by Marybeth Kuznik, Executive Director
Statewide Alliance for Voting Rights and Election Integrity
Five years ago today the Ohio Recount started.
With election anomalies showing up all over the Buckeye State in 2004, and no “major” party candidate willing to question them, presidential
candidates David Cobb of the Green Party and Libertarian Michael Badnarik showed the courage to stand up and call for a recount as an
On December 13, 2004 recounting began in Board of Elections offices all over Ohio. The Green Party had over 2000 volunteer observers trained and they were deployed in every one of the 88 Ohio counties. People from all walks of politics pitched in to assist and search for the truth. As one of nine statewide regional coordinators helping the Greens to prepare observers, I was in Jefferson County (Steubenville) that morning and I will never forget the feeling of being part of history. I will also not forget the feeling of being under observation by armed Sheriff’s Deputies as we observed the proceedings.
The days between the November 2004 presidential election and the certification of the electoral votes in Congress on January 6, 2005 were tense, high-strung, and amazing.
For many of us who were on the ground in Ohio that day, the recount was a life-changing experience. Once we dealt with the messes we saw in the counties and the shenanigans of the (at the time) Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell, there was no going back on this issue.
Even though Blackwell basically stalled everything and pretty much made the actual recounting useless, as many of you know the Ohio Recount was a major force that directly led to much of the Election Integrity movement that subsequently developed.
It is tragically sad that despite hard work and much progress, our Election Integrity movement has not yet been able to achieve a realistic solution that would provide EVERY county in Pennsylvania and in every state with secure, accessible, recountable, and accurate elections. Just days ago, with 50 of our largest counties still using paperless Direct Recording Electronic voting machines, Pennsylvania conducted a statutorily-required statewide “recount” of a Superior Court race that was nothing more than a meaningless reprint of the election-night results.
As we face 2010 with millions of Pennsylvanians and people all over America still throwing our votes into paperless DREs, and with the threat of Internet Voting looming on the horizon, my personal wish remains for a true voter-marked and voter-verified paper ballot and meaningful election audits to protect every vote in our nation and especially every vote in Pennsylvania!
Yes, we can — if we want to.
PS — For those who don’t know the story, please see the website of
the Ohio Recount preserved at the link below.
A note by 4th CD PDA Board member and recount participant Peter Deutsch:
Marybeth played a major role in initiating the contemporary voting reform movement in Pennsylvania, still active.
That day in December 2004, I worked for her in Steubenville for the 2004 Ohio Presidential Election recount in Jefferson County. I remember
skidding out in the dark to a slow stop on the roadside as I started out that day of finals week to participate. I wondered in that moment if I should turn around and go back toward school three miles away instead of traveling more than thirty five miles across the boundary to another
state to some small uncertain adventure.
The decision toward the more adventurous initiated my subsequent interest in voting reform (election integrity) which extends to this day. It has stimulated some of the most vivid late adult experiences and sustained memories of my late adult life.
That day Dec 13, independent political parties indeed proved themselves very instrumental. In initiating the recount, they were able to accomplish things that the major parties could not bring themselves to do.