Juan Gonzales on sketchy business in Ohio:
Among the complaints: In Miami County, nearly 19,000 new votes were "inexplicably" added to the final tallies after all precincts reported their vote, according to Nadler. In Franklin County, where the city of Columbus is located, 68 machines were never deployed on Election Day despite long lines for voters and despite the breakdown of 77 machines during the day. Several Ohio newspapers have reported that minority neighborhoods in Columbus had far fewer machines per voter than the suburbs of Columbus. Some voters in Franklin County reported waiting on line from two to seven hours. In Warren County, a Republican stronghold, election officials locked down the county administration building on Election Night and barred reporters from observing the count. Officials claimed a terrorist threat sparked the lockdown, but the FBI later said it had no information of any threat. In many cases, election workers did a terrible job of instructing voters on using provisional ballots. In the city of Cleveland, for example, nearly 40% of 9,349 provisional ballots were rejected as invalid. More than 1,000 were tossed for no other reason than that the voter deposited the ballot in the wrong precinct. Statewide, 20% of provisional ballots were rejected. In Mahoning County, which includes the city of Youngstown, numerous voters claimed they voted for Kerry on a touchscreen voting machine but the machine registered a vote for Bush. "I hate to be part of the conspiracy crowd, but it happened to me," said State Sen. Bob Hagan (D-Youngstown). Hagan said he then repeated his vote for Kerry, and this time his candidate's name lit up properly. Daily News reporter Larry Cohler-Esses and I reported recently that Kerry apparently lost at least 700 votes in black neighborhoods of Cleveland when machines in 10 precincts registered an unusual number of votes for two little-known third party candidates. Democratic leaders initially were astonished by those voting anomalies, but they have since conceded that the number of wrongly registered votes could be even more widespread.


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