Link: First criminal convictions from Ohio's stolen 2004 election confirm recount was rigged
The first felony convictions of two Cleveland poll workers stemming from Ohio's stolen 2004 election confirm that the official recount in that contested vote was, in the words of county prosecutors, "rigged." The question now is whether further prosecutions will reach higher up in the ranks of officials who may have been involved in illegalities throughout the rest of the state.
The convictions have come down in Cuyahoga County, where Democratic candidates traditionally run up huge majorities. Suspicious vote counts and other irregularities cut deeply into John Kerry's margins in 2004. Official vote counts gave the state---and thus the presidency---to George W. Bush by about 118,000 votes out of 5.5 million counted.
A statewide recount, paid for by the Green and Libertarian Parties, was marred in 87 of the state's 88 counties by the types of illegalities that led to this week's convictions. Only in Coshocton County was a full, manual recount performed.
Throughout the rest of the state, under the direction of Republican Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell, mandatory random sampling was not done, as prescribed by law. Instead, poll workers illegally chose sample precincts for recounting where they knew there would be no problems, and then routinely recounted the rest of the ballots by machine, rendering the recount meaningless.
But Cuyahoga's precinct-by-precinct vote counts and turnout numbers varied wildly and improbably. Several predominantly black precincts showed turnouts of less than 30% in a county where overall turnout was around 60%. One ward showed a 7% turnout as compared to surrounding precincts with turnouts nearly ten times as high.