Tuesday, October 26, 2004
Foreign observers banned by Blackwell
By Carl Weiser
Enquirer Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - A group of foreign election observers said Monday they've been given the stiff-arm by Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell.
Sponsored by a liberal group called Progressive Exchange, the international observers had hoped to observe the election in Ohio and ensure it was fair.
But Blackwell, the group said, has denied access to the polls in Ohio.
"From my long experience of international election observation, my suspicions are immediately aroused when officials appear to want to deny observers access to polling sites," said election observer Owen Thomas, chief executive of Electoral Reform Services in London. "International observation throws light on the workings of democracy. Why would anyone be against that?"
It's not Blackwell - it's the law, countered Carlo LoParo, Blackwell's spokesman.
"They're not the only ones being excluded," he said.
Only a few groups are allowed inside polling places, including poll workers, voters, vote challengers, witnesses and police. Anyone else must stay at least 100 feet away from the entrance.
Lined up to visit
With a week to go before Election Day, it might be easier to start listing who's not going to be in Ohio:
Teresa Heinz Kerry is in Lorain today holding a town meeting on health care.
Jenna and Barbara Bush will be in Columbus, speaking at an Ohio State University rally of Students for Bush.
President Bush will be in Youngstown and Lima Wednesday, plus Dayton and Cleveland Thursday.
Sen. John Kerry will hold a rally at the University of Toledo Thursday.
Awesome in November
Actual appeal from liberal group in Washington, D.C.:
"Four days in Ohio. Forget about that Caribbean cruise, why not spend 4 days and 3 nights in lovely Ohio instead?"
America Votes, a coalition of unions, environmental groups, and civil rights lobbies, is sponsoring a trip from Washington to Ohio. It would foot hotel and transportation costs. The bus leaves Saturday and returns after Election Day.
The daily poll paradox
A Zogby International poll found Bush leading Kerry 47 percent to 42 percent in Ohio. But an Ohio University Scripps Survey Research Center found Kerry leading Bush 50 percent to 46 percent.
Zogby surveyed 603 likely voters with a margin of error of 4 percentage points.
Ohio University surveyed 358 likely voters with an error margin of 5.3 percentage points.
Red Sox win = Kerry win?
As the home of the first professional baseball team, Cincinnati might be interested in the correlation between a state's team winning the World Series and that state's candidate winning the White House - what with Kerry's beloved Red Sox in the fall classic.
Fortunately, Matthew Smyth of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics has done the calculations.
"In the five years that the team from the state of a presidential candidate has won, the corresponding candidate has won an impressive four times, with the only exception being Al Smith in 1928," Smyth writes.
It last worked for Richard Nixon in 1972, when the Oakland A's won the World Series by beating ... the Reds.
Contributing: Brian Tumulty of Gannett News Service.
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