DNC: Ohio Vote Rife with Obstacles; 'Pure Political Fiction,' GOP Says

Article excerpt

Byline: Donald Lambro, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

A five-month study conducted by the Democratic National Committee charged yesterday that Ohio voters, particularly blacks, encountered numerous obstacles last year that suppressed electoral participation in a state President Bush carried by a margin of 136,000 votes.

The DNC study, conducted and written by committee officials and former advisers to Sen. John Kerry, the Democratic presidential nominee, focused only on Ohio, whose 20 electoral votes were pivotal to the outcome of the 2004 election.

Donna Brazile, the veteran Democratic voter-turnout strategist who chaired the study, said that "numerous irregularities characterized the Ohio election: we find evidence of voter confusion, voter suppression, and negligence and incompetence of election officials."

Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman said the report, "Democracy at Risk: The 2004 Election in Ohio," was "pure political fiction," pointing to widespread reports throughout Ohio, where Democratic campaign activists submitted thousands of bogus voter-registration cards in an attempt to tip the state into the Democratic column.

The report contends that "more than one-quarter of all voters in Ohio reported some kind of problem on Election Day, including long lines, problems with registration status and polling locations, absentee ballots and provisional ballots and unlawful identification requirements at the polls."

It also charges that black voters "had a starkly different Election Day experience than white voters."

"African Americans reported waiting an average of 52 minutes in line to vote while white voters reported waiting an average of 18 minutes. …