November 18, 2004

First hand reports by other Ohio volunteers

First hand reports by other Ohio volunteers:
RNC "workers" were in our hotel. They were not there to do literature drops, canvas, or to make sure that people knew where their polling places were, as we were. One of them tried to infiltrate one of our hotel rooms (I removed him) to gather information on our activities. He and another RNC lawyer followed some of the canvassers the next day to try to intimidate them, telling them that they were "putting them on notice, that what they were doing was breaking federal law" (among other more vile things). What the canvassers were doing was distributing ACT literature. These "people" were there to go inside the polls to challenge Democratic voters to intimidate them and suppress the Democratic vote.

After the polls closed, I talked to an Election Protection project worker who told me of the polling place in Youngstown where he worked that day. It had only three electronic touch screen voting machines. The lines were extremely (at the very least 3 to 4 hours) long. People were leaving and coming back multiple times trying to vote. Some were complaining that they had to work and could not miss the time from work or they would lose money that they could not afford to lose, or worse, lose their jobs. Youngstown is a very depressed, high-unemployment city.

He told me that the machines were flickering and bouncing around on the right hand side of the machine for at least half the day. He had multiple reports of people trying to vote for Kerry and it being recorded as Bush. The EP workers tried to get to everyone as they were going into the polling place to tell them that if they changed their vote three times, the ballot would be spoiled. They told them to get an election judge. Many did not get the message and/or they just could not wait around any longer. After all, there were only two other machines to go to if their machine would not record the vote properly. Finally, at around midday the voting machine company technicians came and "recalibrated" the machines. The flickering stopped. The vote changing did not.

Below are the findings from another Election Protection project lawyer who came on our bus. We were in Mahoning and Trumbull counties. These are heavily Democratic counties, which we did win by large margins, but it looks like we should have won them by far more from all of these reports.

1.       Too few polling machines, particularly for rush-hour voting, poorer areas/large numbers of people. (3 to 4 hours at the very least, some waited up to 8 and 9 hours)

2.      Numerous calls reported, "There are not enough machines. We need more people."

3.      Machines were breaking down. One polling location had only two machines for very large group. (9 calls)

4.       There were many reports throughout the day of non-functioning machines. Many people were getting frantic. Others were leaving. Many were demanding that paper ballots be sent. This Election Protection project lawyer and the others at her calling center tried to call ES&S to tell them that machines were malfunctioning. The Board of Elections said the machines had calibration problems and someone would come out. The Board of Elections was inundated with calls about the machines malfunctioning.

5.       There were numerous reports of voters trying to select Kerry and Bush was selected on the screen instead. The voters would try repeatedly to get Kerry to come up. Voters were only allowed three "pushes." They were told they could request a different machine, but of course by the time they were on the phone with the Election Protection project workers, it must have been too late.

6.       There were also reports of voters getting to the review screen and seeing "No Selection." For president. This was often at the same polling places where machines were breaking down. Voters could not get their vote for Kerry for president to register.

7.      Numerous reports of "Presidential choice not selected." Ballot would not register "Kerry".

8.       There were also reports of many Republican challengers at polling locations and no Democratic challengers. This Election Protection project lawyer had at least one voter who was told by a Republican challenger that she was not on the list at her polling place. When she called the Board of Elections office they told her that she was indeed a registered voter in the proper precinct. An Election Protection project person had to make calls to ensure that the voter could vote. How many other voters allowed themselves to be turned away by the GOP challengers?

9.       Another GOP challenger asked a voter for a Green Card in order to get a provisional ballot. The voter called in to find out what a Green Card is. Of course, this was a trick. Voters must be citizens.

10.  Machines at some polls had to be re-set after every voter. This took so long that people started to leave. This Election Protection project lawyer and her colleagues sent food out to the voters. They sent food out to voters at different precincts at least three times during the day to encourage them to stay in line.

11.  Issue 1 "Defense of Marriage" was holding up line. Voters did not understand what the issue, Defense of Marriage, meant. (LOL, you gotta laugh at this one)

12.  One Election Protection project lawyer bought 6 lamps and extension cords after numerous reports came in of a polling place that was so dark both inside and out that voters could not see to vote. It was gray and dark and raining for much of the day in northern Ohio. People were waiting in line for multiple hours in the rain.

13.  Many people in one poor, black, polling location had their water turned off, if their bill was un-paid, coincidentally, on the morning of the election. The Water Department/utility told voters to stay home to wait until the matter was resolved, because the voters needed to let someone into their unit. The Zell Milleresque Democratic mayor of Youngstown endorsed George W. Bush. The Water Department/utility company did not come. This Election Protection project worker and colleagues went to the peoples' homes so some of the voters could vote.

14.  Voters cars were being ticketed. Voters felt their cars were properly parked. This was reported in both Mahoning County and Trumbull County.

15.  No provisional ballot was offered to a man who filled in/requested an absentee ballot, but did not receive the absentee ballot. When he arrived, he could not get a provisional ballot.

Note: Reports are now coming out that many people in Ohio who requested absentee ballots did not receive them. Some of these voters who did not receive their absentee ballot were given a provisional ballot when they went to the polling place, others were not, still others had to have Election Protection project people fight to get them their provisional ballots. How many walked away disenfranchised? 
Additional note:
NOTE FROM Jackson Thoreau who sent this out over the PStreet yahoo group:

There are many, many similar reports of fraud committed by Republicans throughout the country. The exit polls showing a Kerry victory were RIGHT! The election WAS stolen AGAIN! The question is: What are we going to do about it this time? For one, we have to keep seeking the truth on this election and exposing the Republicans' dirty deeds. We can't continue to let them get away with this. The only way this will stop is if we expose their dirty deeds to the light of day. --Jackson

Here are some Web sites for you to check out with more information:

I believe it is time to have a LARGE meeting to discuss what can be done about this situation. In Baltimore, Kristina Heatherman is spearheading efforts to get this meeting set up for this Wednesday evening. I hope that those of you in Montgomery County and DC will do likewise. If you would like to attend a meeting this week in Baltimore to discuss these and other problems that have been uncovered in Ohio and other states, please contact Kristina at:

At the very least, let's get this information into the mainstream press. If we scream loud enough maybe we can at least start to get our democracy back! 


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