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  Ohio – Wrong Ballots for Black Voters (1840 hits)
Investigation Uncovers Thousands at Risk of Ballot Loss.

A special report by Greg Palast for Democracy Now!

[Dayton, Ohio. Tuesday November 6, 2012]

Several thousand African-American voters in Dayton, Ohio, may find their ballots left uncounted, and they, and America, won’t know it––even if the lost votes change the presidency.

First, you need to know, there are two elections for President in Ohio held on two days and in two colors.

Today, White Ohio will vote: Evangelicals, rurals, small businessmen, big and bigger businessmen, the whole Rotary Club.

Black Ohio already voted. More African-Americans vote early than on the official Election Day.

The big day for African-Americans––and for Barack Obama’s hopes for reelection––was on Sunday, “Souls to the Polls” day, when church buses filled with the ladies of the choir and their men vote as a group.

This Sunday, I joined the Freedom Faith Missionary Baptist Church group, with cameraman Daniel Russel, following a feast of sweet potatoes, banana pudding and gospel and headed to the one and only Sunday polling station in all of Dayton and Montgomery County … as they stood in a line with nearly one thousand voters.

The line, about 80% African-American, snaked through the state building then out, through and around the building’s parking complex.

After the hours of waiting, the patient citizens got their ballots—or thought they did. They didn’t get ballots. They got this: “APPLICATION FOR ABSENT VOTER’S BALLOT.”

WHAT???????

In prior elections, and in some other counties in this current polling, early voters got ballot ballots, not absentee ballots.

I immediately got voting rights attorney Robert Fitrakis, on the phone. I told Fitrakis, also a professor at Columbus State College, about handing voters absentee ballots instead of regular, vote-now ballots.

“That’s insane!” he said, “Completely wrong.” And stone cold dangerous to the vote count.

Fitrakis had a hard time believing Republican officials would pull a stunt this raw. So, I shot off from Dayton to Columbus to show the professor my smoking gun.

Sure enough: an absentee ballot application. The voters filled it out, stuck it in an envelope, sealed it, handed it to a clerk who ripped it open and gave them an absentee ballot to mark and seal––and leave to be counted on Election Night. Maybe. Maybe counted.

This is not the same as the ballot ballot given to voters on Election Day, i.e. the white voters.

“An Absentee ballot is not an early ballot.” On a real ballot, when you cast a vote, the law requires it be counted. Not so for absentee ballots. There are a gazillion ways for officials to discard your absentee ballot. Unlike with the normal Ohio voting machines, if you put an “X” or check the box next to your candidate’s name, your ballot goes in the dumpster. (The bubble next to the candidate’s name must be blackened in––enough but not too much.)

In Ohio, there are extra tricks to trash your absentee ballot. “See this form? See all these blank spaces?” Fitrakis explained that Ohio’s Republican Secretary of State, Jon Husted, requires absentee voters to fill out these long “applications,” the ones handed out in Dayton to early voters. Failure to include even picayune information on the application or its envelope, or use a “suspicious” signature (whatever that is), and your ballot goes bye-bye.

How many? Enough ballots were rejected and voters purged in Ohio in 2004 to re-elect George Bush as President.

I asked Fitrakis if many of these voters would lose their vote. “Absolutely,” he replied. “Jon Husted is the most partisan Secretary of State in America.”

I asked the elections manager at early voting why early voters were given absentee ballots, not allowed to use voting machines, as in prior elections.

“In case there is a need to re-count votes.” Huh? Then why not have white-day voters also use these not-quite-ballots?

What’s this all about? After all, these “absent” voters on Sunday weren’t absent at all. One thousand were lined up right outside his office.

This absentee ballot game was only the latest attack on the right of citizens of color to vote. He noted that Ohio had purged a million and a quarter voters from the voter rolls in the past two years. Which voters? In some rural white counties, not one name was purged. But in Cleveland, Ohio, some Black precincts suffered the removal of more than half the voters’ names from the rolls.

And those crazy long lines? We would have hoped this Block-the-Black vote game had ended after the notorious 2004 election when another Ohio Republican Secretary of State, Kenneth Blackwell, finagled the allocation of voting machines to keep Black voters in line an average of 4.5 hours, while white voters waited 15 minutes. (Experts measured it.)

In 2008, a Democrat held the Secretary of State’s office, and there were no lines. Ohio held a month of early voting, including a full month of Sundays.

This time, GOP vote chief Husted tried to end early voting completely. When a federal court stopped that scheme, he simply cut the days and hours––only one Sunday, and then for only four hours for Souls to the Polls.

Where cities usually had several early polling stations, Husted allowed only one per county, including just one for 1.5 million Cleveland residents. The Rev. Jesse Jackson was there with the hungry voters near midnight, waiting since before the polls closed at 5pm.

“It’s the New Jim Crow,” Fitrakis said.

Back at the early voting station in Dayton, I asked the Freedom Faith group in the church van how they were doing. They were in a terrific mood, happy they got to cast ballots, some for the first time.

I didn’t have the heart to tell them that those votes may never be counted.

Posted By: Earl Brown
Tuesday, November 6th 2012 at 2:25PM

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Imagine they doing the same stuff again??
Thanks
Earl
Tuesday, November 6th 2012 at 2:33PM
Questions: Why do [black voters], DO NOT critically exam the "allege" voting ballots closely? Have we not learned the lessons of the past? Who are we to blame....this tired and lame voting behavior is reprehensible. There is no excuse for this lack of awareness!!!
Tuesday, November 6th 2012 at 2:39PM
Earl Brown
Okay, just my personal experience.

It's been 1hr since I drove down to my polling site, the local elementary school.

It's bright and sunny here in Elk Grove, CA. Only a few blocks to my polling site. No lines, the majority of my time spent finding the room used for this purpose, and actually casting my ballot.

WOW! What a feeling, casting my vote on Election Day, no hassles.

But waiting in line with thousands of people, in bad weather? Hell, who would want to vote in those conditions? I may very well have stayed home if I had to put up with that!

What is this, black voting day and white voting day? How about ONE voting day, and then everyone could suffer together! But Mr. Obama set the example, voted EARLY, AND told everyone do do the same!

Tuesday, November 6th 2012 at 7:35PM
Steve Williams
AMERICA ON ITS BEST BEHAVIORS FOR THE PUBLIC OR EARL AS MY SAINTED GRANDMOTHER USE TO SAY,

"WHAT IS DONE IN TEH DARK WILL SURELY COME TO THE LIGHT"...

OR EARL COULD THIS ALL BE MORE ON BLACKS HAVE NEVER CHOSEN TO V-O-T-E BEFORE AND THESE BALLOTS ARE NOT MISSING, BUT THIS STATE IS TRYING TO SAVE FACE, WITH THEIR ' BLACKS' ALL OF A SUDDEN SHOWING UP TO VOTE FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME??? (S-M-I-L-E)
Thursday, April 10th 2014 at 6:47PM
ROBINSON IRMA
...A-L-L BLACKS ARE THE SAME...A-L-L ARE CHRISTIANS...OH AND BY THE WAY AE AN BLACKS ABLE TO WORK ON THEPOLLS ON NOV.6 AND STILL CAN'T CAST A VOTE EVEN THOSE BLACKS WHO ARE 'PASSING'...

THE MIND IS SUCH A VITAL ORGN TO BE WASTED LIKE THIS. (NUP!!!)
Thursday, April 10th 2014 at 6:47PM
ROBINSON IRMA
@Earl...like the idea that there are only the black voting day and the white only voting day...there is also a race of Blacks who believe they ae not indifviduals but a WE and the other who are the INDIVIDUALS...

AND NO MATTER HOW MANY TIMES YOU ASKK QUESTONS THAT ARE TO BE DEMEANING TO THE PEOPLE OF NONWHITE SKIN COLOR YOU WILL HAVE TO BE SATISFIED WITH THE ANSWER YOUHAD BEFORE ASKING THE QUESTION IN THE FIRST PLACE...OR WAIT MAYBE JUST WIAT FO RHARRY TO GET HIS NATION. (FOTFLMPROUD BLACK AO) (SMILE)
Thursday, April 10th 2014 at 6:47PM
ROBINSON IRMA
@Steve, some people believe it is the right thing for them to do when they sleep over night to get the first sales on holidays or to buy an iphone...some peopole will stand in line over night to see a famous actor, singer...

and some people will do it simply because they believe it is vital taht they get the right president elected so they can get a supreme cour to say mybe say these long linesare a violation of the voting rights acts at any rate there will always be someone who believe even giving up the rights to live to get in line to cast one vote...we are all different like that.

BUT TO MAKE A LONG STORY SHORT STEVE WITH MY PEOPLE THOSE LINES REPRESENTS PRIDE IN DOING ALL OF THIS AS NOT FOR ME BUT FOR THE NEXT GENERATION NOT HAVING TO GO THROUGH ALL OF THIS HARD SHIP...PRIDE OVER RIDES ALL MISERY.

OR ONE COULD SAY IT IS AN INBRED CULTURAL THING THAT HAS RESULTED IN A PERSIDENT WHOSE SPEECH HE DELIVERED IT ALL WORTH EVER SECOND STANDING IN LINE...(SMILE)
Thursday, April 10th 2014 at 6:47PM
ROBINSON IRMA
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