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  • Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal

    Monday, November 01, 2004

    And now, Ohio's final decision (maybe) 

    Ohio has lived up to its early campaign promise. The election will likely turn on what Ohioans do tomorrow. The candidates, President Bush and Sen. John Kerry, came early and often and stayed late. Kerry, in fact, won't bail out the state until tonight after he is joined by rocker Bruce Springsteen in Cleveland for an election-eve rally. The world is watching. And what it may see is a state poised with its provisional ballots to make a mess of its voting and gain the ultimate Election Day prominence - even over that of Florida.

    Court decisions were being issued in the final hours and appeals readied. Both U.S. District Judges John Adams in Akron and Susan Dlott in Cincinnati barred political parties' challenges from the polls. Dlott said such challenges are unconstitution, and Adams explained that, ``In light of these extraordinary circumstances, and the contentious nature of the imminent election, the court cannot and must not turn a blind eye to the substantial likelihood that significant harm will result not only to voters, but also to the voting process itself, if appointed challengers are permitted at the polls.'' With the clock ticking, Republicans promised to appeal immediately.

    On another legal front, the Akron Beacon Journal sued to gain normal media access to the polls, which Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell has blocked. The guy should change his name to Blackheart based on this and other election decisions.

    Although most acknowledge that turnout is nearly impossible to predict, Democrats and Republicans are working frantically to get their voters to the polls in an election that has been a deadheat between President Bush and Sen. John Kerry for weeks. The effort to mobilize voters, in Ohio and elsewhere, has been unprecedented. In Ohio, the two sides claim to have more than 150,000 field workers and volunteers on the ground today.

    If the Democrats are successful, they could give Kerry an edge. As Darrel Rowland and Jonathan Riskind report in The Columbus Dispatch ``substantially more (of the 1 million new Ohio registrants) come from areas that strongly supported Democrat Al Gore four years ago than those that ardently backed George W. Bush.''

    This isn't 2000, however. As the president points out, the world has changed since then. The questions Ohioans and the rest of the nation's voters will be answering in a few hours is whether, as political commentator and former Clinton operative David Gergen told the Washington Post, want Kerry's ``fact-based'' or Bush's ``intuition-based'' style of leadership. Despite all the details (and sometimes lack of them), no one can know all the particulars that play a part in a presidency. What a person can know is the decision-making process that produces the best results for the majority.

    And if we cannot decide...

    If Ohio is unable to sway the result of this presidential election to one side or the other, if in the days ahead we find the electoral teeter-totter balanced perfectly on 269-269, this will help you understand how we got there. There are, according to a Washington Post computer analysis, 33 ways the election could end in a tie.

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 11:00 AM

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