First, in the run up to election day, the following actions by Mr.Blackwell, the Republican Party and election officials disenfranchisedhundreds of thousands of Ohio citizens, predominantly minority andDemocratic voters:
- The misallocation of voting machines led to unprecedented longlines that disenfranchised scores, if not hundreds of thousands, ofpredominantly minority and Democratic voters. This was illustrated bythe fact that the Washington Post reported that in Franklin County, ?27of the 30 wards with the most machines per registered voter showedmajorities for Bush. At the other end of the spectrum, six of theseven wards with the fewest machines delivered large margins forKerry.? 1 Among other things, the conscious failure to providesufficient voting machinery violates the Ohio Revised Code whichrequires the Boards of Elections to ?provide adequate facilities ateach polling place for conducting the election.?
- Mr. Blackwell?s decision to restrict provisional ballots resultedin the disenfranchisement of tens, if not hundreds, of thousands ofvoters, again predominantly minority and Democratic voters. Mr.Blackwell?s decision departed from past Ohio law on provisionalballots, and there is no evidence that a broader construction wouldhave led to any significant disruption at the polling places, and didnot do so in other states.
- Mr. Blackwell?s widely reviled decision to reject voterregistration applications based on paper weight may have resulted inthousands of new voters not being registered in time for the 2004election.
- The Ohio Republican Party?s decision to engage in preelection?caging? tactics, selectively targeting 35,000 predominantly minorityvoters for intimidation had a negative impact on voter turnout. TheThird Circuit found these activities to be illegal and in directviolation of consent decrees barring the Republican Party fromtargeting minority voters for poll challenges.
- The Ohio Republican Party?s decision to utilize thousands ofpartisan challengers concentrated in minority and Democratic areaslikely disenfranchised tens of thousands of legal voters, who were notonly intimidated, but became discouraged by the long lines. Shockingly, these disruptions were publicly predicted and acknowledgedby Republican officials: Mark Weaver, a lawyer for the Ohio RepublicanParty, admitted the challenges ?can?t help but create chaos, longerlines and frustration.?
- Mr. Blackwell?s decision to prevent voters who requested absenteeballots but did not receive them on a timely basis from being able toreceive provisional ballots likely disenfranchised thousands, if nottens of thousands, of voters, particularly seniors. A federal courtfound Mr. Blackwell?s order to be illegal and in violation of HAVA.
Second, on election day, there were numerous unexplained anomaliesand irregularities involving hundreds of thousands of votes that haveyet to be accounted for:
- There were widespread instances of intimidation andmisinformation in violation of the Voting Rights Act, the Civil RightsAct of 1968, Equal Protection, Due Process and the Ohio right to vote. Mr. Blackwell?s apparent failure to institute a single investigationinto these many serious allegations represents a violation of hisstatutory duty under Ohio law to investigate election irregularities.
- We learned of improper purging and other registration errors byelection officials that likely disenfranchised tens of thousands ofvoters statewide. The Greater Cleveland Voter Registration Coalitionprojects that in Cuyahoga County alone over 10,000 Ohio citizens losttheir right to vote as a result of official registration errors.
- There were 93,000 spoiled ballots where no vote was cast forpresident, the vast majority of which have yet to be inspected. Theproblem was particularly acute in two precincts in Montgomery Countywhich had an undervote rate of over 25% each ? accounting for nearly6,000 voters who stood in line to vote, but purportedly declined tovote for president.
- There were numerous, significant unexplained irregularities inother counties throughout the state: (i) in Mahoning county at least25 electronic machines transferred an unknown number of Kerry votes tothe Bush column; (ii) Warren County locked out public observers fromvote counting citing an FBI warning about a potential terrorist threat,yet the FBI states that it issued no such warning; (iii) the votingrecords of Perry county show significantly more votes than voters insome precincts, significantly less ballots than voters in otherprecincts, and voters casting more than one ballot; (iv) in Butlercounty a down ballot and underfunded Democratic State Supreme Courtcandidate implausibly received more votes than the best fundedDemocratic Presidential candidate in history; (v) in Cuyahoga county,poll worker error may have led to little known thirdparty candidatesreceiving twenty times more votes than such candidates had everreceived in otherwise reliably Democratic leaning areas; (vi) in Miamicounty, voter turnout was an improbable and highly suspect 98.55percent, and after 100 percent of the precincts were reported, anadditional 19,000 extra votes were recorded for President Bush.
Third, in the post-election period we learned of numerousirregularities in tallying provisional ballots and conducting andcompleting the recount that disenfanchised thousands of voters and callthe entire recount procedure into question (as of this date the recountis still not complete) :
- Mr. Blackwell?s failure to articulate clear and consistentstandards for the counting of provisional ballots resulted in the lossof thousands of predominantly minority votes. In Cuyahoga Countyalone, the lack of guidance and the ultimate narrow and arbitraryreview standards significantly contributed to the fact that 8,099 outof 24,472 provisional ballots were ruled invalid, the highestproportion in the state.
- Mr. Blackwell?s failure to issue specific standards for the recountcontributed to a lack of uniformity in violation of both the DueProcess Clause and the Equal Protection Clauses. We found innumerableirregularities in the recount in violation of Ohio law, including (i)counties which did not randomly select the precinct samples; (ii)counties which did not conduct a full hand court after the 3% hand andmachine counts did not match; (iii) counties which allowed forirregular marking of ballots and failed to secure and store ballots andmachinery; and (iv) counties which prevented witnesses for candidatesfrom observing the various aspects of the recount.
- The voting computer company Triad has essentially admitted that itengaged in a course of behavior during the recount in numerous countiesto provide ?cheat sheets? to those counting the ballots. The cheatsheets informed election officials how many votes they should find foreach candidate, and how many over and under votes they should calculateto match the machine count. In that way, they could avoid doing a fullcounty-wide hand recount mandated by state law.