Whichever way you shake it, or hold it up to the light, there is something wrong about the Ohio election that refuses to add up. The sheer number of irregularities compelled a formal recount, which was completed in late December and which came out much the same as the original one, with 176 fewer votes for George Bush. But this was a meaningless exercise in reassurance, since there is simply no means of checking, for example, how many "vote hops" the computerized machines might have performed unnoticed....there is one soothing explanation that I don't trust anymore.
Can it be? Is the dam finally breaking? On January 12th Blackwell
...ordered the county election boards to choose an optical scan system from one of two optical scan vendors by Wednesday, or his office would choose one for them.
Apparently the state Attorney General took exception to the order and "Feces Flinging in Ohio" is now fully underway.
Chaos in Ohio: Blackwell Says G.O.P. Chair Is in Diebold's "Hip Pocket"; Ohio AG Rules Blackwell Order Illegal; Blackwell Says AG's "Playing Politics"
...at the urgent request of several county boards, that edict has been deemed illegal by the Ohio Attorney General, Jim Petro -- who, though a long-standing Blackwell ally as allegations surfaced that the 2004 general election in Ohio was mismanaged, says of Blackwell's latest order, according to a paraphrase in the Wednesday edition of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, "[he] does not have the authority to dictate how independent boards conduct their elections."
Blackwell, through spokesman Carlo LoParo, immediately shot back, calling the Attorney General's advisory opinion "inexplicable."
Incredibly, LoParo didn't stop there -- revealing that Blackwell believes Petro has instituted a "sudden change" in state policy, and that according to Petro's new legal stance, prior decisions of the Secretary of State would have to be deemed illegal as well.
...erstwhile Blackwell supporter Bob Bennett -- State G.O.P. Chairman and member of the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections -- for the first time in his life (perhaps a sign of the changing winds) issued a statement generally in agreement with a stated position of The Advocate, alleging that Blackwell's decision-making processes with regard to HAVA compliance are akin to "operating a coal mine at midnight."
Bennett is prepared to enter the state's largest county into a binding contract with controversial voting equipment manufacturer Diebold to the tune of 6,000 new voting machines (yes, 6,000 -- an abiding sense of decency is not one of Bennett's chief personality traits).
Blackwell -- steadfastly burning his very last bridge in Ohio -- fired back immediately and, in a thinly-veiled reference to Diebold, charged that Bennett is "in the darkness of some vendor's hip pocket."
Petro says state can't mandate vote systems - Attorney general at odds with Ken Blackwell