Something's rotten in the state of Denmark

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Warren County, Ohio

What exactly happened November 2 in Warren County, Ohio?

As reported by the Cincinatti Enquirer, Warren County was the one county in the entire United States to close off their vote counting process from the media, citing terrorist concerns.

No, really.

LEBANON - Citing concerns about potential terrorism, Warren County officials locked down the county administration building on election night and blocked anyone from observing the vote count as the nation awaited Ohio's returns.

County officials say they took the action Tuesday night for homeland security, although state elections officials said they didn't know of any other Ohio county that closed off its elections board. Media organizations protested, saying it violated the law and the public's rights. The Warren results, delayed for hours because of long lines that extended voting past the scheduled close of polls, were part of the last tallies that helped clinch President Bush's re-election.

County Prosecutor Rachel Hutzel said that "Having reporters and photographers around could have interfered with the count."


And for the record, how did the vote in Warren County -- suburban Cincinatti's favorite terrorist target -- turn out? Overwhelmingly in favor of President Bush:

Bush 66,523 (72.1%)
Kerry 25,399 (27.5%)
Other 329 (0.4%)

What was the vote in 2000 in that same county? Why, here it is.

Bush 48,318 (69.95%)
Gore 19,142 (27.71%)
Nader 1,067 (1.54%)

It doesn't seem like that big a difference. Except that in 2000, GOP voters were voting against the Monica scandal-plagued Clinton, and in 2004, the Ohio job losses were enormous, a factor that helped Kerry. Either way, this was a county where Bush had a 40,000 vote lead, which in a state that Bush won by 130,000 votes can make a huge difference.