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Context of 'November 3, 2004: Over 25 Percent of Voters in Two Ohio Counties Apparently Do Not Vote for President'

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Hundreds of thousands of voters in Miami-Dade County go to the polls to cast their votes for president. Two of its precincts, 255 and 535, are over 88 percent Democrat and over 90 percent African-American. The 20 punch-card machines designated for the two precincts were tested beforehand and certified as working properly, but in the hours before the polls open, a worker at Precinct 255 does a test and finds that seven of the 10 machines do not accept punch-card votes for president. Precinct clerk Donna Rogers will later claim that no one tells her of the problems with the machines, but by the end of the day, 113 of the 868 ballots cast do not register a vote for president. Of the votes that do register in the precinct, over 99 percent of them go to Democrat Al Gore. At Precinct 535, six of the 10 machines fail to register votes for president during test runs. Of the 820 ballots cast in this precinct, 105 do not register a vote for president. Gore wins over 98 percent of this precinct’s votes. The 13 percent “discarded ballot,” or “undervote,” rate for these two precincts is by far the largest in Miami-Dade. [Tapper, 3/2001] A later attempt to hand-count the ballots in question is forcibly prevented by an orchestrated “riot” by conservative activists and political aides at the Miami-Dade elections office (see 9:00 a.m. and after, November 22, 2000).

Entity Tags: Donna Rogers, Albert Arnold (“Al”) Gore, Jr., County of Miami-Dade (Florida)

Timeline Tags: 2000 Elections, Civil Liberties

In Montgomery County, two precincts—one in Kettering and another in Washington Twp.—report extraordinarily high numbers of ballots cast with no presidential vote. The two precincts, both of which used punch-card ballots, had undercounts of more than 25 percent, far exceeding the county’s overall undercount of 2 percent. Undercount rates were 75 percent higher in the precincts that voted for John Kerry. Of the 231 precincts that went to Kerry, 2.8 percent of the ballots cast lacked a vote for the president. In the 354 precincts that supported President Bush, the figure was 1.6 percent. (But there were some exceptions. In fact, seven of the 10 precincts with the highest rate of undercounted presidential ballots went to Bush. For example, the highest undercount rate in Montgomery County occurred in precinct Washington X, a Bush stronghold, with 27.5 percent of the 611 ballots cast lacking a vote for president.) Larry J. Sabato, a political scientist from the University of Virginia, tells the Dayton Daily News that the extremely high rate of undercounts indicates that something went wrong. “It is very difficult to believe that a quarter of the people would not vote for president, especially in a year like this,” he says. “If I were the election officers in those areas I would be doing some very extensive checks of those machines.” But the presiding judge of Washington X, Shirley Wightman, tells the Dayton Daily News that her precinct reported no problems. [Dayton Daily News, 11/18/2004]

Entity Tags: Shirley Wightman, Larry J. Sabato

Timeline Tags: 2004 Elections

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