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Thursday, June 30, 2005
E-Check's a goner

At least outside of Northeast Ohio. The budget Gov. Taft signs today will eliminate the E-Check program in southwest Ohio. Only 7 northeastern counties will continue the E-Check program and those tests will be paid for by the government, drivers will no longer have to cough up $19.50 to get their car tested.

The two-year state budget Gov. Bob Taft will sign today, in a ceremony at the Rack Processing Co. in Moraine, contains a provision that would prohibit any new contracts in the 81 counties not required to have E-Check, said state Sen. Steve Austria, R-Beavercreek.
Austria, a longtime E-Check critic who has been pushed the issue since 1998, said 14 counties should not have to carry the responsibility of improving air quality for the entire state, and that the E-Check program is too invasive.

"I have always felt that the E-Check program was ineffective and unfair to many Ohioans," Austria said.


Posted by robbernard at 2:11 PM in Ohio

Tuesday, March 8, 2005
One more example of how politicians don't get the internet

An Ohio law scheduled to go into effect May 2nd would require every Ohioan who sells on eBay to become a licensed auctioneer. That would require $200, posting a $50,000 bond, a one-year apprenticeship to an auctioneer and calling bids in 12 auctions and failure to do so could lead to a $1,000 fine and 90 days in jail.

The primary author, Larry Mumper, says the law will be changed to exempt individuals.

Let's assume for a second that eBay sellers from Ohio need to be regulated. To think that the proper way to do that is to make them licensed auctioneers shows a profound lack of understanding of what eBay is. There is really pretty much nothing a "real world" auctioneer could teach that would be of much use on eBay. eBay itself does what the auctioneer would do. If they really feel they need to regulate these people then it needs to be as if they're a small business, not as if they're auctioneers.

Posted by robbernard at 1:25 PM in Ohio

Thursday, February 24, 2005
More on E-check

The Equirer and the Post both have anti-E-check editorials today.

The Enquirer's offers this warning:

Some E-Check haters may now be leery: Be careful what you ask for. Costs of alternatives are likely to be passed through to consumers in other ways. Ohio EPA says cleaner-burning fuels would cost motorists about 3 cents a gallon more - around $30 a year for the average driver.

--Cincinnati Enquirer

Fine. At least that way my money will go towards cleaning the air. As it currently is, 97% of tests are simply $19.50 charges that result in no difference in air quality.

Posted by robbernard at 3:11 PM in Ohio

Sunday, February 13, 2005
Talk like this will get you my support every time
"I am strongly opposed to the E-Check system we have now. I think it's unfair," said state Sen. Steve Austria, R-Beavercreek. "We need to see evidence that this is actually working and having an impact on our environment."

Other legislators are even more direct.

"This is the year to eliminate E-Check and find another way to deal with this issue. I understand we're going to have to do something to keep the Feds happy, but let's find the least invasive, least expensive, least impacting method," said state Sen. Tim Grendell, R-Chesterland, a lawyer who once sued the state over E-Check and lost.

--Dayton Daily News

There's absolutely no reason that I should be forced to pay $20 every 2 years just for somebody to make sure that the Check Engine light on my '98 Lumina isn't on.

Posted by robbernard at 1:31 PM in Ohio , Politics/Government

Wednesday, February 9, 2005
Ohio may ban traffic cameras
State Rep. James T. Raussen will introduce a bill Thursday banning the cameras, saying Cincinnati's moving too fast to install them without studying their safety effects first.

"Everyone's catching camera fever, and I don't think we've had enough debate on this to go that route yet," the Springdale Republican said.

If the Rausen bill passes, Ohio would be one of four states to ban the cameras. New Jersey, Wisconsin and Utah are already on that list, and state lawmakers in several other states are considering similar legislation.

--Cincinnati Enquirer

If the cameras were really there to improve safety that would be one thing, but let's be honest here. The real motive to putting these cameras up is that they make the government money.

Posted by robbernard at 11:24 PM in Ohio

Friday, February 4, 2005
Hey, the honesty's actually kinda refreshing

Middletown's tax superintendent has been suspended w/o pay for a week for having some fun with the city's tax filing instructions. Among the lines added to the forms was "If we can tax it, we will".

Posted by robbernard at 1:07 PM in Ohio
Video of Alice Robie Resnick's DUI arrest

The Middletown Journal has the video of Ohio Supreme Court Justice Alice Robie Resnick's DUI arrest.

"I've always thought that a Supreme Court Justice should have a Highway Patrolman driving them,” said Resnick.

Forget the driving part for a moment, who gets drunk (her blood alcohol level was almost 3x the legal limit) at 2 in the afternoon on a Monday?

Posted by robbernard at 12:26 PM in Ohio

Wednesday, January 19, 2005
Were machines in the November election allocated unevenly?

Not in heavily Democratic Cuyahoga County according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

[A] Plain Dealer analysis shows that, in Cuyahoga County at least, the elections board distributed machines equally to city and suburban polling locations.

The long lines at some locations appear to be more the result of timing, new voters and overwhelmed poll workers, not necessarily a shortage of machines.

Before the Nov. 2 election, the elections board allotted each Cleveland precinct one machine for every 117 registered voters within its boundaries - the same ratio of machines that suburban precincts received.

In other words, the more registered voters a particular precinct had, the more machines it received, regardless of where that precinct was.

And in the end, the busiest precincts - when measured by the number of ballots cast per machine - were actually in the suburbs, not Cleveland, according to a Plain Dealer analysis of records from the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections.

Countywide, voters cast an average of nearly 71 ballots on each of the county's 8,000 machines. In Cleveland alone, voters cast an average of 62 ballots per machine. In the suburbs, the average was 74.

--Cleveland Plain Dealer

And likewise, the Columbus Dispatch reported that in Franklin County the busiest precincts were the suburban ones.
In fact, many polling places in inner-city neighborhoods had fewer voting machines than during the last presidential election.

Even so, the busiest places to vote — as measured by the number of ballots cast per machine — were overwhelmingly in suburban areas, according to an analysis by The Dispatch.
Nearly half of Franklin County’s 146 wards had fewer machines than four years ago. Generally, the machines were shifted from city wards to suburban ones, following population swings.

"We have the same number of machines, but they had to be spread over more precincts," Elections Director Matthew Damschroder said.

--Columbus Dispatch

So keep this in mind when you're told that people were disenfranchised because their precinct had fewer machines than in 2000 - They had fewer machines because other precincts gained more voters.

Posted by robbernard at 1:50 PM in Ohio , Politics/Government

Thursday, January 13, 2005

The Dayton Daily News has a story on the state abandoning electronic voting for optical scan ballots. For the most part the story's pretty typical. Blackwell says only optical scan machines can be used... Counties X, Y, and Z were planning to switch from one system to electronic systems... Board of Elections Directors were surprised by the decision... and so on...

But it's the very first line in the article that's mind-boggling:

Ohio voting is poised to enter the 19th century.


How is upgrading to optical scan ballots entering the 19th century?

Unless my knowledge of history is very wrong, Abraham Lincoln never filled out a Scantron form. General Custer didn't require a #2 pencil to fill in the ovals at West Point. Ballots are being optically read and tallied by a computer, this is not 19th century technology here!

Posted by robbernard at 1:34 PM in Ohio
Ohio dumps electronic voting

Electronic voting is out and optical scan voting is in here in Ohio.

Since the General Assembly had already votd to require a paper trail for electronic voting machinss so the decision is really a money one and not a vote verification one. Either way they won't be depending on computers for the vote totals. The money Ohio has received from the feds can cover the cost of optical machines but not the more expensive electronic machines.

I like this decision. I've never been too worked up over the potential fraud and verification problems of electronic voting but it's always seemed like overkill to me. So long as it can be properly recounted and there aren't problems like chads falling out of the ballots with handling I'm all for it.

Michael Meckler has some thoughts on the issue.

Posted by robbernard at 2:05 AM in Ohio

Wednesday, January 12, 2005
The election challenge is officially over here in Ohio
Three dozen voters challenging the presidential election results in the Ohio Supreme Court asked to drop their lawsuit Tuesday, saying it is moot with last week's certification of the electoral vote and the upcoming inauguration.

--ABC News: Lawsuit Over Ohio Voting Dropped

That's odd, I thought the challenges were about making sure everyone's vote counted, not about affecting the result... Whoops, there goes the supposedly idealistic rationale for the whining.

Posted by robbernard at 3:31 AM in Ohio

Friday, January 7, 2005
So what's Jesse Jackson up to

Martin Gottlieb's justifiably curious about just what Jesse Jackson thinks he's doing here in Ohio. His conclusion is that it's pretty much about staying in the spotlight at any cost and hoping to lay the smack down on Ken Blackwell.

So, the question arises, what is the Rev. Jesse Jackson up to?

This thing in Ohio — going to court over the re-election of George W. Bush, holding rallies, generally keeping the election alive — seems awfully pathetic, doesn't it?
Like others, [Clarence Page of the Chicago Tribune] sees Jackson as keeping himself in the spotlight by rallying a part of his old base, which Jackson is wont to do as various issues come along. Page says that Jackson has been diminished by the revelation that he fathered a child out of wedlock, and that staying in the spotlight — which is necessary to maximize his impact — is not as easy as it once was.

Page also mentions the name of Blackwell as a motivator of Jackson.

"Everything is there," says Page, to get Jackson going. Blackwell is a black conservative Republican — of all things — who is moving toward the governorship and is "cocky" about it. Jackson, says Page, "feels dissed" by this development. He "takes himself very seriously" and doesn't want to be eclipsed as a leader by somebody like Blackwell.

That has the feel of a pretty good summary.

--Dayton Daily News

Gotta agree with Gottleib, it is awfully pathetic.

Posted by robbernard at 1:44 PM in Ohio , Politics/Government

Tuesday, December 28, 2004
So wrong it hurts

The Houston Chronicle/New York Times: Ohio is the Florida of 2004.

In what kind of whacked out, screwed up version of reality can Ohio be called the Florida of 2004 when Washington had the election it had?

Let's see.

In Ohio the President won by 118,000+ votes only to have that total lowered to 118,000+ votes by one recount.

In Washington the Governor's race initially has a margin of only a few hundred votes which, through numerous recountings, is eventually reversed to show the other candidate winning.

Tell me, which state do you think better fits the tagline "Florida of 2004"?

Posted by robbernard at 3:08 PM in Ohio , Politics/Government
The Ohio recount is over...

... and *gasp* President Bush still won. Now he just won by 118,457 votes instead of 118,775. Boy, it's a good thing we spent more than a million dollars of taxpayer money to figure that out.

Posted by robbernard at 2:54 PM in Ohio , Politics/Government

Monday, December 20, 2004
" They have met the enemy, but don't recognize that he is their imagination"

The Morning Journal on the interminable accusations of fraud here in Ohio:

They have met the enemy, but don't recognize that he is their imagination.

Our wish is that they'd take their voting conspiracy hallucinations underground. Abandon us, please, so we can get on with life.

Bush won. Kerry lost.

Lorain County recounted. Other counties recounted, and others are recounting, and nothing has changed.

Nothing changed, because nothing was wrong. (Except for those who now fear the recount itself is rigged. For them, please go to deepest mineshaft and await the impending end of democratic civilization as you fear it.)
Those, like Jesse Jackson and Rep. John "call in the FBI" Conyers (D-Michigan), who encourage unfounded conspiracy-itis for their own self-aggrandizement are contemptible. And those Democrats and demagogues who refuse to recognize reality, no matter how you count it, do America a disservice by wasting our tax money cutting away at the fabric of an election system that works fine.

--The Morning Journal

Posted by robbernard at 6:51 PM in Ohio

Friday, December 17, 2004
King's Island beats Cedar Point
Ohio State-Michigan it's not. But the attendance rivalry between Ohio's two big amusement parks does carry bragging rights.

This year, they go to Paramount's Kings Island, near Cincinnati.

Kings Island broke its attendance record and replaced Cedar Point as the 15th busiest amuse ment park in North America, according to a Top 50 ranking compiled by Amusement Business.

Cedar Point fell to 17th.

Over the years, the two parks have shifted back and forth with the state's top attendance title.

"It's a very friendly rivalry," Cedar Point spokeswoman Janice Witherow said.

--The Plain Dealer

Posted by robbernard at 2:32 PM in Ohio

Tuesday, December 7, 2004
It's official

Secretary of State Ken Blackwell has certified President Bush's win here in Ohio. His final margin of victory is 118,775.

COLUMBUS, Ohio - This battleground state on Monday certified President Bush's 119,000-vote victory over John Kerry, even as the Kerry campaign and third-party candidates prepared to demand a statewide recount.

The president won Ohio with 2.86 million votes, or 51 percent, to Kerry's 2.74 million votes, or 49 percent.

The 118,775-vote lead was closer than the unofficial election night margin of 136,000, but not enough to trigger a mandatory recount. Absentee ballots and provisional votes counted after election night made most of the difference.

"This was an election where you have some glitches but none of these glitches were of a conspiratorial nature and none of them would overturn or change the election results," said Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell, a Republican who, as the state's chief election official, certified the results.

--Yahoo! News

Posted by robbernard at 1:16 AM in Ohio

Monday, November 29, 2004
Ohio count update

The current (still unofficial) tally listed on the Ohio Secretary of State's site now has Bush's lead over Kerry at 146,483, up from the previous 137,617, a gain of 8,866 votes for President Bush. There's no indication on that page of how many counties have finished counting their provisional ballots or how many of them are included in that tally.

Posted by robbernard at 4:12 PM in Ohio , Politics/Government

Wednesday, November 24, 2004
Judge throws out Ohio recount request (plus some provisional ballot math)

First some recount news:

A federal judge denied a request by third-party presidential candidates who wanted to force a recount of Ohio ballots even before the official count was finished.

Judge James G. Carr in Toledo ruled Tuesday that the candidates have a right under Ohio law to a recount, but said it can wait. The judge wrote that he saw no reason to interfere with the final stages of Ohio's electoral process. Officials have said the results will be certified by December 6.

The lawsuit by Green Party presidential candidate David Cobb and Libertarian candidate Michael Badnarik had asked Carr to issue an order requiring Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell to immediately begin a statewide recount of November 2 voting results.

The candidates received a combined 0.26 percent of the vote in unofficial results. But they contend a recount is necessary to ensure accuracy.


And now a little provisional ballot math.

Looking at the provisional ballots, 78%(61,536) of the 79,256 ballots counted so far have been found to be valid. There were 155,337 provisional ballots cast. If every remaining provisional ballot were found to be valid there would be 137,617 provisional ballots. Before the provisional ballots President Bush led in Ohio by 136,483. For the election to swing to Kerry (assuming again that all the remaining provisionals were valid) then Kerry would have to win the provisional vote 137,051 to 566 (99.59% to .41%). If less than 98.5% of the remaining provisional ballots are valid then Kerry could not possibly win.

Now let's look at the results from only one county. After the completion of Greene County's provisional count, Kerry gained 1,181. President Bush gained 1,536 votes. Now remember, in the hypothetical every-remaining-ballot-is-valid scenario if Kerry is to win Bush could only pick up 566 of the provisional votes statewide.

It's been assumed for some time, but John Kerry officially can not win Ohio through the counting of the remaining provisional ballots.

Posted by robbernard at 11:59 AM in Ohio , Politics/Government

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Looks like there will be a recount here in Ohio. Cobb and Badnarik have raised enough money to carry it out.

And this will change absolutely nothing. This isn't some 1,360 vote margin, this is a 136,000 vote margin. You can't make that up in a recount. Though maybe Cobb thinks he can make a comeback. I mean, he did get all of 24 votes in Ohio. If he can come up with just 2,796,124 more votes in a recount he wins!

And I have to say I'm curious about why Ohio is being singled out here. If the recount idea is so pure of motive why aren't they fighting to recount in Pennsylvania? That's a bigger state and Kerry only won there by 127,470 votes and there were actual accusations of fraud.

Posted by robbernard at 12:59 PM in Ohio , Politics/Government

Sunday, November 7, 2004
An Ohio GOP poll observer's story

Over at Wizblog.

Whatever happened to all that chaos, intimidation and disenfranchisement the Left was so certain would happen?

Posted by robbernard at 2:11 PM in Ohio , Politics/Government

Thursday, November 4, 2004
The GOTV effort

Peter Bronson's got a column on the GOTV effort here in Ohio in the Enquirer

[Doug Corn is] one reason Bush won Ohio and the election.

To understand why, you need to know terms such as "voter flush," "micro-targeting," and "personal voter contact."

They were all happening Tuesday afternoon at the Bush-Cheney headquarters in a storefront on Seventh Street.

It was highly organized chaos. Pizza boxes, Halloween candy, rubber bands and Sharpie boxes littered the few square inches of tables that were not jammed with volunteers, huddled elbow-to-elbow, talking to likely voters like air-traffic controllers trying to bring Air Force One in for a safe landing.

They call it GOTV - Get Out The Vote. After years of getting smoked on Election Day by union-label phone banks, the Republicans finally took apart the Democratic Party machine and rebuilt it, new and improved.

It works like this: During the final four days, Bush-Cheney volunteers in Hamilton County made more than 100,000 phone calls. They were not dumb-bomb "lit drops" of fliers to paper a neighborhood. That's old school. GOTV calls were smart bombs, guided with GPS accuracy.

"The key is personal voter contacts," said Alex Trantafilou, vice chairman of Hamilton County Bush-Cheney 2004. "We made 2 million voter contacts in Ohio over the last 96 hours."

Doorknockers were given books of names on the same street, showing the breakdown of Rs and Ds at each house.

Then on Tuesday, field teams scrambled to polling places for public postings of people who had voted. Those were called in to teams of college students who sat on the floor, deleting those voters from a database in hand-held PDAs. The updates were then downloaded to PCs, to print new lists for callers to "flush out" anyone who had not voted yet.

Trantafilou believes his eager army of unpaid volunteers gave Republicans a big edge over Democratic field workers who were paid by the hour.

Fox News proved him right at 12:40 a.m., by calling Ohio for Bush - based on GOP turnout in Hamilton County that offset Kerry votes in Cleveland. NBC called Ohio for Bush 15 minutes later.

"One guy knocked on 500 doors and worked 12 hours a day," Trantafilou said. That guy was Doug Corn. He worked 9 to 9 for nearly a week. Unpaid. At financial cost to his business. And although he's a Bush "Ranger" who raised more than $200,000 in donations, it was his first time in the trenches.

--Cincinnati Enquirer

Posted by robbernard at 10:38 AM in Ohio , Politics/Government

Monday, November 1, 2004
27,000 registered in both Ohio and Florida
Hundreds of voters could easily cast ballots Tuesday in both Ohio and Florida because they are eligible to vote in both states and have received absentee ballots from election officials in Ohio, The Plain Dealer has found.

And if they do, they almost certainly will go undetected.

These people are among more than 27,000 listed as active voters in both Ohio and Florida who could cast ballots in either of the two states, both among the most closely contested in the presidential race.
As many as 400 people voted in Ohio and Florida in the same election over the past four years, records show. In the 2000 presidential election, about 100 Ohio voters also cast ballots in Florida - where the presidential race was decided by just 537 votes.
More than 300 voters from Cuyahoga, Hamilton and Franklin counties received Ohio absentee ballots for Tuesday's election, though they are also eligible to vote in Florida. Many of these voters requested their Ohio ballots within days or weeks of registering to vote in Florida.

At least a handful of voters from the three counties requested absentee ballots from both states - potentially allowing them to vote twice without even going to a polling place.

Some voters registered in both states within the same month.

Besides double-voters, records also show that thousands of voters have toggled from Ohio to Florida and back again since 2000. For example, 1,400 voters cast ballots in Ohio in 2000 and 2002 after registering in Florida.

--Plain Dealer

Posted by robbernard at 2:26 AM in Ohio , Politics/Government

Sunday, October 31, 2004
Stats on Ohio's Bush-Cheney '04 grassroots campaign
Grassroots Statistic of the Day- Number of phone calls made to Ohio voters by Bush-Cheney ’04 Ohio Volunteers on October 29, 2004: 266,876

OHIO BUSH-CHENEY ’04 GRASSROOTS UPDATE: As of October 30, 2004, the Bush-Cheney ’04 campaign reports the following grassroots statistics in Ohio:

· 85,612 Recruited Bush Volunteers
· 2,406,788 Volunteer Phone Calls to Ohioans in support of President Bush
· 349,032 Doors have been knocked on to support President Bush
· 3,254 Total Parties for the President have been hosted
· 2,755,820 TOTAL Volunteer contacts to date

· 9 Bush-Cheney ’04 Ohio Regional Chairs
· 114 Bush-Cheney ’04 Ohio County Chairs
· 12,132 Bush-Cheney ’04 Ohio Precincts Chaired

--The Corner

There are a LOT of GOTV calls being made every night here in Ohio and the effort for the final 72 hours is very well organized.

Posted by robbernard at 12:58 AM in Ohio , Politics/Government

Thursday, October 28, 2004
The Media Fund's horrible Bush and Saudis ad

The Media Fund is running an outrageous ad here in Ohio (and probably elsewhere) that plays on peoples fears and is just a vicious, untrue smear. fact checks it to death.

This anti-Bush radio ad is among the worst distortions we've seen in what has become a very ugly campaign. It states as fact some of the most sensational falsehoods that Michael Moore merely insinuated in his anti-Bush movie Farenheit 9/11 .

The ad was released Oct. 25 by The Media Fund, an independent Democratic group run by former Clinton deputy chief of staff Harold Ickes. It falsely claims that members of the bin Laden family were allowed to fly out of the US "when most other air traffic was grounded," though in fact commercial air traffic had resumed a week earlier.

The ad also falsely claims that the bin Laden family members were not "detained," when in fact 22 of them were questioned by the FBI before being allowed to leave -- and their plane was searched as well.

And by the way, the man who gave approval for the flight wasn't Bush or even any of his close aides, it was former White House anti-terrorism chief Richard Clarke, now one of Bush's strongest critics.

Read it.

Posted by robbernard at 12:20 PM in Ohio , Politics/Government

Monday, October 25, 2004
2004's Butterfly Ballot?

You thought the Butterfly Ballot made it hard to vote for Gore? Just try voting for Bush or Badnarik there.

The county board of elections should never have even tried to have line things.

(via Boortz)

Posted by robbernard at 12:38 PM in Ohio , Politics/Government

Sunday, October 24, 2004
The sorry state of Ohio's voter rolls
Ohio’s voter-registration rolls are dirty, containing more than 122,000 apparent duplicates as well as the names of people who moved out of state in the 1990s, a local murder victim and even a pair of accused terrorists.

Among supposedly eligible voters in Franklin County are suspected terrorists arrested for alleged plots to blow up the Brooklyn Bridge and a local shopping mall. As an imprisoned felon, one is ineligible to vote. The other, from Somalia, is not a U.S. citizen and thus broke state and federal laws when he registered in 1999, officials said.

Also on the voter rolls is an Upper Arlington man who moved to Washington state in the late 1990s, registered there, later moved to New York and now is registered there.

And the list includes a Columbus man’s adult children who moved out of state in 1997 and 1993 — despite the father’s attempt to get them removed.
A Dispatch computer analysis of current voter-registration rolls for all 88 counties identified at least 60 Ohio voters whose names have been registered three or more times.

--The Columbus Dispatch

Now remember, if you think stuff like this should be scrutinized you're not taken prudent action to ensure a fair election, your intimidating voters.

Posted by robbernard at 7:54 PM in Ohio

Tuesday, October 19, 2004
Geez, maybe this is why Republicans have a harder time registering voters...

...not enough crack cocaine to hand out.

Mary Poppins. Jeffrey Dahmer. Janet Jackson. Chad Staton.
Defiance County elections officials were confident the first three hadn't moved to their small community. But the fourth one lived there, and - in exchange for crack cocaine - tried to falsely submit the first three names and more than 100 others onto the county's voter registration rolls, police said.

Now Mr. Staton, 22, of Defiance, faces a felony charge of false registration in a case that has quickly gained national attention as part of a hotly contested presidential battle that's attracted a flurry of new voter registrations across the country - and a flurry of complaints of voter registration fraud.

Defiance County Sheriff David Westrick said that Mr. Staton was working on behalf of a Toledo woman, Georgianne Pitts, to register new voters. She, in turn, was working on behalf of the NAACP National Voter Fund, which was formed by the NAACP in 2000 to register new voters.

Sheriff Westrick said that Pitts, 41, of Toledo, admitted she gave Mr. Staton crack cocaine in lieu of cash for supplying her with completed voter registration forms. The sheriff declined to say how much crack cocaine Pitts supplied Mr. Staton, or to say whether Pitts knew that the forms Mr. Staton gave her were falsified.
Of the 130 forms submitted, county elections board director Wayne Olsson said that only six turned out to be legitimate.

Noting that the potentially new voters had listed addresses in Defiance County, Cuyahoga County elections officials sent the forms to Defiance County, where they arrived the afternoon of Oct. 8.

The package came with a small note inside from Cuyahoga County officials: Check the signatures on the cards for fraud.

Within an hour, Defiance County elections workers had deduced that the batch of 130 was mostly faked forms, said Laura Howell, the county elections board's deputy director.

"We could tell by the handwriting that many of them were written by the same person," she said. "And of course we know the streets. Defiance being a small town, many of [the forms] had streets not even in Defiance."

And so elections workers immediately began sending out letters, addressed to the people listed at those addresses, as a precaution to ensure that a Mary Poppins, a Jeffrey Dahmer, or a Janet Jackson didn't, in fact, live in Defiance County, she said.

Letters also went out to George Foreman, Brett Favre, Michael Jordan, and Dick Tracy, among others in the bundle to see if the post office would return them as undeliverable.

Letters even went out to a handful of people registered on forms with different personal identifiers but the same name: Chad Staton.

None of the Chad Statons made the cut.

In the meantime, elections officials contacted the office of Sheriff Westrick, a Republican, who began an investigation that included the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification & Investigation.

Sheriff's deputies arrested Mr. Staton as he walked along a Defiance street about 8 a.m. yesterday, and issued a press release by noon that soon spread across the Internet.
it's not the first complaint of fraud against the NAACP Voter Fund, which insists it is nonpartisan.

Elections officials in Lake County, just east of Cleveland, last month began investigating the group and an anti-Bush group called Americans Coming Together, or ACT Ohio, for hundreds of suspicious registration forms and absentee ballot requests.

Among them was one, submitted by the NAACP Voter Fund, for a man who'd been dead for more than two decades.

--Toledo Blade

Posted by robbernard at 12:42 AM in Ohio , Politics/Government

Wednesday, September 29, 2004
Following up

Following up on an earlier entry about how Foster Barton, a Marine on leave from Iraq was attacked in the parking lot of Germain Amphitheater in Columbus after a Toby Keith concert. An arrest has now been made.

A man has been arrested and charged in the alleged attack on a Central Ohio soldier at a local concert venue, NBC 4's Monique Ming Laven reported.

Brent Cornwell, 28, of Blacklick, was arrested Tuesday night by Columbus police. He was charged with felonious assault Wednesday morning at a Delaware County Municipal Court video arraignment.

A judge set bond at $15,000. Cornwell was ordered to be on house arrest.

Foster Barton, 19, of Grove City, was on leave from the war in Iraq earlier this month when he said he was beaten in the parking lot after a Toby Keith concert at Germain Amphitheater.

Barton said his attacker beat him up because he was wearing an Operation Iraqi Freedom T-shirt. Barton was beaten so badly that he was knocked unconscious.

Police said witnesses at the scene and the suspect's own family helped police make an arrest, Laven reported. Police said Cornwell, who spent four years in the Army, called a morning radio show last week and said he wanted to give his side of the story, Laven reported.
According to a Columbus police report, six witnesses who didn't know Barton said the person who beat him up was screaming profanities and making crude remarks about U.S. soldiers, Burton reported.

One witness, a friend of the alleged attacker, said Barton hit first. Police said they do not think that witness is credible since the six other witnesses said Barton was hit from behind.

"The witnesses said that the beating and kicking continued even after Mr. Barton was on the ground," Delaware County Prosecutor Dave Yost said. "Anytime you've got somebody kicking at somebody who is on the ground, you've got a very dangerous situation. One well-placed kick can end up being fatal."

When asked by the judge if he had anything to say, Cornwell said, "No, I just can't wait until Mr. Yost hears my side of the story."

Barton's mother said she has a message for her son's attacker, who police said ran into the crowd after the incident and was not immediately arrested.

"He needs our prayers, just like the insurgents, because he's a coward," Cindy Barton said.

Posted by robbernard at 3:18 PM in Ohio

Friday, September 24, 2004
The dead have risen and they're trying to vote for Democrats
The state of Ohio is stepping in to investigate possible voter fraud in Summit County. And the Lake County prosecutor is also looking into fraud there.

More than 800 voter registration cards in Summit County are under investigation, NewsChannel5 reported.

The Board of Elections said the voter registration cards in question are for addresses that don't exist, spelling mistakes or have similar handwriting.

Fifty of those questionable cards apparently came from the AFL-CIO central office in Cleveland, WEWS reported.
Elections officials said the bogus cards were kicked out by the computer and forwarded to state investigators.

In the meantime in Lake County, elections officials said some voter advocacy groups are forging registration cards.

In one example, a man who's been dead for 20 years is apparently a new registered voter.

And in another case, it looks as if an entire neighborhood will be out of town on Election Day. Everyone there applied for absentee ballots.

Posted by robbernard at 1:34 AM in Ohio , Politics/Government

Wednesday, September 22, 2004
Soldier attacked in Columbus
Foster Barton, 19, of Grove City, received a Purple Heart for his military service in Iraq....

Barton said he was injured again Friday night in a crowded parking lot as he was leaving the Toby Keith concert at Germain Amphitheatre....

"I don't remember getting hit at all, really," said Barton, a member of the 1st Calvary Division. "He hit me in the back of the head. I fell and hit the ground. I was knocked unconscious and he continued to punch and kick me on the ground."

Barton and his family said he was beat up because he was wearing an Iraqi freedom T-shirt.
According to a Columbus police report, six witnesses who didn't know Barton said the person who beat him up was screaming profanities and making crude remarks about U.S. soldiers, Burton reported.
Barton's mother said she has a message for her son's alleged attacker, who police said ran into the crowd after the incident and was not arrested.

"He needs our prayers, just like the insurgents, because he's a coward," Cindy Barton said.

After a two-week leave, Barton was supposed to return to Iraq Tuesday. But his broken nose will delay his return.

Barton is waiting for doctors to tell him when he can return to active duty. He said wants to go back as soon as possible... - News - Decorated Soldier Reportedly Attacked At Concert

Posted by robbernard at 4:16 AM in Ohio

Tuesday, September 21, 2004
"Why Bush is winning Ohio"
Given [the] economic problems the President needed a way to mute their possible damage. He has done this by setting the negatives in context, by countering economics with cultural values, and by stressing his leadership on the war on terror. Bush’s stump speeches focus on what has been over come and what can still be accomplished. While he admits that the economy is still struggling, he points out that he inherited a struggling economy that was hit hard by 9/11 and the corporate scandals that rocked Wall Street. Bush insists that, thanks to the tax cuts he championed, the economy is on the up turn but promises to keep working until everyone who wants to find work can do so. This rhetorical strategy allows Bush to frame a perceived weakness as a roadblock overcome rather than a failure. It also keeps his campaign tone positive and focused on the future.

Another way Bush counters economic bad news is by appealing to the cultural values of those in distressed areas. In media interviews with independent voters one sees again and again where those with doubts about the economy often lean Bush because of cultural issues like faith, abortion, gay marriage, and guns. The recent media focus on the Assault Weapons Ban is a good example. While Kerry was blasting the President on the issue Bush was in Southern Ohio talking about his strong support for the Second Amendment and campaigning with Zell Miller on his support for family values. In the potential swing region of Appalachia who do you think wins in that battle?

In foreign policy Bush has positioned himself as a decisive and committed leader in the war on terror and in contrast to the overly nuanced and shifting Kerry. As with cultural issues, Bush tells voters that he is on their side; that only he has the commitment to do what it takes to protect American lives and values.
This brings up a third and crucial strength Bush has in Ohio: organization. Ohio is dominated statewide by the Republican Party and, despite some inter-party rivalry and even scandal at the state level; they are unified in support of President Bush. Building on this support the GOP is no longer willing to give the edge to the Democrats in “get out the vote” (GOTV) efforts. Instead, the Bush team has mobilized a massive volunteer effort to get out every possible supporter on November 2. They have utilized web technology and email lists to recruit, encourage and direct volunteers in everything from donations, voter registration, and phone banks, to bumper stickers and yard signs and a final 72-hour GOTV push. With a volunteer leader in every precinct in the state the GOP is ready to get their people registered and to the polls on Election Day. GOTV used to be a big advantage for the Democrats but Republicans should be their equals this year.


Posted by robbernard at 9:10 PM in Ohio , Politics/Government
The latest Ohio Poll is out

And it shows President Bush leading Senator Kerry by 11 points, 54 to 43, among likely voters in Ohio. A month ago it showed Kerry leading 48 to 46.

Bush picked up 11 points in his net favorability rating while Kerry lost 12 points off his favorability.

10% of Ohio Democrats support President Bush while only 3% of Republicans are supporting Kerry.

This certainly isn't good news for John Kerry, he needs to pick up either Ohio or Florida and as things go on Ohio is looking less and less likely. He hasn't led a poll in Ohio since August 26th and hasn't led outside the margin since July 22nd.

The Ohio Poll is sponsored by the University of Cincinnati.

Posted by robbernard at 8:55 PM in Cincinnati , Ohio , Politics/Government

Sunday, September 19, 2004
2 new Ohio polls

Mason-Dixon has President Bush up by 7 and the Plain Dealer has President Bush up by 8. The average of the polls in Ohio released over the last week is President Bush by 9.

Posted by robbernard at 12:47 PM in Ohio , Politics/Government


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