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Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Why give up on Ohio?

Watching the results waaaaay late last night, Kerry/Edwards didn't look willing to give up on Ohio. But just the next day, they conceded the election. Why did that happen? I can think of two reasons.

1. They conceded because they know the provisional vote was legitimate.

It was a tough campaign, hard-fought, and after being so close, Senators Kerry and Edwards weren't inclined to give up. But after sleeping on it, they saw there really wasn't a chance. Even if there were a large number of valid provisional ballots (250 thousand) and Kerry won a remarkable number of them (winning with a 60-40 margin), they wouldn't even eliminate half of President Bush's lead. Defeat is inevitable, so conceding is the right thing to do.

2. They conceded because they knew the provisional vote was illegitimate.

They knew a large number of those provisional ballots were cast by these fake voters recently added to the rolls. The margin in the provisional ballots could shift the election in Ohio. However, it would create a media frenzy to rival Florida 2000. News crews, competing for stories, would investigate the provisional ballots. Bloggers would take their digital cameras and snap pictures of parks, empty lots, and abandoned buildings which were the alleged residences of provisional voters. Camera crews would visit the addresses of provisional voters, only to have perplexed families say "No one named John Smith lives here."

A variant of the above: The campaign had an idea of how many "extra" votes they had, but knew it wouldn't be enough to swing the state. Pressing the issue seriously risked exposing the crime.

I truly wish to say I believe the reason for the quick concession is reason number one. I fear it is actually reason number two.
Voter fraud is widely considered to be practiced by both sides, but it isn't in such an obvious and blatant form so as to encourage massive crackdowns. If identifiable voter fraud was discovered in a contested election like the previous election, whichever side perpetrated the fraud would suffer a tremendous backlash. The mere charge of voter intimidation lingers from the 2000 Florida election, even though no one can find an allegedly disenfranchised voter. Just imagine what would happen if real, identifiable, and significant voter fraud were discovered and discussed over a month-long media frenzy.


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