The first signs of autumn are in the air. I'm not talking about early morning chill, the smell of woodsmoke, or turning leaves. You know fall's just around the corner when old allegations of election improprieties begin to drift down from on high. Diebold voting machines are back in the news, of course. But it was John Kerry who really kicked off this season's traditional "we wuz robbed" chorus. In an email urging donors to support Rep. Ted Strickland for governor, Kerry charged that Strickland's opponent, Ken Blackwell, "used his office to abuse our democracy and threaten basic voting rights."

Blackwell was Ohio's secretary of state and honorary Ohio campaign co-chairman for Bush. Obviously, this is somewhat dodgy. But several lawsuits have failed to find any serious wrongdoing. There's one more pending, which alleges discrimination against minority voters. The original paper ballots are slated to be destroyed soon, following usual procedure, which will supposedly be precipitating a NYT expose in the near future.

GOP gubernatorial candidate Ken Blackwell, who is black, noted that 1 million more Ohioans turned out to vote in 2004 than in 2000, and that the state had a record turnout of black voters.

Treking around Ohio on Election Day 2004, I learned that watching voting fraud statistics get assembled is only slightly less messy than the proverbial sausage-maker at work--and just as nauseating.

Read Tim's roundup of the scraps and hooves of real fraud here.