There is almost no other way to put this, but we are simply floored by the report just released by the Department of Justice concerning the Franklin County, OH elections.
If there ever was a report which could be called a whitewash, this would be the very dictionary definition --- with the emphasis on WHITE.
The DoJ four-page report, based on dodgy figures, uninvestigated charges and undocumented information and details, simply concludes that "Franklin County assigned voting machines in a non-discriminatory manner", that "no violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act" was found and they "are thus closing our file."
In truth, a detailed analysis of the flaws in this report, and an unwaivering condemnation of this reprehensible piece of "official documentation" is needed. But as folks are disappearing for the Holiday Weekend, we're afraid any analysis we took the time to compile right now would likely get lost in the holiday news-hole. So, for the moment, we're gonna dump these documents here and leave the detailed analysis and shouts of outrage and condemnation to BRAD BLOG readers. If we can follow up a bit more after the holiday, we will.
Essentially, John Conyers' office requested a criminal investigation by the Department of Justice investigation back in January on a number of very troubling matters related to Ohio's 2004 Presidential Election on behalf of the minority members of the Judiciary Committee. (Letter requesting a Special Prosecutor from the DoJ is here [PDF]. Coverage of it by RAW STORY is here, and BRAD BLOG's own reporting at the time, which led to one of the complaints in the letter to the DoJ, is here.)
Amongst the items for which Conyers' January 14, 2005 had requested an investigation at the time --- according to the response to the report Conyers sent on Wednesday --- were "serious charges concerning Voter Intimidation and Misinformation; Improper Purging and other Misconduct; Caging of New Minority Voters; Misuse of HAVA Funds; Tampering of Voting Machinery and Records; Perjury by a County Board of Election Official; and the Misuse of the Great Seal of the United States on Secretary of State Blackwell's Personal Campaign Materials."
While no "substantive response to the many instances of voting irregularities and civil rights violations in the state of Ohio" about which Conyers' submitted evidence has been forthcoming by the DoJ since that January letter, apparently someone within the DoJ took it upon themselves to conduct --- and as we've said WHITEWASH --- an investigation concerning what happened in just one county in Ohio.
The DoJ's resulting four-page report, conducted by "The Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division" and sent to Franklin County officials on Wednesday, is a masterwork of obfuscation, disinformation, misinformation, smoke and mirrors and out and out lies. And remember, it comes directly from your Department of Justice.
As we've said, a more detailed point-by-point analysis of the outrage is called for. But for now, we feel it's important to get the information out as is so folks can see with their own eyes what has "flabbergasted" Conyers' as according to the response he sent in reply to the DoJ yesterday.
There is, however, at least one paragraph which jumped out at us, but that Conyers' reply does not deal with directly (understandably, frankly, since there is so much to be "flabbergasted" about in this DoJ report!). We feel this one is important to point out as we find it particularly disconcerting for what the future may hold in Ohio [emphasis added]:
Yes, you read that right. Franklin County's "bi-partisan" Board of Election has just now "purged" 114,000 voters from the rolls! Tee-ing things up nicely, it would seem, for many more thousands of voters to find themselves suddenly ineligible to vote when they show up at the polling place in 2006!
Over one hundred thousand voters scrubbed from the voting rolls in just one Ohio County alone by their presumably "bi-partisan" BoE. That, while we have learned over the past several months how these Ohio BoE's are certainly not "bi-partisan" as Blackwell and their other defenders continue to maintain since a) There are "Democrats" on these boards who are specifically plants, in other words, "Democrats" in name only and b) All BoE members serve at the partisan pleasure of the distinctly partisan Secretary of State and Bush/Cheney Co-Chair, J. Kenneth Blackwell, who has routinely threatened BoE members with dismissal if and when they refuse to follow his personal partisan edicts.
But that's just one of the outrages. We'll let Conyers' handle a few more. Here is his response to the DoJ report first, followed by the complete report itself by John Tanner, the Chief of the DoJ's Voting Section. Prepare to be appalled...