The Voters Have a Right to Know
Click the map or the menu at right to access the recount report for that county. The blue menus at right list which counties currently have reports available and for which counties reports are still pending. We are adding new reports daily as we receive them from our volunteer recount observers in the field. Also, be sure to write your own comments on our Ohio Recount Blog!
[NOTE: These reports are not yet “official,” as hundreds more reports are still coming in, each noting a different aspect of the recount in the 88 counties. These reports represent the opinions of the writers, and are presented here in an effort to share information as quickly and transparently as possible with the people of Ohio and the nation.]
The Ohio recount is uncovering serious problems in our electoral processes that must be addressed immediately, both in Ohio and other states. For example:
These and other irregularities are the subject of further investigation and action. Also, nearly all of the 88 Ohio counties may be in violation of the Ohio recount law because they did not choose the precincts to be manually recounted in a random manner.
For example, in Vinton County, a unilateral decision was made to pick a county for the 3% manual recount test simply because its vote total was closest to 3% of the county total.
In Morrow County, a decision as to what is “random” was made without input from recount observers after a county election official called Secretary of State Blackwell’s office and was told that her interpretation of “random” was the correct one, despite Green Party recount observer protests.
Ohio Election Law is very clear on this point:
Lack of random samples threatens to undermine the entire recount process, as it does in other situations where random sampling is critical. For example, when testing whether a manufacturing company is complying with local air quality regulations, a sample taken near the smokestack is going to produce results that are different from a sample taken near the front door. A fair sampling procedure would randomly include samples from all over the company’s property.
Relating this back to the recount procedures, when you read in the newspapers that recounts were done and no discrepancies were found, it could be because the election officials chose to do test recounts on precincts where there were no problems. There may still be problems or there may not be, but no one can know for sure. What we do know is that lack of random recounts does not follow either the spirit or letter of the law, and may necessitate further action, including a second statewide recount.
While the nation has spent the last few weeks observing and talking about an activity called the “Ohio Recount,” in reality there have been 88 different recounts taking place in Ohio’s 88 counties. The political maxim that “all politics is local” is especially true as it relates to the process of registration, voting, and counting the ballots.
When David Cobb and the Green party teamed up with Michael Badnarik and the Libertarian Party to demand that each Ohio vote be counted, several steps had to be followed. First, the parties demanding the recount had to raise $10 per precinct for the recount costs. With 11,360 precincts in Ohio, the amount needed was $113,600. Thanks to over 6,000 donors giving small donations over the Internet, the money was raised in four days.
The candidates filed their formal demand for a recount, along with the necessary filing fees, in each of Ohio’s 88 counties on November 19. At that time, approximately half of the counties already had completed their initial canvass of the vote. Secretary of State Blackwell and the counties, however, refused to start the recount at that time.
Next, the candidates went to court to try to expedite the recount process. Kenneth Blackwell, who served both as Ohio Secretary of State (the man in charge of Ohio’s vote-counting process) and the partisan co-chair of the Bush-Cheney Re-election Campaign in Ohio, took six weeks to certify the Ohio vote count, the same time needed by Washington State to certify the vote, complete a state-wide recount, and start a second one. While the courts did not require the recount to be speeded up, they did order every county to participate.
Over 3,000 volunteers came to Ohio to help us with this recount, and each one deserves a big thanks from the rest of us for their faith in democracy and their willingness to participate in this historic process. Many of them served as official county recount witnesses or regional coordinators, and it is their reports you will be reading on the following pages.
Reports are still flowing in from the 88 counties. Once they all are completed, we will meet with our attorneys, state election officials, and the broad coalition of groups who have participated in this historic undertaking.
No matter what the outcome of the recount, these are but a few of the steps which must be taken to make our elections more open, accountable, and fair:
While many of the local election officials and staff members we have met in Ohio’s 88 counties are hard-working, well-meaning people, almost none of them have allowed the recount to proceed using “random” recount processes. In addition, we have found election and recount procedures in several counties that do not appear to follow the spirit or letter of Ohio Election law. Finally, election laws appear to have been applied unevenly across Ohio in ways that produced unfairness against poor and minority voters.
We will be posting the latest information and analysis here on the www.votecobb.org website as it becomes available.