Reprinted from Alternet
Televised screen shots taken Tuesday night of live election returns in Ohio provided by the Secretary of State's office showed hundreds of thousands of votes flipping from the "yes" to "no" column of Issue 3, the ballot measure to legalize marijuana.
When seen against the backdrop of Ohio's longstanding history of Republicans manipulating the vote count to obtain the outcome they seek, such as in the 2004 presidential election when Ohio returns elected George W. Bush to a second term, there are compelling reasons to question the official result where the pot measure went down to defeat.
To understand the context for this likely chicanery, you have to understand the backdrop of current Ohio politics.
According to the election night returns provided by Secretary of State Jon Husted, the people of Ohio defeated a November 3 proposition to legalize marijuana by a tally of nearly two-to-one.
The controversial measure would have established an oligarchy of 10 licensed growers operating regulated indoor grow sites of up to 300,000 square feet each. The pro-marijuana activist community was divided on the measure.
Husted was not a neutral election administrator. He vehemently opposed the measure, threatened its proponents with legal action, and live TV results showed hundreds of thousands of votes moving from the yes to no column in a matter of minutes.
Take a look at the two screen shots below, where hundreds of thousands of votes flipped from the "yes" to the "no" column in 11 minutes, even though the number of precincts that reported only increased by 6 percent. These figures are provided by Husted's office to the media and public. In the first screenshot, with 39 percent of precincts reporting, the measure is winning 65-to-35 percent.
In the second screenshot, taken 11 minutes later, those percentages are flipped from the yes and no columns, even though the number of precincts reporting has only increased by 6 percent. Look at the number of votes in each column and you will see that 100s of 1,000s have been jumped from supporting to opposing the measure.
The promoters of the pot measure, Issue 3, should demand a recount, though the system is rigged and they would certainly be stonewalled. As in 2004's presidential election that came down to Ohio's close vote, critical election records are likely to not materialize even though they are legally required to be maintained.
Why is the system here rigged? It starts with the fact that Husted, a right-wing Republican and future gubernatorial hopeful, ran this election while visibly and actively campaigning against Issue 3 and threatening its proponents.
Husted vehemently opposes legalization of marijuana in any form. Less than a week before this year's election, Husted accused Issue 3's promoters of fraud, and has vowed to prosecute. He also is allied with state legislators who were prepared to negate (on "anti-monopoly" grounds) Issue 3's legalization plan if it were passed by the voters.
Here are other factors that cast doubts on the official defeat of the Issue 3:
1. Pre-election polling showed far more support. Three major polls prior to the election showed public support for Issue 3 in the range of 51 percent to 53 percent and Responsible Ohio, the coalition behind Issue 3, confirmed to the Free Press that its internal tracking polls were consistent with these numbers.
2. Results showed outsized swing from polling. The official vote total of 65 percent to 35 percent against the marijuana measure involves a shift of more than 15 percent away from the tracking poll numbers. The same thing happened in 2005 with the Reform Ohio Now measures on the ballot that would have created a nonpartisan state election administration system, removing the secretary of state's oversight of elections. The results, compared to pre-election polling, appeared to be flipped by up to 40 percentage points.