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Ohio election fraud investigated ... by the man who caused it

by M.R. Kropko, Associated Press

May 9, 2006

CLEVELAND - Democrats called Monday for Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell to remove himself from an investigation into what went wrong with the primary election in Ohio's largest county.

Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern said Blackwell should step aside because his office is responsible for the rules that govern county election boards that had scattered problems last Tuesday, including poll workers who did not know how to turn on new electronic voting machines. Blackwell, the Republican gubernatorial candidate, faces too many conflicts of interest to properly oversee the probe, Redfern said.

"It's a silly request," said James Lee, a spokesman with the secretary of state's office. "The people of Ohio twice elected Ken Blackwell to serve as secretary of state. He will continue to serve."

Blackwell asked the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections on Friday for an investigation of voting glitches during the county's first attempt at electronic voting using Diebold Inc. touch-screen and optical scan systems.

The board, which met Monday for the first time since the primary, said an independent committee would try to determine what caused failures at polling places. Committee members will have expertise in electronic voting technology and elections administration, and the panel will be asked to provide a report by July 15, said Bob Bennett, who is chairman of both the Cuyahoga County elections board and the Ohio GOP.

In Cuyahoga County, which has a little more than 1 million registered voters, some poll workers did not show up to open voting sites. Officials also ordered the hand-counting of more than 18,000 paper ballots after new optical scan machines produced inconsistent tabulations. The counting was not complete until Sunday night, leaving several local races in limbo for days, and the outcome of one race for state representative was reversed.

Questions remain whether the equipment or the paper ballots, or both, were at fault, said Michael Vu, the county's elections director.

As originally published

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Commentary by Madeline Zane:

This makes perfect sense. In a universe where it's not a conflict of interest for Kenneth Blackwell to simultaneously run Ohio's elections and chair Bush's election committee, and it's not a conflict of interest to buy stock in a company and then award that company a contract to supply unreliable voting machines, the words "conflict of interest" have been reduced to a series of nonsense syllables.

In such a universe, getting an independent entity with no ties to the crooked elections to investigate the crooked elections would be a waste of time and money.

Madeline Zane
Filed under:
Election fraud:
Quietly undermining democracy

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