John Kerry, Uh, Thinks, Uh, Ohio Might Have Been, Uh, Hacked, Uh, In 2004

Some people just love conspiracy theories: chemtrails, aliens, San Francisco drug-zones, and who really framed Roger Rabbit. They'll latch on to just about any nutty theory that proves they were right no matter how insane. Most the time, an overwhelmingly mountain of evidence from investigative journalists, academic researchers, and government agencies can disprove these armchair philosophers. Every now and then, the opposite happens and those same watchdogs stumble across an actual conspiracy, but nobody cares to listen. On Friday, John Kerry came around to some such research a little late, admitting 14 years later that something very strange happened in Ohio during the 2004 election.

In an appearance on WNYC's Brian Lehrer Show, Kerry acknowledged election irregularities in voter totals throughout Ohio during the 2004 election, and then explained his decision not to contest the results of the election.

LEHRER: The ultimate swing state in 2004 was Ohio. And remembering what happened in Florida 2000, there was evidence of election irregularities, but you decided not to challenge it. We had a few activists on this program back then who were really angry at you for that. If you had won Ohio, you would have won the presidency, not George W. Bush. What did you know and why did you decide not to pursue it?

KERRY: Well, it was obviously a very, very tough decision and I write about it in the book, and you know I think about it here and then. But we knew that of the provisional votes that were waiting to be counted, or able to be counted, we didn't have the numbers necessary to have the margin -- according to what they had decided to count, or the way the machines came in. The problem for us was we were doubting whether the machines themselves had been appropriately measured and whether the algorithm was correct.

We challenged that ahead of time by the way. People don't know that. And we were told by the court that you were not able to get that algorithm, to check it, because it was proprietary information. And I believed that it was absolutely incorrect -- that in the United States of America, the election for the presidency of the United States should somehow be the purview of privately owned machines where the public doesn't have the right to know whether the algorithm's been checked, or whether they are hackable or not. And we now know they are hackable.

After all these years of dodging the question, Kerry NOW admits there were irregularities? Irregularities are what happens after a night of heavy drinking and bad burritos. What happened in Ohio was textbook voter fraud. Whether or not the machines were "hacked" will be debated forever, but there sure as hell were strange things afoot in the Buckeye state that night. George W. Bush getting 3,893 votes in a county of only 800 can only be a "glitch" when there aren't multiple counties reporting buggy and broken machines on the same night. Why the fuck is Kerry saying something after all these years (besides pitching his memoir)?

KERRY: But we knew as we sat there to decide where to go in terms of the challenge, that we were a nation at war, we had just been through a Supreme Court test of an election four years earlier. I thought, once I measured it, that whatever constitutional challenge we brought or whatever appropriate challenge we brought to the ballots that were counted, it was going to wind up ultimately in the Supreme Court and the Supreme Court would do the same thing that it did before. We would take the country through a three month exercise with a 5/4 decision that would award the presidency back to George Bush.

Now some people may think that's the right thing to have done. I thought it would have been horrendous for our country one year into a war, at that moment when there were serious doubts about terrorism and other things, to be going through a long period of questioning of the presidency. I didn't think it was the right thing to do for the nation.

Election security advocates, hackers, political watchdogs, and conspiracy theorists have argued for years that voting machines in Ohio mighthave been hacked in the 2004 election. Numerous precincts across the state reported bizarre shenanigans, like vote switching, and machines not registering votes. This is in addition to the regular, pedestrian voter fuckery perpetrated by Republicans, like disenfranchising minorities, limiting the number of available polls and voting machines, and even dubious terrorist threats, all reported only in heavily Democratic or swing districts. This is all well-documented, from a massive 2006 DNC report that found widespread voting "irregularities" prior to and on election day, a four-month investigation by Rolling Stone, and a first-hand account by Christopher Hitchens in Vanity Fair.

We're not trying to shit on John Kerry (too much) here, but we're a little pissed that it took him this long to finally open his mouth. The country suffered through another four years of incompetence and skullduggery at the hands of Bush and Dick Cheney because Kerry chose to keep quiet to preserve the soul of democracy, even if it had just been raped on prom night. We wonder if he'll bring this up on the campaign trail since clearly #HesRunning2020.

[Jenny Cohn / Brian Lehrer Show]

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Dominic Gwinn

Dominic is a broke journalist in Chicago. You can find him in a dirty bar talking to weirdos, or in a gutter taking photos.


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