What Went Wrong In Ohio: The Conyers Report On The 2004 Presidential Election

Book by Anita Miller (Editor) with introduction by Gore Vidal

Review by Thom Hartmann, originally published at buzzflash.com on June 2, 2005.

Two weeks before the presidential election of 2004, The Washington Post ran an article titled "Some Fear Ohio Will Be Florida." "Florida" has become shorthand for the illegal purging of tens of thousands of largely Democratic African American voters by Jeb Bush, Katherine Harris, and that state's Republican machine just before the election of 2000.

"We cannot forget what happened in Florida," the Post quoted Congressman John Lewis (D-Ga.), as saying about the stories in the news that were already emerging about massive Republican voter disenfranchisement efforts in Ohio. "And," Lewis added, "it will not happen here."

Lewis was wrong. It did happen in Ohio. George Bush Junior stole another election.

Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee refused to participate in any sort of investigation of voting irregularities in Ohio, so the Committee's ranking Democrat, John Conyers, went to Ohio with 11 other Democratic members to convene a hearing and take testimony under oath. What he found was startling.

"We have found numerous serious election irregularities in the Ohio presidential election," the Committee wrote in their official report, "which resulted in a significant disenfranchisement of voters. Cumulatively, these irregularities, which affected hundreds of thousands of voters and votes in Ohio, raise grave doubts about whether it can be said that the Ohio electors selected on December 13, 2004, were chosen in a manner conforming to Ohio law, let alone Federal election commission and constitutional standards."

The number of voters who were disenfranchised, and the number of votes that were spoiled, uncounted, and outright stolen (the committee diplomatically referred to it as "Kerry votes [being moved] to the Bush column") were far more than the 136,483 votes by which Bush officially "won" Ohio. If just 51 percent of those votes were fraudulent - roughly 70,000 votes being for Kerry but counted as for Bush (or an equal number of Kerry voters disenfranchised) - then John Kerry would be President of the United States right now.

Given this, consider the Conyers Commission reports summary that:

  • "There were 93,000 spoiled ballots where no vote was cast for president, the majority of which have yet to be inspected."
  • "We learned of improper purging and other registration errors by election officials that probably disenfranchised tens of thousands of voters statewide."
  • "In Miami county, voter turnout was an improbable and highly suspect 98.55 percent, and after 100 percent of the precincts were reported, an additional 19,000 extra votes were recorded for President Bush."
  • And, preceding a long list of specific, documented crimes committed by Ohio Secretary of State (and, thus, chief election official) Kenneth Blackwell, the charge that: "In the run-up to Election Day, the following actions by Mr. Blackwell, the Republican Party, and elections officials, disenfranchised hundreds of thousands of Ohio citizens, predominantly Minority and Democratic voters."

The Committee dryly noted: "In many cases these irregularities were caused by intentional misconduct and illegal behavior, much of it involving Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell, the co-chair of the Bush-Cheney campaign in Ohio."

While BBC, Vladimir Putin, and the world's media have been comfortable pointing out that there was something odd about "democracy" when it involved George Bush Junior in 2000, Congressman Conyers' House Judiciary Committee's findings have faced a near-total reporting vacuum in the mainstream media. If you go to http://news.google.com and enter the search words Conyers Ohio vote fraud, you discover only five hits -- two from French publications, two from TomPaine.com, and one from by a Canadian professor writing on a Venezuelan website.

Fortunately, the Conyers report -- aptly named "What Went Wrong In Ohio" -- is now available in paperback from Academy Chicago Publishers. Complete with a foreward by Gore Vidal, it comes in at a concise and Saturday-afternoon-readable 116 pages. It's essential reading for anybody who wants to know how Republicans have been stealing elections both nationally and on a statewide basis for at least the last three election cycles.

Ironically, May and June of 2005 see the trial of Democratic Washington State Governor Christine Gregoire's campaign, her election tenaciously being challenged in court by losing Republican Dino Rossi.

"We have evidence of voter fraud," Rossi and Washington State Republicans repeat like a mantra.

If only Democrats in 2000, 2002 (particularly in Georgia), and 2004 had had such cojones.

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