CommunityPam's House Blend

I’m happy to report ace Hardball reporter David Shuster is joining Keith Olbermann on the vote count story. He’s still crunching the numbers and comparing 2000 results.

Florida: Out of the sunshine state’s 67 counties, 52 tallied their vote using paper ballots that were optically scanned by machines produced by the Diebold Corporation, the Sequoia Company, or Election Systems and Software.

In 5 counties where Democrats comprise at least 70% of the registered voters (Baker,Holmes, Dixie, Lafayette, and Liberty) President Bush won the county’s raw vote total by a landslide. At first glance, the numbers seem awfully strange. But take a look at the 2004 numbers compared to 2000.

Baker County ’00: Bush 5,610 Gore 2,392

Baker County ’04: Bush 7,738 Kerry 2,180

Holmes County ’00: Bush 5,011 Gore 2,177

Holmes County ’04: Bush 6, 410 Kerry 1,810

Dixie County ’00: Bush 2,697 Gore 1,826

Dixie County ’04: Bush 4,433 Kerry 1,959

Lafayette County ’00: Bush 1,670 Gore 789

Lafayette County ’04: Bush 2,460 Kerry 845

Liberty County ’00: Bush 1,317 Gore 1,017

Liberty County ’04: Bush 1,927 Kerry 1,070

Each of these counties is in northern Florida where there are large numbers of “Dixiecrats.” In other words, the voters have a lengthy tradition of being registered as Democrats but voting for Republicans in national elections.

What about other Florida counties? Across the state, the election results from ’04 are not that different from ’00. And political strategists on both sides say the Bush-Cheney campaign had an unprecedented Get Out The Vote effort this time around. That ground operation focused heavily on evangelical Christians concerned about “gay marriage.” Yes, gay marriage was on the ballot in Florida… and it attracted a huge number of Evangelicals to the polls who stayed home four years ago. In my view, it’s not unreasonable to think the Bush-Cheney campaign would have increased their Florida vote total by the number’s I’ve examined. However, I acknowledge that some of you may be saying, “well, the optical scanning machines in these counties must have been rigged 4 years ago.”

Later this week, I’ll examine the numbers from four years ago and try to compare them to previous elections.

Regarding Ohio: 70% of the state used a punch card ballot system similar to the chad producing method used by much of Florida in 2000. Ohio’s Secretary of State reports that more than 92,000 votes did not count. Some ballots were cast improperly (over votes or under votes) and other ballots were counted incorrectly. Furthermore, in Cuyahoga County (greater Cleveland) there were more votes cast than registered voters. The margin was not small… 93,000 more ballots cast than registered voters. As Keith Olbermann reported last night, in Fairview Park (west of Cleveland) there were 13,342 voters registered… but 18,472 votes were cast. And last week, Ohio officials acknowledged that in the town of Gahanna (just outside of Columbus) in one district with only 800 voters, a voting machine added 3,893 votes for President Bush.

What does it all mean? In Ohio, there are definitely more questions than answers tonight. In Florida, I’m not so sure. But, our review continues…

I noted that Shuster had posted a great essay on the gay marriage issue earlier this week.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding