15 Unanswered Questions about Election 2004
Since they can't seem to figure out anything worth investigating on their own.
By Brad Friedman on 11/21/2004, 12:48pm PT  

In this previous piece, I reported on the latest New York Times article which essentially dismisses the very real concerns that millions of Americans have about our electoral system in the light of the 2004 Election results debacle. I suggested that readers managing-editor@nytimes.com; executive-editor@nytimes.com; national@nytimes.com; editorial@nytimes.com; oped@nytimes.com; public@nytimes.com; letters@nytimes.com; magazine@nytimes.com; QandA@nytimes.com; washington@nytimes.com; TheBradBlog@cville.com?Subject=Investigate and Report On Voter Irregularity, Mistabulation and Fraud NOW!">send email to The New York Times and let them know how you feel about their disgraceful performance in this regard. Keep those emails going!

It occurred to me that since The New York Times can't seem to find anything worth investigating and reporting on for the American people in regards to the way their votes were counted --- or not --- in the 2004 election, that perhaps I'd help them out with a cheat sheet to help them get started. Here's just a few of the many questions concerning this year's election (none of them "conspiracy theories", all of them confirmed by actual election officials and/or reported on by local news outlets --- not just "crazy leftist bloggers" --- in the affected areas) that the "newspaper of record" may wish to consider assigning reporters to investigate and report upon. NOW!:

  • A UC Berkley study released Thursday of 15 counties in Florida has shown anywhere from 130,000-260,000 unexplained extra votes for George W. Bush in Florida in just three of those counties. The results of the study, which already take into account the widely reported "Dixiecrat Effect" in Florida, has now been duplicated and verified by an MIT professor commissioned by the Oakland Tribune. You have yet to report on the disturbing study at all. How can 130 to 260 thousand extra votes in just three counties in Florida be explained? Don't you think you should find out? And at least report on the study itself?
  • Incorrect information provided by the UniLect company to an election board in Carteret County, North Carolina resulted in 4,500 votes being entirely lost. The memory chip in one of their voting machines held only 3,005 votes instead of the 10,000 promised by the company. Those votes are now lost. What will be done for the 4,500 voters who had their right to have their vote counted taken away in the process? And perhaps more importantly, what other precincts and counties in the United States used the same type of machine with the same chip but didn't happen to notice that votes were lost? (HINT: Machines from the UniLect company were also in use in Ohio on Election Day, where counties reported many problems with those machines that went unsolved the entire day!)
  • In Broward County, Florida a "computer programming glitch" on a vote tabulating machine caused the counting of votes to begin going in reverse once the machine reached 32,767 votes. We're told they noticed the software bug in time. What other counties and states in the country use the same model counting machine with the same software error? And did they notice if the same problem occurred? The manufacturer of that counting machine, Electronic Software & Systems, Inc. (ES&S), attempted to discredit the report initially as "user error", but anyone familiar with computer programming recognizes the error that occurred at 32,767 --- it's a very specific number --- and any programmer can tell you why it occurred. HINT: It wasn't user error, it was programming error. And it happened at least twice there that we know about. (If you have trouble getting in touch with ES&S officials, ask Republican Senator Chuck Hagel how to reach them, he used to be their CEO until he retired to run for the Senate. And while you're poking around in Florida, you also may wish to investigate and report upon the tens of thousands of absentee ballots in Florida that went missing, and never made it to voters!)
  • In the Gahanna 1-B Precinct in Franklin County, Ohio, there were 4,258 votes counted for George W. Bush, yet only 638 total votes were cast in that precinct! How did that "glitch", noticed by citizens on the internet and since then confirmed by election officials, occur? Was it another problem with software? If so, what other precincts, counties and states in America use the same type of machine with the same type of software, but didn't happen to notice the problem? (You may also wish to report for the American people on which other precincts, counties and states used the same equipment and software that caused 33,000 straight-ticket votes to be miscounted as Libertarian votes in Utah!)
  • Why did Election Officials in Warren County, Ohio --- unlike every other county in Ohio --- lock out all members of the media from witnessing their counting of ballots on Election Night? They had claimed they were given warnings to do so by the FBI and/or Homeland Security Dept., but both the FBI and Homeland Security Dept. have denied having told anything of the sort to anybody in Ohio! Isn't that worth an investigation and a report of some sort? (For background, you may wish to know that Warren County was amongst the last to report it's totals on Election Night and also happened to report the 5th highest voting percentage for George W. Bush in the state and the absolute highest among counties with more than 23,000 voters.)
  • Why was the entire Auglaize County, Ohio Board of Elections placed on "Adminstrative Oversight" by the Ohio Sec. of State's office after one of their members reported that an unauthorized employee from Election Software & Systems (ES&S) was seen using one of the central tabulating machines just weeks before the election?
  • Why did elections officials in Volusia County, Florida give incorrect information to a "Freedom of Information Act" request by Bev Harris of BlackBoxVoting.org? Why do the numbers she's found seem to indicate inaccuracies in the vote counting there? And why were official election materials found in the dumpster outside the Board of Elections when Harris and her team arrived to pick up such materials?
  • BlackBoxVoting.org (one of the plaintiffs in a California lawsuit against Diebold Inc. which ended just last week when Diebold agreed to pay some $2.6 million to settle the suit to avoid going to court) has also reported that software used in voting machines in this year's election was not certified and inspected as it was required to have been by law. How could that have happened? And what are some of the consequences of that? Will anybody be held accountable for it? If so, who, when, where and how? (You may also wish to know that last week, the conservative/Republican Washington Times reported on the confirmed security holes in Diebold software. Why haven't you?)
  • What reason do House Speaker Dennis Hastert and Senate Majority Leader Tom DeLay have for not allowing bills that would have required voter-verified paper trails for all electronic voting machines in the country from ever reaching the light of day in either the U.S. House or U.S. Senate? Why were those bills --- for two years --- never allowed to even come up for a vote? And how much money have those Republican legislators and all the rest received from the makers of electronic voting machines such as Deibold, ES&S and Sequoia?
  • All over Ohio, voters stood in line, often in the rain, up to 10 or more hours in many precincts --- the majority of them strong Democratic precincts. Yet, the Columbus Free Press has reported that as many as 68 voting machines stayed in storage instead of being deployed on Election Day to such heavily trafficked voting precincts. What explanation does Republican Sec. of State Kenneth Blackwell, in charge of both elections in Ohio and the Bush/Cheney campaign in the state, have to give for this outrage?
  • Why did Kenneth Blackwell shut down precinct after precinct in Ohio's largest minority areas (and the ones which most heavily vote Democratic) when every indication prior to this election correctly predicted that voter turnout would in fact be way up by huge numbers over the 2000 election?
  • The margin between Bush & Kerry on Election Night was approximately 136,000 votes. The Sec. of State's office in Ohio reported there were approximately 155,000 provisional votes left to be counted. Have they been counted? What's the new margin of difference now in Ohio?
  • The Presidential Candidates in the Green and Libertarian parties have joined together to demand a recount in the entire state of Ohio. When will that recount begin? Since 70% of Ohio uses punch-card ballots (as in Florida in 2000) a manual recount of millions of ballots could take quite a while. Reports have said that the recount won't begin until after Dec. 7th, yet the final tally must be ready to send to the U.S. Congress by Dec. 13th. How do they plan on doing a thorough and fair manual recount of all of those ballots in such a short time? Shouldn't the recount begin much sooner than Dec. 2nd as David Cobb, Green Party Presidential candidate has requested? (I'd give you a link to the page on www.VoteCobb.org which expresses this concern, but their site is currently unavailable, likely due to being either over-accessed by Americans attempting to support their efforts or, more likely, they are again under DDoS attack as has my own website been since I began reporting this story...As have other websites who have been attempting to report this story. Anything worth investigating there for you as well, perhaps?)
  • Why has the FBI raided, confiscated and locked-down computers and files at the CyberNET Group's office in Grand Rapids, MI? Is it related to information supplied to the FBI by Florida's U.S. Congressional candidate, Jeff Fisher? Has he actually supplied such information to the FBI? And if so, what sort of evidence does he have for the various claims that he's been making about the vote in Florida and elsewhere having been hacked? It's true he tells a strange and complicated story. So was the story of three cuban exiles breaking into the Democratic Headquarters in a Washington D.C. hotel at the order of an ex-CIA agent funded by a multi-millionaire in Florida. You may want to investigate instead of dismiss this report.
  • In 2000 much was made of the broadcast networks calling Florida for Gore an hour before the polls had closed in the panhandle of Florida, yet this year, when the Fox Network called Ohio for Bush at 12:41am and the Fox News Channel just three minutes later in the early morning hours of Election Night, voters will still lined up in Ohio to vote! The last vote was not made until 3:55am at Kenyon College in Knox County, Ohio (where there were only two voting machines to serve the entire large student population), a full three hours later. What is the Fox Network's explanation for doing precisely what they decried the other networks for doing back in 2000 when the call seemed to work at the time against George W. Bush?
  • I could go on, but that should be enough questions for the NY Times to continue to ignore for quite a while.

    Please continue to managing-editor@nytimes.com; executive-editor@nytimes.com; national@nytimes.com; editorial@nytimes.com; oped@nytimes.com; public@nytimes.com; letters@nytimes.com; magazine@nytimes.com; QandA@nytimes.com; washington@nytimes.com; TheBradBlog@cville.com?Subject=Investigate and Report On Voter Irregularity, Mistabulation and Fraud NOW!">let them know how you feel about their reporting or lack thereof!

    And send the link to this article to anybody and everybody you can!