Or should they?
This is a tricky tricky moment. The stakes are high- but folding won't necessarily do us any good, either. On one hand, I don't want Dems to roll over on this. On the other, I don't want Rove to have a field day with anyone who actually steps up and says "There was fraud. This was a false election."
There are a number of ways in which challenging Ohio could help the Democrats. For one, it would show that they do, contrary to popular belief, have a spine. The evidence that the results are not clean are not just tinfoil hat ravings of a select few. They are documented realities that everyone should face- the elected officials, the makers of the voting machines, everyone. When democracy goes down, we all go down.
Just a few of many examples of voter fraud within and without Ohio (not from the most neutral sources I'll admit, but the mainstream media seems to be allergic to these allegations):
According to freepress.org:
Also in Franklin County, a worker at the Holiday Inn observed a team of 25 people who called themselves the "Texas Strike Force" using payphones to make intimidating calls to likely voters, targeting people recently in the prison system. The "Texas Strike Force" members paid their way to Ohio, but their hotel accommodations were paid for by the Ohio Republican Party, whose headquarters is across the street. The hotel worker heard one caller threaten a likely voter with being reported to the FBI and returning to jail if he voted. Another hotel worker called the police, who came but did nothing.
From Mother Jones:
In recent years, central Ohio has been transformed from a bastion of Republicanism into a Democratic stronghold. Six of Columbus' seven city council members are Democrats, as is the city's mayor, Michael Coleman. But no Democrat has been elected to Congress from central Ohio in more than 20 years, and the area around Columbus still includes pockets where no Democrat stands a chance. One such Republican pocket is Upper Arlington, the Columbus suburb that is home to Walden "Wally" O'Dell, the chairman of the board and chief executive of Diebold. For years, O'Dell has given generously to Republican candidates. Last September, he held a packed $1,000-per-head GOP fundraiser at his 10,800-square-foot mansion. He has been feted as a guest at President Bush's Texas ranch, joining a cadre of "Pioneers and Rangers" who have pledged to raise more than $100,000 for the Bush reelection campaign. Most memorably, O'Dell last fall penned a letter pledging his commitment "to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the President."
An as yet unidentified number of Washington state's military personnel serving overseas did not receive their ballots in time to vote. Several are documented in Robert Jamieson's column in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer ("In the military, out of the ballot loop," Dec. 29, 2004). As Mr. Jamieson states, "If a man or woman is willing to take a bullet for the country, his or her vote ought to count. Period."
The list of dirty tricks should repulse everyone, no matter the political inclination. The "Texas Strike Force" alone should motivate everyone (I'm looking at you, Republicans with any sense of decency) to say "we know that the results won't change, but let's at least have a look at this, for the sake of all voters. We want our victory to be a clean one, and to prove once and for all that George W. Bush is the choice of the people, not of a few zealots, cheaters and voting machine manufacturers."
I'm not holding my breath. But it may be worthwhile to send a letter to a Senator or two.