The Republican Party has�barely�snatched another election in
Ohio. And once again there are telltale symptoms of the kind of vote theft that
put George W. Bush in the White House in 2000 and then kept him there in 2004.
This time an outspoken Iraqi War vet named Paul Hackett led
the charge for a Cincinnati-area Congressional seat, earning 48 percent of the
vote. The spot was open because Bush appointed his pal Rep. Rob Portman to be a
Hackett is a rarity among today's Democrats�-a blunt,
hard-driving truth talker who blasted Bush's attack on Iraq. Hackett labeled W.
"a chicken hawk." He's the first Iraqi war vet to run for Congress.
He made no bones about the incompetence and cynicism that define the GOP
strategy there. In particular, Hackett attacked Bush's attacks on veterans
benefits while claiming patriotic support of the war.
In return, GOP candidate Jean Schmidt lied about Hackett's
war record. Unlike John Kerry, Hackett fought back immediately.
The Ohio GOP is now being thoroughly roasted by a Coingate
scandal in which Republican high roller Tom Noe seems to have walked off with
at least $4 million in state funds, and possibly $16.5 million in theft and
unauthorized administrative charges from a $50 million rare coin investment
fund. Noe is a Bush Pioneer/Ranger level donor, and a supporter of Ohio
Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell, the point man in Bush's theft of
Ohio's 20 electoral votes and thus the presidency last November.
As his friends and supporters flee him, Noe's role as long-time
chair of the Lucas County (Toledo) Board of Elections has come under intense
scrutiny. Noe turned the seat over to his wife, Bernadette, in time for a 2004
election rife with disenfranchisement and fraud. Long lines, computer
breakdowns, intimidation, harassment and hacked vote counts were the defining
characteristics of the election the Noes administered in the Toledo area last
In one instance, an entire precinct was shut down because
the voting machines were locked in the office of a school principal, who called
in sick. Someone also placed the wrong type of ballot scan markers in heavily
Democratic Toledo precincts, causing a high rate of uncounted, machine-rejected
votes without the voters knowing it.
Overall, experts estimate more than 7,000 votes were stolen
outright from John Kerry under the Noes' supervision in Lucas County in 2004.
Whether similar theft defeated Paul Hackett remains to be
seen. Hackett ran extremely well in a district thoroughly gerrymandered as a
permanent Republican safe seat. Democrats are now crowing about how well
Hackett did in "serving notice" that the GOP may be in trouble. But
the bottom line is that the Republicans still won the election.
As of 1 am election night/morning (Aug. 2-3), Hackett was
within 3,600 votes�-about four percent�-of Schmidt.
But election officials announced a mysterious "computer
glitch" that delayed reports from Clermont County, which accounted for
roughly a quarter of all the ballots cast in the district.
When things finally settled out, Clermont gave Schmidt 58
percent, and a 5,000-vote margin and, thus, the election.
Earlier in the evening�-around 9 pm�-Hackett and Schmidt had
been in a virtual dead heat, according to sources in the Cincinnati area (see
among them billmon.org/archives/002073.html).
A full 88 percent of the district's precincts had then
reported, including more than half those in Clermont. As in Florida 2000 and
Ohio 2004, it looked like a cliffhanger. Schmidt's lead was less than 900
Clermont's "technical malfunction" with optical
scan readers was blamed on the humidity. Election officials said the southern
Ohio summer had soaked into the ballots, making it hard to pass them through
Once the problem was "solved," Schmidt picked up
more than enough votes to guarantee victory. The percentages by which she won
in the post-glitch vote count were far higher than those by which she had been
winning prior to the glitch. Vote counts were also higher than expected in the
strongest Schmidt precincts.
Clermont and neighboring Butler and Warren Counties gave
George W. Bush a margin in 2004 that exceeded his entire statewide margin over
John Kerry. Warren County became infamous on election night, when its
supervisors suddenly declared a "Homeland Emergency" and dismissed
all media and Democrats from the vote count. Bush then emerged with a huge,
unexpected and unmonitored majority.
Clermont, Butler and Warren Counties' totals were also
suspect because a Democratic candidate for the Ohio Supreme Court implausibly
out-polled John Kerry. As would be expected, Bush vastly out ran the Republican
candidate for Supreme Court Chief Justice in those three counties. But Democrat
C. Ellen Connelly, a pro-choice, pro-gay-marriage African-American from
Cleveland somehow got a higher vote count than Kerry in these conservative,
predominantly white southern Ohio counties. Richard Hayes Philips and other
experts who have assessed that vote say it is beyond implausible, indicating a
high likelihood of fraud.
But along with Al Gore in 2000 and John Kerry in 2004, Paul
Hackett has become another Democratic candidate whose campaign went suddenly
and mysteriously down to defeat late in the evening of a close election. Amidst
the obligatory computer glitches, the GOP candidate was declared the winner
before the vote count could be investigated.
Did Clermont County do for Schmidt in 2005 what it did for
Bush in 2004? Did that "glitch" in the evening vote count give GOP
dirty tricksters time to once again hack the machines they needed to win?
Who in the Bush/Rove Justice Department or major media will
even ask the question?
Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman are co-editors of "Did George W. Bush Steal
America's 2004 Election?" published by http://www.freepress.org,
along with "The Fitrakis Files. Harvey Wasserman's History of the US"
is available through harveywasserman.com,
along with "A Glimpse of the Big Light: Losing Parents, Finding
Spirit". For more on Clermont County, see billmon.org/archives/002073.html.