Ohio Activists Protest Bush, Electronic Voting

Activist Victoria Parks holds two caracatures of President Bush
Activist Victoria Parks holds two caracatures of President Bush

Central Ohio Peace activists held a protest this morning on the steps of the Franklin County Board of Elections. Speakers called for the impeachment or President Bush because of the war in Iraq. Others protested what they called Faith Based Voting – criticizing Ohio’s new electronic voting machines.

On the Broad Street steps of the Franklin County Board of Elections, Central Ohio Peace Network head Mark Stansbury urged Ohioans to voice their opinions at polls this November.

“[It's the]last few days to register to vote,” Stansbury says. “Get out and register. Your last day is this Tuesday, I believe.”

Stansbury was among a group of speakers who want to see a change in the political landscape. Teresa Dawson said the National Guard should not be deployed overseas, unavailable for local emergencies like Hurricane Katrina. Steve Vargo called for the impeachment of the President because Mr. Bush, he said, had falsified the reasons the US went to war in Iraq. Victoria Parks, who carried a signed depicting Bush as a Nazi, described corporate involvement in the voting process “fascist.”

“While you were at your kids’ soccer game, Parks says, “Your country was taken over by fascists.”

Parks derided the federal Help America Vote Act, the law which mandates the use electronic machines. Parks called it the Hack Americans’ Vote Act or the Help America’s Vendor Act.

“I urge everyone to support hand counted paper ballots,” she said. “Including you, Franklin County Board of Elections! Hand counted paper ballots is the only way we will take back our election.”

But county elections director Matt Damschroder says electronic machines are more accurate than voting by paper because they reduce the chance that a voter can invalidate a selection. He says Ohio law also requires that machines print a paper record of voting activity.

“Here in Ohio every electronic machine has a voter verified paper trail so the voter can see a permanent paper record created every time they make a selection. That paper becomes the official record for the purposes of recounts. So we have the best of both systems.”

Damschroder says he believes the results of November’s elections will be an accurate reflection of voters’ ballots.