White woman with short brown hair smiling and displaying a white computer-looking machine with a big screen

New voting machine purchased by the Franklin County Board of Elections. Regular paper ballots will be available for all and that the new voting machines are in effect just an electronic pencil. A person votes on such a machine by inserting a ballot (card stock about 4"x14"); after voting the ballot is ejected, the voter reads it, and the ballot is then inserted into a machine called a tabulator (pictures to come). The tabulator creates an image of the ballot, then stores it inside itself. Photo by Tekla Lewin.

Well it took all of two weeks after the election, but as expected, our newly-elected Lieutenant Governor and objectively racist Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted has pledged to continue the mass purging of black, minority, young and poor voters.

Husted speaks with smug hypocrisy when he says “…we must also preserve the integrity of our elections.” Our ultra-conservative US Supreme Court in another of its infamous 5-4 decisions granted Husted the power to throw people off election rolls after missing two federal elections. The final verdict comes when the wayward voter fails to respond to what looks like a piece of junk mail sent by Husted.

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals stopped the purge-crazed Husted from eliminating more than a million voters prior to this November’s election. Their ruling reinstated voters who had been purged going back to 2011, when Husted first took office.

In a just and democratic society, Husted would be serving time in prison instead of second in command of our state.

Husted and other modern, high-tech Jim Crow politicians use the catch phrase “cleaning up the voting rolls” as an excuse for the purging. Those are code words for racist practices. For decades in Dearborn, the racist white suburb of Detroit, they used the phrase “keeping Dearborn clean” to meaning the police would blatantly target black people for arrests, beatings and harassment.

In the European Union, election officials are required to register their citizens to vote. In Jim Crow USA of today, the power to discriminate is granted to 50 different secretaries of state who are often running partisan political campaigns for themselves – while also overseeing the elections.

Election Rigging Pandemic

Award-winning reporting by the Free Press following the 2004 election led to our book What Happened in Ohio: A Documentary Record of Theft And Fraud in the 2004 Election. The book, in the long tradition of muck-raking, sought to expose the Republican tactics in stealing Ohio’s presidential election for George W. Bush. Sadly, virtually every heinous technique described in the book is now spread like an epidemic throughout the nation. The book has turned out to be less of an expose, but more of a how-to manual, much to our dismay.

Mainstream newspapers like the New York Times assume that these election irregularities are simply tens of thousands of unintentional errors. More realistically, these are hardcore evil doings by immoral and unethical partisan political operatives who will do anything to win. Unfortunately we’ve found there are evil people on “both sides.”

A stunning array of unacceptable election irregularities happened all over the country during early voting and on Election Day this year. Perhaps the most egregious and laughable was when Texas Democrats who voted the straight Party ticket, discovered that they had also inexplicably voted for right-wing Republican Ted Cruz.

This year in Georgia, the voting was managed by Secretary of State Brian Kemp, a candidate for governor. Kemp infamously locked up more than 50,000 ballot applications, most of them from African-Americans, denying their right to vote. It should be noted that Kemp tried to vote on one of Georgia’s 16-year-old machines that uses Windows 2000 software, and the computer system recorded his vote as an error.

Stacey Abrams, Kemp’s Democratic opponent, would have made history as our nation’s first black female governor, but did make history by initially refusing to concede. She loudly protested the obvious mass disenfranchisement of more than enough Georgia voters to win her the statehouse, as well as very dubious vote flipping in key districts. The Free Press salutes Abrams for spelling out the problems of the deliberately flawed voting system in the heart of the old Confederacy.

Abrams denounced “systemic disenfranchisement, disinvestment, and incompetence” to describe Georgia’s voting system.

None of Georgia’s voting machines use paper, so there was no paper trail for a recount. Amidst a firestorm of corruption charges, Kemp resigned as secretary of state, but is declaring himself governor.

Florida’s race was controlled by Governor Rick Scott, a candidate for US Senate. He’s also declared himself the winner. In Broward, Florida, and other counties in both states, machine foul-ups mock fair and efficient re-counts. Innumerable ballots are being trashed because of missed submission deadline – in once case by two minutes. Ballots may also be voided because a post office that was shut after pipe bombs were mailed by a Trump supporter.

Florida gubernatorial candidate Andre Gillum did concede, then recanted. Scott was finally declared he victor. In Georgia and Florida, the lawsuits are piling up.

The Walking Dead

Here’s some good news that came out of the November 6 election. Two guys who usually get sued after elections – notorious election riggers Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, running for Governor – were dumped by the voters. Remember, Roger Stone accused Walker of stealing five elections in his state and Kobach is the architect of the infamous Crosscheck voter database that disenfranchised minorities from coast to coast.

Walker lost by only 1.2 percent, ironically over the 1 percent threshold to ask for a recount – thanks to a law he himself signed after Trump was elected. Trump had tapped Kobach as head of the ultimately failed and discredited Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, and pundits now predict that because of his loss, the country’s well-known vote thief may now end up in the Trump administration.

Ms. Smiths Go to Washington

We couldn’t write this column without celebrating the victories of women this election. Despite the purge, there was a new surge of sisterhood: Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib became the first Muslim women elected to Congress. Deb Haaland and Sharice Davids are the first Native American women elected to Congress, and Davids is the first openly LGBT person to represent Kansas. Kyrsten Sinema is now the first openly bisexual senator. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, 29, is the youngest woman elected to Congress. Ayanna Pressley was elected as the first black Congresswoman from Massachusetts. And Lou Leo Guerrero, the current President of the Bank of Guam, will become the first female governor of Guam.

Maximum overdrive

Finally at the end of November, the Franklin County Board of Elections purchased and debuted their shiny new voting machines. Let’s hope this time the election officials will turn on the electronic machines’ security features – audit logs and ballot imaging. This simple gesture would go a long way in making our local elections safe, more transparent and accountable.

Freep 50th Anniversary Plans

The Free Press debuted in October 1970 as an underground independent newspaper on the Ohio State University campus, mostly in protest to the Vietnam War and the Kent State killings, and will turn 50 in 2020. For the next two years, we are planning our 50th anniversary celebration and a commemorative book and video. If you were involved with the Free Press anytime since 1970 and would like to help us gather archives and memories, or you can volunteer to organize all of this – please contact us! Email and put “50th Anniversary” in the subject line.

Progressive Guide to Columbus

In 2019, the Free Press plans to put together a “Progressive Guide to Columbus” including as many community groups and organizations working for social justice as we can. If you would like your group or organization listed for free, please send an email to and put “Progressive Guide” in the subject line. Give us the following info: Name of group, website, email, twitter, street address or address of regular meeting location (if appropriate), day/time of regular meeting (if appropriate), contact person, phone, and a couple of sentences to describe your group’s work, mission, and/or functions.

Alternative Media Workshops

Want to write articles, produce a radio show or video, be a better public speaker, learn more about using social media or software programs? You can get involved in our alternative media center. You can take our workshops and learn new skills and eventually write for the Free Press or other outlet, put a show on WCRS or WGRN FM community radio, or create videos for the Free Press Network. If you are interested, please come to our Alternative Media Orientation on Wednesday, January 16 at 6:30pm at 1021 E. Broad St. RSVP at and put “Alterrnative Media” in the subject line.


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