Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Ohio GOP Charges Laws Not Followed

Update March 7, 2008

See Black Box Voting site thread

(OH) 3/08 - Botched security in Ohio

Original post (Net the Truth Online)

While an Ohio GOP official has charged laws were not followed in the transport of paper ballots, it is would be interesting to discover whether laws in that regard were changed by emergency legislation?

Were these were guidelines? Did rushed emergency legislation alter the laws in unexpected ways?

State allows Cuyahoga to conduct midday ballot pickup for primary

Cuyahoga officials will be permitted to transport ballots from voting precincts to a downtown counting location between noon and 3 p.m. on March 4. The ballots must be delivered by two people from different political parties.

...Only Cuyahoga and the much smaller Van Wert and Mercer counties on Ohio's western edge will count votes at a central location in the primary. The bill, which cleared the House on Tuesday and the Senate on Feb. 6, also permits midday pickup in Van Wert and Mercer.

The central-count optical-scan system has been criticized by the American Civil Liberties Union and others for not scanning ballots immediately at precinct sites, which would allow a voter to correct undervotes or overvotes if a machine rejects a ballot.

Central count systems will be short lived in Ohio - the bill prohibits any county board of elections from tabulating optical-scan ballots at a central location for any election after May 1.

According to Ohio Revised Code Section 3505.25(E), ballots are required to be transported by "members of different political parties," the statement said. But county elections officials now acknowledge those guidelines were not followed, it stated...

Ohio legislative action

SECTION 3. Section 3505.25 of the Revised Code is hereby repealed, ...

Do you know where your ballot is?
Jennifer Brunner's board of elections in Cuyahoga County doesn't. From a ORP press release:

An official observer at the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections confirmed early this morning that the Board is currently searching for approximately 20 missing ballot boxes.

12:15 a.m. Update from Cuyahoga County
Our observer on the scene of the ballot counting process in Cuyahoga County describes it as "pure chaos."

Ohio GOP calls on Cuyahoga County prosecutor to investigate ballot handling
Posted by PD staff March 04, 2008 23:12PM

In a statement, the Ohio Republican Party called on the Cuyahoga County prosecutor to investigate an apparent violation of state election law in the collection and transportation of ballots during polling hours.

According to Ohio Revised Code Section 3505.25(E), ballots are required to be transported by "members of different political parties," the statement said. But county elections officials now acknowledge those guidelines were not followed, it stated.

The chairman of the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections acknowledged to reporters that it appears ballots were not transported today in accordance with state law, the GOP said.

"This is a serious breach of ballot security," said Ohio Republican Party Deputy Chairman Kevin DeWine." Jennifer Brunner took full responsibility for implementing these policies in Cuyahoga County, and she failed to follow through on the basic procedures for protecting the vote. An investigation of this neglect is critical to restoring voter confidence."
Attached to the GOP's e-mailed new release were five photographs that the GOP statement said " demonstrate the unsecure ballot collection process, including loosely taped cardboard boxes, the chaotic ballot counting process and ballot collection forms clearly indicating Republicans were not involved in the transportation of ballots.

The statement said that a Republican observer at the central count location reports 10% of the boxes of ballots arriving are showing stickers not affixed over the slots (meaning ballots could conceivably be inserted). Officials have cut down the access to the observers and they are not allowed in and around the process.

Test in Cuyahoga County

The first test of Ms. Brunner’s plan will occur March 4 during Ohio’s primary election in Cuyahoga County, the state’s largest county and one with a history of Election Day woes. The county was pressured by Ms. Brunner into junking its touch-screen machines in favor of paper ballots to be tabulated electronically with optical-scan machines.

It’s a prototype for what she’d like to see all 88 counties do in November.

The Ohio Senate last week voted to approve a bill granting Ms. Brunner’s request to allow Cuyahoga election officials to transport paper ballots to a central location so that ballot scanning may begin in the afternoon instead of after the close of polls.

There were concerns that the processing of so many paper ballots could delay results on election night.

But the Senate put an expiration date on the measure so it could only apply to the primary. The House could take up the measure this week.

Republicans challenging fairness...

Just got this from the Ohio Republicans ... waiting on a response.

For Immediate Release Contact: John McClelland Tuesday, March 4, 2008 614.228.2481 Major Ballot Security Breach in Cuyahoga County

COLUMBUS - The integrity of the election in Cuyahoga County has been put in question today by a Democrat-controlled ballot pickup process.

Ohio Republican Party field staff on the ground in Cuyahoga County have reported that ballots are being picked up, transported and delivered exclusively by Democrats, which is in clear violation of a Secretary of State directive on midday pickups.

According to the ORP field staff, two self-identified Democrats were in the van carrying ballots from the McKinley Elementary School in Lakewood to the central count location. There were no Republicans with these ballots in transit.

According to a directive from the Secretary of State, there is supposed to be a Republican-Democrat tandem in the van with the ballots.

"It's questionable enough that ballots are being put in boxes and placed in cars to drive around the county, but to remove bipartisan oversight of the ballots while being collected and in transport threatens the integrity of the system," said Ohio Republican Party Deputy Chairman Kevin DeWine. "And Brunner promised the legislature that the midday pickup would be a bipartisan process."..

Related Questions Posed 5 Key States

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