|December 6, 2004|
Questions That Needed Addressing Before The Election
A BUZZFLASH READER CONTRIBUTION
I have heard several media pundits trying to place blame on the Democrats, their party leaders, or even the primary process in Iowa as the reason Kerry lost the election in 2000. First it isn't all that certain Kerry did lose the election if we can recount all of the ballots. Joe Trippi was one of the pundits urging a better grassroots organization in order to win while faulting the Democratic party leadership. He made some valid points even if he used flawed numbers to try and convince people Kerry did worse than Gore did in 2000. The numbers from the 2004 election don't support his position on this point.
If the questions below had been addressed BEFORE the election [regardless of whose fault it was to do so] we would be celebrating Kerry's inauguration in January:
1. Why so many states, including important swing states, were permitted under HAVA to use punch card systems in this election allowing millions of ballots to be spoiled and not counted? Why Dems failed to do something to prevent 70% of Ohioans from voting on these poorly designed systems in 2004? Considering the lessons that should have been learned from Florida in 2000, these machines should have been taken out of play in Ohio. There are at least 93,000 spoiled ballots in Ohio with undervotes on them yet to be counted...more than enough with the provisional ballots to overcome Bush's margin there assuming most of these would be Kerry votes and valid votes. The worst part is that so many of these machines are used in poorer and/or Democratic precincts ensuring that so many Democratic votes won't be counted. Why didn't the Dems ensure that HAVA got rid of the punch card machines BEFORE this election?
2. What did the Democrats do to ensure that e-voting machines without paper backup ballots weren't being used in this election? From what I have learned, very little! These machines were in wide use in Florida and elsewhere. In fact Jeb Bush and Glenda Hood ensured that paper ballots would not be added to these machines in time for the 2004 election in Florida. Did anyone challenge these machines as being in violation of state election laws with regards to recounts and therefore unlawful without a backup ballot? I tried to explain to a friend and resident of Florida why she should not cast a vote on one of these machines. It took me a while before it finally sunk in that to be voting on one of these machines was casting a vote into a black hole. The subject of the security flaws and problems with these machines is well documented and there is not enough space to comment here on these. But it can be stated that in Florida, the election could easily have been stolen for Bush with e-voting machines and no one will be able to prove it, despite the exceptional efforts of Bev Harris' group.
3. What did anyone do to promote online voter registration? Again the answer is virtually nothing. I didn't see any prominent Dems in my state of Michigan show up in TV ads advising people how easy it is to register to vote online. In fact I didn't see anyone promoting online voter registration on a national scale either. Instead this task was left mostly to various web sites, online groups and the 527s, all which failed to make this a major issue during the campaign. And many of these groups even failed to promote online voter registration on their home pages. Online voter registration could have been THE ONLY thing that might have changed the election in a major way since it presented a new option to registering new people and was a cheap and easy way to do so.
4. When will Democratic politicians and party leaders stop resorting to boring political ads that try and make too many points in each ad? It has been reported that because these political ads are so uncreative it now takes way more runs and money to reach the same number of people these same ads would have reached several decades ago. In fact research has shown that political ads have changed very little since the late 1950s. Political ads are still one of the most effective ways to reach voters yet the Dems have shown absolutely no creativity in using them effectively. Despite my efforts to advise both the Kerry campaign and the DNC to fix their bad ads, nothing was done in this respect. Joe Trippi is correct that the Democratic leadership lacks creativity.
5. The Democrats as a group failed to put out actual data of military casualties in Iraq before the election. Despite several efforts to try and get Sen. Carl Levin's office to look into this under-reporting of military casualties in Iraq because of deliberately narrow definitions for them to protect Bush, they did nothing. Instead they advised me to look at the DOD's numbers, which was the problem being complained of. How many voters might have been swayed to vote for Kerry if they knew that 25,000+ personnel from Iraq had been medically evacuated? [http://www.juancole.com/2004/11/250...] How many voters might have been swayed to vote for Kerry if they had known that as many as 17,000 U.S. military personnel from Iraq have been treated by the VA for Gulf War type symptoms, probably as a result of depleted uranium poisoning as reported by Vanity Fair? [Dec. 2004, p. 208] Yes, we can all blame the media and we should. But we also need to blame the Democrats for not getting this issue into the public discourse on the war. Instead these casualty numbers had to come out by CBS and 60 Minutes AFTER the election.
6. Why don't we have uniform rules that pertain to the counting of Provisional ballots and the recounting of ballots for all Federal offices? Maybe someone should be working on this issue before the next election.
7. There have been numerous reports of voter frauds and election problems everywhere and more particularly Ohio. At least 57,000 complaints have been made to the House Judiciary Committee from this election. Who is being investigated, prosecuted, or held accountable for these? How many votes did these take away from Kerry since the overwhelming majority of these frauds favored Bush. How come not enough voting machines were placed in Democratic precincts in Ohio, creating long lines and discouraging voters? Was this a deliberate attempt by Secretary of State Blackwell to steer the election toward Bush? Why do we allow state elected public officials actively involved in a candidate's campaign [2000 in Florida with Katherine Harris and now in Ohio, with Blackwell], to take an active role in electioneering? How many Kerry votes were taken away by misleading information put out by Bush supporters and efforts to suppress voter turnout and registration in Ohio and elsewhere? Why isn't the mainstream media doing a better job of reporting on all of these election shenanigans and asking this question: Did all of these in tandem or any particular one allow Bush to steal another election?
8. No where did I find any Democrats in this campaign make the issue of Bush's failures to protect the country from 9/11, which was well documented and even part of the 9/11 Commission report, a major issue. In fact it was malpractice by omission not to have done so and to hold Bush accountable for these failures.
I have no doubt in my mind that had it not been for millions of spoiled ballots as a direct result of punch card systems, wide scale voter suppression efforts on the part of Republicans and their operatives, Democratic voter registration destruction efforts on the part of at least one company hired by the GOP, an inadequate number of voting machines in Democratic precincts in OH, voters being deliberately misled about voting rights, dates, and registration, efforts by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, OH to restrict the use of provisional ballots, and voter purging of people who would otherwise be qualified to vote in Florida, Kerry would have won this election...even despite the many mistakes his campaign and the Democratic Party made on his behalf.
One must remember that Kerry was a successful Democratic candidate in terms of the vast amounts of money he was able to raise to compete with the Bush money machine. Kerry was not outspent in this election. Also until the swift boat ads, Kerry had a decent lead over Bush. I would also claim that Kerry won this election if all of the votes had been counted and in the absence of so many deliberate voter frauds.
R. J. Crane, Editor, Topplebush.com
A BUZZFLASH READER CONTRIBUTION
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