Something's rotten in the state of Denmark

Monday, November 08, 2004

In a county near Columbus

This was the first jarring irregularity that caught my eye -- in no small way because it was carried by the Associated Press. And even linked to by Drudge.

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - An error with an electronic voting system gave President Bush 3,893 extra votes in suburban Columbus, elections officials said.

Franklin County's unofficial results had Bush receiving 4,258 votes to Democrat John Kerry's 260 votes in a precinct in Gahanna. Records show only 638 voters cast ballots in that precinct.

Bush actually received 365 votes in the precinct, Matthew Damschroder, director of the Franklin County Board of Elections, told The Columbus Dispatch.

State and county election officials did not immediately respond to requests by The Associated Press for more details about the voting system and its vendor, and whether the error, if repeated elsewhere in Ohio, could have affected the outcome.

My fear all along with the touch-screen voting system is that Kerry votes could be easily switched to Bush votes, and due to the absence of a paper trail, no one would know about it.

But when Bush votes have just been tacked on -- not replacing Kerry votes, but just being added to the totals -- then the evidence is clear: the total number of votes for President in a precinct exceeds the number of voters in the logs for that precinct.

And 4,258 votes from one computer? That's a huge amount. Especially given that the 130,000 votes separating Bush and Kerry is only going to shrink once the provisional ballots are counted in a few days.

Here's hoping some intrepid young reporter is right now filing Freedom of Information Acts to see if in any other counties, the numbers don't jibe.