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President Bush carried Ohio, Iowa, and New Mexico in 2004 because vast numbers of ballots cast by minorities for Democrat John Kerry in those states were never counted, an investigative reporter says.


In New Mexico, which Bush won by 5,988 votes, 33,981 ballots were not counted; in Iowa, which Bush won by 10,059 votes, 36,811 ballots were not counted; and in Ohio, which Bush won by 118,599 votes, a whopping 239,127 ballots were not counted.

According to reporter Greg Palast, (a former fraud investigator before turning reporter for BBC-TV) polls of voters leaving the voting booths revealed all three states had gone for Kerry by margins of two to four percent.  Yet the official count later gave them all to Bush by one or two percent.

Q: So what happened?  A: Nationally, a total of 3-million votes were never counted  --- a high percentage of them cast by African-Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, and other minorities. Palast spells out how it was done in his new book, “Armed Madhouse”(Plume):

2004 saw the introduction of the new “provisional ballot.” The Black Caucus wanted them so that a voter could get a ballot even if the voter’s name did not appear on the rolls. In theory, the “provisional” would be marked, then kept aside and reviewed after the polls closed.

Under the “Help America Vote” Act of 2002, signed by President Bush, States were required to give out provisional ballots to those who wanted them.

But, Palast says, the law “does not require states to count them.” Thus, of 3,107,490 provisional ballots handed out on election day, 2004, 1,090,729 were trashed. “..the provisional voters who were rejected had a dark hue,” the Palast says, and there were enough of them to swing the three States to Bush.

Besides provisional ballots, there were 1,389,231 “spoiled” ballots, cast by voters who may not have punched their card hard enough or whose “x” was too hard to read, Palast says.  “We know that a bit more than half, about three-quarters of a million of those uncounted votes, were cast by African-American voters,” Palast states. How does he know? Well, almost all provisional ballots rejected “were from 25 ‘urban’ areas. Any guesses about the color of the urb?”

Finally, 526,420 absentee ballots never got counted, either, and “In swing states, absentee ballot shredding was pandemic,” Palast discovered.

In Ohio’s Cuyahoga county, you can superimpose a map of the precincts with high numbers of “spoiled” votes over a map of African-American neighborhoods. They’re practically identical. Indeed, the U.S. Civil Rights Commission found only 1.6% of ballots by white voters were rejected.  But 14.4% of ballots cast by Black voters got trashed.

What’s more, on Voting Day, the Republicans “launched a massive multimillion-dollar campaign of mass challenges of voters in Black precincts, concentrating on Ohio,” Palast writes. The attack was a legal no-no as the Republican National Committee had signed a no-race-baiting decree in 1981 pledging it would never again engage in this shoddy tactic. Besides Ohio, the GOP challenged thousands of African-American voters in Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin.

Another trick used in the 2004 swindle was to not fix broken voting machines --- the sort that mutilated ballots--- and plant them, as Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell did, in minority precincts. Did the bad machine spoil your ballot? Too-o bad!  In New Mexico, nine out of 10 ballots that were rejected were cast by non-Anglo voters, Palast said.

Still another ploy is the undervote:  In Jacksonville, Fla., a Republican voting supervisor removed several machines from Black precincts. This was also done in Ohio, were Blacks and students waited in some precincts for seven hours or longer to vote. Many discouraged voters walked away, never counted. Palast said this reduced Kerry’s net vote in Columbus, Ohio, alone by an estimated 9,000+ votes.

As for absentee ballots, in Arapahoe County, Colorado, three times more absentee ballots mailed to Democrats “failed to return” as compared to Republican ballots. As for those that were returned, a total of 526,426 absentee ballots from around the nation were received but not counted, Palast said. And guess what? In strong Kerry precincts, “voters were 265% more likely to have their absentee ballots tossed out than voters in Bush-majority precincts.”

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Sherwood Ross worked as a reporter for the Chicago Daily News and contributed a regular "Workplace" column for Reuters. He has contributed to national magazines and hosted a talk show on WOL, Washington, D.C. In the Sixties he was active as public (more...)
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