Or, the Lasting Effects of Electile Dysfunction
By Brad Friedman on 11/22/2004, 7:11pm PT  

Several notable items concerning the theoretically upcoming full recount in Ohio:

WELCOME BACK TO THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY!...You've been missed. Sort of. The Ohio Democratic party (if not the actual Democratic National Party) has joined the recount effort of the Greens and Libertarians in as much as they will be calling for volunteers, witnesses, funding etc. The extent to which they will actually be involved should become clearer as we get closer to the count. See their pathetically tepid or brilliantly under-the-radar Press Release today for more details of their return from the dead.

THE RECOUNT BEGINS...UM...SOON!... The heroes of the hour, the Green and Libertarian parties who asked for the recount in the first place, are now urging Ohio's much-beloved (insert irony here) Sec. of State J. Kenneth Blackwell to begin the recount sooner than the currently scheduled date of "after Dec. 3" or "after Dec. 7" depending on where you get your info. As discussed on these pages previously, the time currently allotted for a full hand recount of the 5.5 million ballots in Ohio (70% of them paper punch-card "dangling chad" type ballots) would not be enough to comfortably finish a recount fully and accurately, the Greens/Libs charge, before the final certified numbers must be sent to the Electoral College in D.C. on Dec. 13th.

In the meantime, they are still seeking volunteers to be recount witnesses. (The Green/Cobb website is now back online after being down for the better part of the last day. When they're down you can alternately get info from the Libertarian/Badnarik website.) If you can get to Ohio, apparently, they will give you room and board for your duration there! So go help save democracy if you can! You may be a witness to history! Hopefully we'll be finding out soon enough.

(In a side note, if you were an Ohio voter who had to vote via a provisional ballot, you can call (866) 644-6868 to find out if your ballot was actually counted. I'm still trying to find reliable news on how that counting is going or has gone and what the actual margin of difference between Kerry and Bush in Ohio now is.)

THE RESISTANCE BEGINS...UM...NOW!...Have been waiting for this, and now the first official buzz is surfacing about the efforts to stop the recount in Ohio from ever happening in the first place! As in Florida in 2000 and in Washington state even as we speak where a Federal Judge has denied a G.O.P. lawsuit to halt the recount there in the exceptionally close Governors race, it seems that Republicans don't much care for the idea of actually counting the votes of the voters. At least not when the initial count has gone their way, however small the margin, and they'd like any potential process that might change that good news into bad for them to be halted dead in it's tracks. Luckily, the Judge in Washington state took the side of democracy yesterday, so the recount moves forward.

Back in Ohio, "Counties are very upset," said Keith Cunningham, director of the Allen County Board of Elections and incoming president of the Ohio Association of Election Officials in an AP report today. "Commissioners are beginning to understand --- and if they don't, will understand soon --- what kind of financial impact this is going to have on them, in a year when elections already cost a great deal more than expected."

So apparently we can't afford to count all the ballots correctly according to Mr. Cunningham who, I suppose, is measuring that against the cost of not counting the ballots correctly in places like Florida 2000 for which the price paid was surprisingly very small. I believe he's mistaken if he believes they'll get off as cheaply this time if a recount is somehow stopped by such courtroom shenanigans, which have become the hallmark of the G.O.P's "stay in the vote" effort. At least I hope he's mistaken about the cost.

As far as the monetary costs go, he's suggesting it will Ohio counties will be out some $1.5 million. The cost given to the Greens/Libs to fund the recount by the Secretary of State's office was $10/precinct for a total of just over $113 thousand which was handily raised in just a few days from folks who don't hate democracy. I have no idea where Cunningham gets his numbers, but that's the cost for democracy, I guess. And it seems a small one to me given how much was spent on the campaign in general (figures I've seen put that number near $3 billion!)

Cunningham's rumblings are the first I've heard in what will undoubtedly become a challenge, in court, to the recount occuring at all. That's just what Republicans do apparently. He used the word "frivolous" more than once. A sure sign that court challenges are on the way. Stay tuned for those developments.

ODDS 'N' ENDS... Mostly intelligent commentary about why such a recount is important --- and why Kerry let a lot of folks down by conceding in the first place --- made it's way onto the front page of today's New York Observer even though the headline was the ass-covering "Why Did Kerry Fold? Ohio Recount Stirs Distressing Nuttiness". None the less, Rosenbaum gives a cogent explanation of why all of this matters, and how Kerry blew the call at 10am on Nov 3rd in the first place.

Letters to the Editors of The NY Times continue to pour in concerning their pathetic and condescending coverage of these issues and of those Americans interested in the outrageously conspiratorial notion that voters in this country should actually be able to vote and then have their votes counted correctly. Please see the two previous items here and here if you have not already sent your thoughts to the Times on the matter. Please feel free to spread those links far and wide! As the groupthink in the MSM is such that if the NY Times reports on something it officially becomes "news". If we can get them to start reporting, everyone else will follow suit within minutes.

As for me, after several months of non-stop blogging leading up to the Election, I was looking forward to a few much-needed days off shortly thereafter which --- much to my chagrin --- never came given, well, what you can read in the last three weeks or so of the BRAD BLOG.

And now, after much yelling and screaming and persistence to make sure these stories got told, there are now finally enough folks talking about it all out there, that I feel I can afford to take a few days to recharge my batteries a bit. Believe me, they much need it!

I'll still be following along, checking up on Email tips, and continue to work on several few related background issues. But for the next day or three, I hope to breathe a bit of fresh air, and think about something other than all of this sordid business at least for a few hours in a row at a time.

So to that end, I hope you'll forgive fewer than usual posts. I'll still keep updating breaking news and the main index of stories at the top of the blog as events warrant. Just giving you a heads up if I'm a bit more absent than usual in the next several days.

Amongst the excellent roundups of related news and analysis out there in my absense (should I be successful in absenting myself) I'll highly recommend Joseph Cannon's CANNONFIRE which daily since the get-go has offered insightful thoughts and updates on all of the most notable pieces in this puzzle. It was from him who I stole, in part, this item's sub-title. That alone should let he you know that he's well worth the daily read.

Keep those cards and letters comin' and goin'! I'll be right here. Though hopefully not every hour of the day...for the next few anyway. I'm fairly certain we'll all be much better off for it.