While Voters in Dem Districts Waited in Line for Hours!
By Brad Friedman on 11/20/2004, 9:13pm PT  

I came across this story a few days ago but failed to blog it in the crush of...something or another. Glad I was reminded of it again today.

The Columbus Free Press, (which, by the way, should be lauded for the superb job they have been doing covering the post-Election outrages in Ohio, unlike so many of their media brethren) documents the latest scandal to surface from Ohio's Election Night, this time in Columbus:

The Board of Elections' own document records that, while voters waited in lines ranging from 2-7 hours at polling places, 68 electronic voting machines remained in storage and were never used on Election Day.
...
An analysis of the Franklin County Board of Elections' allocation of machines reveals a consistent pattern of providing fewer machines to the Democratic city of Columbus, with its Democratic mayor and uniformly Democratic city council, despite increased voter registration in the city. The result was an obvious disparity in machine allocations compared to the primarily Republican white affluent suburbs.

The formula used to determine where and how many machines will be placed is based on a maximum usage of 100 votes per machine so that the length of voting lines won't become a burden to voters.

Once a machine is recording 200 voters per machine, 100% over optimum use, the system completely breaks down. This causes long waits in long lines and potential voters leaving before casting their ballots, due to age, disability, work and family responsibilities.

A preliminary analysis by the Free Press shows six suburban polling places with 100 votes a machine or less, and only one in the city of Columbus meeting or falling under the guideline.

The legendary affluent Republican enclave of Upper Arlington has 34 precincts. No voting machines in this area cast more than 200 votes per machine. Only one, ward 6F, was over 190 votes at 194 on one machine. By contrast, 39 Columbus city polling machines had more than 200 votes per machine and 42 were over 190 votes per machine. This means 17% of Columbus' machines were operating at 90-100% over optimum capacity while in Upper Arlington the figure was 3%.

In the Democratic stronghold of Columbus 139 of the 472 precincts had at least one and up to five fewer machine than in the 2000 presidential election. Two of Upper Arlington's 34 precincts lost at least one machine. In the 2004 presidential election, 29% of Columbus' precincts, despite a massive increase in voter registration and turnout, had fewer machines than in 2000. In Upper Arlington, 6% had fewer machines in 2004 One of those precincts had a 25% decline in voter registration and the other had a 1% increase. Compare that to Columbus ward 1B, where voter registration went up 27%, but two machines were taken away in the 2004 election. Or look at 23B where voter registration went up 22% and they lost two machines since the 2000 election, causing an average of 207 votes to be cast on each of the remaining machines. In the year 2000, only 97 votes were cast per machine in the precinct. Thus, in four years, the ward went from optimum usage to system failure.

If you're not outraged about that, whether on the Right or Left, then I hope you'll not do me the insult of calling yourself an American.

The system is broken. Period.