July 1, 2005

Ohio 2004 - Setting It Straight

Kenneth Blackwell is running for Governor of Ohio, and he's not about to let Howard Dean and his fellow revisionist historians distort and lie about what happened in the Ohio presidential election last year (long lines = black voter suppression, etc.) Here's his account of Ohio 2004. Excerpts:

...Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean, in typical foot-in-mouth manner, citing a DNC “report,” recently made the outrageous claim that African-American and young voter turnout was somehow suppressed in Ohio. The facts tell a different story.

A million more Ohioans participated in the 2004 general election than did in 2000. The Census Bureau reported last month that both Ohio African-American and young voters went to the polls in record numbers. In fact, 66% of all eligible African-Americans in Ohio cast ballots as compared to 60% nationally. Four years earlier, only 54% had participated in Ohio. The 55% turnout for Ohio’s 18-to-24-year-olds also exceeded the national average (47%). That’s compared to 38% four years earlier.

Ohio’s provisional ballots are another issue where Dean misrepresented the facts. Provisional ballots are those cast by voters whose registration is uncertain on Election Day. The ballots are set aside until the registration status can be verified in the days following the election.

Dean asserts that Ohio’s provisional ballots usage and counting methods amount to an indictment of our management of the process. In the 2004 general election, Ohio ranked fourth (78%) in the percentage of provisional ballots ultimately counted according to a study by the non-partisan Electionline.org. We were first among states of equal or greater population, regardless of counting standards and laws. In Pennsylvania, which allows voters to cast provisional ballots outside their home precincts, only 48% of the provisional ballots were either fully or partially counted. And in California, which also allows voters to cast provisional ballots outside their home precincts, 74% were counted.

The electoral system in Ohio worked well. Every eligible voter who wanted to vote had the opportunity to vote. There was no fraud. There was no disenfranchisement and certainly no voter suppression.

Blackwell is a charismatic black Republican with an impressive resume and a potentially bright future in politics at the national level. Democrats apparently need no more reason than that to try to smear him now. The ongoing attempt to distort what happened in Ohio in November and then to tie it to Blackwell's tenure as Secretary of State is as transparent as it is offensive.

Related: I served as a volunteer Republican poll observer in an urban Akron precinct. Here's my account of Election Day 2004.

Posted by dan at July 1, 2005 12:18 AM