Is Ken Blackwell's Rape of American Democracy - as Enabled by the Corporate Mainstream Media - Now a Full Fait Accompli?
By Brad Friedman on 8/1/2007, 1:34pm PT  

Blogged by Brad from somewhere in TX...

We've been largely off the grid for the last 24, and will likely continue to be over the next two or three days. At least. (On the road, with frustratingly spotty net access and several article deadlines looming.) So for now, we're happy to point over to AlterNet's coverage of the story listeners may have heard us cursorily break during a phone call from Ohio's Paddy Schaeffer on the air the Friday before last while we were Guest Hosting the Peter B. Collins Show from Houston.

Here's the lede...

Two-thirds of Ohio counties have destroyed or lost their 2004 presidential ballots and related election records, according to letters from county election officials to the Ohio Secretary of State, Jennifer Brunner.

The lost records violate Ohio law, which states federal election records must be kept for 22 months after Election Day, and a U.S. District Court order issued last September that the 2004 ballots be preserved while the court hears a civil rights lawsuit alleging voter suppression of African-American voters in Columbus.

The destruction of the election records also frustrates efforts by the media and historians to determine the accuracy of Ohio's 2004 vote count, because in county after county the key evidence needed to understand vote count anomalies apparently no longer exists.

"The extent of the destruction of records is consistent with the covering up of the fraud that we believe occurred in the presidential election," said Cliff Arnebeck, a Columbus attorney representing the King Lincoln Bronzeville Neighborhood Association, which filed voter suppression suit. "We're in the process of addressing where to go from here with the Ohio Attorney General's office."

Read Steve Rosenfeld's excellent report in full for much more detail and reminders of the raft of apparently fraudulent cases which these missing ballots may have helped to explain one way or another. Such as the "10,000 voters from several Bible belt counties who voted for Bush and voted in favor of gay marriage, if the results are true," along with the "dozen rural counties, [where] virtually unknown Democrats at the bottom of the ballot received more votes than Kerry."

As well, we're given a few jarring reminders of where else these missing ballots might otherwise have filled in so many still-unexplained gaps (all, of course, completely ignored by the corporate mainstream media for years)...

"The missing records reveal where the fraud occurred," said Arnebeck. "You take as an example, Warren County [where some 22,000 unused ballots are now missing]. It is well documented that there was a phony homeland security alert and that was the excuse for excluding the public and the press from observing what was going on during Election Day. So the missing unused ballots would suggest that ballots were remade to fit the desired result."

"The same situation occurred in Clermont County," he said. "We have sworn affidavits from people who saw white stickers placed over the Kerry-Edward ovals in this optical scan county," he said, referring to one way of masking a would-be Kerry vote, because optical-scan machines read ink marks on paper ballots. "So the missing unused ballots would suggest they were used to remake ballots to reflect the desired vote for Bush."

We're reminded of the recent decision by a Judge in Alameda County, CA to re-run a 2004 election at the next available opportunity, after it was revealed the county had similarly allowed ballots (in that case, electronic ballots on Diebold touch-screen voting machines) to be destroyed. That case was a local ballot proposition, so we're not sure if any precedent applies here, but we'd be happy to hear any thoughts from attorneys familiar with the two cases.

In lieu of such a remedy, of course, the Ohio story may well signal that the Theft of Ohio '04 could well now be a full fait accomplis.

Knowing attorney Cliff Arnebeck and OH's new SoS Jennifer Brunner, however --- both of whom are on the case --- we suspect that someone will eventually be held accountable here. Not that such accountability will do anything to undo the rape of our nation's democracy which took place again in 2004 under our very noses. A rape, we will add, which could not have occurred without the tacit approval, willful "ignorance" and near-criminal negligence of the corporate American mainstream media.