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Regardless of the resulting winners, the U.S. can stand proud as such a hard-fought election cycle completes peacefully and with overall fairness.

By Andrew Pollack on 11/04/2004 at 07:45 AM EDT

Though the result wasn't entirely to my liking, I must say how pleased I am overall with the results of Tuesday's election. How great for our country that at the end of a year long vitriolic and divisive race, that record numbers of citizens packed the polling places to make their voice heard. I've said for years that voter apathy springs not from distrust of the system but rather an overall satisfaction with it. This time around both parties energized their bases and really brought home the importance of each vote and that message did get through. The results, though surprising to many, were a real representation of the hearts and minds of our nation.

I was particularly impressed with Ken Blackwell, who as Ohio's Secretary of State held the responsibility for seeing to the fair and careful polling in that state. Mr. Blackwell portrayed himself as a calm, intelligent, and competent man who would be willing to put aside his own partisan beliefs at least for the day or days required to perform what he clearly holds as a very solemn duty to the people of Ohio. His steadfast determination to follow the law in the state of Ohio without an attempt to manipulate or skew that law did more for his party than any amount of partisan wrangling at that time could have. When asked why he must wait the ten days to count "provisional" ballots (those cast by people under conditions that made their jurisdiction unclear), Mr. Blackwell said simply "Because that is the law in the state of Ohio." He made clear that for him, in his role that night, no further explanation was necessary. It was not his job to second guess the laws enacted by his legislature. Had Mr. Blackwell not appeared so calm, so confident, so resolute, and so full of personal integrity in that brief moment on the national spotlight, I believe an army of lawyers would have been unleashed on that state along with a tidal wave of distrust and anger that could have become a real catastrophe. I do not know anything more about this man, his stand on other issues, his past or his politics; I can only say that on the night in question, he stood up and did his job exceedingly well.

Are we a nation divided in thought? Yes, absolutely. We are divided deeply on our desired direction for this country in almost every respect. We are united, however, in our belief in our system of government to such an extent that we did not let the anger, disgust, and fear that poured forth in the months leading to the election become violence and hatred. Let those in the rest of the world see in that result something worthy of envy.

"I believe in the strength of the system."
Ken Blackwell, Ohio Secretary of State
November 2nd, 2004

There are  - loading -  comments....

My own thoughts on this are...By Amy B on 11/04/2004 at 12:42 PM EDT
Ohio's secretary of State tried to block all absentee ballots (before the
election) because they used the wrong paper stock. He was eventually talked
out of this stand, but it makes me very wary about him.
Hard to know what that means, given...By Andrew Pollack on 11/04/2004 at 12:51 PM EDT
...that the generally held belief is that absentee ballots historically have
favored the Republican party, while late registration and higher turnout were
supposed to benefit the Democratic.

Of course, historical beliefs were proven quite wrong in this election. It
turns out that massive turn out means people find something about the election
unusually important.

IMO, Kerry failed to give anyone something to vote "FOR". Bush's supported
clearly were voting "FOR" a specific agenda while Kerry's vote was, IMO, more
about being "Against" Bush.

If Bush wasn't so disliked by the other side, I think Kerry's campaign would
have been an unmitigated dissaster.
Agreed.By Amy B on 11/04/2004 at 06:57 PM EDT
But I'm still in mourning. :-(
CorrectionBy Bruce Perry on 11/05/2004 at 09:41 AM EDT
If I recall correctly, Blackwell tried to block voter registrations, not
absentee ballots. The technical reason was just what you said. Ohio law does
require 80 weight stock for registrations, but there are other laws applicable
that negate that requirement. I believe they did end up accepting the
registrations in question, but there was a good deal of coverage in the news

Blackwell is not above trying to use the letter of the law for partisan

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