Thursday, November 04, 2004


Major musical chairs coming up in state government?

Now that Joe Deters won the Hamilton Co. Prosecutor's, there has been speculation about who will take his place. Well, not really speculation - it seems that the Jennette Bradley appointment is a done deal as we have been hearing for weeks, and Cincinnati Blog had a good posting on this Wednesday.

But there have been other strong rumors going around that indicates a much large scheme is afoot. Rumors like maybe some of the big wigs at the Ohio Republican Party see that it may be destructive for a major shootout between Betty Montgomery, Jim Petro and Kenny Blackwell for the Republican nomination for Ohio governor.

One scenario thrown around before the election was whether Taft could be lured to resign with some sort of significant university position or ambassadorship. Now that Bush has won, the candy jar that Taft might be able to reach into just got much bigger.

So maybe what's cooking is the political version of baseball's triple switch: Imagine Jennette Bradley becoming State Auditor. Imagine Betty Montgomery becoming Lt. Governor. Imagine Taft becoming the ambassador to Tanzania or South Africa. Humm . . . who does that leave to become governor?

This scenario would be ideal for a Bob Bennett who has got to be tired of playing janitor. He cleans up the Deters mess by moving him out of the state spotlight to Cincinnati. He cleans up the Householder mess by also moving him out of the spotlight (although we hear the grand jury is nipping at his heels). Now all he has to do is figure out how to deal with Kenny Blackwell and Petro. These are some big egos at work. Based on the his recent campaign statements, Petro isn't making any deals - yet. Blackwell is such a loose cannon that probably no deal is possible, but that might not stop Bennett from pushing the triple switch anyway.


Back to blogging

Yes, the last few days of sleep deprivation and mourning have led to a self-imposed vacation from blogging, but we are back to the good fight. Stay tuned.

Monday, November 01, 2004


Repubs violate decades-old consent decree with challenges scheme

Being racist and devious is an ugly combination. Illegal too. From the AP:
Republicans will not be permitted to use a list of 23,000 registered voters to challenge people at Ohio polls Tuesday because doing so unfairly targets minority voters, a federal judge ruled.

Judge Dickinson R. Debevoise on Monday said the compilation of the list violates a decades-old order prohibiting such actions. "The public interest is always served by encouraging people to vote," Debevoise said.

The ruling in U.S. District Court in Newark came in the case of Ebony Malone, 20, of Cleveland, who opposed the GOP challenges in her home state. Malone and Democrats contended the challenges to voters around Cleveland and Columbus were designed to keep poor and minority voters from casting ballots. Republicans said the list was compiled from thousands of pieces of mail returned after they were sent to registered voters.

Debevoise said Malone "faced irreparable injury in that her constitutional right to vote was threatened."

The judge said the GOP's mailings and analysis of the mail should have been cleared by him before it was undertaken. Debevoise heard the arguments because he presided over a related matter more than 20 years ago. . .

Malone asked Debevoise to intervene because he brokered a decades-old agreement stemming from a suit by Democrats to block Republican voter challenges in areas of New Jersey with heavy minority concentrations. That suit resulted in an agreement by the Republican National Committee to seek Debevoise's approval before conducting further so-called "ballot security" measures in New Jersey or elsewhere. Since then, the Debevoise agreement has been invoked in cases in California, North Carolina and Louisiana.


11:22 pm Nov. 1 - No fed court of appeals decision yet

We aren't going to recount all the legal developments today. Suffice it to say, a federal court of appeals has been asked to overturn the decision by two lower federal courts that bar the presence of challengers in polling sites. Everyone is awaiting this courts decision.

There was also a separate federal court ruling concerning the GOP's efforts to use returned registered mail to create their list of to-be-challenged voters. We will detail that in a separate post.

Then there as an additional federal court action that, in essence, allows election officials to ban members of the media from being observers inside polling sites.

Finally, there was also some legal maneouvering in the STATE courts system, but it is essentially inconsequential in relationship to the challengers issue.

Some of the discussions on various boards like this one at Kos have some good points but are mostly inane. We have a migraine from reading all the different ways people could get the facts wrong, and Fox News' misreporting has helped stip this pot of confusion.

Regardless, we've had the 14th straight day of GOTV activities, and we start again hitting the streets at 5:30 am. As of now, THE COURT OF APPEALS HAS NOT ISSUED A DECISION. Got that! 'Nuf said. Good night.


Attention Ohio reporters: Looking for some leads on voter suppression?

There may be a half excellent lines of investigation and nuggets of stories in a post by "Kagro X" at Daily Kos. Here is an excerpt to get you started:
. . . [start] with that transcript of the Summit County Board of Elections hearing posted at MyDD. In it, GOP challenger Barbara Miller names attorney Jim Simon as her source for the information in her challenges.

So here's a licensed attorney pushing people into committing fifth degree felonies. That's not only aiding and abetting, it's an ethical violation.

But I also found out that Jim Simon is a Trustee of Bennington College. Sounds like something the student Democrats there should be aware of. . .

I'd like to see what the Ohio State Bar Association might have to say about Jim Simon's activities, too. Plus, Simon is an employee of the Summit County Engineer's office. I wonder whether the County Executive would be interested in what he's been up to . . .

Listen up Ohio media - the election story doesn't end Nov. 2. For good reporters, that's when it starts. The Ohio Republican Party took the entire state for a ride with these bogus challenges and used you guys to aid and abet them. You got used and used good. The best pay back is to shine a light on who was behind this caper. Get digging!


Franklin County hit with phony leaflets

Matt Damschroder, director of the Franklin County (Columbus area) Board of Elections held a news conference Monday afternoon to announce that parts of the county had indeed been victimized by people distributing the following flyer:

Now, this is pretty much old school dirty tricks. Nothing too slick or traceable, but just enough possible authentic touches. The "Franklin County Board of Elections" header on the leaflet is a deft touch, but the kicker is the slogan on the bottom.

It's hard to tell how many people would fall for this, and the publicity that this scam is going to receive will dissuade a lot of people. The problem is that if just 1/2 of 1 % of the people fall for it, then we are going to have a problem. This is some sick, sinister Rovian stuff, but it's also an act of desparation.

See similar stories at Ohio Voter Suppression News.


Abramowitz optimistic on Ohio

Polling sage Alan Abramowitz provided his final prediction about the Buckeye State at Donkey Rising.
In Ohio, there have been 11 polls since October 15. Kerry led in 7, Bush led in 3, and 1 was tied. Average support was 47.2 percent for Bush and 48.3 percent for Kerry. Ralph Nader is not on the ballot. Turnout is going to be enormous and two federal judges ruled this morning that Republican political operatives cannot challenge voters in minority precincts. That was Karl Rove's last gasp in Ohio. The Buckeye state will go Democratic this year and no Republican has ever won a presidential election without carrying Ohio.

Check out all of his battleground states predictions there.


Final Ohio Poll reported as "dead heat"

The University of Cincinnati released its latest and final 2004 Ohio Poll and they "too close to call." The poll taken Oct. 27-31 of 819 Likely Voters. The previous (Oct.11-17, Sept. 21 ) poll results are in parentheses. WARNING - the folks at UC have made these calculations "after allocation of undecided voters to the candidates they are most likely to support." No methodology is provided for how they performed this allocation, so these results deserve a big, fat asterisk until more is known.
Kerry - 49.2% (48) (43)
Bush - 50.1% (46) (54)
Other - 0.7% (1) (1)
Unknown - 0% (5) (2)
MoE - 3.3%
Maybe we are just cranky this morning, but this has the feel of a rush job. UC screwed up posting the poll for over an hour after journalists had been notified. There was no methodology discussion in their press release and no internals were provided. Maybe we'll change our minds later, but this sure smells like UC went into the defensive, CYA mode in the conservative haven of Southwest Ohio.


Judge Dlott bars Ohio challengers; GOP to appeal

Although there are several suits around Ohio courthouses challenging the legality of the Republicans planned aggressive use of challengers in polling sites Nov. 2, U.S. District Judge Susan Dlott acted first and ruled that the GOP's use of the Ohio statute allowing challengers at polling places is unconstitutional. According to the Associated Press:
[Dlott] said the presence of challengers inexperienced in the electoral process questioning voters about their eligibility would impede voting.
Mark Weaver, lead legal douche for the Ohio Republican Party, promised that they would again visit the friendly grounds of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati to overturn it.

The suit was brought by a pair of Cincinnati civil rights activists who argued that the the challengers effort was meant to intimidate and block black voters.


Gallup shows Kerry with large Ohio margin

The results are significant and tantalizingly outside to the Margin of Error. All the usual caveats about Gallup apply to the survey of Likely Voters, but this looks good.:
Kerry - 50%
Bush - 46%
Other/Unknown - 4%
MoE - 3%
Among Registered Voters the numbers are even better:
Kerry - 51%
Bush - 44%
Other/Unknown - 4%

Now its time to get those votes to the polls!

Sunday, October 31, 2004


GOP claims pro-Kerry forces organized a skunk attack

We swear the following is true. The Dispatch weekend crew says they could hear the laughter from three blocks away.

The Ohio GOP today held a news conference today that was supposed to unveil a major report on the fraud and dirty tricks by pro-Kerry forces. Instead of a big expose, here is what the few reporters (geez, you'd think the GOP realized the Statehouse Press Corps doesn't work on Sundays) got as the LEAD complaint against the Kerry people:
Columbus) – With time running out and new nationwide polls showing John Kerry losing ground, Democrats have restored to desperate, dirty tricks, launching destructive attacks on GOP volunteer centers in two Ohio locations.
  • In one case, a skunk was set loose in a Scioto County volunteer call center on Friday evening. Full-time volunteer Jean Taylor told police a man came into the headquarters, pulled a mask over his face and let a skunk out of a pillow case, which then attacked the office. Volunteers got a license number from the suspect’s truck and reported it to police.

    Taylor told the Portsmouth Daily Times, “It’s been upsetting. We had all kinds of volunteers on schedule here. We have eight phones and eight people volunteering on phones around the clock today, so it’s just disrupted everything.” Charges will be filed in the incident . . .
You can't make this stuff up. See the full news release here.


More on Dispatch poll

Because the poll results are still not on online, here is a recap of some of the internals:
Democrats split 92-8 for Kerry
Repubs split 94-6 for Bush

Males: 53-46 for Bush
Females: 53-46 for Kerry

18- 24 year olds: 55-45 for Kerry
25-34 year olds: 53-45 for Kerry
35-44 year olds: 51-49 for Bush (tied)
45-54 year olds: 51-47 for Kerry
55-64 year olds: 53-47 for Bush
65-74 year olds: 56-44 for Bush
75+ 55-45 for Kerry

<$30,000: 59-40 for Kerry $30-$40,000: 52-48 for Bush $40-$50,000: 55-44 for Kerry $50-$60,000: 55-44 for Bush $60-$70,000: 55-44 for Bush $70-$80,000: 51-48 for Bush $80-$90,000: 60-40 for Bush >$90,000: 58-42 for Bush

Northeast Region: 59-41 for Kerry
Central: 54-45 for Bush
Southwest: 59-40 for Bush
southeast: 53-47 for Bush
West: 58-41 for Bush
Northwest: 51-49 for Kerry (tie)

Registered to vote this year: 65-34 for Kerry
Already registered: 51-48 for Bush


New Columbus Dispatch poll: Tie with momentum Kerry's

After the controversy surrounding their previous poll in which the editors seemed to have written off Kerry and any possible bounce for him from the debates, the Columbus Dispatch today announced that their latest poll showed a dead heat, but with very good strength for Kerry. We present an extend quote from this survey because, for unknown reasons, it is not available online yet:

UPDATE: Poll is how online here
How close is the matchup? Kerry leads by a mere eight votes of 2,880 ballots returned in the mail survey - the tightest margin ever in a final Dispatch poll.

[. . . ] Kerry has surged from a 7 percentage-point deficit into a tie. And several signs indicate that the Massachusetts senator has gained the momentum in Ohio. Kerry is ahead by 14 points among independent voters. He has a narrow lead in northwestern Ohio, the state's most reliable bellwether media market. And he has brought black voters home, gaining 91 percent support among black respondents.

Meanwhile, the poll contains troubling signs for Bush. Only 44 percent say things in the nation are headed in the right direction. Fewer than half approve of his handling in Iraq and the economy. And his overall approval rating is 49 percent, a measure that many political experts say represents a ceiling of his support Tuesday.

But this election is so close in Ohio that the winner will be determined by which side gets its voters to the polls Tuesday, and by how the public perceives such late-breaking developments as the newly released video of Osama bin Laden. Perhaps the biggest question - aside from the effect of possible Election Day challenges at polling places - is how many of Ohio's 1 million newly registered voters will cast ballots.

These newbies now represent one in eight Ohio voters, and they support Kerry by a nearly to 2-1 margin in the poll.
The Dispatch says its poll has a Margin of Error of 2%.

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