Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Destroying the Evidence

Ohio officials will soon begin destroying the paper ballots from the 2004 presidential election despite objections from voter rights groups.

"Soon after the 2004 presidential election, questions emerged about how votes were tallied in Ohio, a battleground state that delivered the presidency to George W. Bush," Ian Urbina writes in a story slated for the New York Times.

"Now, following a routine procedure, state officials are preparing to destroy the paper ballots from the election," writes Urbina.

"Critics say the ballots should be preserved for more study," the article continues.

In related news, an email written by 2004 Democratic Presidential nominee Senator John Kerry was sent out to 100,000 Democratic donors on Tuesday urging them to support Congressman Ted Strickland in his race for governor of Ohio against GOP Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, who oversaw the deciding vote two years ago, the Associated Press reported.

"He used the power of his state office to try to intimidate Ohioans and suppress the Democratic vote," wrote Kerry in the email.

Although the A.P. is reporting that Kerry is only "alleging election improprieties" as he mulls running for president again, the senator has spoken out a number of times since November of 2004, as noted in a Democratic Underground thread.

"Thousands of people were suppressed in their efforts to vote," said Kerry at a Martin Luther King Jr. memorial breakfast in Boston in January of 2005 as reported in the Boston Globe last year. "Voting machines were distributed in uneven ways."

In August, the Columbus Institute for Contemporary Journalism, a 501(c)3 organization that has examined election irregularities in Ohio, started a website called Save the Ballots!

"The ballots are the smoking gun to explain what happened in Ohio in 2004," according to the website.

"They were not made public until earlier this year, and after September 2, 2006, election officials across Ohio are legally allowed to destroy them," the site continues. "We have been told by election officials in the most problem-plagued counties they can't wait until Sept. 3rd, because then people asking questions will go home."

Last night we attended the Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young concert at Germain. It was a night filled with music and protest. Here some excerpts from the Dispatch review of the concert:

A bitter irony marked the Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young concert last night in the Germain Amphitheater. The packed house has the war in Iraq to thank for the considerable passion displayed by the four stars and, likely, the tour's existence.

For decades the quartet's reunions have hinged on the willingness of Neil Young, by far the most active and the only one who has managed to attract younger listeners while holding on to his core audience. The singer-songwriter's new solo album Living With War not only provided the core of the material during the three-hour concert last night, but the inspiration for the tour, named "Freedom of Speech '06."

Especially during the impassioned first set, though, the six songs from Young's album -- and, of course, the state of the world -- served to inspire a unity among the four sometimes uneasy partners that made for a sometimes spiritual performance....

.....Soon, though, the group climbed back onto the soapbox, beginning with Stills' all-too-relevant Find the Cost of Freedom coupled with a video featuring the faces of more than 2600 Americans who have died in Iraq, and continuing with a recording of Jimi Hendrix's Woodstock performance of the national anthem.

Let's Impeach the President, from Young's new album not only was accompanied by a teleprompter and sing-along, but drew one of the evening's only counter-protests, from a listener down front. Finishing the set with Chicago, For What It's Worth, the requisite Ohio and Rocking in the Free World made the group's inspirations plain once again.