Sunday, March 13, 2005

Who stole Ohio?

Christopher Hitchens puts on the white hat while penning a revelatory essay in March's Vanity Fair. Apropos of November 2, 2004, Hitchens delves into the voting irregularities through-out the electorally crucial state of Ohio—a state that eventually paved the way for a second Bush term. Here's an interesting excerpt:

Machines are fallible and so are humans, and shit happens, to be sure, and no doubt many Ohio voters were able to record their choices promptly and without grotesque anomalies. But what strikes my eye is this: in practically every case where lines were too long or machines too few the foul-up was in a Democratic county or precinct, and in practically every case where machines produced impossible or improbable outcomes it was the challenger who suffered and the actual or potential Democratic voters who were shortchanged, discouraged, or held up to ridicule as chronic undervoters or as sudden converts to fringe-party losers.


There are some other, more random factors to be noted. The Ohio secretary of state, Kenneth Blackwell, was a state co-chair of the Bush-Cheney campaign at the same time as he was discharging his responsibilities for an aboveboard election in his home state. Diebold, which manufactures paper-free, touch-screen voting machines, likewise has its corporate headquarters in Ohio. Its chairman, president, and C.E.O., Walden O’Dell, is a prominent Bush supporter and fund-raiser who proclaimed in 2003 that he was “committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year.” (See “Hack the Vote,” by Michael Shnayerson, Vanity Fair, April 2004.) Diebold, together with its competitor, E.S.&S., counts more than half the votes cast in the United States. This not very acute competition is perhaps made still less acute by the fact that a vice president of E.S.&S. and a Diebold director of strategic services are brothers.

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