|"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"
|"The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth, shall be watered also himself."
-- Proverbs 11:25
2 election workers convicted of rigging '04 presidential recount
Two election workers in the state's most populous county were convicted Wednesday of illegally rigging the 2004 presidential election recount so they could avoid a more thorough review of the votes.
A third employee who had been charged was acquitted on all counts.
Jacqueline Maiden, the elections' coordinator who was the board's third-highest ranking employee when she was indicted last March, and ballot manager Kathleen Dreamer each were convicted of a felony count of negligent misconduct of an elections employee.
Maiden and Dreamer also were convicted of one misdemeanor count each of failure of elections employees to perform their duty. Both were acquitted of five other charges.
Rosie Grier, assistant manager of the Cuyahoga County Elections Board's ballot department, was acquitted of all seven counts of various election misconduct or interference charges.
The felony conviction carries a possible sentence of six to 18 months.
There was a gasp in the courtroom gallery, which included some relatives and friends of the defendants, when a "not guilty" verdict was announced on the first charge. The courtroom went silent when a "guilty" verdict was returned.
The defendants sat near each other silently as the 21 verdicts were read.
Ohio gave Bush the electoral votes he needed to defeat Democratic Sen. John Kerry in the close election and hold on to the White House in 2004.
Special prosecutor Kevin Baxter, who was brought in from Erie County to handle the case, did not claim the workers' actions affected the outcome of the election — Kerry gained 17 votes and Bush lost six in the county's recount.
But Baxter insisted the employees broke the law when they worked behind closed doors three days before the public Dec. 16, 2004, recount to pick ballots they knew would not cause discrepancies when checked by hand so they could avoid a lengthier, more expensive hand recount of all votes.
Ohio law states that during a recount each county is supposed to randomly count at least 3 percent of its ballots by hand and by machine. If there are not discrepancies in those counts, the rest of the votes can be recounted by machine. A full hand-count is ordered if two random samples result in differences.
By way of reminder, the recount --- the one that was rigged by Ohio Elections Officials --- came by way of the Green and Libertarian Party candidates, not by way of the Democrats or John Kerry. As well, the money to pay for the gamed recount was raised by folks on the Internet, not paid for out of the $15 million or so that Kerry reportedly had left in his campaign war chest after the "Election" in Ohio.
All of that, despite Kerry's continued and then broken promise to "Count Every Vote" in 2004.
These convictions occurred in Cuyahoga County, a Democratic stronghold of some 600,000 voters. Kerry "lost" the state of Ohio, according to the history books anyway, by just 118,000 out of some 5.5 million votes cast in the Buckeye State.