chilled molasses is faster than litigation, so it could be years before we learn how Ohio’s “irregularities” affected the 2004 presidential election. I see progress, though—at least from a legal perspective, which non-lawyers may find twisted as a corkscrew.
In August 2006, the King-Lincoln Bronzeville Neighborhood Association (and others) filed suit against Ohio’s former Secretary of State Ken Blackwell (and others) over said “irregularities.” Okay, fraud and malfeasance are closer to Plaintiffs’ allegations, which are as detailed as they are scary.
Some back-story and complaint excerpts follow:
Below are a few of Plaintiffs’ allegations (paragraphs 49-53 of the amended complaint). Ohio State University’s website has pdfs of other litigation docs. Allegations are not proven facts, but if even half of the allegations are based on solid evidence, this suit could spawn a Godzilla scandal.
49. Upon information and belief, Election Officials illegally recorded, or directed that others illegally record, fraudulent votes for Bush or discard votes for Kerry.
50. Upon information and belief, Election Officials, specifically Defendant Bare, engaged in, directed others to engage in, and/or neglected to ensure the proper procedures were in place and followed so that he and/or Election Officials remade ballots cast by voters in Clermont County with substitute ballots and adjusted the substitute ballots to increase the count of votes for Bush and decrease the number of votes for Kerry.
51. Upon information and belief, on November 2, 2004, absentee ballots in Sandusky County were counted twice for presidential candidates, thus increasing the margin of victory for Bush in these counties where a preponderance of voters preferred Bush.
52. Upon information and belief, on November 8, 2005, absentee ballots in at least twelve counties were counted twice as ballots cast, thus creating the appearance of large numbers of overvotes.
53. Upon information and belief, on May 2, 2006, absentee ballots for Pike County were counted twice as ballots cast on the official web site of Ohio Secretary of State Blackwell, even though the Pike County Board of Elections publicly reported no such number.
An Ohio law allows the destruction ballots 22 months after a presidential election. Because Ohio’s 2004 ballots are central to the suit and because King-Lincoln filed suit before the 22 months were up, the judge prohibited destruction of the ballots.
In April 2007, a federal court ordered Ohio’s 88 county election boards to give to Ohio’s new Sec. of State (presumably for safekeeping) all ballots from the 2004 election. The new Sec. of State, Jennifer Brunner, seems more cooperative than the old one.
Also in April 2007, on request of the parties, the court suspended the proceedings until June 8, 2007, so they can hammer out a settlement. I have nothing against settling, as long as a settlement doesn't prevent the public from learning who did what and how it affected the election.