On the January 31 edition of "The Point," Sinclair vice president Mark Hyman falsely asserted that "not a single documented case has been found" of an Ohio voter "being forced to wait as long as 11 hours" to vote during the 2004 presidential election and disputed the proven claim that "voters in heavily Democratic city precincts were forced to wait hours to vote." But according to news reports in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Los Angeles Times, and The Washington Post, that is exactly what happened.
As Media Matters for America has previously noted, The Washington Post found substantial evidence indicating that thousands of voters, particularly in Democratic counties, faced daunting lines at the polls, and that many were unable to vote. From the Post's December 15, 2004, article:
Electoral problems prevented many thousands of Ohioans from voting on Nov. 2. In Columbus, bipartisan estimates say that 5,000 to 15,000 frustrated voters turned away without casting ballots.
In Columbus, Cincinnati and Toledo, and on college campuses, election officials allocated far too few voting machines to busy precincts, with the result that voters stood on line as long as 10 hours -- many leaving without voting. Some longtime voters discovered their registrations had been purged.
Similar reports appeared in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, which noted on November 7, 2004, that some voters "spent up to 10 hours waiting in lines" and that in some polling places "the last vote wasn't cast until nearly 4 a.m. the next day." And on December 12, 2004, the Los Angeles Times reported that "[l]ong lines forced many Ohioans to wait hours to vote and may have deterred some from voting at all."
Hyman used his false claim that "not a single documented case has been found" of an Ohio voter "being forced to wait as long as 11 hours" to criticize comments made by Senator John Kerry on January 17, when Kerry said that "thousands of people were suppressed in their effort to vote" and that "[i]n Democratic districts, it took people four, five, 11 hours to vote." Though Kerry's claims mirrored what had been reported by the Plain Dealer, the Times, and the Post, Hyman accused Kerry of "[s]preading disproved stories on voter disenfranchisement," which Hyman said "poisons the political atmosphere."
"The Point" is a two-minute conservative commentary by Hyman that airs nightly on the 62 television stations Sinclair owns or operates. Media Matters leads SinclairAction.com, a coalition of groups and individuals protesting Sinclair's continued misuse of public airwaves to air one-sided, politically charged programming without a counterpoint.