July 29, 2005

The Battle of Ohio: How A New Yorker Wound Up in the Middle of the Fight for Democracy in the Battleground State

Blog-a-thon tag:

Photo by:

Pittsburgh Independent Media Center

This post was prepared for the Electronic Frontier Foundation's "Blog-A-Thon", celebrating the contribution bloggers have made to the fight for truth.

As of September, 2004, I didn't really understand what a blog was. I thought it was just for people who had their own web sites, and I thought it was just being used by teenagers and people in their early twenties as a way of keeping in touch with their friends.

In late September, 2004, I attended a panel discussion at which I learned more about the whole spectrum of blogging, that there were web sites where one could set up a blog for free, that blogs were as much for adults as kids, that there was a great diversity of content among blogs, and that much important writing was going on in the blogosphere.

So I went back to my office, and in about 5 minutes had started a blog on blogger.com which I'd entitled "Fairness".

During late September and the month of October I posted 7 or 8 general items there, about my political views.

From October 30, 2004, through Election Day, November 2, 2004, I served as a telephone 'election protection' hotline volunteer in Columbus, Ohio. In that capacity I learned of massive fraud, suppression, and disenfranchisement of Democratic voters throughout Ohio, and of very valiant voters waiting on line for as long as 11 hours, so as not to permit their precious right to vote to be taken away from them.

The next day, November 3rd, while driving home to New York City, I learned that (a) John Kerry, had, incredibly, conceded the election, and (b) the major media were actually MISREPRESENTING what had happened in Ohio.

The next morning, I knew that 15 or 20 friends would be asking me "So what happened in Ohio?" I decided that, instead of repeating the same thing 15 or 20 times, I would send those 15 or 20 people an email giving them my "Basic Report from Columbus". Then, if they had questions, I would answer them. A few coworkers did stop by my office before I'd had a chance to finish the email, and I told them "I"m sending you an email. Read that first, then I'll answer any further questions you might have".

As I was about to send the email to those 15 or 20 people, I figured that -- since the media wasn't reporting it -- I might as well add another 30 or so friends to the recipient list, who might be interested in what had happened in Ohio.

At that point I figured my involvement with the state of Ohio and the 2004 election was about over. Little did I know what lay in store.

An hour or two later I discovered that my email had been broadcasted and rebroadcasted, and rebroadcasted again, and was all over the internet. I was receiving inquiries from people I'd never heard of, who'd received the email from people I'd never heard of. And I saw that various websites were quoting it.

So I figured I might as well put my "report" up on my own little blog.

The next thing I knew people were sending me information about the movement to set aside the fraudulent Ohio election results, and I decided to lend my blog to supporting the grassroots movement taking place all across the country to apply the rule of law to the Ohio election.

I renamed my blog "Ohio Election Fraud (Formerly "Fairness")". And it became a central repository for information about protests, teach-ins, legal challenges, and the growing mountain of evidence of chicanery in the 2004 Ohio election.

One highlight of my experience was visiting Washington DC on January 6, 2005, the date the Senate was meeting to accept -- or not accept -- the illegally appointed Ohio electors. I attended some of the protests taking place, marched in the streets, and got to actually meet, in person, some of the beautiful activists and patriots whose work I had been supporting on my blog.

Another highlight for me was the day I came across a photograph on the web site of the Portland Independent Media Center of a handwritten protest sign, from one of the nationwide protests that had taken place in December, 2004, saying "Corporate Media is Complicit and Selling You Lies. www.fairnessbybeckerman.blogspot.com ":

Photo by
Portland Independent Media Center

-Ray Beckerman

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