January 18, 2005

Alliance for Democracy Seeks to Intervene Before Democratic Party Dismisses Its Own Case in Knox & Franklin Counties

On Election Day, the Ohio Democratic Party had brought a case in federal court due to the long lines in Franklin and Knox Counties. http://moritzlaw.osu.edu/electionlaw/docs/ohio/041102LongLineTROmotion.pdf and http://moritzlaw.osu.edu/electionlaw/docs/ohio/041102LongLinecomplaint.pdf

The only relief sought in the complaint by the Democrats was an injunction requiring election officials to provide paper ballots or other alternative means of voting in the affected counties on election day.

The court issued a temporary restraining order requiring officials to provide paper ballots or other alternative means of voting and directed that the polls had to remain open for all voters who had been in line at 7:30 p.m. http://moritzlaw.osu.edu/electionlaw/docs/ohio/041102LongLineOrder.pdf

The order further provided that it would expire on November 2, 2004, unless good cause were shown to extend it.

On December 2nd the Democratic Party agreed to withdraw its case http://moritzlaw.osu.edu/electionlaw/docs/OhioDems/stipulationofdsm.pdf and made a motion to dismiss its own case http://moritzlaw.osu.edu/electionlaw/docs/OhioDems/dismiss.pdf.

No decision of that motion has yet been handed down by the Court.

On January 14, 2005, the Alliance for Democracy made a motion to intervene in the case, alleging that:

"Movant Alliance has a compelling interest in the matter which is the subject of this action. The protection of democratic institutions, one of the most important of which is the right to vote, is the core purpose of the Alliance. The initial complaint filed by the Ohio Democratic Party, as well as the temporary injunctive relief granted by this court, sought to alleviate the extraordinarily long lines and delays being faced by voters within the City of Columbus and by voters in the precinct serving Kenyon College in Knox County. Since shortly after the election the Alliance has been involved in organizing, fund-raising and staffing the legal challenge to the Ohio presidential election on the basis of both the civil rights violations which were the subject of this original complaint and the manipulation of the counting of votes. Some members of the Alliance were individual Contestors in the Election Contest before the Ohio Supreme Court. Fraudulent manipulation of elections has been a major focus of the work of the Alliance in the ten years of its existence owing in part to the fact that its founder, Ronnie Dugger, wrote the seminal magazine article in the New Yorker Magazine in 1988 on the vulnerability of electronic voting machines to manipulation. The Alliance has been involved for the past four years in litigation in both federal and state court over the illegal use of corporate funding and expenditures to influence the outcome of a Ohio Supreme Court election campaigns.

In its funding and staffing of the legal challenge in the Ohio Supreme Court of the election results, the Alliance was attempting to address on a larger scale the problem which this court courageously and aggressively addressed on election day. Because the Ohio Supreme Court did not apply any discipline to the process of considering allegations of fraud brought by citizens in their capacity as voters, unless the federal court promptly adjudicates the unprecedented level of fraud in the Ohio presidential election those who perpetrated the fraud will be able to enjoy the fruits of victory rather than the just consequences of criminal conduct.

The Ohio Democratic Party appears, by its motion to dismiss its claims against the Franklin County Board of Elections, to have lost interest in further pursuit of this complaint. Intervenor Ohio Republican Party and defendant Blackwell appear to be seeking to nullify the importance of this court’s injunction as an important precedent for protecting voting rights and according equal protection of law for all Ohio citizens. Thus, there is no other party in this action that appears willing to aggressively represent the interest of the Alliance in protecting the democratic values at issue in this preceding."

It also sought to supplement the complaint in the suit, alleging that

"1. The disproportionally long lines experienced and observed in Afro-American voting precincts in Columbus, Ohio, on November 2, 2004, were, upon information and belief, a consequence of a statewide plan executed by Defendants Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell and the Ohio Republican Party, acting as agents for the Bush-Cheney Presidential campaign.

2. Such plan and its execution violated the Voting Rights Act and the other provisions of the federal law, including the 14th Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.

3. Because such plan was carried out under the auspices of Defendant Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell, acting in his dual capacity as Co-Chair of the Bush-Cheney Ohio Presidential campaign, such plan and its execution constituted a conspiracy to violate the constitutional rights of targeted Afro-American Ohio citizens under color of state law in violation of 42 U.S.C. 1983.

4. Defendant Franklin County Board of Elections through its Director Matthew Damschroder, upon information and belief, testified incorrectly before the court that nothing could be done to alleviate the long lines in Franklin County and the Board failed to carry out the mandate of the Court’s November 2, 2004 injunction, because in fact, in accordance with the Board’s own records, some 67 voting machines that could have been used were held back from use by voters.

5. Defendant Blackwell and the Ohio Republican Party, acting as agents for the Bush-Cheney Presidential campaign, upon information and belief, engaged in a wide variety of vote suppression techniques and permitted vote manipulation, by which votes cast by voters for Presidential candidate John Kerry were counted, in both the initial count on election day and the recount, as though they had been cast for Presidential candidate George W. Bush.

6. The conduct of the defendants in violation of law resulted in the false reporting of the initial election result in the Ohio Presidential vote, the recount, the certification of Ohio votes by the Congress of the United States and, unless such fraud is exposed before the scheduled Inauguration on January 20, 2004, will result in the second Inauguration of George W. Bush on the basis of an inaccurate vote count.

7. Title 3 of the United States Code establishing procedures for certification of votes of the electoral college is unconstitutional as applied, in this situation where no reasonable and adequate means has been provided for an adjudication of credible allegations of fraud supported by and substantial evidence, which fraud is determinative of the outcome of the election, can be considered and resolved in a public hearing before such certification.

8. The inauguration of a president on the basis of alleged fraud as to which the suspected perpetrators and conspirators have not even been examined under oath, constitutes a deprivation of an important liberty, namely the franchise to vote, without due process of law."

In addition, the Alliance for Democracy sought an emergency hearing, and an order granting leave to take the depositions of Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell, Ohio Republican Party Chairman Robert Bennett, and Franklin County Board of Elections Director Matthew Damschroder.

The attorney for the Alliance for Democracy is Clifford O. Arnebeck, Jr., of Columbus, Ohio.

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