Inquiry finds problems in 2004 election
Many of the voting and counting mishaps of the bizarre 2000 general election were not fixed four years later and brand new problems arose, including a rash of fraudulent voter registrations in some areas, congressional investigators say.
A study of the 2004 election by the Government Accountability Office concludes that paper ballots continued to be used extensively by small jurisdictions, many polling places struggled to manage heavy early voting and new federal requirements for voter identification were applied unevenly by local officials across the country. The GAO released the study Thursday.
Altogether, 41 states were granted extra time to meet federal requirements to build statewide voter registration lists, meaning most such lists were not in place for the 2004 vote.
New problems cropped up in 2004. Ambitious get-out-the-vote drives swamped officials with the task of checking applications with their backs against registration deadlines. Incomplete addresses, fictional names and questionable signatures showed up.
The report estimates 5 percent of local jurisdictions handled voter registration applications with fraudulent names.
Places that adopted newer voting technology since 2000 were not necessarily making the best use of it. Investigators said performance measures "have not been systematically embraced" and they found shortcomings in security and testing procedures.
It came as little surprise that problems plaguing the nation's patchwork elections system remained in the first general election since a 2002 federal law placed new requirements on state and local officials and gave them more money to help with costs.
The changes got off to a slow start in part because members of the Election Assistance Commission, a new body set up to help state and local officials, were appointed by President Bush eight months behind schedule and not at work until January 2004.
Widespread voting problems were exposed in 2000, the closest presidential election in history. The outcome was in limbo for weeks until the Supreme Court stopped a Florida recount, handing Bush victory based on a mere 537-vote margin in that state.
Funny how it comes forward after Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s Rolling Stone article -
- “Was the 2004 Election Stolen?”: “Republicans prevented more than 350,000 voters in Ohio from casting ballots or having their votes counted -- enough to have put John Kerry in the White House.”
- Robert F. Kennedy Jr Responds to Farhad Manjoo : “…Ohio stands as a case study in how officials, acting under color of law, can deprive citizens of their constitutional rights" …”
- The RFK conspiracy theory
- RFK Jr: Taking the Stolen Election Seriously
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
Robert Francis Kennedy Jr., often referred to as RFK Jr. or Bobby Jr., (born January 17, 1954) is the third of eleven children born to Ethel Skakel Kennedy and the late Robert F. Kennedy. He is a noted environmental lawyer and co-host of Ring of Fire on the Air America Radio network.
An animal collector during his youth, Kennedy attended Georgetown Preparatory School, the elite Jesuit boys school in Bethesda, Maryland, where he was pulled from classes on June 5th, 1968 by the rector to learn that his father had been shot following the California Democratic Primary. Kennedy graduated from Harvard College with a major in political science (interrupting his stay at Harvard to for a year of study at the London School of Economics) and obtained a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Virginia Law School, following a tradition started by his father and uncle Edward M. Kennedy. He also obtained an LL.M. from the Pace University School of Law.
Kennedy divorced Emily Black and later married Mary Richardson. In 1983, he was arrested in South Dakota for heroin possession and went into drug treatment for his addiction; he has been clean for over twenty years. His younger brother, David Kennedy, died of a drug overdose of Demerol and cocaine one year later. Kennedy has six children: Robert F. III (born 1984) and Kathleen Alexandra (1988) with Emily and Conor Richardson (1994), Kyra LeMoyne (1995), William Finbar (1997) and Aidan Caohman Vieques (2001) with Mary.
In 1984, Kennedy joined the Riverkeeper organization as an attorney and worked with the group to prosecute polluters on the Hudson River. With fellow environmental attorney John Cronin, Kennedy has created a partnership between the Hudson Riverkeepers and Pace University School of Law. Kennedy serves as Professor of Environmental Law at Pace University School of Law and co-director of Pace's Environmental Litigation Clinic which, under a special court order, allows second and third year law students to try cases against Hudson River polluters. He credits the energy and intelligence of the students, as well as access to the Pace law faculty and library, for several legal victories over clients represented by New York's richest and most prestigious law firms. Kennedy also serves as a senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council, a prominent lobbyist and legal firm that works to strengthen and enforce environmental laws.
The Hudson Riverkeepers, now part of the international group, The Waterkeeper Alliance, was founded in 1966 by a group of fishermen and residents from New York who were outraged by pollution in the Hudson. Since the formation of the group, the Hudson River has undergone a rebirth and today there are over 100 "Keepers" in the US, Canada and Costa Rica. In 1998, Kennedy, Chris Bartle and John Hoving created a bottled water company that donates all of its profits to clean water organizations. They decided to call the company "Keeper Springs" in support of the Waterkeeper Alliance.
In 1998, Kennedy was named the inaugural director of the Watershed Institute at Boston College, an urban ecology research center. He was considered to be a possible candidate for attorney general of New York in 2006, but on January 25, 2005, Kennedy announced that he had ruled out a candidacy for the office. Had Kennedy decided to run, he would have likely faced off against his former brother-in-law, Andrew Cuomo, in the Democratic primary.
Media work and public activism
Hurricane Katrina, August 28 2005. Kennedy believes that
hurricanes may be worsening due to global warming.
Kennedy currently co-hosts Ring of Fire on Air America Radio with Mike Papantonio, despite suffering from spasmodic dysphonia, a disorder that makes speech difficult and causes the voice to sound quavery and strangled. He has written various books and articles on environmental issues, including The Riverkeepers and Crimes Against Nature. He contributes to Sierra Club publications, such as Sierra Magazine, as well as to reports authored by the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Since May 2005 he's been a contributing blogger at The Huffington Post, a blog run by progressive commentator Arianna Huffington. In September 2005, he wrote a piece on the blog entitled “For Those That Sow the Wind Shall Reap the Whirlwind,” in which he tied the increasing strength of hurricanes such as Katrina to global warming and cited President Bush’s refusal to limit CO2 output as contributing to higher levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. He has notably opposed the construction of the Cape Wind wind power project, which would be visible from the Kennedy Compound on Cape Cod, due to claims that it would destroy the region's scenic view and damage the sea ecosystem. Kennedy has also become a recent advocate for the scientific theory that there are connections between unneeded substances (most notably mercury and specifically, thiomersal) in innoculations and childhood autism.
- After carefully examining the evidence, I've become convinced that the president's party mounted a massive, coordinated campaign to subvert the will of the people in 2004. Across the country, Republican election officials and party stalwarts employed a wide range of illegal and unethical tactics to fix the election. A review of the available data reveals that in Ohio alone, at least 357,000 voters, the overwhelming majority of them Democratic, were prevented from casting ballots or did not have their votes counted in 2004 -- more than enough to shift the results of an election decided by 118,601 votes.
- AirAmerica.com - 'Ring of Fire: Saturdays 5pm - 7pm EST' (talk show website), Mike Papantonio and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. (co-hosts), Air America Radio
- BuzzFlash.com - 'BuzzFlash.com Talks with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., About His Emile Zola-like "J'Accuse" Indictment of the Bush Anti-Environmental Record', BuzzFlash (December 15, 2003)
- CommonDreams.org - 'Kennedy: Fascist America', Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman, Common Dreams (January 22, 2005)
- CommonDreams.org - 'Crimes Against Nature' (with follow-up), Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Rolling Stone (December 11, 2003)
- HuffingtonPost.com - 'For They That Sow the Wind Shall Reap the Whirlwind' (blog entry re: global warming), Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Huffington Post (August 29, 2005)
- MyHero.com - 'EarthKeeper Hero: Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.', Wendy Jewell
- Salon.com - 'Deadly immunity: When a study revealed that mercury in childhood vaccines may have caused autism in thousands of kids, the government rushed to conceal the data -- and to prevent parents from suing drug companies for their role in the epidemic', Salon.com (June 15, 2005)
- RollingStone.com - 'Deadly Immunity' (complete, updated version), Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Rolling Stone (June 20, 2005)
- BigPicture.tv - 'Robert F. Kennedy Jr clips: Wake Up America!'