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Friday, March 30, 2007

And That's Not the FIRST Time We've Picked Up the Tab For People Deceiving US & Our Elections

And That's Not the FIRST Time We've Picked Up the the Tab For the Few Deceiving US & Our Elections!
Though there are many, many more examples especially directly by Bob Bennett's singular hand, let's just go with the most recent ones.

Below is the film of the 3/21/07, Bennett-diatribe board meeting,
deflecting the truth from himself under the guise of "defending his employees", where later in the meeting, as the board was approving "vouchers" the matter of the bill from Dominic Vitantonio, Esq., the "defense" lawyer for the one acquitted employee, Grier, came up for approval.

That's right.
• First with mounds of hard-work to compile closely-held evidence that the shows the'04 Ohio election was rigged, even in Cuyahoga, though WE paid the CCBOE for a fair election and the right to retrieve OUR documents;
• then with tens of thousands MORE dollars to pay for, and more volunteer hard work training to volunteer to take part in, a recount that could allow more evidence, but was rigged to be no more than ANOTHER sham;
• and WE had to pay for the prosecutors to try the case to prove that there was a crime committed in just the recount;
• and the convictions of two board employees showed that a jury of 12 people were convinced that the '04 recount WAS a crime AGAINST US;
• NOW WE, THE VICTIMS,HAVE TO ALSO PAY FOR THOSE WOMEN'S DEFENSE!(And in the case of the '04 election, the whole country and planet are the victims of Ohio's "election results")

Guess who's idea that was? Mr. Bennett's! - WITHOUT publicly made board approval - again.

In the letter Mr. Vitantonio, Esq. submitted to the CCBOE to collect his $25,500. payment he quoted the following:Mr. Bennett, alone, signed a letter in August '05 promising payment to the attorneys for all the women who were found innocent, copying them on the letter. He needed to keep them happy and quiet for taking the fall for him.

In August '05 he still thought that he had it all wrapped up. He thought Mason would deal along and not bring it to trial, or at least "fix" it , with judge appointment, or Baxter giving in to "invalid trial" or something so ALL the women would be found innocent.

He would then get away with it, again, to continue his caveman war tactics and partisan agenda as CCBOE chair, again, and the citizens would be happy, think that he was "clean" and "justice"was done ....and would unknowingly pay for THAT whole show, again.

A few election integrity advocates attended the August '05 CCBOE meeting specifically to speak about how appalled we were that the then-only-two indicted (not Maiden yet) non-decision-making employees had been left to take the fall for their superiors.

After an hours-long "executive session,"part of which included Roger Synenberg, and during which we in the hall discussed that this was just like the then-current Abu Grahib military tribunals of soldiers ordered to torture, we were allowed back in.Mr. Bennett tried to prevent us from talking about the case.

I went on, however, reminding him that though I understood why they might not want to speak about it, he could not prevent us, the citizens from putting our comments about it on the record.

I asked then, for many reasons, who was paying for these women's defense- a question that has since become another "elephant in the living room about which no one speaks. " It is, however, the person who authorizes signing the check, who's the entity for whom the attorneys are really working.

Bennett answered clearly and misleadingly in August '05 that the Board of Elections was NOT paying,(and then inferring because) This was a CRIMINAL indictment (emphasis his) on these women.

The thinking of the board/Bennett then was that the board should "distance themselves" from the criminality that would be later found innocent. (Yet they kept the women on the CCBOE payroll and let them keep on working - until the felony convictions of the two.)

Also, you'll see in the below film, that Bennett, in his charge against Mason, ordered the $2,500 trial transcript also without necessary board approval - so he could start combing it for loopholes and mud and could make up unfounded and unsupportable charges, (just as he is in his present "lawsuit" to try to keep his job, for which the taxpayers are again to pay!)

Too bad the Vitantonio issue just came before the board, and the process was explained by Assistant Prosecutor Dave Lambert on 3/21.

After watching and experiencing Bennett for almost three years, I know that without that recent "reminder tip" of how to play "the game", AND to be able to shove more in the face of Mason, he would not have thought of himself. (Bennett does not care about shoving it in the face of citizen/ taxpayers. That's "normal" to him. We're personal "food".)

It's bullying and fear that's gotten him this far - not smarts - even when playing his "game."

Watch your money being used against you here:

SoS Media Release About April 9 Hearing

I have also been informed that attorney Stanley Chesley himself will not be representing Mr. Bennett, but another attorney from Chesely's firm, Christopher D. Stock, Esq.
The following is the news release put out by Secretary of State, Jennifer Brunner's office.
Ahhh. She's a good woman. Fully humanly present, calm, focused, and fully professional in the midst of another trying to create a jangling circus.

Cuyahoga County Board of Elections Hearing Moved to April 9

For Immediate Release
Columbus, OH - March 29, 2007 - The state's chief elections officer, Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner announced today that the hearing to address the removal of Robert Bennett, the remaining Cuyahoga County Board of Elections member, from his post will be delayed by one week.
Hearing officer William Owen, the first assistant prosecuting attorney of Delaware County, notified Secretary Brunner today that the hearing on the complaint against Bennett will be continued to Monday, April 9 at 9:00 a.m. at Euclid City Hall Council Chambers, 585 E. 222nd St., Euclid in Cuyahoga County.

Bennett, now represented by legal counsel from Cincinnati and Columbus, hired by Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Bill Mason at Bennett's request.

Today, Bennett's attorneys filed suit in Franklin County Common Pleas Court to enjoin the Secretary of State from proceeding against Bennett and to declare the law allowing for his removal unconstitutional. By agreement of the parties the April 2nd hearing was postponed til April 9.

The assigned judge in the Franklin County matter is out of town until next week, and the status and scheduling of that litigation may be more clear at that time.


Media contacts:

Patrick Gallaway, Director of Communications (614) 752-2450

Jeff Ortega, Assistant Director of Communications-Media (614) 466-0473.

From Wednesday PD: Bennett Picks Cincinnati Dem "Super Lawyer", Stanley Chesley, for Taxpayers to Pay

From the PD Wednesday:

Another member quits county elections board
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Joan Mazzolini
Plain Dealer Reporter

Board Chairman Bob Bennett said Tuesday that he has no intention of resigning. Instead, he requested that the county prosecutor's office defend him against charges leveled by Brunner that board members violated state election laws and failed to properly administer elections.

Bennett made the request despite having earlier accused Prosecutor Bill Mason's office of providing inadequate legal representation to the board, resulting in two employees being convicted of rigging the 2004 presidential recount. The two were sentenced to 18 months in prison, the maximum.

A spokesman for Mason said the county would pay for an outside counsel for Bennett.

Bennett, head of Ohio's GOP, picked Cincinnati attorney Stanley Chesley, a big Democratic supporter who is often dubbed a "super lawyer" because of his successful handling of mass-injury cases involving diet drugs, Agent Orange, silicon gel implants and cigarettes.

PD Article: Bennett sues to keep his job on elections board

Bennett sues to keep his job on elections board
Secretary of state defends firing him
Friday, March 30, 2007
Joan Mazzolini
Plain Dealer Reporter

Cuyahoga County elections board Chairman Bob Bennett has filed suit in Franklin County asking the court to block Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner from removing him from the board.

The suit contends that Brunner's action would violate Bennett's constitutional rights and that her accusations against the board are vague. The suit also argues that:
The Ohio law dealing with removal of board members fails to define misfeasance and nonfeasance.

Brunner cannot take action to remove Bennett based on con duct that occurred before she took office in January 2007.

Brunner, a Democrat, is attempting to remove Bennett, head of the Ohio GOP, because he supported her opponent in the 2006 election and plans to support Republican candidates in 2008.

In a telephone interview, Brunner defended her move to fire Bennett.

"This is about making elections in Cuyahoga County better," she said. "I think he is embarrassing himself. I don't know where he's going to find a court anywhere that says he's entitled to this job."

Brunner added that the section in Ohio law that Bennett is challenging is "that section that gives him the right to go through the process. He's challenging some of the safeguards."

Bennett's lawyer also asked for a court order to stop an April 2 hearing on Brunner's complaint that the board violated state election laws and failed to properly administer elections. A compromise reached outside of court resulted in the hearing being moved to April 9.

About two weeks ago, Brunner asked all four members of the board to resign or face being fired.

Three board members, Democrats Edward Coaxum and Loree Soggs, and Republican Sally Florkiewicz, have resigned. Bennett has refused.

To reach this Plain Dealer reporter:, 216-999-4563

© 2007 The Plain Dealer© 2007

From PD Letters:"Taxpayers pick up tab for Bennett's pricey lawyer"

Now everyone is seeing the kind of person... who's been running Cuyahoga's elections (!), and controlling the entire CCBOE culture with fear - vindictive, greedy, and with not one care about citizens- except as "food."
Some qualifications for the job, huh?
Funny how when one's whole reality is only that of early caveman, beating chests, and pissing contests - in the heat of such contest, one finally forgets to cover one's tracks to thinking humans - the very ones Bennett was supposed to be serving.

Taxpayers pick up tab for Bennett's pricey lawyer
Friday, March 30, 2007

A quote from one letter:
Will someone please ex plain this to me? According to a recent Plain Dealer editorial, if someone is accused of voluntary manslaughter in Cuyahoga County and cannot afford to hire an attorney, the court will assign counsel that will be paid a maximum of $50 an hour, with a cap on total fees of $900. On the other hand, if you are the chairman of the Ohio Republican Party and you get accused of abdicating your authority as a member of the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections, the county will provide you with an attorney as well. This attorney, however, will be paid $195 an hour, and his fees will be capped at $20,000.

I'll bet Chairman Bennett didn't even have to pay the $25 fee to fill out an affidavit of indigency to see if he qualified for court-appointed counsel. Ye gods.

Robert Campbell, Medina

Thursday, March 29, 2007

A Letter That Alan Bendzak Wanted to Deliver to The Board last Wednesday

As noted in a below post, a citizen who attended the CCBOE meeting last Wednesday, tragically and suddenly died outside the meeting, of an apparent heart attack. Though I want to make clear, that with this I am NOT even inferring that the CCBOE was at fault for his death, I want to post a letter, that Alan Bendzak came to deliver to Mr.Bennett, that did not get delivered then. He died before his chance to speak.

I found out about the letter when I attended the wake. Though I did not know Mr. Bendzak, nor do I know if I would have agreed with all of his opinions, I went out of real sadness for the family, who suddenly lost their dad and husband in a way they still cannot quite piece together. He had passed, by the time he reached the hospital, and they knew little.

Mr. Bendzak, of North Royalton, felt the letter was important because he was questioning the Prosecutor's office, in one instance, about their inattentiveness to his senior mother having been bilked out of her money in an insurance/annuity sales scheme that took her money, and had no chance of ever paying her back in her lifetime. He was and his family still is part of a now nationwide class-action lawsuit against such large insurance companies against seniors. His family has felt and still feels at great risk for going up against such "heavy hitters" with far-reaching connections.
Also, last Monday the Plain Dealer, ran a New York Times article on the front page about just this nationwide insurance subject, that appears a still growing huge injustice.

When the Bendzak family called the CCBOE the days after Alan's death to try to find out what happened, and what anyone remembered about their dad and husband's death, they spoke of the letter that he had wanted to deliver. The board wanted to know if it were against Mr. Bennett. When they found out it expressed displeasure about Mr. Mason, Bennett's assistant, sent someone to the Bendzak home to get a copy.

In the interest of Mr. Alan Bendzak's memory, and possibly the family's greater feelings of safety, and with Nancy Bendzak's permission, I post that main letter here in public - the safest place for it to be.
Again, my sympathies to Bendzak's wife, Nancy, his children, and family. (And again, I do not mean to even infer that the CCBOE was responsible for his death.)

Facing Forced Ouster, Bennett Still Focused on Prosecutor Mason & His Office. Why?

Even in the recent dramatic local election shake-ups, and what one would think would center around issues of law and whether or not Cuyahoga citizen/voters can get OUR elections back, Mr. Bennett - the only remaining member of the CCBOE board which he has chaired and head of the Ohio GOP- demonstrates his and possibly others, COMPLETE disconnect from the citizens and our election rights - and the seeming "normalcy" that some at the top of all parties perceive, in literally dealing with and exchanging OUR resources and OUR power for THEIR somehow highly lucrative benefit.

Just as at the recount rigging trial, with the "defense," led by former CCBOE Republican board member and Bennett friend, Synenberg (for Dreamer), and followed by active Republican Cara Santosuosso (for Dem. Maiden), continually twistedly (and oddly) pointing fingers at the rigging being the prosecutor's fault!; and actually naming off the record, Mr. Mason, head Cuyahoga Prosecutor, as some huge "perpetrator" by bringing this crime against the people actually to trial - Bennett still, instead of trying to prove his dutiful and lawful carrying out of his board responsibilities, continues to follow "the strangeness" pointing to Mason.

To the onlooker it certainly points to a long-time reality of "back room" agreements, to cover for many huge wrongs to US - on ALL sides of our "leadership", and a previously "normal" deal Bennett thinks was backed out of by Mason because he allowed this one election crime to finally be properly convicted by a jury, and he's continuing an investigation of '06 too. Bennett, with overwhelming evidence against his actions as a CCBOE board member seems unable to get Mason out of his head.

To "deal" without and against US, which has been Bennett's continuously demonstrated definition of "cooperation" even while on the board, is Bennett's reality of "leadership".

We may or may not ever find out what all he thinks he "has on" Mason, or Mason on him, which seems the real news that everyone is skirting. It would be important, though probably painful, to find out to get to the bottom of who and what is running and choosing Cuyahoga's "leadership."

Bennett recently even mentioned that on November 1, 2004, the day before the election, a complaint was delivered to him from Mason's office demanding his separation from the board then, because of conflict of interest as both CCBOE chair and head of Ohio Republicans - a complaint that died down and went away, though to most thinking people one that sounds like it holds great merit.

The dynamic that appears true today, however, is that Bennett's power contest with Dem. Mason, and apparent threats to blow some Cuyahoga lids sky high - the "unspoken about elephant in the living room" since the rigging indictments -that Secretary of State Brunner is carrying on, focused on the law, and the people's goal of getting clean elections in this county.

Thinking More Globally - Urge "NO" on Holt 811

Federal legislative threats to citizen-oversighted, transparent, verifiable elections continue, while locally election instability still shakes.
Back when only a relative few saw the huge dangers to democracy, of privatized, corporate-controlled, riggable electronic voting systems, Rep. Rush Holt's bill, HB550 seemed like a huge improvement over the electronics and their unethical vendors, that were being "legally" spread nationwide into democracy's elections by the Help America Vote Act of 2002. HB550's demands for paper trails on machines, election results audits and more then at least seemed like moves toward some sort of solutions.

Since then however, so many more ugly facts have been found about these machines, and the top-down political cronyism who've basically handed over our billions of our tax monies, to their friends/corporate vendors, via pushing their sales into to the majority of counties in the nation, paid for with "free"( ie. our federal tax )money - while also allowing those inside and at the top the easy ability to rig our elections- it's become patently clear. Holt's 1/4 solution, now morphed into HB811, is NO solution at all.

It's a danger for many reasons, the largest one is that it:
• leaves the secret software machines in place
• demands sales of more of this riggable, junk that just add more opaque layers to the process of what should be transparent, easily verifiable election results to anyone's human perceptions, without need for a unseen computer code intervening, and
• proliferates the notion and law that those already somehow "elected" into power, will even more tightly control future election laws and processes that determine who gets in next - helping a big show of "selections" only look like "elections."
The ONLY solution to citizens' elections are PAPER BALLOTS, which can, as the National Institute of Standards and Technology has recommended determine election results completely INDEPENDENTLY of any software, the most inherent vulnerability point.

The two biggest factors against Holt's HB811 mentioned by Nacy Tobi of New Hampshire are:

• Holt demands a software driven text conversion device for electronic election results to again be read by the human eye. Besides adding a ridiculous completely insecure, back and forth opaque layer, to what printers, paper and pencils could provide originally, these are also devices that don't even exist yet, and won't in any thoroughly tested or certifiable form for the bill's also mandated 2008 timeline. Then the vendors can also again charge whatever they want, producing a huge unfunded mandate for counties.
Tobi states:"That's why the National Association of Counties and National Conference of State Legislatures, and NASS all oppose the bill. They know a 4 BIL dollar unfunded mandate when they see one."

• Also HB811 gives more unopposable power to the Election Assistance Commision who, by HAVA's entitlement sets "standards" for these machines, and some nationwide election processes. The EAC can be made up of four presidential cronies, left alone to decide what kind of and which companies' voting equipment are authorized for use in our elections.
I agree.

Holt's demanded audits, paper trails (which every well-known, national computer expert calls nothing more than "fools' gold",) and supposedly the (EAC-decided) better certification and testing standards, is only another sham, making the first one, HAVA WORSE, not better.

A big fear on the part of pro-HB 811'ers is one of the fear of lack propounded daily by this country's administration in every way - here, that if we don't get this bill through, we'll be stuck with the mess of HAVA: ie. this or nothing. Which is absolutely wrong.
And, two huge, official wrongs certainly don't make things right for us and our elections - they make it HARDER for us to make things right.

And when it comes to the cornerstone of our democratic freedoms, the ability of US to chose who and what we want - we urgently need RIGHT elections.

Call your representative now, and tell him/her to OPPOSE the passage of HB 811. There could be a vote as early as this week or right after Easter.

We deserve and can do much better. We need elections on paper ballots, that we can count and truly can watch being counted ourselves.

Also see:

Dangerous Irony: Proofing Paper Ballots in an Electronic World

Yesterday, I posted the CCBOE media release inviting citizens, by Ohio law, for today's 24 hour proofing period of the ballots for the next, May's election. Late this afternoon I went.

I, like most board employees and managers I observed during the chaos of scanning the absentee ballots last November, got dazed by the enormity of the poorly set out task and the confusion and forgot the ultimate purpose of why I was there - to PROOF ballots that are to be used in the next election to make sure they are correct.

It was not until I got home that I realized the irony - the really dangerous irony - of having citizens review and proof paper ballots in an effort to facilitate transparency, when in Cuyahoga voting is done on a $20+ million electronic system.

Just as with any Microsoft Word document we create, we all know that there is lots of computer code that exists within the document - codes that create the formatting styles, the fonts, the colors, the tab widths, paragraphs, etc. - but this code is not revealed on a print out of the document.

There is the same kind of code inside the electronic ballots {Ballot Definition File (BDF)}, that we use when we vote on a touchscreen voting system. And that code inside the BDF, if improperly configured - negligently, incompetently, or purposefully - could possibly affect election results, as was investigated in Florida's 2006 HR13 election (Congressional race) where an unusually high number of undervotes were discovered.

In addition to all the other major factors that demand we must get rid of electronics in citizen elections, such as soaring costs; multi-vector security holes that also easily allow insider riggability and anyone's hackability; the operational unreliability; and counting secrecy - now to truly be able to proof our ballots, we need to get digital copies of all the ballot styles, which in Cuyahoga countywide elections can number up to 1400, and which show the underneath codes. Then we need independent computer experts, along with regular English text proofreaders, and those familiar with the candidates and issues to do the proofing together.

As long as we have DRE's, which I hope is not long at all, no less is sufficient.

Ballot "Proofing" at the CCBOE

Yesterday, I posted the CCBOE media release

With no BOE help available, and no signage for this "public event", the lovely camera woman who was there from Ohio News Network to follow the story of how many people showed up for the proofing, had to point me to the specific pile she had seen the one other person who had come directed to. Cheryl Ellis, the Community Outreach woman whose name was on the media release for information, saw me and waved and left the building shortly after I walked in. Two others disappeared into the Community Outreach office.

I sat down to plow my way through to "proof" to find the approximate first 200 sheets, all of the Democratic Primary for the Clerk of Rocky River Court, with what appeared to be the exact same ballot, just with the two candidate's names alternating first position, and the indecipherable, but changing "BOE-speak" versioning code at the top.
Most citizens choosing to come to proof, to take advantage of this right, but not familiar with the BOE, would not have even recognized that alternating candidate positioning as the position rotation per precinct, as demanded by Ohio law.
Most would have had to give up right there. Some in that situation, might have also mistakenly ascribed their lack of understanding to themselves, and walked away, saying everything was good.

Having enough CCBOE experience to know this was typical and know it was not my lack, I asked again for help. Another in Community Outreach said she couldn't help. She didn't know about the ballots.The lovely camera woman then pointed me to a woman who was picking up other papers from the other end of the table, telling me that she was the woman who had helped the man who had come to proof earlier.
When I asked that "helper" however, she said she couldn't help me, because she didn't know about the ballots. We were being filmed.

ONN's watching reporter, Brian McIntyre went into the Community Outreach office to get the last person there, who said he didn't know either, but he went to get Matt, the head of the Ballot Department.
By the time Matt arrived, I had found the small precinct codes, again indecipherable to the unfamiliar, but which allowed me to be able to figure out basically what I was looking at.

Matt came and explained that, yes, Rocky River Courts should have 143 or 149 precincts, (I don't remember,) thus the same number of pieces of paper. There were far more Rocky River sheets than 149, however. It was getting late, I didn't count. In retrospect, and had I the time, I should have. It is these small details reflective of much larger systemic problems that capture the board's attention, while they deny the broader view.

I checked a few of the similarly repeated issue papers, like the Independence levy.
But I never really proofed anything. It was impossible. Even had the pile been easily found and understood, four to five hundred sheets of anything is far from a any citizen, "stop-in" PROOFING situation.
I did ask Matt if his department had proofed. He said, especially after last election, yes they had. They had a team of whiz-bang temps go over the ballots carefully. They had found many mistakes on the first round, and after about four rounds and finally moved commas, etc. thought they were right.
I didn't even ask how they got all the ballots that were supposed to be the same, the same; ie. if they had to proof each one of the approximate 500 ballot styles individually, or if they had made global changes as each change was found necessary.

At the CCBOE, having to change each one individually is still a strong possibility. Adapting to their being paid to work for citizens, for accurate, fair, transparent elections for citizen's elections, not just or the sake of getting a CCBOE task done for the CCBOE seems still a foreign concept.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Brunner Makes Right Move

Secretary of State Brunner should be commended for her bold and progressive request that the Cuyahoga Board of Elections resign.

The Cuyahoga County Board of Elections has repeatedly demonstrated its inability to operate a large county election system fairly, openly and cost efficiently. Recent nationally visible election problems in Cuyahoga have reflected badly on the great state of Ohio, its citizens, and all of its public officials. It is time to face Cuyahoga's election challenges with an honest, forthright, and can-do attitude. Successfully meeting these challenges will take enormous energy, talent and cooperation amongst all stakeholders, including public officials, private election equipment companies, the media and the public.

Secretary of State Brunner has demonstrated with this initial step that she is willing to make difficult decisions in order to establish the best possible environment for meeting these challenges, thereby starting down the road toward an election system all Ohioans can be proud of.

Steven Hertzberg, former Project Director
Election Science Institute

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Interim Director, Jane Platten Focussed on Doing May Election Well

And she presently is carrying the entire agency ultimately on her shoulders.
I wonder how many other counties know about and follow this law below?
This is the first time here, in my memory. Last November, even with all the high paid staff and "diligent"board, they, in fact had to reprint wrong ballots at least twice, if not 4 times. (They portrayed the problem as PAPER!, not themselves, thus the solution as DRE's!!!!)
I think that at least certainly every candidate, or issues-interested peron on the May ballot, needs to be informed and go to make sure they are represented correctly.

For instance, in '05 at the November certification meeting, two people came to the meeting here, both demanding a re-election because of wrongness of ballots.

Of course Bennett said...his typical:
"We did everything right...Right Michael?(Vu).
Vu shakes his head yes.
Bennett continues to citizen:
"Sorry, Try again next time."...Or (try to) sue us...(with your money you don't have, but we just used for that election...).

One was an issue committee for a certain charter ammendment in a suburb. The CCBOE told them and wrote to them that it was called something like "Issue 2". They campaigned, donated, printed, walked, stood, talked all about "Issue 2". Most residents were enthusiastic. On election day however, no one could find issue 2 on the ballot, and issues are often too long and complicated for most to read and understand on election day. The "anti-issue 2" people, had however, been given the proper name that was on the ballot, and they got some votes.

Now that we know it's the law, it should be taken advantage of for fair elections.

Just released today:

MEDIA ADVISORY Contact: Cheryl D. Ellis
Tuesday, March 27, 2007 (216) 443.3276

(Cleveland) – The Cuyahoga Board of Elections invites the public to inspect the ballot proofs for the

May 8, 2007 Primary and Special Election. Ohio law requires a 24 hour public inspection period before the ballots can be printed in final form. The ballot proofs will be available to the public in the Community Outreach Department located on the first floor of the Board of Elections. The ballot proofs may also be viewed on the Board’s website:, under the heading “Election Information”.

Sally's Resignation

See R-"Rubber Stamp" in post directly below.

Third Board Member, 1 of 2 R-Foot-Draggers, Resigned Today

Just in!
Sally Florkiewicz, one of two past R-CCBOE members, finally resigned this afternoon.

One can say she's a nice woman, and she tried. But blind allegiance and signing on to be a rubberstamp to anyone is always a dangerous-to-all position to take on.

Now, Bob Bennett is all alone, where he belongs. And it is far beyond time for him to follow suit, to avoid more of what should be highly unnecessary public huge expenditures of dollars and time to finally begin moving toward clean elections in Cuyahoga; and to avoid the major (at the very least) embarrassments of seeing himself dragged through the same mud he's spent so long slinging and covering truth with.

Only one more to rightfully go, so we can all be able to avoid the April 2, and possibly onward, hearing, and spend our energies building new, clean systems together.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

From Diebold's Staff Website, circa 1999

Though I'd seen this before in pieces, I was put on to this by one of the hardest working, powerful change-agent, election-integrity activists in this state, well known, though little-recognized , Paddy Shaffer, in Columbus. She organizes, communicates, helps others "on a dime", and is aware of and actually works on statewide county issues.

With her heads-up this is what I re-found and re-explored:

Diebold Election Systems, Inc. Staff Website
If you've not seen this before, definitely download all 713 interesting pages.
I quote here from "Christmas Poem" (1999)
starting on page 220.
On 221 - you'll find the following exerpt:

On Diekman! on Kaplan! on Mickey and Don!
To the top of the heap to the top of it all
Outsell them, Outsell them, Outsell them all!”

"We’ve got AccuPoke, AccuFake...Voting’s the theme,"
And the visions encircle his head like a dream;
He had a smile on his face and whistled a tune,
As he thought about shipping 10,000 units by the end of June.

He was happy and cheerful, a right jolly ole Pelt
And I smiled when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon everyone was smiling, the joy was widespread;

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
Picked up the phone and call the Cobb County Clerk,
He gave everyone a raise, like a good CEO,
And giving a nod, out the door he did go;

I'm particularly interested in the line
attributed to boss- though this is obviously (a partial) spoof of a not well loved, sales driving boss.
"We’ve got AccuPoke, AccuFake...Voting’s the theme"

If that doesn't say what still drives Diebold, with the complicity of certain BOE members, I don't know what does.

One thing I do find puzzling here, however, are the dates - Diebold didn't take over Global Election Systems and their AccuFakes until around 2001-2.
Maybe someone here can help straighten out this confusion.

Just What All Gags and Muffles Even THINKING Plain Dealer Reporters?

Sunday, 3/25/07
Also found today, as I was looking online to locate the bizarre "director" of editorial pages, Larkin's newest attempt (also shared today) to shape public opinion in ways that are so skewed, they can only hold some great vestment for him:

Talkin' Politics
Posted by Mark Naymik
March 23, 2007 16:19PM

The PD's Mark Naymik and Jean Dubail talk about winners and losers at the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections, week one of the governor's budget dissection and Bill Clinton's trip to Ohio.
Here's the audio there linked.

Notice that among some facts, there are such things as Naymik's stumbling around about Blackwell's "integrity"; the lack of accuracy about when and why the 2 CCBOE Dems resigned, slantedly and innacurately referring to them as "foot-dragging", while the 2 R's remain; the BOE's typical references to "voter fraud" ( meaning citizen voters, of which there have been less than a handful of cases nationally) but never mentioning, as his bosses never mention, even a possibility of "election fraud" - that done inside, now aided for massive scale manipulations with our Diebold machines; and more.

Friday, March 23, 2007

In the Plain Dealer Today

Secretary of State tightens screws on Elections Board
Friday, March 23, 2007
Joan Mazzolini
Florkiewicz could not be reached for comment Thursday. Bennett, however, remained defiant, saying his attorney was standing by.

"How can she make a judgment? She wasn't here," Bennett said.
I wonder if his attorney is none other than...Roger Synenberg! ( A joke, I hope for Bennett's sake.)
And Mr. Bennett, there were many other citizens who WERE there... and watching....


Get out of the way
Board of Elections members should drop their fight, quit their posts and let the critical task of rebuilding begin

My hastily written letter to editor re: above "opinion", which article you have to read to understand:
Re: “Get out of the way; Board of Elections members should...quit their posts...” (3/23), the PD person who wrote this, and I suspect it's Bennett's apparent friend, Mr. Larkin, is another who should do same.
Of course Mr. Bennett and Ms. Florkiewicz should resign now, to allow timely quality, not nepotism and political appointment, rebuilding of this county’s election process from the hackery and unlawful cover-up mess they've left.
But for our city’s newspaper to attempt to minimize an internal election rigging, done in ways that could easily have covered more results, and they thought could deceive citizens and the paying recount volunteer witnesses, as (just) “gaming a recount” is absurd.
Had you looked, Mr. Coaxum was the only board member who treated citizen-owners decently, and asked intelligent questions about CCBOE management, soaring spending, and riggable electronic machines.
Mr. Mason must continue his investigation, so all impacted election problem sources - people from top to bottom – can be publicly revealed, so we can finally get a clean, transparent, process for democracy.
This PD writer should also get out for democracy. You don’t deserve the constitutional privileges and the ink your position hands you.

(It was signed.)

And Now for Some FACTS Added to Bennett's "Campaign of Disinformation"

The video below shows Chair Bennett's opening remarks at the 3/21/07 board meeting, the rest of the board's public refutation of agreement with him (for one of the first times in almost 3 years;) and Mr. Coaxum's, the most dedicated and wisest there, resignation.
As to Bennett's opening remarks, any truly random sample of video on this blog with him in it, demonstrates the absolute opposite nature of the real, not created picture Bennett puts forth about his "dedication" to open and fair elections, and "open mindedness" in working with colleagues."

(Dave Lambert
- the direct superior of Reno Oradini, Assist. Cnty. Prosecutor, who normally handles board legal matters - was sitting directly in front of Bennett, as he was in attendance instead of Oradini. When you see the film, you'll understand why.)

Regarding '04 recount whistleblower, Fran Lally, Lally's testimony as I remember from the trial, (until I get a copy of the transcript which Bennett ordered without board approval for $2500.00, but is now public record), Lally stated that days before the recount, he accidentally walked in on was later determined to be the illegal pre-count process.
He saw as I remember, at least 5 board employees there handling the '04 ballots (which law states are not to be unsealed until the time of the recount.) From their immediately quieted demeanor when he entered, and their handling the ballots, he sensed something was wrong.

It was on the day after the main recount, which happened on December 16, 2004, when witnesses were first present, when a smaller group of witnesses returned to check for proper ballot books being used in precincts, when Lally heard those witnesses talking about how so many had noticed that the ballots had been presorted and pre-counted, when his previous suspicions seemed more confirmed. (Those 12/17 witnesses were looking to see if the proper ballot book per ballot rotation had been included per precinct. BTW, they did find that the proper book was not always included, which would have made voters cast votes/punch holes for non-intended candidates.)
Lally stated clearly that he did not tell his boss, Michael Vu, but went to the prosecutor on December 17, that same day, for legal help, because he believed that his boss, Michael Vu actually knew about whatever was going on. Lally was Vu's Executive Assistant. He had daily, firsthand knowledge of Vu's and the deputy director's work and ethics.

Regarding Candice Hoke, that Bennett now claims he didn't know what legal guidance roles Hoke and her husband took for the '04 recount, demonstrates either a major hearing impairment or completely not listening, or lying. Hers was not a role that was hidden from the board.
Hoke in fact had been in conversation with Vu in her guidance role about the negative legal implications of Vu's insistence that the board was not going to use as first sample, a 3% random selection of all ballots done before witnesses, per the law - but that they were going to do the sample selection themselves, by themselves, of a supposed "random" selection of precincts with 550 votes or more cast - which includes then only 8% of all precincts - before any witnesses got there.

And George Taylor, Hoke's husband, stood before the board on December 22, at the recount certification meeting, and told them of the anomalies the witnesses had found, making us suspect the foul play that later got convicted.
But did the board do anything about it? Take him seriously?
Or did they tell him like they tell everyone else "they'd look into it" - before this matter, like all others citizens have brought to them, got shoved into their very large black hole? Take a guess.

Bennett said that had they known they would have gotten a court order to do a "redo!" HAH! We've actually witnessed them schedule board meetings around their own other engagements. They would have added to their "business as usual" only 3 days before Christmas, with board vacations waiting too? HAH!

Though Hoke's role as principal of her own "Center for Election Integrity," as "the Public Monitor", is in my opinion also a highly questionable one for democracy, the public, and transparency - and with the access, control of even activist information and volunteer labor, and some public funding for staff she was able to garner, all mostly before the public even became aware - she did nevertheless, produce some good and revelatory reports for citizens and for the name of the usually-paid Center.
Those special access, public revelations, apparently are NOT what Bennett expected from the deal. (I will consider in a future post more facts about why I firmly believe this "Public Monitor" role should also be resigned in the name of excellent election integrity.)

As to Reno Oradini, the Assistant County Prosecutor, who normally handles legal matters for the board of elections - unlike what Bennett describes, once informed of what they were really doing, not just handed old written procedures where ballot pre-counting and swapping were NOT included, Oradini DID do something.
He, according to procedure, prepared a memo with his knowledge, and took it to his bosses in the Prosecutor's office, who decided to proceed with an investigation of the CCBOE. He could not have stopped the certification. And it's been long publicly long apparent that when Mr. Bennett does not like Oradini's findings of actual law (he starts calling him "Mr. Reno" - like "boy!")) he hardly remains open to hearing Oradini's decisions about the right things to do.

It seems that the prosecutor's office, headed by William Mason, is still investigating, still trying to "smoke out" in this traditional culture of political appointments, cover-up and don't tell on superiors - the truth of what happened in '04 and '06, and who all knew about it.

In the next video you'll see Lambert excellently reply about Bennett's continuing the "campaign of disinformation." (Bennett's repetitive disinformation themes actually seem eerily similar to, and an extension of, the tacts and tactics used by the defense in the trial and sentencing hearing.)

Next, Bennett goes on and on and on to the press after the meeting. Some say he obviously "protests far too greatly" to not obviously have his own personal investment in these previous board employees "getting off."

Thursday, March 22, 2007

More on the Brunner's Complaint and Hearing from the PD

A few quotes from yesterday's PD:
Election chair fights back
Bennett blames prosecutor for rigged-recount convictions
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Joan Mazzolini
Plain Dealer Reporter

"Attorneys for the convicted workers are appealing their convictions and filed a motion for a new trial Tuesday with Corrigan."
Just how many times are they planning to try that one? At least once during trial, once during sentencing hearing, and yet again? They obviously feel they must keep these women happy enough to not tell the truth.

" The prison sentences enraged Bennett..."
What seemed to enrage him was that his political strong-arming was not working, leaving himself exposed.

"They ( the attorneys for Dreamer and Maiden) also filed a motion for Corrigan to remove himself, alleging he has a conflict of interest involving Mason. Although Mason had a special prosecutor handle the trial of the two workers, he became involved in the trial when the defense sought to have him testify. An assistant county prosecutor represented Mason to fight the defense effort, but that assistant prosecutor also represented the judge in two unrelated cases, which lawyers say created a conflict for Corrigan."

HE had a conflict of interest? Why don't they check out the "defense" attorney, Synenberg and Bennett?

Then quotes from Openers blog this afternoon by Mazzolini:
Elections chief files complaint against Cuyahoga board
Mazzolini states:
"The 18-page complaint accuses board Chairman Bob Bennett and board member Sally Florkiewicz, both Republicans, of misfeasance, nonfeasance and violating state election law."

The post links the entire complaint:

Much of the complaint centers around security issues, recount issues and even lack of financial responsibility.

Check the following out from page 7. Reading it in the original gives a fuller flavor of the massive waste of taxpayer dollars to Diebold for non-secure and non-operating equipment that fed into massive overspending for May's meltdown (still without accurate results); and for the highly paid ridiculous "management", including that of the director and board for same.

"34. The Board estimated its funding needs for the fiscal year 2006 at $11,460,174.
35. However, in order to avoid incurring a massive deficit, the Board requested and received from the Cuyahoga County Board of Commissioners an additional $12,900,000 which exceeded the Board's initial total budget request."

It shows that other counts center around such things as the huge gaps between the number of votes cast (people signing in) and number of ballots per precinct in both May and November '06, poor (but I add, very overly paid - at least $1.5 million total to CCC and Diebold! ) poll worker training that did not allow workers to actually rectify those numbers at the precinct on election day and night, and more.

Mazzolini reported from the SoS statement linked in post directly below, that William Owen, the first assistant prosecutor of Delaware County, will preside over the hearing which will begin on April 2, if Bennett and Florkewicz don't have the good sense to resign first.
(Poor Maiden and Dreamer, their protected, and same to-be-tickets-out-of-this, are losing, (to use a "W" term) "political capital" pretty rapidly.)

Look for yourself.

JUST IN! Mr.Soggs has resigned, the hearing date for the 2 R's now set

Loree Soggs, the second Dem of the board, has also wisely resigned. He apparently knows any hearing of this board cannot be pretty. His reputation can suffer far less from a resignation than going through that.

As of this afternoon, Bob Bennett and Sally Florkewicz, the 2 R's, have gotten their complaints from the SoS.
Poor Sally. There she is - put there to give Bennett his rubber stamp 2nd, now caught in this ugly position. Get out now, or leave Bennett as isolated as he really has been - had he not been throwing a lot of weight (and who knows what else) around.

If they do not resign before, the hearing of the two has been set for April 2, 9 am. in the Euclid City Council Chambers, 585 East 222 - a large facility, with tv cameras, and good taping equipment.

For more information about the above see:

People Have Died for the Right to Vote...

And stillmay be, as so many now are also having to work even harder for the right to also have our votes counted fairly, accurately, transparently and verifiably - to us!

Yesterday, in the midst of Bob Bennett's dramatically ridiculous finger-pointing-blame-away-from-self where-it-belongs statement, a citizen who had come to speak about "political nonsense" as he signed his subject matter on his request to speak, got sick in the board room, and shortly after, passed out outside the room.

Alan J. Bendzak, of North Royalton, a 52-year old father, could not be revived before the emergency workers, after CPR and defibrillation, carried him off from the CCBOE. His family reported at about 4:30 pm that he did in fact, pass away.

Though I've been at almost every meeting and know most of the few election integrity advocates and people who come to CCBOE meetings with other agendas in mind, I am not familiar with his name. But I understand he did want to address Bennett.

Though so few citizens come to speak to let the Cuyahoga board know that we know what is happening to our votes, or to try to offer help, or to present their own partisan agenda in this traditionally completely politically driven mess we call "elections" here, that man, had in fact come to be heard.

Few realize how debilitating, frustrating, sickening, and completely disempowering it can be to sit in meetings of the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections. No clear minutes of past meetings to think about; usually rubber stamped official sounding but purposefully mumbo-jumbo motions which no one but those familiar with CCBOE history can understand, still presented in "board-speak"; demeaning treatment and comments about their created unknowledgeable voters, pollworkers and even staff.

It is understandably too "boring" for most purposefully kept under the mythical "voter confidence" spin, to listen to things not understood, but definitely sensed as something majorly wrong. It is too hopeless for many to witness oneself or another, the subject of Mr. Bennett's continued arrogance, bullying and intimidation, and not be listened to, but lied about later to the press. It is unbelievably financially debilitating to try to take the massive amounts of non-paid time to try to find and follow the dangerous shenanigans of these often well-paid at the top, tax-paid people to be able to speak factually to tell them to stop it - until they might listen enough to make up another cover-up story to the press. They make sure of that. And too often the mainstream press have just followed their spins.

People have died for the right to have our elections express our majority will.
Though I am NOT in any way inferring here, that the Cuyahoga BOE "killed" Mr. Bendzak - with undue stress or otherwise - it is certain that the entire board building and culture within, needs to shed it's crazy political over- and undertones to become a place of much greater health for all - one of truth, openness, honor and healthy progress.

My deepest sympathy to Alan Bendzak's family.

Kudos to Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, for taking the necessary action to make the this county BOE board room a place of hope for us all.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Some Major Reasons Why the Board MUST Go!

Praises to Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner! Ohio CAN be a model of clean elections, and she's bound and determined to make that happen! Today she called for the resignation of all four board members. As noted in posts below, and in the observer report linked within this post, hers is wonderful move, for NO positive changes can take place as long as the present board stays in place.

I will be posting film here of some CCBOE meetings demonstrating the wisdom of Brunner's actions. The present impacted political culture of lies, cover-ups, abuse and ignoring of citizens there and demeaning those not; the board's complete non-understanding of the elections process that they, however, control absolutely, with the culture of fear and abuse - can only change with a new board!

With a lack of time right now, I will just post some film. Explanations, and much more, will follow.

11/5/06 Cuyahoga "emergency" board meeting two days before the 11/7 election. Watch the board in their usual confusion and not-knowing ... all » approve an "election security plan" that offers no real security; approve "observers" who didn't fulfill the court order; and try to shut out the public.

Below,right after that meeting, you'll also see how they once again took the opportunity to spew lies to the press about the process and people concerned about having actual fair and clean elections. Mr. Vu, under "permissions" from the board, especially anti-citizen, Bennett, also blatantly lied and turned and walk away when I asked him questions. Those were about Mr. Vu's: •Lies to the press ( and I should say, that he showed how clueless he was) by • Claiming that the massively failed optical scanners the previous week, were fabulous. • That only two failed, when at the next day’s meeting, he said 10 of 75 failed. (We had bought 20, $9K each, and had to rent from Diebold, another 55 because theirs were so slow and unreliable! (and the $180/hour Diebold “rep”, Hiner, on 11/6 as usual “didn’t know” how many of the failures were Diebold’s though if it’s as reported at 7, we can know it’s probably 15.) • He told the press, as usual, the scanners had been massively tested and certified. He also listed the tests they had done at the CCBOE (but left out the parts about Hayes listing and forcing them to do those, after they were all panicked at the massive scanner failures the previous week. Diebold even flew people in, to avoid litigation apparently - but they left out that part to the press.) • He even mentioned the “public pre-test” again though I had reported on the record on 10.2 (see and download film at ) that it was NOT public (no notice); and not valid since they used Diebold’s own preferred script, to “test” the “accuracy” of Diebold’s machines (fox making sure hen house is open again); AND in this November "test", they did not even use the election’s actual ballots. They used ones from a Diebold machine, and printed from another Diebold’s computer. • He assured the press that the scanners' paper trails could be checked. The scanners don’t have paper trails! I have it on film. • And he talked about the security held in the use of passwords. He would not answer me when I asked how many distinct passwords were there for employees. Because the answer was ONE! – some security, huh? Bennett again took the opportunity to tell the press that I am just someone who wants to bash his elections – No, I just want FAIR ELECTIONS…. And how they welcome public input….and how there are just some activists like me, who are mistakenly angry about the outcome of ’04, thus mistakenly still want to embarrass the board, mistakenly saying something happened in ’04, when nothing did. The later convictions have proved quite otherwise, Mr. Bennett, all while you keep denying - even your knowledge of what happened in '04.

Also see the beginning of the Observer Report I filed with the Five Statewide Candidate Consortium Observer Project recently. I was an election observer for these Independent candidates assigned to the Board of Elections. So much happens beyond election day, that we never even think about, that helps create our "elections results".

And about Elections Security
The following film is too long. It was taken as we waited for almost an hour (as usual) for the CCBOE meeting to start, as usual without apology. This was their over 3 hour election day meeting, taking workers and observers out of the field for a rather inane meeting.
Look at the two clips immediately above, and watch the first half of the following. What we were filming were Voter Access cards that let people vote, along with encoders, along with machine keys, and along with memory cards that can let anyone put anything into machines, even a code to fix our elections - all just laying there.
And they claim double locks and keys, and chains of command!
You'll also see the clerk call for help when she watched and listened to us, to have the "evidence" carried out.
So much for their even having any idea of what election security is!

The Election Day Report of The Pretty Good Election

The following shows Mr. Vu's first report of November's "pretty good election" on election day, 11/7/06. Notice he first indicates problems at only 4 polling locations - mostly according to him,(which means due to Bennett's desires for the look of the description,) again due to poll workers and the new amorphous term for "bad" - "special interest" groups' faults. As the meeting went on, it became increasingly revealed that far more CCBOE systemic problems were happening, including a registration system that could not determine who was registered and not, and which seemed to be changing one person's registration status every 15 minutes; no show poll workers; failing memory cards; poll workers NOT knowing to give voters paper ballots instead of sending them away; long lines, etc. That afternoon there was court order for 16 locations to stay open an extra 1.5 hours because of morning election problems. The board never recognized the systemic nature of the problems, but tried to make each one reported by someone there, look like an isolated little mishap.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

It's "Archive" Time on the Cuyahoga. Or Is It?

Retention of election records (actually of any governmental records) in original forms that citizens can access and perceive without need for any non-thoroughly understood "translating" machine, is a little thought about but very serious issue. Especially now as investigations roil nationwide for months and years about lost votes, vote-switching machines, completely non-sensical results with huge percentages voting but supposedly not voting for the most hotly contested races, and controversy continues as citizens are forcing states to move away from their wrong HAVA interpretations and newly acquired "free" (with federal tax monies), dangerous, hackable, riggable, unverifiable, electronic voting machines - back to verifiable paper ballots.

It's been recognized for years that citizens must have open access to records, and those records must be kept for later investigation. There are very specific laws about it. In Ohio our election records retention schedules, permissions, oversight and rules are NOT made by the elections board, (thank goodness!) Retention of all Ohio governmental records are under the authority of the Ohio Historical Society, with each county supposedly having a county Records Commission working with the Society.

In Ohio it's the head of the County Commissioners,(now Jimmy Dimora here) or his/her designate that leads the local effort.

Trouble is, as stated above, the retention of election records is so little thought about. It had not been closely attended to, nor oversighted for some years.

And what really got my attention can be seen in my 11/22/06 post about what the CCBOE did with our election data/our votes from last May.
It's shocking. It's questionable how much even landed on those CD's of also questionable quality via insecure personal laptops. To go back now to find out is both a job far too time consuming for any volunteer (something the CCBOE has banked on for years to perpetuate covering their concerted decisions and incompetence, coupled withholding of public records.) and it's impossible. Those original cards were wiped off, and re-used in November.
They held such vital election records as "digital signatures" that Diebold claims is security, and proves that a certain card went with a matching machine and it's "redundant" internal archive, but which cannot be transferred to CD. (It was, according to Diebold's story, these "security feature" "digital signatures" that caused cards that were supposed to match, to be mysteriously spit back out of machines in the ESI study - a huge question with dangerous implications that the board wanted left alone until "after November" - when everyone would forget, and no answers could be had.) The original cards also had labels on them. Yet another question left from the ESI study was did the board create special cards for ESI for their taxpayer-paid audit (as in counting and swapping ballots ahead of time for a fake recount.) And with over 5,000 little cards, did they really do all of them? (With the "organization" I saw in paper ballot scanning, I know it is highly unlikely.)
And when asked about their process, the board lied about it.

So last November, I pressed for a meeting of the Cuyahoga Public Records Commission, for schedules, rules, new definitions, etc. and got great, and highly competent cooperation from Dr. Judith Cetina, its head.

This is the memo she wrote to all in attendance at that first meeting, and to all parties needing to know. There click on the public Records Commission link.

Luckily, Jane Platten, now truly runnng double time and trying to do the right thing, called to inform me that the CCBOE had worked with the IT person from the Secretary of State's office, and they set up a much more secure system for archiving than having people bring in personal laptops with internet games on them to also receive our votes. And that they were going to begin testing the system, to then begin "archiving' our election data to prepare for May's primary.
Unfortunately I had to tell her that though I was pleased there would be better security in the process, I thought that that would be now be against the law, since November '06 had a federal election on it, they must keep those original memory cards for 6 years.

I advised her to speak with the Reno Oradini, the Assistant County Prosecutor, who was also at that Records meeting and who understood what was occurring. (All this election and computer mumbo jumbo regarding records retention is difficult for even the brightest to comprehend at first.)

Fortunately for us, Platten is following through. She's checking into it, and expressed a willingness to buy more memory cards if necessary. Unfortunately for us, Dieobld sells these special puny 128K PCMCIA cards for $130/per for over 5000 of them - which one could probably find at $15 retail now.

This is not a statement against the absolute need to retain the original memory cards. It is a statement of yet another reason to NOT have Diebold DRE machines in our voting system. Printed ballots and pencils would cost far less.

Yes, as May's primary approaches, "archiving time" - wiping off "the evidence" and our votes, as suggested by Mr. Blackwell in '05, may feel near for many BOE's.

This is a statewide and possibly a national issue for election integrity advocates to monitor. I've informed the Ohio Secretary of State's office.
Let's now see how "archiving"our votes is made to proceed here in Cuyahoga.

Hope Reigns on the Cuyahoga
Jane Platten just called. She listened! She called! She had a meeting with the prosecutor's office. They are going to follow the law, and preserve our original records from November! They are not going to try, as usual to NOT follow the law and cover it up!
Hope reigns on the Cuyhaoga!

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

MORE (publicly unseen & un-needed) $$$Millions to Diebold, and the CCBOE "Election Officials" Who (gladly) Pour The $$$Millions Into Diebold's Pockets

What would you do if, with someone else's money, and despite all their facts and demands that you not do it - you secretly bought, let's say, a riggable computer to keep the owners' books.
And let's say, the computer salespeople promised ahead of time that you would have nothing to worry about - they would be there for service; it could easily demonstrate that it's saving you and the boss time, money and aggravation, and that it's doing a far better job than if you continued to do things by hand; and because it's a computer which everyone assumes works fine, no one would notice that it's riggable.

it breaks down; freezes; chews up the papers you're supposed to show the boss; can't keep up with your keystrokes; and very obviously cannot even do what it's supposed to do, etc. - all while the boss keeps giving you more and more expert reports of how bad that computer company is, and expressing angry disatisfaction.

you, keep handing the company more and more millions of the owners' money to: assess what's wrong with your computer, and to unilaterally decide what's not under warranty before doing a lot of paid-for repairs? or to train you some more because they didn't train you right the first time? or to buy more computers from them, to cover yourself when the first one breaks down? or, let's say, to rent more peripherals because the first one's can not keep up? Would you keep listening to more of their lies, and keep repeating them to the owners? etc?

Or would you finally insist that they take their junk back, pay for the damages they'd already caused you, and give you back your money?

If you were the Cuyahoga board and former Director, you would do the former.

As I was reviewing events to finally complete my Observer report about the 11/7/06 election, (which I could not stomach re-living before this,) I came across the video which I have posted below.
For that midterm election I was gladly assigned to be the legally designated Observer at the Cuyahoga BOE, for a consortium of 5 statewide Independent candidates, which allowed individuals to be inside the polls and boards of elections on election day, and to watch the counting through certification.
(I shall post that report on this site, both in draft and when I complete, in finished form. It's so much an eye-opener that it might send some into denial, that that can't be happening to our elections, or into more cynicism, that it is.
My intent in publishing, however, is that it sends you, the reader, into enough outrage that you speak up and out to help stop it.)

The video below is one small, (but complete) part of an again, hard to believe, CCBOE 3-hour meeting, on
11/6/06, the day before the election.
It shows the board, under the unexplained term on the agenda "Vouchers", again handing Diebold another 1/2 million dollars, which for the most part would not even show up on our original contracts with Diebold, should someone be interested enough to ask for those.
(Example, one fellow election integrity advocate early this year, indicated he was looking for amounts paid to Diebold, and asked for a list of the contracts with them. Click the link below to see at what he got - an undated, (as many CCBOE documents are) incomplete list of expenditures, with no dollar amounts for the ones that were listed. Though it's undated, we know it was generated after the 11/06 meeting, since that date is shown on it.)

I too have asked more directly for information about all monies given to Diebold, ....I ...still await an answer....

The four 8/23/o6 items listed on the contract list above, BTW, totaled (cha-ching!) to more than 1/2 million dollars - for such things as two "project experts" one of whom was rarely seen at the board, the other, after being cajoled to appear at the CCBOE meetings (at $180/hour) could not answer any questions, except how much MORE Diebold was charging Cuyahoga, with more Diebold services and equipment, to supposedly "fix" "our" problems with what they'd already supplied along with promises - for far more than $10,000,000.

And you might want to compare the above 11/6 approvals shown on the list (under the one word name, Vouchers) to the below September 5 agenda, showing already amazing amounts.
(By the way, the inclusion of the version date/time on the agenda that you'll see at the link, re: meeting time and dates that change frequently and often at the last minutes with the board's personal schedules, also had to come from election integrity advocate repeated insistence.)
Click here, then on the 9/5 agenda link.

So, finally on 11/6/06, when wisely the one member of the board who, frequently at least asks the right questions, Ed Coaxum, got the "vouchers" revealed a bit, we heard that some costs that even were on contracts before, were, on the day before the election, to get EASILY doubled.

That Monday, just as over the previous summer of ’06's meetings' ridiculous payments to Diebold, - county taxpayer money that could go for healthcare, education etc. - found these payments defended by Vu and Dillingham (now forced out, so highly paid, CCBOE "consultants"- see blog items below), and were questioned by the board only enough to make it look like someone cares, BUT, again, were easily passed. (While you watch the film below, you'll also notice that Mr.Bennett stayed unusually quiet, but attentively affirming – I guess so if anyone might find out if there might be any kickbacks involved, he might be less “involved.”)

The surprise hidden costs on 11/6 included:
• 2 days of 25 techs to be on the election day helpline! The night before and the day of election, each at $157.50/hour! They would have been sitting next to CCBOE temps making $10, or at most other computer consultants making $25/hour.
Grand total? = $460,000!
(Though this was a "not to exceed amount", I feel pretty certain, (and being unable to get the public information facts from the board,) that that was probably the amount Diebold got.) With 1100 Election Day Technicians, and less than 600 polls, there is no way that 25 Diebold folks were needed for 2 days …Notice Dillingham (kind of) saying that would account for 50 calls from technicians (!) from each polling location! Now what does THAT say about the quality of training DIEBOLD provided for their other hundreds of thousands dollar training contract?!?
• EXTRA printed "opening and closing instructions" for each precinct bag (though each poll worker got a copy at training, that printing also paid to Diebold. With 4 workers per precinct, and usually at least 2 precincts per location - plus, the EDT with personalized support - do you think that was necessary?)
Grand total = $6,300
• And rental of 20 more of the optical scanners that didn't work in May, and had the board in a panic, using valuable time testing and tweaking the week before November 7, because again, the first additional 20 rented also weren't properly reading test ballots in the tests. The board wanted to make sure they would have enough, since the first 20 we bought at $9,000 each for May were so crappy and slow - and didn’t work at all due to DIEBOLD’s liability (CERP report.) (The board, by the way again, did nothing to hold Diebold liable about that May situation, though it cost county taxpayers for hundreds of hours of temp services to supposedly
count ( a whole other hard to believe story) the more than 100,000 absentee ballots then.)
The board originally planned to rent only 20 additional from Diebold to make up for Diebold's failures, (also unseen costs.) But at this meeting they upped the rental number to 45 more, for a …Grand total of $27,500.

And there you have it folks, more of our money pouring into Diebold's pockets.
(A part I left out of the film below, which intervened the discussion, was the approximate 1/2 hour dickering over the $3,000 voucher for employees to park near the board building to come to work.)

Some Say Elections Boards Need to "Partner" with Computer Vendors, Because They Have So Little Computer Expertise On Their Own....

...And they add that the 2002 Help America Vote Act, shoved through the 2002 Congress, demanded that the (riggable ) electronic voting systems be spread into every voting district across the nation.
As bad as that Act was, a proper reading however, shows that the machines were NOT demanded, though Mr Blackwell, then Ohio's SoS and 2004 Bush Ohio campaign co-chair made it sound so. And just a little bit of thought shows that the real problems of 2000's election, which HAVA was said to "solve" had little to do with chads.

And when thinking about the above excuse, forget about the computer expertise, that can be independently hired (at alot less than millions.) What about consumer common sense?

And if you were an election official, truly intent on providing your fiduciary duty - fair, accurate, cost-effective elections - and transparent ones, (inherently impossible with Diebold machines. No one from the public has ever even been allowed to see their computer code that tells the machines how to "count" and we thus have no way to to know if and when they are doing that according to normal definitions. Trust them, does NOT work in this situation....)
-wouldn't you at least have looked into the national facts that shows Diebold unethical, an unending money pit, and in way in over their heads, rather than simply ignoring?
And might you not have thought to get a real expert computer expert on staff, representing the interests of the people of Cuyahoga, not Diebold's?

The above thought is also put forth in the following article from Fortune magazine. There, they also mention that
• now as the really big bucks have been wrung from counties with the original billions of federal taxpayer dollars for machine sales per HAVA;
• and now that only follow-up and support and less than billions of proprietary items are necessary;
• and now that the movement toward returning to hand-counted, paper ballots is roaring through the country from citizens waking up to this election horror nationwide;
• and now that such bills have begun being proposed in Congress by a stalwart few, such as HB.6200 demanding we return to verifiable, transparent, hand-counted paper ballots

- so now these vendors are ready to jump ship. Notice in the article, that Diebold is now even taking its name off their "wonderful" voting machines.

But where does that leave us? Alot poorer, with "leaders" that very well may not be people we have chosen, and back at square minus-100.

Where that leaves the CCBOE is questionable, however.
Maybe a certain few are not poorer at all. Unless enough people begin standing up to these "election officials", telling them to stop abusing our money and elections, it also may leave them just continuing to "partner" with Diebold's new owners.

Here's the film of part of the 11/6 meeting. (Please excuse the camera moving around a bit. As you'll see, we had one videographer there who does not understand the video etiquette of at least trying not to get in front of another's placed camera) :

Saturday, March 3, 2007

A Citizen (Me) Asks the Most Basic of Questions- Just What DOES the CCBOE Consider Its Duties To Its Bosses - "We The People"

Just as in any regular organization, the owners, funders/stockholders/stakeholders need to be able to monitor, to make sure their agents doing the best they can for the owners - not themselves.
In government, the notion of who are the owners and who are their agents seems to get too easily switched around, so even the owners - we the citizens, the funders whose dollars get used to exact more from us - "forget" and forfeit.

At the CCBOE, as apparently at many boards of elections nationwide, citizen discussions, inquiries, and recommendations based on proven facts (like the complete impropriety of any current electronic election equipment for use in any fair, transparent election; and the completely unethical behavior of Diebold and of some of the CCBOE's current and former staff)- rarely gets anyone anywhere. The board just often chooses carefully what to look at and and what to ignore, and/or makes stuff up for the public as they go along.

Possibly more productively, and certainly more essentially, it seems incumbent that all citizens at base, keep reminding our agencies of just who are the owners of government, and who are the agents; and to ascertain exactly what they think are their duties and responsibilities to us - so we can help them "adjust their perceptions" as necessary, just as any good employer does with its employees.

One of the ongoing, at first "crazymaking" to citizens, problems at the Cuyahoga board, is that it remains unclear and difficult to find who is willing to take responsibility for what (it bounces, and often rolls downhill quickly); to find that person assigned capable of, and actually doing their job; to also find some capable back-up assigned and active for when the first one is not ("on vacation, too busy, out sick" are often heard); and to find someone willing to help straighten out the ongoing, confusing voids to the citizens. The board has not. In fact, as the main delegators and ultimate deciders, it's often shocking to watch the arrogance coupled with how little they know about Cuyahoga's elections. The director and deputy over the past few years have been integral parts of the problem, not the solutions.

Luckily, Platten, the new Interim Director, sees the breadth of the tasks before her, the problems, and the need for agency-wide policies and procedures. She in her now-previous HR and Administrative position, often stepped in to fill all kinds of other holes left by other departments and the director and board.

But right now, under the past years' many "reorganizations" both "strategized" and "forced" this huge county's elections are running on less than 80 people, plus hundreds of almost minimum wage, non-benefited temps, often politically chosen. Many try and work hard. Others, of course, are either not capable, or don't really care about the mission of fair, transparent, accurate elections.

Via the board, now almost every major CCBOE department is running on an "acting/interim" manager - from Ballot handling, to Candidate and Voter Services, and now, probably HR and Administration. While these too, are often really good people, trying really hard, they are usually not the ones who would have been chosen, had someone actually looked for the best qualified for the job, rather than just again, pulling someone from one position, to fill a newly vacated other position, then leaving them there.

I'll let you know if I get the board's idea of what their duties and responsibilities are to us. Meanwhile, I think it's important that we all continue reminding our agents of who government's, thus elections' owners really are. I know that's really getting back to foundational basics. But given the state of our national and local elections, it's apparent that's exactly where we need to start.

Friday, March 2, 2007

The 11/06 Election "Independent" "Expert" "Audit" That Never Happened...

To close the loop on the 11/26/06 post on this site, "Will An Independent Expert Audit of Cuyahoga's November Election Be Independent? Expert? an Audit?"
and the film posted therein,"independent"audits/index.html
showing the Cuyahoga board repeatedly promising the citizens who came to the 10/2/06 meeting that there would be an "independent", "expert" "audit" of the 11/06 election by a "certified" agency, I note here:
It never happened, folks.

So goes the as-usual, complete overlooking, and/or if asked, later acting as if NOTHING ever happened, or was ever said, or that "they-just-changed-their-minds" - "committed" "promises" of the CCBOE. (That's the value of video...)

But let's be frank about it.
1. It's way too late for November now. (And with no one asking, there have been no mentions of necessary audit of the recent 2/07 special election.)
2. From what I saw of the chaos of "counting" even the night before the 11/06 election "certification", there would be NO way to even find out how many ballots we really had, let alone to properly audit the processes and results.
Thus, to hire a really expert, independent company would just give us yet another taxpayer-paid expert report telling us how unreliable the BOE staff and Diebold machines and company are - only to be greatly and selectively ignored, to downright bashed by "the deciders".
In a normal setting, under normal, rational thought, the ESI and the Cuyahoga Election Review Panel reports would have been enough to begin the major changes needed, including the work of getting rid of the Diebold machines. But our board is still buying millions from them, and defending them, and considering Diebold their "partners". ( eg. See EMP Folly, below.)
3. And if you watch the above-linked film, you'll see that "normal" definitions of "independent" and "expert" were also not meant to apply here either.
So maybe that the "audit", as "promised" never occurred is a good thing.
From Bennett's statements, the board would choose the "independent experts" who would be under the authority of managers of the board - ie. taxpayers would be buying more foxes, to control the "watching" of more taxpayer-paid foxes, to supposedly watch the hens - who in this scenario, ends up again, to be us.
That sure does, however, make for easier PR to "boost voter confidence" though - or, I should say, "conning the voters" into thinking that all is well with democracy's most sacred trust.

Though a group of dedicated citizen activists worked hard and long through the beginning of '07, on developing an RFP to get an independent audit company to Cuyahoga , and implored the County Commissioners to take over the oversight of a such a study, the matter has become, DOA.

Holt's HR-811 and Nelson's S559
But what about the necessity of really independent, expert audits in future elections?
This is a hotly discussed topic now among voting integrity activists, especially as the Holt bill, HR 811, the "Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2007" and Nelson's S.559, "A bill to amend the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to require a voter-verified permanent paper ballot under title III of such Act, and for other purposes" are gaining traction in the federal legislature.
Both of these bills are completely insufficient attempts to both keep the machines - massively expensive, completely insecure, undetectably riggable (especially by insiders), non-validly auditable, proprietary*
electronic voting systems (*secret - no one can see inside at the code that runs the supposed "recording and counting" of our votes, and other "gathering of our voting data"); and to make them safe enough to be able to accurately and accountably count and decide who will be our next "leaders".
Impossible, especially as presented.

See the very salient discussion at

Holt, for instance suggests mandatory audits of "paper ballots" - which then allows that to be construed as "paper trails" that come out of DRE machines - if they have them, and when they don't chew, tear, jam. etc.

Every computer scientist nationally, however, alludes to "paper trails" as nothing more than fools' gold. We, as "citizen- outsiders", have no more idea that what any supposed "vote results" any DRE machine is printing is what the human voters have entered - than if we were forced, like in a game, to look from a distance at 1,000 powered-off computer enclosures, and had to guess which one actually had a hard drive inside. But in this case, the stakes are who becomes our next president, councilperson, judge, etc.
Also, those "toilet paper rolls" are very easy to "reproduce" and create; and for instance, they also have all kinds of little bar codes on them thatwe, as humans, can't read - except supposedly - with another proprietary vendor piece of equipment. Just what do those bar codes attached to each of our votes, say?

I could go on... and on. But check out the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) '07 report to the Election Assistance Commission, recommending that this nation's votes must be humanly generated, and must be able to read, counted and recounted by humans, independent of any software, especially proprietary software.

That means only one thing will do for our democracy folks - hand marked paper ballots - able to be hand counted, checked and rechecked by citizens with no machinery necessary - in order to preserve any rudiments of our democracy, corner-stoned by our ability to express our will at a voting booth and have it counted accurately.

Another audit discussion:
Holt 811 has also sparked other discussions among activists about the necessity of election audits, what would make them viable safety measures, and whether audits might be properly considered as a safety measure with electronic machines.

A Columbus, Ohio activist, Marj Creech, wrote "Audits are like condoms."
to which Attorney Paul Lehto replied:
If audits are indeed like condoms, it's not like the public can whip one out and just plunge in with an audit any time the spirit moves. Instead, the government retains anything from total control to a major role in whether and how the audit proceeds, so let's check out this metaphor further.............
(1) Presuming an audit condom is going to save the day, one must presume that one has already been electorally screwed, and one intends to put the condom in place several days to several weeks AFTER said screwing, as is the case with all proposed electronic audits these days
(2) Having been electorally screwed already, the government has nevertheless found it a good screwing or failed to detect it the first time around, and yet we must obtain the government's partial or total cooperation in the use of this condom and the method of its execution (since there are usually government appointees, involved, let's just say that the government gets to put the condom on We the People, and decide precisely when and how to do so, since there's no penalty attached even when a particular time for this ceremony is suggested by law.
(3) The condom has only one of two possible functions, neither of which results in unwanted presidency protection: (a) the x% audit is simply a look-see, more like a pregnancy test, that allows us to see that mistakes were made but nothing happens OR (b) the x% audit actually does change the results of some or all of the x% audited, in which case it acts just like a partial recount of x% of the precincts, but in that case it is unconstitutional just like Al Gore asking for only 4 counties in Florida to be recounted was unconstitutional, so in this case the audit condom fails precisely when it is needed the most.
(4) Thinking a bit more clearly about this, the audit is not like a condom, it is more like an abortifacient, but the most important decisionmaker is the government, which will have already decided intentionally to get pregnant, or at least certified that it received a 100% free and fair screwing the first time around, and the Constitution seems to require that we have a new baby in the White House every 4 to 8 years.
So you see, all of this happens in the dark late at night and the press is calling it an immaculate conception full of democratic wonder, and there you are Marj hawking your abortifacient services, but the new mom doesn't even want you around during the upcoming Thanksgiving Day holidays in which you propose to "audit" and perhaps abort, and would, as in Cuyahoga County, prefer to commit recount rigging felonies than to allow your medication to have its proper effect.
CAUTION: The medication will only detect a known percentage of certain known types of fraud, it will not detect a stuffed ballot box with pollbooks made to match, for example. Even if the medication detects an improper election, any further impact depends upon an entire range of expensive and convoluted legal maneuvers thereafter. Use this medication/condom for entertainment purposes only as it has been used for years and has not been observed to prevent any major unwanted pregnancies, and in numerous instances is statistically incapable of doing so.

Seems like Lehto has seen our "audit procedures" in Cuyahoga...