Postmortems: Ohio and an Attempt to Cheat the Vote?

Wherein our senior contributing editor conjures up some explanations for the surprising Ohio outcome, “counterscript” to many seasoned observers…

By Steve Jonas  
Nov. 7, 2012

First, let me say, I was wrong in my prediction for the Presidential Election (1).  For the record, I said: “It is becoming increasingly apparent that Mitt Romney will win the Presidency. He appears to be ahead in the popular vote. Whether he will actually also finish ahead of the President in the electoral vote count seems to be becoming immaterial. First, there seems to be on the GOP side a campaign getting underway to challenge any Obama electoral vote victory (given that Romney indeed would have a substantial lead in the popular vote). It would bring pressure, both public and private, on the electors to not vote as they were chosen to do, but rather to “recognize the popular will” (as if Republicans do that in any other circumstance).”

Then I went on to say: “Second, there is increasing evidence that a massive vote-count cheating operation has already been organized in some of the key ‘battleground’ states (2-7) like Ohio, which Bush won in 2004 by cheating. (The Ohio Secretary of State, in charge of the ballot counting, just happened to be the Chair of the Bush-Cheney re-election campaign.) If this strategy were to be successful, and could withstand the challenges that the Obama Campaign might or might not mount against it, that would make the first plan superfluous.”

Let me modify that.  The President did win the popular vote, by about 1.6 million votes.  (The polls aren’t slanted to the GOP, are they?  Nah.  Couldn’t be.)  But on the second point, I think that there was evidence of an attempt being made to cheat in Ohio (as the GOP clearly did in 2004 and likely did in 2000 (2-7).  On Tuesday evening, sometime around 11PM EST, after all of the networks, including Fox, called Ohio for Obama, I just happened to switch to Fox. And there was “independent” “analyst,” a chubbier Karl Rove (the $240 million man) saying “hold on there. I’ve got the Ohio Secretary of State’s website up and he says that the vote difference is only 20-plus [yes, that was 20 votes, count ‘em] for Obama. And there is a huge number of Republican votes outstanding.” This of course is the Ohio Secretary of State who, following in Ken Blackwell’s footsteps (Blackwell being the man who supervised the 2004 voting while at the same time being the Ohio State Chair for Bush/Cheney), did his darnedest to suppress the minority vote in Ohio, an attempt that was openly hailed on racist grounds by at least one GOP county chair (8).

It happens that there was no such thing as the virtual tie that Rove had claimed to exist (except as it was apparently being presented on the website of the Ohio Secretary of State).  The other networks, and indeed Fox itself, had Obama ahead by about 20,000 votes at the time.  Nevertheless, Rove’s claim got Fox to pause, and so did CNN and MSNBC (I checked).  The latter two did not say why they were pulling back, at least a bit. However, shortly thereafter, Fox sent one of their anchors to their “decision desk,” the home of their numbers crunchers, when Rove was still holding onto his “Sec. of State says 20 votes” story.  They held firmly to their count that Obama was actually 20,000 votes ahead and to their projection that he would win Ohio.  Nevertheless, a scheduled Romney appearance, apparently planned for a concession speech, was delayed. Then by about 11:30 all the networks went back to their call of Ohio for Obama. And anyway, by that time Fox was then showing Obama with a 290 electoral vote total, so even without Ohio’s 20, he still had won.

So what might have happened in that half hour or so that the projection of Ohio for Obama had been at least partially called back (reminding one of similar episodes in the 2000 and 2004 elections)?  My guess is that someone may have tried to get the cheat machine going in Ohio and couldn’t. We will never know if such an episode actually happened.  However, it happens that one well-informed colleague of mine had told me several days before the election that the left-wing web organization Anonymous had gotten into the Ohio vote-counting computers, was prepared to hack any changed results, and had made their intention known privately.  An attempt to implement the scheme may have been tried anyway, and then it was found not to be successful. Your guess is as good as mine. We’ll never know.

But Rove had seemed so confident when he called a halt to calling the election for Obama.  Maybe it was Obama’s getting to 270 without Ohio (and as we now know Virginia went for Obama [!] so even if Ohio had been cheated over to Romney it wouldn’t have made any difference anyway) that caused the operation to be halted, if indeed there had been one.  If this hypothetical is correct, someone then made the call to Romney, said “sorry Mitt, we couldn’t do it even though Tagg is a part-owner of the machines,” the concession speech was made, and it was all over.

My friend who told me about the Anonymous counter-hacking operation penned this post-script:

“Romney’s refusal to concede [at first] raised the specter of Bush’s refusal in 2000 – and we well know the machinations that motivated that one. Clearly, you read [the situation] correctly – they were in the throes of orchestrating a hacked election in OH for the second time – the first being 2004. With Romney’s son and 45 former employees (former in name only) holding the titles to a massive bloc of voting machines in OH – they must have considered the capability and viability of rigging this one, too.  Romney’s very hesitant and even reticent concession must now be explained and totally in original context – the calling of the state of OH that precipitated the calling of the US presidential election for his opponent – while he and his surrogates held the keys and the codes to a vast array of electronic voting machines in the crucial state of OH.”

In the meantime, it will be interesting to see if anyone raises questions about the incident and, if a response is made, what the answer might be.

STEVE JONAS, MD, author of more than 30 books and hundreds of essays on political and cultural topics, is a senior contributing editor to The Greanville Post, Buzzflash and other leading progressive venues. His sleeper futuristic classic, The 15% Solution: How the Republican Religious Right Took Control of the U.S., 1981-2022, is slated for republication by Punto Press in the Spring of 2013. 

1.    Jonas, S., “The Core Values of a President Romney,” BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT: Thursday, 01 November 2012, URL:

2. Bello, G., Fitrakis, B., and Wasserman, H., “Does the Romney Family Now Own Your e-Vote?” Friday, 19 October 2012 The Free Press,

3. Campbell, D.G. and James, C., “NSA Analyst Proves GOP Is Stealing Elections,”

4. Charnin, R., “Updated Daily: Presidential True Vote/Election Fraud Forecast Model,
Oct. 31, 2012,

5. itobin53, “Romney family buys voting machines through Bain Capital investment,” Oct 19, 2012, Select Media,

6. Daily Kos, “Anonymous gives warning to Karl Rove,” Oct. 28, 2012,

7.  Chin, L., “Has the Election already been Stolen for Romney/Ryan?” Global Research, October 30, 2012,

8.   Shen, A., “Ohio GOP Election Board Member: Our Voting Process Shouldn’t Accommodate Black Voters,” Think, Election 2012, Aug 19, 2012,

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