OHIO | 2004 | President

Massive Coordinated Attack of Voter Suppression and Electronic Rigging by Corrupt Partisans

Key Points

  • Polling Discrepancies: Exit polls contradicted election results by staggering amounts, overwhelmingly to the advantage of George W. Bush over John Kerry.
  • Minorities Lose: Hundreds of thousands of predominantly minority voters were disenfranchised by a calculated strategy of voter suppression.
  • Purposeful Chaos: Republican Party operatives challenged and intimidated voters in Democratic strongholds.
  • No Civil Rights: Secretary of State Ken Blackwell failed to investigate violations of the Voting Rights Act.
  • Conflict of Interest: Secretary of State Ken Blackwell co-chaired the local Bush reelection committee. He was also a stockholder of the voting machine company Diebold.
  • Partisan Administration: Blackwell and other administrators disenfranchised voters by purging voter rolls, sabotaging the registration process, rejecting provisional ballots, and unequal allocation of voting machines.
  • Electronic Fraud: Election results were routed through the servers of a partisan technology company late on election night. Counties reporting after that time had anomalous results.
  • Ballot Tampering: An independent citizen audit revealed multiple techniques of shifting votes and stuffing ballot boxes in Republican strongholds.
  • No Accountability: The recount was subverted through improper procedures, insecure materials, and cheat sheets provided by a voting technology contractor. Evidence was destroyed.
  • Bad Voting Machines: Subsequent review of Ohio's election technology showed that touchscreen and optical-scan voting machines were vulnerable to insider manipulation and outsider hacking.

Irregularities were caused by intentional misconduct and illegal behavior, much of it involving Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell.
— The Conyers Report

The Big Picture

ELECTION FRAUD: A Multi-Prong Attack

Local and national Republicans used a multi-prong attack of voter suppression, partisan election administration, and rigged electronic systems to corrupt democracy in Ohio. Their tactics disenfranchised hundreds of thousands of voters, and likely flipped the outcome of the presidential election—with profound and long-standing effects on everything from U.S. foreign policy to the decisions of the Supreme Court.

The local nexus of corruption was the person in charge of the election: Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell. Blackwell abused the power of his office to deliver votes to the Republican Party. His illegal and capricious behavior was a calculated attempt to create Election Day chaos. Blackwell perpetrated, oversaw, or failed to investigate an incredible range of election violations, described in the sections below.

It was obvious on Election Day that something was amiss in Ohio when national media began reporting on long lines at poll sites. Voters were forced to wait for hours, sometimes in the rain. These long lines were not an accident. They were the endgame of Blackwell's voter suppression strategy:

  1. Purge voter rolls
  2. Complicate the voter registration process
  3. Restrict access to provisional ballots

Early proof that the Ohio contest was likely fraudulent emerged when exit polls diverged from the official vote totals by staggering amounts, and overwhelmingly to the advantage of George W. Bush.

In the weeks and months to follow, dedicated election defenders compiled extensive testimony and evidence. Congressman John Conyers led a thorough investigation of election rigging in Ohio and issued an official report. His findings were bolstered by a detailed independent citizen audit that was conducted across the state.

What stands out as possibly the most egregious violation of free and fair public elections was Kenneth Blackwell's decision to hire partisan technology firms to handle election results. Combined with fraud-prone voting machines deployed across the state, Ohio's barn door was left wide open to electronic rigging. In fact, these firms created a digital backdoor, giving themselves access to sensitive voting system data late on election night.

When seen together here, the patterns and evidence of a coordinated attack on democracy are incontrovertible. Please read below for the full story of the stolen election in Ohio 2004.

Democracy Denied

357,000 Voters Couldn't Vote or Didn't have their Votes Counted


Rolling Stone estimates that at least 357,000 Ohio voters, most of them Democratic, were stripped of their right to vote during the 2004 election:

  • Long Lines: 174,000
  • Registration Errors: 72,000
  • Faulty Voting Machines: 66,000
  • Voter Roll Purges: 30,000
  • Stood in Wrong Line at Polling Place: 10,000
  • Intimidated by GOP Challengers: 5,000

For full analysis of the corruption that perpetrated this election fraud, read "Was the 2004 Election Stolen?" by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.