For Updates - Post-2017 also see It's NOT good....

Sunday, April 29, 2007

For Some Interested in Checking Out Samples of Our "Official Ballots"

Some have approached me wanting to check out the "paper trail" from Diebold DREs. These, "our official ballots", each one possibly holding up to 300-500 voters' "official ballots" do not print in whole, or are otherwise illegible, approximately 10% of the time, as was proved by July's ESI Report, and re-demonstrated again recently.
We do not need a re-demonstration again but a method of assuring that each voter gets an official ballot, as long as we're forced into using these unreliable and completely non-transparent DREs, that have been proved riggable, also by ESI and many computer experts.
Also, Board of Elections workers in every county using these unreliable printers, need exact instructions of how to get an official ballot for every voter. According to law, and previous Attorney General opinions, the "official ballot" is "the "voter verfIED" "paper trail."
Once it is found that the machine has eaten it, crushed it, not printed it, etc., it is too late. What are citizens to do? Certainly not blanketly allow people inside a board to possibly pick out the wrong memory card, or the wrong data base, or even the wrong machine, to without the voters' supervision, supposedly "recreate" hundreds of official ballots at a time.

Voters, board workers, elections need a far clearer method of getting our official ballots. And this, just one of numerous problems with Diebold DREs, does not seem possible with them.

In fact, their lack of reliability, along with legs crashing, screens freezing, votes being switched by the machine, termed "a calibration problem," and the software that's counting never having been seen by any truly independent expert, let alone by us, all are just a few of the (more minor) reasons that these machines do not belong in any citizens' election. There are many others.

Some nationwide election integrity activists are studying some of these other reasons these machines do not belong in our elections.

I post a beginning sample of "official ballots" from one Beachwood (suburb) precinct. (There are other precincts in Beachwood.)

With a Public Information Request to the Cuyahoha elections board, and the truly wonderful cooperation of Interim Director, Jane Platten, working with a staff who now feels supported, and thus, free to cooperate well with citizens, I got hundreds of pages of such copies - each "ballot" from one precinct, and each taking two pages. I have not yet counted how many ballots I have.

Here are the first 25.
They are numbered 1a, 1b; 2a, 2b, etc. The number being the ballot number in order of my scanning, the a - the first page of that ballot; the b - the second page.
These are in jpeg format.

For those studying, I did not want to reduce, combine, omit, etc. for I know it might be important to see these ballots in their original form, with all original choices, and as copied.
I have absolutely NO reason believe that the copies are anything but accurate representations of the originals, with only the limits of copying machine capabilities, now scanner capabilities, intervening.
Hope this helps those of you in WA and NH, etc.
By right-clicking on each choice, you'll find the pages downloadable.

Next 20 ballots

Monday, April 23, 2007

Two New Dem Cuyahoga Board Members Appointed

Ohio - Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner announced Monday the appointment of the two Democratic seats to the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections.

Davis Chappell, a partner with Ulmer &Berne law firm of Cleveland and chair of the firm's non-profit group is the first Democratic appointee. She was named an "Ohio Super Lawyer" in January 2007 in a survey of Ohio
lawyers conducted by Law and Politics and Cincinnati magazines.

She previously represented the Cleveland school district and is the former board chair of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland. Chappell holds a bachelor's degree from Yale University and a law degree from Columbia University.

Eben "Sandy" McNair, a partner with Schwarzwald & McNair of Cleveland, is the second Democratic appointee. McNair brings 25 years legal experience in labor, employment and more recently election related work and is listed in The Best Lawyers in America McNair holds a bachelor's degree from St. Lawrence University, a Master's degree from The University of Chicago and a law degree from Cornell University.

Chappell and McNair replace Democrats Ed Coaxum and Loree Soggs, respectively who resigned from the board last month. Secretary Brunner sought the resignations in the wake of well-publicized problems at the agency. Brunner met personally with six finalists for the two board positions last week in Cleveland.

"I am impressed with the new generation of leadership who have stepped up to serve their community," said Brunner.
Chappell and Sandy McNair represent some of the best the greater Cleveland community has to offer to restore confidence in Cuyahoga County's election process. They are committed to the highest quality of public service and ready to put the time and effort to the task," added Brunner.

"I am optimistic about the future of the Cuyahoga Board and have a great deal of confidence in the three newly appointed Board members," added Brunner.

Former Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Judge Jeff Hastings, a Republican was the first board member appointed last week.

The local Republican Party plans to submit a recommendation to Secretary Brunner for the remaining GOP seat on the elections board after its May 5 executive committee meeting.

I do not know either of these women, and certainly reserve judgment until seeing them in action. I thus, do not know yet if being named a "Super Lawyer" or listed in The Best Lawyers in America is a positive or negative when it comes to citizens' fair, accurate, transparent, verifiable elections.

I do hope that the last board member yet to be named by the Republicans is not yet another lawyer, however. That to me, might potentially represent too narrow of a viewpoint when it comes to the sociological aspects of elections.

The best of luck to them all as they come up to speed in their duties.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

It Keeps Getting Better Here - Poor, Poor San Diego

With rational presentation of fairness, accuracy, transparency needs, Interim Director, Jane Platten listens, considers, and does as much as she can as quickly as she can to remedy an election situation that she understands needs fixing. One can hardly ask for more.

After such a long time, it seems somewhat miraculous, and certainly a huge breath of fresh air here in Cuyahoga.

For about a week, I had a problem getting some public records - copies of ballots from last November's election.
The problem shed light on a larger one - seemingly inadequately accessible and secure storage of our election records.
I was told by another, before writing to Jane yesterday, that under the former director, the records were ordered to be taken out of the building to another site, which only one person, his former assistant, has generally gone to, if needed.

Today Interim Director Platten has directed the November records and ballots back into the CCBOE building, which has cameras and guards, and can have bi-partisan double lock and key; and where, once they are moved back , citizens can see if desired, in the 22 month federal retention period for federal elections, that our records are secure and complete (at least as complete as they were left last year.)

She is willing to work with, not brush off or laugh at citizens with reasonable, rational requests to better our elections. I hope that citizens continue to work with her - for everyone's sake.

I also hope that many will supply her as much help and support to make the first election under her direction in May - apparently despite scant guidelines from the past, but with some willing workers - a real success for all.
Though for years in the past, as deflection and cover for massive numbers of massive problems, we've been told that "No election is perfect," no election is. But it's quite a different understanding to also know that someone is there who wants to know and understand problems that present, and is willing and determined to also find solutions for the future.
(For races and areas involved in the May 8 election, click the following link see the end of that post.)

Kudos to Platten! Poor San Diego.
And here's a comment too important to be left to chance that one might click and read. Left by Steven Hertzberg:

Jane has always displayed a meaningful interest in election improvement and transparency. It is extremely refreshing. It is fortunate that she appears to be able to now exhibit these traits without fear of reprisal.

However, while extremely bright and capable, Jane will need the assistance of at least two senior executives from other industries.

First, Jane must absolutely be given an experienced technical operations professional...someone who has been a Chief Technical Officer (CTO) at a technology company or government agency for at least 12 years - someone needs to establish proper technical operational and security procedures for the Diebold system, because Diebold has delivered a vastly incomplete system.

Secondly, lets hope that the new board will provide Ms. Platten with a senior operations engineer, perhaps someone who has designed manufacturing plants in the now defunct automotive industry. This person needs to know how to design workflows, build robust operations, and statistically measure election machine performance via statistical process controls (SPC). As we've seen time and time again, chain of custody and control of mission critical election assets is crucial for a transparent and accurate election. Finally, this person can finally develop the kind of reporting essential to demonstrate to the public that the election was accurate.

The cost of these two individuals is trivial compared to the cost of another election based on the incomplete Diebold system.

If Cuyahoga is unwilling to secure such talent, then the only other option is to scrap the electronic system and to migrate back to a non-electronic system such as punchcards.

The path has been crystal clear for quite some time. Now that Ohio finally has the right people in positions of power, it is their responsibility to put in place the people and mechanisms that can deliver a robust election system with sufficient checks-and-balances.

April 23, 2007 4:51:00 PM EST

Monday, April 16, 2007

Letter to California Secretary of State Debra Bowen Re:Michael Vu's Appointment to San Diego's Assistant Registrar of Voters Position

Here is my letter to California Secretary of State Debra Bowen, expressing grave concern about Michael Vu's Appointment to San Diego's Assistant Registrar of Voters post.

The letter highlights just some of the many issues demonstrating Vu's lack of competence and integrity which he displayed consistently throughout his 3+ years as Director of Cuyahoga's elections,
  • allowing laws to be broken with his knowledge, and/or lack of knowledge or care about his given tax-paid mission of fair, accurate, verifiable elections for the voters of Cuyahoga and Ohio (as statewide and federal election results are an accumulation of results of all 88 counties;)
  • creating massive budget overruns paid for by the citizens of the county, not only in attempts to cover his own failures, often bungled and also attempted to be covered up,
  • but also in permitting and attempting to cover up the letting of questionable, high-cost contracts,
  • and even the absolutely necessary high cost in August '06 of the additional hiring of a former CCBOE director, who DID know what he was doing, to allow the November '06 election to actually proceed for Cuyahoga - but in a way that now also ousted, CCBOE chair, Bob Bennett could prevail over widespread, demands for the Vu's firing, keep himself covered, and thus let $120,000/year Vu stay, and walk out saying that HE improved.
  • creating a pall of fear and retribution, and uninformed and unrealistic expectations of others over the agency, which eventually prevented even the most talented workers from risking thinking about what they were doing or offering suggestions, but instead, just trying wade their ways out of ridiculous tasks unscathed, (and even at times to not to be "set up" for "taking the fall" for Vu... and Bennett, should a citizen ever find out.)
To today, the issues cited in the letter, remain self-unacknowledged, and still with Vu's foolish attempts to cavalierly misrepresent himself and cover up. See this article from the North County TLinkimes - San Diego, where Mr. Vu is quoted about his tenure in and leaving Cuyahoga, and his taking the new position. Gig Conaughton the writer has also been provided a copy of this letter.
(See also

Even Vu's and San Diego "election officials' " characterization to the press of Vu's having been "embattled" and scrutinized only because Cuyahoga is the largest voting district in swing state Ohio, has been proved wrong, as the CCBOE former department manager, Jane Platten has stepped up to transitionally fill Vu's post. Even through the recent brou-ha-ha's of board resistance to resign in response to Secretary of State demands for those resignations; and Bob Bennett's continued rants, false projections of political motivations, and spurious tax-paid law suits against Brunner; and even though Platten stepped into having to immediately prepare for the upcoming May 8 primary, a job she had never overseen - she has fostered more efficiency, clarity, organization, long-term planning, and trust and support among staff, citizens and her superiors, than Vu did in his entire tenure.

Though application of the terms of misfeasance, malfeasance and nonfeasance are best left to attorneys - in order to rout out the real sources of corruption in too often non-oversighted, "answering-only-to-their-few-at poltics'-top," election officials nationwide - it is imperative that non-politically motivated, independent legal investigations DO need proceed, certainly in Cuyahoga, and possibly even in San Diego.
and posts directly below that.

Through today, Cuyahoga Prosecutor Mason with Special Prosecutor Baxter, ARE continuing their possible criminal investigations of the '04 and '06 elections, both under Vu's directorship.

Baxter is the one who brought the recent Cuyahoga convictions for the felonious recount rigging of '04 under Vu, and who, to the day of the prison sentencing of the two non-decision-making employees was still asking, along with the judge, for those women to tell who superior to them at least had knowledge of their actions.

Those women, apparently shocked that things had gone that far, when they apparently were originally assured that if they took the indictments to cover for their higher ups, the case could easily be politically dissolved, and concerned citizens would think that "justice was done" - can not themselves begin to afford the legal fees that someones probably have been at least feeding - until their "innocence is proved" - so that by Bennett's long ago agreement, the citizens would be picking up the tab for that too.
These women seem to feel caught between a rock and verrry hard place. It's still hard to fathom what fears motivate them even now in their quietude, as the same former board member friend of Bennett, thus Vu - "defense" lawyer Roger Synenberg, still continues his deflections of truth of what happened, who all was involved, his apparent bad advice for the sakes of the women, yet works on their appeal. See

Citizens' fair, accurate, verifiable elections, which determine our very futures, and the future of democracy itself, cannot withstand an elections industry that would tolerate such a lack of professional standards, complete with cover-ups displayed by Mr. Vu's move. If it weren't for the import of the danger this ridiculous move presents to so many, I too might have chalked it up to yet another piece of evidence worthy of another amazed and cynical shake of the head, logging the facts, and "wishing the man luck" as he leaves.

Ohio's Secretary of State Brunner in her first 3 months in office, and hard work and many accomplishments, has clearly displayed that she will not only not tolerate it, but also that she is willing to work hard to vastly upgrade the knowledge and guidelines that are to guide the everyday actions of elections workers throughout, so that Ohio's elections can reach her goal of being among the nation's best - in accuracy, transparency, verifiability, opportunities for citizen participation and oversight and thus, non-self-serving internal motivations running them. (A copy of the attached letter has also been copied FYI, to her office.)

California Secretary of State Debra Bowen has also demonstrated herself as one of this country's first-class fair election advocates, working hard and long toward elections integrity goals. She even selected as her elections assistant, well-known elections integrity lawyer, Lowell Finley, who had represented cases for citizen advocates of fair elections, before he took that position.

I only hope that she will research the facts about Michael Vu, and for all of our sakes, do what she can about this new appointment - one which by the way, he sought while collecting approximately $11,000/month from Cuyahoga taxpayers for his "transitional consultancy" ( through June 30, in an agreement approved by Bennett and the other past board members that states Vu could "travel" while "serving" Cuyahoga) and an appointment that now would even pay him $10,000 more per year than he was making while doing his Cuyahoga damage - now $130,000.

As stated in the letter, more supporting documents can be made available, even ones surrounding Vu's prior knowledge of the deceptive recount rigging.

Running and Participating In Citizens' Elections

And I don't mean only voting, and producing and/or looking for election results on election night.

Very few realize the detailed difficulty, the ongoing nature, the number of person-hours it takes to properly and legally prepare for an election day, or work it; that after election night our boards of elections are still sorting,counting, and verifying provisional votes for weeks to be able to proclaim our "official results"; and working sometimes months cleaning up and filing from one election should there be future questions, while preparing for another; or even the many
inside, often subtle, vulnerability points - both local and national - that can mistakenly and/or intentionally, easily sway who will be our next leaders or whether or not a tax issue passes.

That is one reason we need the best, brightest and most trustworthy running and working our elections, not the self-interested, political patronage system that has been in place so long in so many places across the nation - often as long as those in power were scared to lose it/determined to grow themselves, their power, their finances - thus, as long as human greed has existed within voting systems, and status quo power has attempted to thwart change.

As we've somehow just trusted election officials and often the already-elected who put them there, and
we've let them alone while handling our votes, or are making the laws that control our elections, it's become increasingly easier for those who feel far more accountable to each other than to citizens, control results from the inside, and to keep citizens, the majority subject to those results, rules and laws, from knowing or watching what they are doing.

That is the reason for this site - to engender citizen knowledge, thus empowerment, thus wide participation in OUR elections, year-round, so that they can become what most, still too often mistakenly think they are - OUR voices and choices.

That is one reason I've heaped praise on our new Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, state elections chief, for in 3+ months she has solidly set in motion huge projects toward voters' ends, and
has accomplished huge transparency and accuracy goals for the benefit of voters and thus, the professional benefit of election officials statewide - and she has done that fairly with a very firm and compassionate management style.

That is one reason it is such a welcome step to be starting with a whole new slate in Cuyahoga's top election leaders. Though we don't yet know who all will fill those board and director positions, nor the perceptions from which they come, with Brunner's team oversighting the elections board and the processes of selection, we have a new chance at fairness - which is up to US, to oversight, or rather CO-sight, in order to maintain and allow the tax-paid board officials to serve us, rather than the other way around.

That is one of the reasons I have heaped praise on Interim CCBOE Director, Jane Platten, who while stepping into the position - and despite the brou-ha-ha's surrounding; and having to immediately oversee the prep for the May 8 election, a job she has never done before - has fostered more efficiency, openness, long-term planning, overall vision and organization than I've seen for the past three years. It is neither Brunner nor Platten's politics I find such a welcome and hopeful relief, it is each of their fairness, competence and openness.

That is one reason that legions of - but still relatively only a handful of people and needing more - fair elections activists across the nation sometimes give up sleep and social life to keep up with national and local election happenings, and though possibly disagreeing at times about just how to do it, agreeing that in this democracy, for it to survive, that citizens' elections must be open to assured citizen equal access, transparency and verifiability for the results to stand.

Holt 811 &
Some of the Other Questionable Federal Election Legislation

That is one reason that so many of those activists stand against the passage of the once, best-there-was, Rush Holt legislation, that suddenly now allows:
  • increasing amounts of never-studied software to be supposedly "printing" and "counting" "our" votes;
  • to also put bar codes on our votes that we cannot read, and that could even potentially make our votes NON- secret to some (and possibly "non-patriotic" if wished);
  • and that allows the highest election rule and law-makers in the land, the already questionable Election Assistance Commission (EAC), to be solely appointed by the President of the United States!
The EAC was created by the already questionable Help America Vote Act which also ushered in the use of easily riggable, high-cost, privatized electronic voting systems across the nation.

The EAC, Questionable "Testing" for "Accuracy" of E-Voting Machines, and "Voter Fraud"

This April 11, 2007 New York Times article, "Panel said to Alter Finding on Voter Fraud" in its concluding paragraph, said of the EAC:
" In recent months, the commission has been criticized for failing to provide proper oversight of the technology laboratories that test electronic voting machines and software."

As another example, today it was announced that ES&S touchscreen voting systems have been found to be vulnerable to "serious" viral vote-switching, ( the secret software deciding our votes,- not us) but the EAC has refused to issue a warning about that. (April 16-
Diebold calls such vote-switching in their machines the "glitch" of " the calibration problem."

"Voter fraud"
is the deflective, projective and citizen-disempowering term that's frequently used by some law and rule makers, to mistakenly repetitively and widely infer that it's the citizens, the voters, or even election observer volunteers who are the ever-present and growing great danger to fair elections; and by such inference, and skewed studies or misinformation, trying to give even more supposed reason to keep citizens out of the process " - ie. that it 'should" belong in secret to "the top", therefore supposedly the "trustworthy" - to keep it "safe."

It is a term that has given supposed cause for
Voter ID laws passed in Ohio last year, with Ohio's awful HB3, and which since have been passed in about two dozen other states, which studies show are vote suppressing, (especially in the least affluent communities.)

The 4/11 NYT article further about the EAC stated in that earlier article:

"And two weeks ago, the panel faced criticism for refusing to release another report it commissioned concerning voter identification laws. That report, which was released after intense pressure from Congress, found that voter identification laws designed to fight fraud can reduce turnout, particularly among members of minorities. In releasing that report, which was conducted by a different set of scholars, the commission declined to endorse its findings, citing methodological concerns.

A number of election law experts, based on their own research, have concluded that the accusations regarding widespread fraud are unjustified. And in this case, one of the two experts hired to do the report was Job Serebrov, a Republican elections lawyer from Arkansas, who defended his research in an e-mail message obtained by The Times that was sent last October to Margaret Sims, a commission staff member.

“Tova and I worked hard to produce a correct, accurate and truthful report,” Mr. Serebrov wrote, referring to Tova Wang, a voting expert with liberal leanings from the Century Foundation and co-author of the report. “I could care less that the results are not what the more conservative members of my party wanted.”

He added: “Neither one of us was willing to conform results for political expediency.”

These are just some of the reasons that it's urgent that more citizens become involved - even and especially at the local level - to not only vote, but to gain confidence that we're told to have, by watching, participating with, and working a bit for our elections.

Local Opportunities to Get Involved

First off, there are opportunities, in addition to making sure your are properly registered to vote, (call the CCBOE 216-443-3200, and ask for Candidate and Voter Services to find out how, and see the CCBOE website to find out more information about deadlines) and to make sure that the registration has your correct name and address, and that your signature is updated, then voting; and to:
  • become a poll worker;
  • volunteer through respective political parties to become an election observer at the polls;
  • come and watch CCBOE board meetings which will soon again be held at least monthly, and are posted on the CCBOE website, linked on this blog. At the end of the meetings (some of which are held in the evening), there is an opportunity to let your wishes be known, and to ask questions;
  • call the CCBOE for any and all public information that is ours, for any documents you'd like to review - 216-443-3200;
  • make comments on this blog, which I know a few election officials are reading. While I do moderate comments, only those offensive, not to my views, but are sheer, unfounded personal attacks, will not be posted.
  • email me ( for a phone conversation about other ways to get involved;
  • call Secretary of State Brunner's Voting Rights Institute, 614-995-2271, to find out such things as how you can report or solve any voting problems you experience;
  • and more
The Amazing Cuyahoga Election Schedule of Citizen Opportunities
Were you aware that
the upcoming May 8 "small" election will involve about 1/3 of the county with:
24 cities, 168 polling places. 463 precincts. 2,000 pollworkers. and 1,848 voting devices?
For absentee forms, to find out if there is an election in your city, and procedures and deadlines see the CCBOE website, or call there.

And following that May election the CCBOE absentee voting department will be active constantly during business hours, to accommodate the
9 or 10 more elections that will probably happen in our county by the end of 2007?

Below is a list, provided by Interim Director Jane Platten, ( formatting problems, mine) of already planned elections in Cuyahoga County for 2007.

Get involved. It's really important!


February 6, 2007 First special election day for issues only

May 8, 2007
PARTY PRIMARY, if necessary
Newburgh Hts.
Parma City
Parma Judicial
Rocky River Judicial

North Olmsted

May 29, 2007
SPECIAL PRIMARY, if necessary
Cleveland – Ward 21 Only

July 3, 2007
Cleveland - Ward 21 Only

August 7, 2007, if necessary
Second special election day for issues only

September 11,
2007 NONPARTISAN PRIMARY, if necessary
Broadview Hts.

September 18, 2007
PARTY PRIMARY, if necessary
Rocky River City

September 25
2007 PARTY PRIMARY, if necessary
Brook Park

Maple Hts.
Bedford Hts.

October 2, 2007
PARTY PRIMARY, if necessary Berea

Fairview Park
Garfield Hts.
Middleburg Hts.
North Royalton – Mayor & Council President Only
Seven Hills

November 6, 2007 GENERAL ELECTION

December 4, 2007
RUNOFF ELECTION, if necessary
Berea (Mayor)
Highland Hts. (Mayor)
Mayfield Heights (Mayor) no election 2007
North Olmsted (see charter)
Oakwood Village
Olmsted Falls (Mayor) no election 2007
Parma Heights (Mayor) no election 2007
South Euclid (Mayor)
Warrensville Hts. (Mayor)


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Time for the Department of Justice to Step In?

Regarding the 3 posts directly following, re: Bennett, Vu, Dillingham, Blackwell, and even San Diego County - this comment came from a very wise friend:

Now it's time for the Department of Justice to step in (... and make thorough investigations and take proper action against all these... these... these ...election officials!?! And let them not forget electronic voting machine makers, Diebold, ES&S, et al.)

We cannot let such investigations and consequences be only "internal" - decided within the "rough and tumble" of Cuyahoga politics, as the PD has called it - left in the hands of the others elected/appointed who may have their own strong political motivations at play.

We also need to get such investigation finally out of county taxpayer responsibility, as it could positively impact fair election rights nationwide as any even brief internet search quickly demonstrates is sorely necessary.

Taking the necessary actions higher could also allow justice to be done for citizens, while giving the new Cuyahoga board, Director and Deputy some breathing room to begin and learn, without immediate criticisms from the past, only the guidance of priority future needs as they've presented.

Bennett Resigned Today! - Finally

As reported online from the PD Openers today - Bye Bye, Bob
he will be gone as of May 1, though he remains suspended from the CCBOE.
Secretary of State Brunner exchanged dropping her complaint against him for misfeasance and malfeasance while in office, for his resignation and his dropping his lawsuit against her.

That means that of course, will be no hearing next Monday.
It also means that
• she will be appointing the rest of the board very soon, so they can get started
• and a new Director and Deputy can be hired.
• that there will be a new board to have the mandated meetings for May 8's election
• and that they all will remain under the Brunner's Administrative Oversight until they are up and running on their own.

Is Bennett's resignation, rather than everyone being dragged through a hearing, a good thing?
Of course.

But Brunner dropped the complaint "without a finding of fault."
I'm sure that in many ways just to be able to move on, she needed to do that just to finally end the mess, as Bennett continues his ridiculous, baseless war cries of partisan motivation.

Also, had the due process hearing continued, the best result we could have gotten from it anyhow was Bennett's same "being gone". No criminal or civil indictments could have ensued.

But take a good look through this blog, and you'll find that Brunner's charges of mal- and misfeasance were hardly baseless. Anyone who's watched Bob Bennett for a few months understands that this "no fault" dropping of the complaint hardly equates to Bennett's innocence.

We cannot all get lost in "rah-rahing", and giving "the new" a chance, by not bringing up the old.
Now is the time to rout out the real sources of the long-impacted corruption at the Cuyahoga Board of Elections, identify it and show consequences to those sources.
Now is the time that Prosecutor Mason's investigation and possible indictments of the '06 and '04 elections MUST proceed- for the sakes of all of us in Cuyahoga, in Ohio, and the nation - who have been made unwitting and often unknowing victims to Bennett's using our money for his own political benefit; for running the management and operations of the Cuyahoga board into the ground; for flouting abuse of Ohio's open meeting and open records laws; for arrogantly bullying citizens asking questions and attacking anyone he perceived to possibly negatively impact his power; and mostly for replacing our very citizens' elections processes and even our "election results" with cover-up stories and shows of his board's "glory". Such follow-through is needed, even for the sakes of the two BOE employees now facing prison as they continued to cover for their superiors' actions.

Now is the time for Bennett, Vu and Dillingham NOT to walk away unscathed and forgiven - and some while still being paid more.

Now is the time to REALLY start anew, by identifying the sources of the corruption, and showing that we will not stand for it anymore.

Instead of more highly undeserved tens of millions to Diebold and friends, to aid ability to sway our elections from the inside, and even to track our voting identities and records, THAT investigation with indictments would finally be a good use of citizens' money - for citizens.
Justice would finally be done and possibly some deserved voter "confidence" in the process could begin.

Stinko Replaced by Pee-yoo!

"Stinko Replaced by Pee-yoo!"...was the title of a Black Box Voting Post on 3/29/07 that states about San Diego County:
(From BBV admin): Does it get worse than this? San Diego Registrar of Voters Mikel Haas was "promoted" (but will still manage the department he mismanaged); he will be replaced by an interim registrar, disgraced ex-Riverside Registrar Mischelle Townsend, who is credited as a "mentor" by Cuyahoga Director of Elections Michael Vu, who was recently terminated in connection with a rigged recount.

And just today Mischelle Townsend, announced about our highly less- than-competent and non-truth telling (CERP report, July, 06) Michael Vu has been appointed Assistant Registrar of Voters there.

She said:
Together with Mikel Haas, we are pleased to announce that effective today, Michael Vu, has been appointed Assistant Registrar of Voters for San Diego.

... He can be reached via e-mail to:

Prosecutors Mason and Baxter better keep THAT one on file so Vu can be subpoenaed back here to take his due for the destruction of lives, budgets, and elections he caused while here in Cuyahoga.

And I wonder if he expects Cuyahoga residents to keep paying him his approximate $11K/month for his Bennett-allowed sweet-deal "consultancy" for getting the heck out of our hair, through the end of June, and while he packs?

The BBV post on 3/29 went on to quote an article from North County Times - Mar 23, 2007, By: GIG CONAUGHTON

County looking for registrar ---- again

link to article

SAN DIEGO ---- The county of San Diego is looking for a new chief elections officer for the second time in as many years after county officials said Friday that current Registrar of Voters Mikel Haas is being promoted.

County spokesman Mike Workman said that the 49-year-old Haas, who has worked for the county for 13 years and served as registrar twice ---- from 1995 to 2001 before taking over as the county's director of animal services, and from 2005 to the present ---- was being promoted to take over as director of the county's Community Services Group.

Alex Martinez, the group's former director, retired last week.

In his new role, Haas ---- who was out of town Friday and could not be reached for comment ---- will oversee the general management of not only the registrar of voters office, but also the departments of animal services, housing and community development, purchasing and contracting, and the county library system.

Workman said Haas' salary was still being negotiated. As registrar, Haas earned $145,000 a year. Martinez was earning $172,000 when he retired.

County Chief Administrative Officer Walt Ekard, who was also out of town Friday, issued a statement through Workman praising Haas, who had been something of a "troubleshooter" for the county during his 13 years.

For much of 2004, Haas served as a special consultant to Ekard on election matters, in addition to his duties in animal control. He also previously served as the county's interim head of housing and community development. Before working for the county, Haas also worked for a short time as a reporter for the Oceanside Blade-Tribune, a newspaper that was a predecessor of the North County Times.

"(Mikel) has been asked to fill several different roles over his career and done exemplary work," Ekard stated. "He is without a doubt a top-notch executive and has been a stellar manager for many years."

The big questions now facing the county, however, are how it will find a new registrar, and how difficult the search might be.

County officials readily admit that the registrar position has become an increasingly difficult, and often publicly criticized, job in recent years.

Ekard, speaking in 2005 when Haas began his second stint as county registrar, said, "Quite frankly, it's getting harder and harder to find somebody who wants to do this job, with the kind of scrutiny from disparate groups out there."

Elections officials jobs nationwide have become more high-profile with increased pressure from the federal government to improve outreach to minority non-English-speaking voters, and the switch by many counties to still-controversial electronic voting machines.

The electronic voting machine controversy has stung officials in San Diego County.

Haas resumed his role as registrar in 2005 when Sally McPherson ---- who replaced Haas in 2001 ---- retired after 32 years with the county that featured a sometimes rocky final 18 months.

Anti-electronic voting groups sharply and publicly criticized McPherson as she helped San Diego County move from old paper-ballot systems to electronic voting machines.

That switch was marred by a debut in March 2004 that saw electronic "glitches" cause 36 percent of the county's polling places to open late.

Haas' first elections with electronic machines, meanwhile, last November, ran more smoothly. But Haas was also the target of electronic-voting critics who unsuccessfully sued the county to force it to stock enough paper ballots at polling places to serve the county's 1.3 million voters.

Workman said Friday that the county planned to immediately begin a nationwide search for a new registrar. However, he also said that the county tentatively planned to hire a "recently retired" registrar who could serve as an interim registrar while the county conducted its search.

Former Riverside County Registrar Mischelle Townsend ---- who helped introduce one of the first electronic voting systems in the state in Riverside ---- retired in 2004.

Attempts to reach Townsend on Friday were unsuccessful.

Workman said that Ekard and Haas planned to sit down together next week to begin talking about how his transition to community services would be done, and to finalize salary negotiations.

If this weren't so dangerously true about this nation's very urgently needed fair, transparent elections systems, it would be the makings of a "Real-TV: The Comedy."

Here's One "Stay Out of Jail Card" Announced Today

Blackwell Lands at Family Research Council

Former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell will become Senior Fellow for Family Empowerment at the Family Research Council, the leading beltway group of the Christian Right. In his new role, he will lead the organization's work on family economics, tax reform, and education. In 2006 Blackwell lost the Republican bid for Ohio's governorship. In 2004, while he was Secretary of State, Blackwell served as honorary co-chair of the Committee to re-elect George W. Bush while also overseeing a controversial election process that led to over a dozen lawsuits.

Monday, April 9, 2007

No Longer Any "Gracious" Way Out for Bennett

Writers from opinion columnists at the Plain Dealer to blogging fair election advocates from around Ohio and the nation are talking about Bob Bennett's refusal to leave the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections.
Most are noting how useless, and "done and over" his stand is; and how isolated he has already made himself, even from some members of the Ohio GOP party that he has chaired for almost three decades.

Some mention that Bennett is probably looking for a "gracious" way out. To most onlookers that time has long passed.

As almost an aside, others state that also Prosecutor William Mason, plans to continue his investigations of Cuyahoga elections, referring the '04 and '06 elections again to Special Prosecutor Kevin Baxter, who in January and February '07, handled the state's fair election case that convicted two Cuyahoga board employees, under Bennett, of felonious recount rigging.

To people who've been following Bennett's actions in Cuyahoga, however, these two issues are not at all separate.
To the wisened Cuyahoga ear, "gracious" can easily translate, as Bennett's ability to wield a deal for immunity or investigation stoppage, regarding his own part in Cuyahoga's '04 and '06 election "irregularities" - and possibly for all others who might otherwise "roll over" on him, Vu, Dillingham, and even the two prison-sentenced former employees - and allow him to save whatever power he thinks he has left.

Secretary of State Brunner has acted wisely, objectively, professionally and professionally cooperatively as Bennett has raged on against Mason and Secretary Brunner. As has been his norm for the past three years I've experienced him, when in possible power trouble, he projects, deflects and spuriously attacks those who might "bring him down." He's raged against Mason for not dissolving the recount rigging case against his employees who lied to protect their superiors, the tipping point that finally began his house of cards falling in around him. He's sued the Secretary of State to try to keep his old power-by fear-of-attack straw house, though she has the power to summarily remove him.

Brunner cannot back down now. She cannot offer him Bennett such "grace."
He has caused too much destruction internally to the staff and workings of Board of Elections, and externally to the finances, integrity, and to the very cornerstone of democracy in this county and state - fair, honest, transparent elections. She certainly has enough supported facts to justly remove him for his cover-ups instead of management, using the county's finances as his own instead of fiscal responsibility, his attacking instead of leading, his lack of understanding and care to objectively follow election law, and his frequent treatment of citizens with overriding disrespect. Though long impacted political arrogance is no reason for removal, it certainly has lead in Bennett's case to substantive reasons that are very good. She doesn't need to make deals to remove him for just causes. Everyone will benefit if he does not get them.

Not as revenge, but to help finally root out the sources of the diseases of political deal-making, patronage and corruption, instead of citizens' election deciding our joint futures, Brunner must continue on her path, and allow Mr. Bennett to take his due.

Maybe then, even the two sentenced women about whom he's claimed he's so concerned - supposedly for their sakes, can acquire some leniency, as their superiors more rightly take responsibility for the injustices done to this county's and state's election process and its citizens.

It is time for Mr. Bennett to offer some grace to others, not receive more deals. It is time for him to resign, to save this state more time and money, and let us all move on to building a far better election future here.

Mr. Bennett, CCC, Diebold and Poll Worker Training

At the marathon CCBOE meeting on August 29, 2006 and the two that immediately followed in September, a few contracts were let for the outsourcing of Training following the debacle May election, for those to be working the polls in November. The contract with which most are aware is the one that appeared to have garnered the bid after an evaluation committee, containing Mr. Bennett's man, Vu, made their recommendation to the board to give the contract to Cuyahoga Community College for $736,390. ( See text version of the 8/30/06 Plain Dealer article.)

An additional 2 contracts, seeming greatly redundant to CCC's, and totaling around another 1/2 a million dollars, however, went to Diebold in the next two CCBOE meetings by September 15, an amount that was again raised an additional $410,000, as it was board-approved one day before the November election under the discussion of (publicly unseen, unless one knows to request and wait for a list of)"vouchers" in the 11/6 meeting - bringing the total to almost $1 million, not counting the over additional $1/2 million in ($180/hour, though proving worth of less than the board's usual $10 for worker temps) "project management" and some worthwhile "technical assistance" in helping to actually work with the Diebold junk.

Diebold's later training contracts, in some parts for having one person in each of CCC's and their own added-to number of 4-6 hour classes, at $600 per, were passed by the board with hardly a question, despite the fact that the 3-person Cuyahoga Election Review Panel whom the had board singularly selected after May, reported in their CERP Report, that Diebold's May failures and/or misrepresentations regarding such things as providing knowledgeable help at the polls, training CCBOE staff for their registration system, and especially failures in poll worker training might constitute the level of contractual breach to be sent for investigation to the county prosecutor. (See for instance the Final CERP Report, (available for download, along with the ESI Report, at the bottom of the page of the above link,) sections beginning on page 21, page 54, and pages 104 and 106.)

There were, however, additional strange things about these training contracts that may bear further study:
1. CCBOE bids for the official training contract garnered by CCC were requested on August 2, 2006 and closed at 11 am August 15, 2006. Though I still need to get the actual agenda used at the August 29 meeting, which shows the various amounts bid, (not shown on the agenda posted before the meeting which I had downloaded,) there was a large discrepancy in costs among the approximate 5 bidders, as I remember.
One of the highest bids, again from memory, came from Diebold for over $1 million, and one of the lowest, from the Ford Group, a group led in the main by the few people who had actually successfully performed CCBOE training, according to poll worker feedback, in the previous May election.
At the 8/29 meeting, the principal of the Ford Group spoke passionately and with examples, about the need for trainers who had working knowledge of and successful experience with delivering this detailed, complicated information, to best assure future pollworker knowledge, confidence, and election success. Cuyahoga Community College did not have that knowledge, but were cited to be "best" mostly as I remember, because they were an institution of higher learning in the area, and because they had facilities (for which a later "voucher" list of items over $10,000. showed they were paid $160 for each use, for a total of approximately $14,000 - an amount other groups could have also easily worked with to rent facilities.)

2. On August 3, the day after requests for bids first began, the Plain Dealer reported among other things that:
"To give the workers needed skills, Bennett said, he has contacted the head of Cuyahoga Community College to standardize the training."

Before even the bids actually had time to go out, and before the"evaluation committee" met during the week prior to August 29 board approval, a group which included Bennett's man Vu, to consider bids and make training contract recommendations, it seemed that in the ways of the CCBOE under Bennett, even CCC's contract was another foregone conclusion!
Was this another Hopcraft moment?

3. Though Diebold did not get their over 1 million dollar training bid on 8/29, on 9/5 and 9/15, they still gleaned almost $600,000 for Election Day Technician Training and "Poll Worker Technical Training."
There was a Bennett signed contract dated 9/15/06 for EDT training for $360,000, (which had a 7/31 Diebold quote attached that stated $297,750.) (Previous error: I have found amidst the "group" of docs provided by the CCBOE in response to record requests, another Diebold Training contract signed on 9/15, that DOES match the EDT training quote. It appears that the $360,000 contract signed by Bennett was for Diebold "Pollworker Technical Training" and was to replace (?) and suddenly vastly increase the price of the one signed two weeks before, as shown below. To date, it is unclear if it were treated as an addition, since the latter was also provided in answer to my record request.)

There was also the Bennett signed contract dated 9/5 for $210,000 for Poll Worker "Technical Training" which matched the 7/31 quote. (The pdf contract links are as received from CCBOE, except with my own document name changes)
And then there was 11/6's "extra" $410,000" as part of "MORE (publicly unseen & un-needed) $$$Millions to Diebold, and the CCBOE "Election Officials" Who (gladly) Pour The $$$Millions Into Diebold's Pockets".

4. But was CCC able to live up to their promise?
You can judge a bit for yourself from:
a. Mr.Bennett's election night speech, admitting some "glitches" in this $2 million training. A Long Look at the Dysfunction of Cuyahoga's 11/7/06 Election Day Meeting - Under Bob Bennett video clip #1
b. The WEWS "whistleblower" segment last week with a trainer and poll worker talking about how poll workers had not been provided the basics of what they needed to learn, and even how the "test" that all poll workers were to pass was an open book one, and that questions needed to be amended so more would "pass", and the CCBOE would have enough workers. (No video available here)
c. The last draft of CCC's 9/21 Draft Poll Worker Manual, (about which activists were asked for their at-home overnight, volunteered input) - confusing, even with incorrect grammar, and missing some of the very basics. (Though still very rough, I add my very hurriedly made notes, again volunteered quickly
after my own completely different, paid work, the night of 9/22, before the manual needed to go to print. Others also volunteered input. I added on 9/22 such things as, given the massive Diebold "crashes" in May, and the obstructions and security risks those bring to voting, the absolute necessity for poll workers or EDT's to keep detailed Diebold "failure rate" logs. That did not happen. I do not know how many of our 9/22 volunteered suggestions were included.)
I also understand that some CCBOE staff were also recruited, and additionally taxpayer-paid "extra" - $18/hr. vs. their normal approximate $10 - during the weeks prior to printing to provide much of the content knowledge which CCC did NOT have, at their $175/each/hour. Not only did that demonstrate that taxpayers were paying far too much to CCC for things they also could not deliver, but it underscores the often-seen perspective of the board's taking advantage of and devaluing many of its own employees who through many similar convolutions, have been held responsible for figuring out how to get work of elections done.
One can imagine the effects of such inequities on morale and final product. The "CCC manual", very similar in layout and appearance to the previous one already used in May, even then, was at a sorry, completely unsound and insufficient point.
d. Also you might note on the CCC training cost list, not only the $100-150 cost per trainer for each class, but also the $50,000 amount let for two months of work for just the training project manager. To date I don't know who picked up THAT tax-paid "bonus."

This is one small example of CCBOE "fiscal and election responsibility" under Bob Bennett.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Diebold Repairs? Another "Overlooked" Financial Hole.

At the August 23, 2006 CCBOE meeting, under Bob Bennett's "fiscal leadership," and Blackwell contract that also demanded no requirements for Diebold liability or responsibility for their failures, the Cuyahoga Board handed over complete control for Diebold alone to decide:
• which of our 5,000+ $27,000 each, machines had been broken during their one time use in the May election,
• which repairs were under "warranty" and which we had to pay to fix,
• how much each repair would cost,
• and via such "repairs", our $180/hour Diebold "Project Manager, Hiner, orally promised to make them all "fit for use" in November's election.

A really good arrangement for Diebold, and a pretty bad one for us, under Bennett's "management", I think most would say.

(This is also the meeting - though not on the agenda, as usual, when Bennett wanted to proffer a "surprise public attack" on anyone he saw to possibly negatively impact his power - at which Bennett attempted to discredit the Election Science Institute's then-recently completed audit, which has been since nationally used and referred to in attempts of other experts to set new and better voting standards. See Video: Board Attacks Election Science Institute)

While I disagree that these Diebold machines that "count" our votes with secret software, inside "black box" machines can, even when working correctly, ever be made "fit for use" in a citizens' election, the board , even after I asked about their demanding some Diebold warranty of Hiner's promise, neglected to do even that.

When looking at some of the documents involved in what appears to be a cozy little arrangement that Diebold and others have going for themselves, the facts of financial responsibility to us, the taxpayers, become even more astounding.
• The "Diebold Tech Associate Attachment" that shows:
  • "the analyzers" of unknown capability making $75/hour to determine "our costs"for fixing their failures
  • "the fixers"- also unknown and unpromised at $135/hour
  • and even our paying their travel costs, for shipping for stuff they didn't bring, or their need to send machines out because they couldn't fix them.
  • And shows the "sole source" letter saying no one else but Diebold could possibly do such an assessment and repairs.
• The $268, 650 contract, that even says N/A, on the line that could have made Diebold financially liable for not finishing the "work" on time.

• One of the Diebold repair logs from September about what the above folks "found."

Hiner's as usual, droll memo, dated 9/14/06, stating that yep, "Phase One", Diebold-talk for their "analyzing time" was on course with their estimated charges; and reminding that there still were many other unknown expenses involved that Cuyahoga would be paying.

Then unlike the behavior of most normal consumers under such circumstances, even during the November 7 election the CCBOE did NOT keep logs of Diebold failure rates!

To give some window of just how "fit for use" those hundreds of thousands of "analysis and repair" dollars gave to voters (and poll workers) of this county, however, I offer here a rather unintelligible report (as it came, as usual from the CCBOE,) which reflects some of the calls that came into the board for help at the polls.

Though the report is titled "all calls" it is apparent from reports made during the election day meeting that there were many other calls of varying kinds; and there may be various other types of reports at the board, "pink sheets" and "security log" reports from the polls, hundreds of sheets and not easy to post.

One does not need to be able to actually read, nor even to take this report as totality, to be able to immediately notice numerous reports of again broken printers (AVPM or other such permutations,) bent signature plates, broken legs and more.

Since November 7, nary has the board, including Bennett, said one word to Diebold about all the very potentially wasted money involved in purchase and "repairs." The only Diebold conversation that has been undertaken has been about their absolutely failing, $7,000 each EMP's. (See The Diebold EMP Folly)

Bennett said when this Diebold junk breakage issue started before November, that the fault lay, NOT with Diebold junk - but with his previously not being appropriated MORE $1/2 millions from Diebold, for their also junky roll carts.
He eventually got those, though Diebold was very late in their delivery of them (I guess their tin tube maker of legs, or rubber wagon wheel supplier was on vacation) - again to no financial loss to Diebold.

In early August, '06 Bennett also got more of what he wanted, ANOTHER $4-5 million from the County Commissioners, to buy 900 MORE of the junky, riggable Diebold machines, plus many of the supplies that Diebold also sells, and are needed to actually make the machines work.

The Commissioners did not voice much agreement with Bennett's stated need for the new machines, in fact they showed that he was using invalid voter numbers to show the need for the more millions. But they went along with the new appropriation that went from county taxpayer coffers almost all directly into Diebold's pockets, seemingly to just try to finally settle all the difficulties with the Board and with the already huge investment in May's election.
(After the July release of the CERP Report, about May's election, containing often scathing reports about top management behavior, (see Section 7) among other things, there had already been two 2-2 splits among the board, with the Dems trying to oust of Vu and Dillingham then, and the Republican members wanting them to stay. Eventually with Blackwell supposed to break the tie, and the influx of new money, and the appointment of former BOE director, Tom Hayes, at $4,000/week, to babysit Vu to get the county through an election and allow Vu and Dillingham to save face and some money, the Director and Deputy stayed for another few months until their March, '07 ouster )

At that Commissioners' 8/9 meeting, Florkiewicz's appeal for the additional county millions was different than Bennett's inflated numbers. She repeated more than once, that we needed MORE of Diebold machines, to act as back up to the 5,000+, used-one-time, and "repaired" junk, when they would break down AGAIN!

Especially when you add OTHER items just on the same 8/23/06 CCBOE meeting agenda mentioned above regarding repairs, the pattern becomes unmistakable. It contained a:
  • Sole Source Agreement with Diebold for Level 2/3 Support Specialists to provide part time support to the County for GEMS related questions or issues. ($47,250.00)
  • Sole Source Agreement for Diebold for Director and Product/Implementation Subject Matter Expert (Jessica Hiner.) ($61,200.00)
  • Sole Source Agreement for Diebold for Co-Project Manager (Peggy Patton) $91,800.00)
All three were part time for a few months. Though reports about the tech made it consistently appear that he actually helped a great deal, the latter two women making $180/hr. were rarely seen at the CCBOE, were unable to offer many substantive answers if any, and were, however, great at finding new ways to get more Cuyahoga money.
Hiner who, it appears from other agreements may have double dipped on her time also as a "trainer", appeared at most CCBOE meetings. She mostly carried back and forth "answers" she herself didn't know - until November 7, when her contract was over. That's how much our "product specialist" cared about what she left in her wake at the CCBOE.

Given all of the above, do YOU consider the board's action under Bennett fiscally responsible, with YOUR taxpayer money?
Even the first approximate 5,000 "free" machines, as they are termed, were paid with federal taxpayer funds, as horribly routed often by friends of riggable voting machine makers, with HAVA, the Help America Vote Act of 2002.
Or does the Cuyahoga board's behavior under Bennett, their non-accountable, continued piling on millions to Diebold, while demanding NO responsibility from the vendor - almost as if they were trying to keep up with some quota - bring other phrases to mind?

Friday, April 6, 2007

Does Mr. Bennett Even Perceive What ELECTION SECURITY IS, or Want To?

Outlined just in the two posts directly below are many examples of Mr. Bennett's:
  • cover-ups and obfuscations instead of sound management and identifying and solving problems
  • and his attacking "his opponents" who want fair, accurate elections, and in fact anyone who negatively impacts his public face of power
Here are some videos that show that:
  • since February, 2004's board decision to buy 5,000 + Diebold touchscreen machines, in ways the public had little way of discovering, and while Bennett was an old friend of O'Dell, still then a Diebold head
  • and despite the fact that interested citizens had brought mounds of factual support about the many Diebold equipment operational and security attack vectors, he allowed the purchase order to be signed on 11/11/05 with a non-publicly made decision -
Mr. Bennett STILL has no idea about critical factors of electronic election security that he was to be ultimately managing, nor did he ever care to.
1. Watch what we found before that 11/7/06 meeting even started, during the normal 20 - 60 minute wait - this one a 40 minute wait for the board to appear.
(What WERE they doing all those times? Having illegal non-public sessions?)

2. Now watch what Bennett and the board had to say about that huge security danger when asked about it on 3/21/06. Just a "housekeeping item"?

3. And what the head of CCBOE election security had to say on 3/21/07 about just a few of the potential risks and huge electronic security problems, months-long, citizen-warned before the 11/7/06 mid-term election, but under Bennett's "management" he was permitted to not fix until after the election, in January.

Click here to download a copy of the Cuyahoga Security Plan
(as usual for a CCBOE document, undated, but I saw in late September, and commented upon, as did others, at the 10/2 meeting after overnight input was requested.) This is what it was, until quickly actually added to, on 11/5/06, with bits of public input that many had sent to the Monitor, and were submitted on that date, the first BOE opportunity.
I still have not seen that version, because according Mr. Vu on 11/5, "it was a security document", inferring again the public's nefariousness, but I think it was because it was "a mess". In any case, the massive changes needed, could not have been made and implemented for an election 2 days hence.

For those familiar with computer security, and familiar with the reality of conditions at the CCBOE, the document becomes overwhelmingly incomplete, inaccurate, and even for those who don't know the above, highly confusing.

Mr. Bennett, however, has bragged about the excellence of the plan, very apparently without even reading it.
See this 3/19 post dealing with that 11/5 meeting for more details about his concerted lack of understanding and care about election law, rather than political patronage; and about election security.
(The first video there repeats the first one in this post.)

And MORE, Ultimately "Because MR. BENNETT PERMITS & ENCOURAGES..."

Adding to the post directly below, are my own 11/7/06 questions, (which needed to be answered then to do an effective job as an Observer,) in this video that also shows Mr. Bennett's:
  • attacking or wanting to ignore or stop anyone or thing that might negatively impact his public face, and
  • lack of understanding of the purpose and protocol with attorneys from the prosecutor's office
Once you watch, and hear Assistant Prosecutor Oradini's answer to my question about Observers being allowed to watch provisional ballot verification, then watch the reality of what happened - because Mr. Bennett permits.

The following Monday, the FreeTimes journalist, James Renner, who is also featured in the above video was told by Mr. Lambert, the Assistant County Prosecutor whom we were told ordered me, an officially registered observer of the entire process (and the rest of the public) to be kept out, had not said that at all. Lambert told Renner that the question the CCBOE posed to him was whether or not Observers could roam freely around the building, to which he said no.

It seems that with Mr. Bennett's permission and possibly encouragement, not only was there Observer harassment, (see last November's post, "Observers Treated Like Suspected Criminals") but the CCBOE may have been obstructing ORC 3505.21, the statute allowing Observers to observe the process from election day through election certification.

A Long Look at the Dysfunction of Cuyahoga's 11/7/06 Election Day Meeting - Under Bob Bennett

"Those who do not remember history are condemned to repeat it."
George Satayana

For the full effect of Cuyahoga elections under Bennett, click on each video link and watch for yourself.
Start with#1, Bennett's election night speech, watch each one below,then go back and watch #1 again.

1. Election Night Back at the Board - Bennett's Speech
• Bennett continues to:
  • ignore facts of systemic election problems brought before him at the day's earlier meeting;
  • obfuscate the reality of election day problems, instead of identifying them so they can be solved;
  • inferentially and directly attack "his opponents" who want fair voting;
  • minimize/or not recognize even the dangers of citizens not being able to properly track election precinct reporting results, while also not being able to watch any "counting" inside the Diebold computers.
2. Michael Vu's first report of a "pretty good election," as desired/choreographed by Bennett.
  • confusing polls and precincts and all else, so no one there could get any idea of the problems really going on
  • highly under-reporting problems (as seen later) that he as Director should have had knowledge about, but may not have
  • continuing to blame BOE problems on those who anyone who can't defend themselves publicly, such as pollworkers and custodians
  • inferring that volunteer election day Observers at the polls were obstructive
  • inferring that one citizen problem (as seen "accidentally" later) was a large one, and Bennett, as usual highlights this, as he constantly refers to citizen/voters as the cheats, himself and BOE "pure."
3. Jaqui Maiden's report, when Bennett wanted to highlight citizen cheats. We see Jaqui:
  • already indicted, and hesitantly caught again between telling the truth outright, or helping to paint the Bennett-desired picture;
  • changing the 4 and 14 polls precinct numbers mentioned before, to 20 more with problems;
  • offering assurance that no one was turned away because of machines were not up or malfunctioning, and that all voters were being offered paper ballots, which again turned out to be highly under-"estimated" (as seen later;)
  • mentioning that the BOE had sent out precinct-specific paper ballots to those 20 places, without Bennett even questioning where they were getting those ballots - were they printed off Diebold computers, or the official, numbered and auditable ballots created by the print shop; (Though Bennett had stated numerous times to concerned citizens who came to meetings before the election that an independent audit "by a certified company" would occur, no such independent audit ensued nor was even attempted.)
  • offerring, unlike Vu, that Observers were offering a huge help to a better election day process.
4. Then more Vu report,
  • ascribing the still under-reported long lines at the polls being due to too much on the ballot!
  • and even laughing, with no disagreement from Bennett, that voters were taking the time to read "Issue 1" that had been removed from the ballot- when it was the board's responsibility to have poll workers inform all voters that the issue was removed.
5. And more staff reports, now showing that:
  • despite all the machine problems in May's election, no provision had been made to properly store and immediately count these regular ballots from mostly strongly Democratic precincts, and to separate them from provisionals which needed verification.
  • in my later observing of provisional's not counted, there were a number discounted, just because of missing provisional information - because poll workers were unclear about putting the regular votes into provisional envelopes, and then improperly marking them as regular votes needing no further ID.

6. Then with the intervention of Congresswoman Stepahnie Tubbs-Jones, the few people who had actually been at polls or been monitoring and who came to the meeting for other reasons, began coming forward, revealing systemic problems, and shattering all the "pretty good election"/no major problems picture.

7. Then we can see some video of a late-starting polls, 1 of 16 ordered by the courts to stay open until 9pm - Coventry School in Cleveland Heights.
  • Bennett only angry about the court order never thought to advise staff to inform those poll workers to make sure voters could still find the polls, typically all 16 with strong Democratic voting, but here with no signs, and in November's pitch dark.
  • Also you'll note no poll worker knowing to properly question the presence of the non-voting man who saunters in.

Now, for the full effect of Bennett's obfuscation about Cuyahoga election problems, instead of
  • sound management,
  • finding sources of problems and fixing them,
  • and his unwarranted attacks on "his opponents" who want fair elections,
go back up to #1 and watch his late night speech again.
For all of our sakes, Bob Bennett must leave.

Bennett Removal Hearing Postponed to April 16

From a today's SoS release:
For Immediate Release:
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The public hearing in Cuyahoga County on the potential removal of Robert T. Bennett from the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections has been postponed from Monday to April 16.
William Owen, the hearing officer appointed in the case, recommended to Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner that the hearing be delayed. Bennett's lawyer requested the delay based in part on schedule conflicts.
The April 16 hearing will be held in Euclid City Hall, 585 E. 222nd St., Euclid, in the city council chambers, beginning at 9 a.m.
Bennett, a Republican and the only Cuyahoga County elections board member who hasn't resigned as requested by Secretary Brunner, faces a complaint alleging misfeasance and nonfeasance in office connected to the board's administration of elections over the last few years.
All elections boards are made up of two Democratic and two Republican members.

The complaint accuses Bennett of:
•Failure to adopt adequate procedures for election recounts resulting in the felony convictions of two board employees.
•Failure to competently manage the board's finances.
•Failure to ensure the efficient administration of elections in 2004 through 2006.

All this delay for truly naught, is besides the actions of a panicked human being, so very typical of Mr. Bennett.
Bennett's typical non-caring/ignoring/non-recognition of the effects on citizens, leading to:
• 5+hour "executive sessions", putting us out in the hall in the middle of meetings waiting for "executive results", while the board sat inside munching and talking, (instead of declaring before going into session that the open meeting would continue the next day at a specific time, for instance);
• or almost always delaying the start of open meetings from 20 minutes to up to an hour, while very apparently the board sat in back and talked "illegal executive sessions" before the open ones;
• or at least in 1/3 of cases, changing the long-posted dates/times of regular meetings at the last minute, with less than 24 hours notice.

is oh, too typical of Bob Bennett, demonstrating his need to immediately leave.