- a Diebold /Premier lawsuit against Cuyahoga, making them a seeming political as well as seeming competence/ethical liability;
- the 6/20/08 decision by the CCBOE, the largest of Ohio counties, to adopt the more expensive, less popular system, ES&S system over Hart InterCivic
- the possible plans of Hart to also take legal action – in this case, non-pre-emptive, but to legally pursue the still lingering questions from the CCBOE decision to not choose their lower and seemingly best bid.
- SoS Brunner’s planned gathering the Board of Voting Machine Examiners on 7/3/08 to possibly release evidence of some Hart deficiency, after the CCBOE bidding and procurement decision
What about Hamilton County’s continued seemingly enjoyed use of Hart. Might they need to change too?
Former Hamilton Director, John M. Williams after Cincinnati’s exhaustive search, chose and seems to like that company. See video of him explaining voting, and showing the now possibly SoS-questioned Hart “card reader" here. Other news articles, including the one near the bottom of this post echo his Hart approval.
The Hamilton Cnty. BOE Shuffle
However, on June5, ’08 the Hamilton County BOE board underwent it’s own shuffle, like some others during Brunner’s reign, (see PD editorial about claimed Brunner partisanship “meddling”, anti-Rep. actions, Hands On to a Fault, here or here.)
That Hamilton action, which took place just weeks ago, on June 5, 2008, made R- John Williams the Deputy Director (assistant,) now answering to his former Elections Administrator, now Hamilton County Director, D- Sally Krisel.
It also made Alex Triantafilou, the Hamilton County GOP chair, also the Hamilton BOE chairman, having him slip into the post held by Tim Burke, the county Dem chair, who became No. 2. (Under OH law, the BOE must be comprised of 2 D’s and 2 R’s; the BOE Chair and Director need to be of opposite parties; as do the Director and the Deputy Director.)
Because of the shuffle's odd timing- after the March 4 Primary - and its quietness to the public, this also might lead to additional questions about "meddling" (as the PD editorial called it) and/or mandates.
Though I may yet need to learn of additional laws, or SoS Directives that might apply here, we do have Brunner’s Directive 2008-31 about BOE “reorganizations” dated February 28, 2008. It reminds all Ohio boards that they are required to "reorganize" between March 2, 2008 and March 6, 2008, in the manner provided in R.C. 3501.09, and includes some further instructions. It says in part:
DIRECTIVE 2008-31 February 28, 2008 To: All County Boards of Elections
Re: Reorganization meeting
Boards of Elections are required to "reorganize" between March 2, 2008 and March 6, 2008, in the manner provided in R.C. 3501.09. You should carefully follow the procedures stated in this section to assurc that your county board's reorganization is properly conducted. Prior to conducting the meeting at which board reorganization takes place board members should review Directive 2007-01 regarding the minimum qualit1eations of directors and deputy directors. These qualifications should be considered desired attributes of those persons being nominated for those positions, but individuals who are being renominated for their current positions or where the board is nominating a current director for the deputy direct position and/or vice versa, no newspaper advertising is necessary to prepare the board to fill the position.
Natural questions must follow:
- Was this the second or first 2008 “reorganization” for the Hamilton County BOE ?
- Under what laws, or directions/why was the late-May announced/June-effected reorganization done?
Also, the excellent Plain Dealer journalist who covers the Cuyahoga board, Joe Guillen, quoted now former Hamilton Director Williams on June 16, 2008 - in the midst of the CCBOE’s seeming “Is it ES&S or Hart” procurement decision.
His 6/16 article about Cuyahoga (http://blog.cleveland.com/metro/2008/06/elections_chief_wants_board_to.html) titled Elections chief wants new equipment bought this week, stated:
…(Cuyahoga Director) “Platten favors Election Systems & Software, which supplied the scanners for the successful March primary, but that company carries the higher price tag. The firm's proposal includes a rental price for November because its more modern, digital scanners won't be available until 2009.In Guillen's June 27 PD article, “Voting machine company (I add - Hart) questions pick of Cuyahoga board (I add -ES&S)” Guillen quotes Platten as having talked to the Hamilton deputy director many times, but she apparently did not mention former Director, John Williams’ name.
Hart InterCivic, the other company considered, has digital scanners available for fall -- and the lower cost.
Hamilton County, which includes Cincinnati, has used Hart scanners since 2006. Elections Director John Williams said the county hasn't had problems. Williams pointed out that Hart was the first company to have its digital scanners certified in Ohio.
"Hart's doing what everyone else is trying to do," he said.”
So when considering Hamilton County's BOE and their use of Hart InterCivic, and the larger question of this post, - will all of Ohio migrate to ES&S? - maybe the next questions need to be whether or not the recent Hamilton BOE shuffle is at all related? - Asked of the Hamilton County board members, and of Sally Kisler , new Director of the Hamilton BOE.
Though the blogs tell us she’s an "Obama girl," it seems that before any more Ohio counties possibly pour more Ohio taxpayer millions into electronic election system vendors pockets, seemingly mostly heading ES&S’s way, maybe we should be asking now:
- How far at “serving at the pleasure of the Secretary of State," does Kisler see her new role?
- And what does she currently think of Hamilton’s Hart InterCivic experience? What does she think of ES&S?