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Comparing Ukraine and Ohio

James K. Galbraith writes on Salon.com: The election was stolen. That's not in doubt. Secretary of State Colin Powell admitted it. The National Democratic Institute and the International Republican Institute both admitted it. Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana -- a Republican -- was emphatic; there had been "a concerted and forceful program of Election Day fraud and abuse"; he "had heard" of employers telling their workers how to vote; yet he had also seen the fire of the resisting young, "not prepared to be intimidated."

In Washington, former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski demanded that the results be set aside and a new vote taken, under the eye -- no less -- of the United Nations. In the New York Times, Steven Lee Myers decried "the use of government resources on behalf of loyal candidates and the state's control over the media" -- practices, he said, that were akin to those in "Putin's Russia."

Personally, I don't know whether the Ukrainian election was really stolen. I don't trust Lugar, Powell or the National Democratic Institute. It's obvious that U.S. foreign policy interests, rather than love of democracy for its own sake, are behind this outcry. Russia backed the other candidate in Ukraine. For Brzezinski, doing damage to Russia is a hobby.

But if the Ukraine standard were applied in Ohio -- as it should be -- then the late lamented U.S. election certainly was stolen. In Ohio, the secretary of state in charge of the elections process was co-chairman of the Bush campaign in the state. He obstructed the vote count systematically -- for instance, by demanding that provisional ballots without birth dates on their envelopes be thrown out, even though there is no requirement for that in state law. He also required that provisional ballots be cast in a voter's home precinct, ensuring that there would be no escape from long lines. Republicans fielded thousands of election challengers to Democratic precincts, mainly to try to intimidate black voters and to slow down the voting process. A recount, demanded and paid for by the Green and Libertarian parties, has been stalled in court, so that it won't possibly upset the certification of Ohio's electoral votes. -- Salon.com | Democracy inaction