With two felony convictions already in its wake, Ohio's
spreading stolen 2004 election scandal has claimed another victim -- Michael
Vu, the controversial executive director of the Cuyahoga County Board of
Hired in 2003 with the support of the Democratic Party, Vu
was in charge of administering the electoral process in Ohio's biggest county.
Centered in Cleveland, Cuyahoga County regularly gives huge majorities to
Democratic candidates, and was expected to help put John Kerry into the White
House in 2004.
But as chaos ensued on election day, long lines,
malfunctioning machines, suspiciously low turnouts in inner city precincts,
lost ballots and dubious vote counts turned Democrats against Vu. Independent
researchers calculate that the irregularities may have cost Kerry thousands of
Vu also supervised the purchase of some $20 million in electronic
voting equipment, a decision bitterly opposed by grassroots activists, and
featured in a major documentary film recently broadcast nationwide on HBO. Upon
installation for the 2006 election, much of the equipment malfunctioned.
Most damning were felony convictions stemming from the
botched recount of 2004 presidential ballots that was, according to Cuyahoga
County prosecutors, "rigged." Forced by the Green Party and
Libertarian Party, the recount process required recounting precincts chosen at
random. But a jury has convicted two Cuyahoga poll workers of, among other
things, choosing the precincts based on specific criteria, which is illegal.
Though Vu remains unindicted, the convicted workers were operating under his
Vu fell out of favor with the county Democrats who brought
him in as election after election was engulfed in chaos. Calls for his removal
rang out from the election protection community, including the Columbus Free
Vu was then supported by Robert Bennett, chair of the Board
of Elections. Bennett also serves as chair of the Ohio Republican Party. The
two Democrats on the BOE tried to have Vu removed, but Bennett and the other
Republican on the board voted to keep him. The board remained deadlocked when
then-Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell, a Republican, refused to cast a
ballot, thus saving Vu's job.
But the felony convictions of the two poll workers may have
been too much for the board, whose tie votes will now be broken by Jennifer
Brunner, Ohio's new Secretary of State. Brunner is a Democrat.
On February 6, after a two-hour closed-door meeting, Vu, 30,
submitted his resignation, a decision he said was mutual between himself and
the BOE. A search committee is now seeking a replacement for the $119,000 per year
This article originallyappeared in The Free Press.Bob
Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman are co-authors of "How
the Gop Stole America's 2004 Election & Is Rigging 2008". They are co-editors, with Steve Rosenfeld, of
Happened in Ohio?" published by The New Press