Croker Sack

"Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard." — Henry Louis Mencken (1880-1956)

Thursday, January 20, 2005

No Shortage of Voting Machines in Ohio: Only a Shortage of Truth in the Democratic Party

The wacky wing of the Democratic Party can be counted on to lie about the circumstances connected with the November 2004 general election in Ohio.

A particular lie they have been spouting is that urban voters in Cleveland were hindered by a lack of voting machines at polling places, while suburban voters had more than enough machines.

They allege that the vote of inner-city residents who could be expected to favor the Democratic Party’s candidate for president was suppressed by the discouragingly long lines of people waiting to vote – and that this suppression of the vote was the brainchild of a scheming Republican Secretary of State.

The Plain Dealer of Cleveland, Ohio, reported on January 17 that their investigation revealed no such disparity in the availability of voting machines:

When they stood on the floor of Congress recently to protest the results of Ohio's presidential vote, Democrats told a national audience about their suspicious hunch: People in Democratic strongholds were short-changed on voting machines on Election Day.

Voter groups and activists have lobbed the same accusation for weeks. Long lines in urban areas, such as Cleveland, kept John Kerry supporters from voting, they say.

But a Plain Dealer analysis shows that, in Cuyahoga County at least, the elections board distributed machines equally to city and suburban polling locations.

The specific facts reported by The Plain Dealer prove the falsity of the claims made by Democrats who seek to divide and polarize Americans:

Before the Nov. 2 election, the elections board allotted each Cleveland precinct one machine for every 117 registered voters within its boundaries - the same ratio of machines that suburban precincts received.

In other words, the more registered voters a particular precinct had, the more machines it received, regardless of where that precinct was.

And in the end, the busiest precincts - when measured by the number of ballots cast per machine - were actually in the suburbs, not Cleveland, according to a Plain Dealer analysis of records from the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections.

Countywide, voters cast an average of nearly 71 ballots on each of the county's 8,000 machines. In Cleveland alone, voters cast an average of 62 ballots per machine. In the suburbs, the average was 74.

There may have been long lines in the city – although the willingness of Democrats to lie about one thing makes it doubtful they have told the truth about the existence of long lines – but any long lines in the city compared to the suburbs had nothing to do with an intentional shortage of voting machines.

As reported by The Plain Dealer:

Despite charges that election officials failed to properly prepare for Election Day, it appears those in Cuyahoga County tried. In deciding how to distribute machines, the board used a liberal formula that included not only active voters but also inactive voters - those who had not shown up to the polls in years.

In Franklin County, which had some of the longest lines in Ohio on Election Day, officials distributed machines using a ratio based only on active voters.

Long lines did form at some of Cuyahoga's 584 polling locations. And those on Cleveland's East Side - where problems were most anticipated - received the most attention from politicians, voter groups and reporters on the lookout for glitches.

The lines formed for a number of reasons: waves of new voters; inexperienced or overwhelmed poll workers; a crush of voters during peak hours; and general confusion at larger polling sites that host multiple precincts.
Note two things about this description of events: The distribution of voting machines was decided by county election officials – not by the Republican Secretary of State – and no long lines occurred as a result of anyone’s intention to suppress the vote in any precinct.

It’s worth keeping this report by The Plain Dealer in mind, since the lunatic fringe of the Democratic Party will certainly continue telling the lie in an effort to fool people into believing that President George W. Bush wasn’t duly re-elected in 2004.

(Hat tip: Best of the Web Today by James Taranto)


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