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Published: Thursday, 7/29/2004

Canada-born Granholm glad she can't seek presidency

BY BLADE STAFF
Ohio state Sen. Teresa Fedor shakes hands with former presidential candidate Howard Dean before attending a conference during the Democratic National Convention in Boston on independently auditable voting systems . Ohio state Sen. Teresa Fedor shakes hands with former presidential candidate Howard Dean before attending a conference during the Democratic National Convention in Boston on independently auditable voting systems .
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BOSTON - Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm said that, after watching the John Kerry campaign for president from a very up-close-and-personal perspective - her husband is co-chairman of the Michigan Kerry campaign and they have worked over a long period of time to raise millions for the junior senator from Massachusetts - she said she is glad she was born just across the Canadian border in British Columbia.

It means, of course, that, despite the crush of attention she has received across the country as a national Democrat on the rise, she will never have to face the pressure of deciding whether to seek the presidency, or consider a vice presidential nomination, herself.

"I'm so grateful that I don't,'' she told reporters yesterday. "What an ordeal. It is a marathon, a war, the complete elimination of your personal life. Personally, I don't think I could make that kind of sacrifice.''

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Security update. First it was umbrellas the Secret Service confiscated from anyone going into the FleetCenter, home of the Democratic convention. Next it was fruit - oranges, apples, bananas. The theory was that fruit could be thrown. Now the cops searching every bag are taking out small vials of medicine - inhalers and fingernail polish. Why? No bottles of any sort.

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Halfway through the Democratic convention the operations people handed out directions for "emergency evacuation" of the FleetCenter and surrounding media tents, etc. Evacuees are directed to exit the building on the east side (no signs say which is east) out onto Accolon Way moving up to Causeway Street, left onto the Beverly Street side of Causeway Street toward the hard barrier at North Washington Street and Causeway Street, through the hard barrier across North Washington Street onto Commercial street into the North End, to Puopolo Park, Langone Park, and the Steriti Ice Rink.

But if you find yourself on the west side, well, that's a whole other set of directions.

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It's all about bounce. Republicans say that John Kerry should go up in the polls 10 to 12 percent after convention. Democrats are horrified, knowing full well that won't happen and that the Republicans want to raise expectations so the public will think Kerry's convention had no effect. Democrat convention chairman Terry McAuliffe says the bounce in the polls is more likely to be about 5 percent.

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Technology rules at this convention, what with all the wireless gizmos and blogging stations for computer chatting. Sen. Carl Levin (D., Mich.) was asked if he "blogged.'' He quickly to respond that, yes, he and his wife blogged a lot. Pause. Uh, he added, what's blogging? Isn't that talking?

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Boston claims to have invented Ohio. A plaque on the side of Citizens Bank Exchange Place at State and Kibley streets in the city's central historic district marks the site of the long-gone Bunch of Grapes Tavern.

"Here in 1786 was organized the Ohio Company, pioneer in the development of the great west under the leadership of General Rufus Putnum,'' reads the plaque.

The Ohio Company negotiated the purchase of 1.5 million acres on the Ohio River between the Scioto and the Muskingum rivers for 66.6 cents per acre. The company put down half the price but defaulted on the balance. The tavern was also where the charter for Ohio University in Athens was written by the Ohio Company. At the university's student union bar, the Bunch of Grapes Tavern lives on.

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Vermont governor and presidential candidate Howard Dean said he first attributed distrust of the newest electronic voting machines to Internet conspiracy theorists.

Today he believes they are a threat to democracy itself.

"People were beginning to believe their votes didn't count, and that's the beginning of the end for the greatest country on Earth,'' he said.

Mr. Dean was joined by U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo) and state Rep. Teresa Fedor (D., Toledo) at the Democratic National Convention to call for equipping computerized touch-screen voting machines across the country with a paper printout system.

Such a system would allow voters to verify that the machine is accurately recording their votes as well as serve as a backup for recount purposes.

"The only thing secret about voting should be your ballot,'' said Ms. Fedor.

An Ohio law passed this year requires every electronic voting system in place by 2006 to be equipped with a "voter-verified paper audit trail,'' even though the federal government has yet to establish standards for such a system.

"Ohio is a battleground state in more than one way,'' said Ms. Kaptur.

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With the exception of talk show host Jerry Springer, the most popular member of Ohio's delegation in Boston is Sarah Bender. The youngest delegate at the Democratic National Convention, the pretty, blond 17-year-old Medina girl has yet to vote in her first election. She will turn 18 on Oct. 21.

She's become a symbol of the Rock the Vote movement targeting young voters.

"It's hugely important, because I think most of the undecided vote out there is youth,'' she said. "They're the group that is least active, but hopefully they will be inspired to get involved.''

She partly credits her father, Greg Bender of Strasburg, for her early interest in politics, but they don't always agree. She's a Kerry delegate; he's an Edwards delegate. At least they'll come together in the end.



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