On Nov. 3, the day Sen. John Kerry conceded the presidency to George W. Bush, a dozen young Pissed Off Voters lined Fountain Square to serenade rush hour traffic on Fifth Street with signs saying, "The Fight is Not Over/We're Not Conceding," "Morals = Health Care, Education, Rights and Freedom For All!" and "God Bless the U.S./Goddamn the Rest."
Discouraged progressives are regrouping and trying to find where to channel their frustrated energy. Just a day earlier many actually believed that a minor revolution was nigh, that Kerry could take Ohio and maybe even Hamilton County and go on to win the presidency.
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Being Watched: Despite predictions, there were few blatant voting problems on Election Day. One precinct's poll workers became so alarmed by Kerry/Edwards campaign workers following them -- and more important, the ballots -- to the board of elections that they called the police.
Versions of that scenario played out at four or five precincts as poll workers grew suspicious of their escorts, according to Lt. Doug Ventre, commander of the Cincinnati Police Department's Tactical Planning/SWAT Section.
"It wasn't very clear to the polling workers that we were going to follow the ballots," says Barry Gee, a polling manager in Hyde Park and a Kerry/Edwards campaign worker.
"Some of them felt intimidated and called the police. It was just handled poorly."
Some voters also reported feeling intimidated, according to Gina Gartner, an organizer with the League of Pissed Off Voters. A few felt threatened by police officers entering and exiting the Emanuel Center's polling location in Over-the-Rhine. Others reported Equal Rights No Special Rights campaign workers blocking the doors at an Evanston polling location.
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New Math: But since Kerry's concession, it seems that online chatter about voting problems has swelled and seeped into mainstream media.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that 247,672 votes remain uncounted in Ohio. MSNBC's Keith Olbermann reports that Cuyahoga County counted thousands more votes than there were registered voters. He also notes that Kerry's concession isn't legally binding; it's really up to the state election commissions' reports and next month's Electoral College vote.
"Realistically, trying to overturn an election in which the candidate has already conceded is most likely too much to ask for," writes Jerry Baker, a member of Ohio Votes 2004, a local group that's formed to look into voting irregularities and the possibility of fraud. "However, we cannot let this go or it will keep happening."
Among issues alarming this group: Some styluses were too short to poke holes in ballots, some votes for Kerry ended up on a blank line and not beside Kerry's name and polls in predominantly Democratic districts had longer waits and fewer machines than those in Republican areas.
Then there are the exit polls, which called the election for Kerry.
"The exit polls couldn't possibly have been that inaccurate," says Bob Drake, who ran unsuccessfully for Hamilton County Treasurer. "As a Ph.D., I have some expertise in analyzing statistical data and can say with certainty that, since the headlines read, 'Dewey Defeats Truman,' such inaccurate results have never been found in a statistical survey of this type. It's a mathematical impossibility."
British investigative journalist Greg Palast, who was the first to raise a ruckus about Florida's cleansing of voter rolls in 2000, goes so far as to call election 2004 for Kerry.
"The exit polls are accurate," he wrote on www.gregpalast.com. "Pollsters ask, 'Who did you vote for?' Unfortunately, they don't ask the crucial question, 'Was your vote counted?' The voters don't know."
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