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Saturday, August 06, 2005
The Reality-Based Community? Part LV

Matt Taibbi claims he had to be dragged kicking and screaming to yet another rehash of the Ohio story. But now he's convinced the Republicans stole the election.

You know what the trouble is, Matt? It's the boy who cried wolf. Liberals have brought this up time and again, and time and again they've been proven wrong. So even if you have a good case this time around, we're sick of it, just as you were sick of hearing the latest twist and turn in the Whitewater saga. But (of course), Matt does not have a good case, as we shall see.

That in itself didn't make the Ohio story illegitimate. It did, however, make it something I wanted to avoid precisely because I disliked George Bush. On some level I suspected that the more publicity the Ohio mess got, the more discredited Bush's political opponents would be in the end. The media, I knew, would dismiss the Ohio story in exactly the casually vicious manner described above—as hysteria, as the delusional work of professional conspiracy theorists, as the behavior of sore losers unable to accept George Bush's clear popular victory.

That last part, incidentally, was the formulation most journalists used when picking their official excuse for ignoring the '04 Ohio story. Because Bush really did win the popular vote, they argued, there was no point in investigating a possible electoral fraud in Ohio, because no one had really been cheated out of office.

No, Matt. They didn't ignore the Ohio story. They looked into it, saw it was being raised by the usual gang of idiots, and decided it was nothing. Quite sensible on their part, actually. They didn't say, Ohio doesn't matter because Bush won the popular vote; that would be idiotic since the popular vote doesn't mean squat.

Even when they had a completely plausible excuse to at least investigate the Ohio charges on their own—after Michigan congressman John Conyers issued a lengthy report detailing the Ohio indiscretions—the big dailies still blew off the case. The New York Times mentioned the Conyers report only in the context of a 381-word page A16 item in January about John Kerry endorsing the election results ("Election Results to Be Certified, With Little Fuss From Kerry," 1/16/05). That piece ended with a quote by Dennis Hastert, who dismissed the Conyers report as the work of the "loony left."

Exactamundo. Conyers is a goofball partisan for the Democrats. Conyers started with the conclusion and then attempted to find the facts that would fit that conclusion.

• In conservative, Bush-friendly Miami County, voter turnout was an Uzbekistan-esque 98.55 percent.

• In Warren county, election officials locked down the administration building and prevented reporters from observing the ballot counting, citing a "terrorist threat" (described as being a "10" on a scale of 1 to 10) that had been reported to them by the FBI. The FBI made no such report. Recounts conducted during this lockdown resulted in increased votes for Bush.

• In Franklin County, 4,258 votes were cast for Bush in a precinct where there were only 800 registered voters.

Sigh. This last one was a computer error that was definitely fixed. Back in November.

A computer error involving one voting-machine cartridge gave President Bush 3,893 extra votes in a Gahanna precinct.

Franklin County’s unofficial results gave Bush 4,258 votes to Democratic challenger John Kerry’s 260 votes in Precinct 1B, which votes at New Life Church on Stygler Road. Records show only 638 voters cast ballots in that precinct.

Matthew Damschroder, director of the Franklin County Board of Elections, said Bush received 365 votes there.

The remaining 13 voters who cast ballots either voted for other candidates or did not vote for president.

Damschroder said he received some calls yesterday from people who saw the error when reading the list of poll results on the election board’s Web site.

"It’s why the results on election night are unofficial," Damschroder said.

The error would have been discovered when the official canvass for the election is performed, he said.

Election workers will start certifying the official election results later this month. The final, official tally will be available by the end of the month.

Miami County, where the turnout was supposedly 98.55%? I don't know where Matt got that number but it's clearly wrong. I don't have a way of finding out how many registered voters there are, but I was able to check the population. Miami County had 100,230 people as of 2003, according to the Census Bureau. There were a total of 51,757 votes for President counted in Miami. Ergo the percentage of the population that voted in 2004 was 52%. How does that compare with surrounding counties?

County Population Votes Percentage
Miami 100,230 51,757 51.6%
Shelby 48,566 22,855 47.1%
Chmpgn 39,544 18,776 47.5%
Clark 143,351 68,807 48.0%
Greene 151,257 79,278 52.4%
Mntgmry 552,187 282,574 51.2%
Darke 52,960 26,313 49.7%

As you can see, Miami's not out of line with its neighbors.

This is typical sore loserman stuff, and if the Democrats think they're going to fool anybody with it, they're going to be sadly disappointed.


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