Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Arrests & blowback from Ohio's 2004 stolen election

MAR 17 2007
Edited by Sam Smith
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AP - Two county election workers were sentenced
to 18 months in prison for rigging a recount of
2004 presidential election ballots so they could
avoid a longer, detailed review. Jacqueline
Maiden, 60, a Cuyahoga County election
coordinator who was the board's third-highest
ranking employee, and ballot manager Kathleen
Dreamer, 40, each were convicted of a felony
count of negligent misconduct of an elections
employee. Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court
Judge Peter Corrigan allowed the women to remain
free on bail pending appeal, but indicated he
thought there was a more widespread conspiracy
among election officials. "I can't help but feel
there's more to this story," Corrigan said.

BRAD BLOG - Just for the record, only 6 votes
registered for Kerry instead of Bush in each of
Ohio's precincts would have changed the result of
that election.


* * * * *

Blowback from Ohio's 2004 Stolen Election is

By Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman
Common Dreams, March 20, 2007

In a bold move "to restore trust to elections in
Ohio," Ohio's newly-elected Secretary of State,
Jennifer Brunner, has requested the resignation
of all four members of the Cuyahoga County Board
of Elections. The two Democrats and two
Republicans were formally asked to resign by the
close of business on March 21. Cuyahoga County
includes the heavily Democratic city of
Cleveland. Brunner is a Democrat who was elected
to be Ohio's Secretary of State in November,

Felony convictions have also resulted in 18-month
prison sentences for two employees of the
Cuyahoga BOE as a result of what the county
prosecutor in the case calls the "rigging" of the
outcome in the recount following the 2004
presidential election. Further problems surfaced
in the conduct of Cuyahoga County's May, 2006
primary, in the wake of which Michel Vu,
Executive Director of the county's Board of
Elections recently resigned.

In tandem, the shake-up in Ohio's biggest county
reflects a widening storm surrounding the outcome
of the 2004 presidential election and the conduct
of elections overall in the nation's most pivotal

Among those Brunner has asked to resign is
Cuyahoga County BOE Chair Robert Bennett, who
chairs Ohio's Republican Party. Voting rights
attorney Cliff Arnebeck and others have long
charged that Bennett worked closely with White
House advisor Karl Rove and Ohio's then-Secretary
of State J. Kenneth Blackwell to secure Bush's
2004 victory in Ohio.

Bennett responded to Brunner by saying that he
will refuse to resign. He has placed the blame
for the May 2006 primary problems on private
voting machine vendors, including Diebold.
Bennett claims the rigging of the 2004
presidential recount was caused by the Cuyahoga
County Prosecutor's office, according to the
Columbus Dispatch.

If Bennett and other Board members refuse to
resign by Wednesday, Brunner says they "will face
a complaint and public hearing to be conducted in

In the 2004 presidential election, Cuyahoga
County suffered serious election irregularities
that worked to the disadvantage of Democratic
presidential candidate John Kerry. Among them:
the purging of 24.93% of all the voters in the
city of Cleveland, where Kerry won 83% of the
vote; mysterious and suspect vote totals for
third party candidates in majority African
American wards; unexplained "security" problems
that caused the last-minute shift of voting
locations in the inner city Cleveland Public
School polling places; improbably low apparent
turnouts in heavily Democratic inner city wards,
and more.

Brunner's request for the resignations comes a
week after two Cuyahoga County election workers
were each sentenced to 18 months in prison for
rigging the recount of the 2004 election in
Ohio's biggest county. These are the first prison
terms issued in the escalating scandal over the
vote count that gave George W. Bush a second stay
in the White House. The two women are out on bail
pending appeal. But the substantial jail time
demanded by Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge
Peter Corrigan indicates there may be more trials
and convictions yet to come, especially in light
of new evidence unearthed by the Free Press in
other counties around the state.

Jacqueline Maiden and Kathleen Dreamer were each
convicted of a felony count of negligent
misconduct by an election board employee. Maiden,
60, was the Cuyahoga Board of Elections'
third-highest ranking employee.

Dreamer, 40, was ballot manager. Maiden and
Dreamer were also convicted of a separate
misdemeanor. A third defendant in the case was
acquitted of all charges.

The Free Press has unearthed evidence indicating
possible criminal misconduct by a wide range of
election officials throughout the state,
including Blackwell. Under the law, election
boards are required to do recounts by choosing 3%
of a county's voters at random for sampling. But
throughout the state, apparently with the
explicit knowledge and approval of Blackwell,
precincts were hand-counted for recounting, a
criminal act. This non-random sampling in essence
voided the recount, for which backers of the
Green and Libertarian Parties paid more than

According to the prosecution in the case against
Maiden and Dreamer, this method of action led to
the recount being illegally "rigged." When
investigators working with the Free Press
attempted to audit the Cuyahoga County ballots
from the 2004 election last summer, BOE officials
were unable to find the ballots for four full
days. The investigation team, led by Richard
Hayes Phillips, had to find the ballots on their
own. Under Ohio law, the ballots were to be
locked in a known location, and secured by two
keys, one controlled by each major party.

Brunner says she acted in part because she is
concerned that many of the problems from 2004 and
2006 might resurface in the upcoming 2008
election. "With maximum 18-month prison sentences
being handed down to two Cuyahoga County election
workers last week, for their role in the 2004
presidential recount, the tremendous problems
that surfaced in the May 2006 primary that
delayed even the unofficial vote count for five
days, and the uncertain future of this board as
another Presidential election looms on the near
horizon, it is incumbent on me as Secretary of
State to provide the direction needed to get this
troubled board on track," she says. "The voters
of Cuyahoga county deserve it, the citizens of
Ohio expect it and the rest of the nation will be

In the 2006 primary, Cuyahoga County used the
controversial Diebold touchscreen voting
machines. These machines suffered a
well-publicized meltdown, in which many
malfunctioned. A report from the Election Science
Institute (ESI) documented significant
differences between votes actually cast on the
machines as opposed to those officially counted.

Immediately following the election, 562,498 votes
were reported cast in Cuyahoga County, with
30,791 listed as absentee or provisional ballots.
But the official results show just 468,056
counted. This means that 94,442 ballots cast in
the unofficial total disappeared in the official
tallies, representing a shocking 16.8% of all the
votes cast in Cuyahoga.

Michael Vu, who was the Cuyahoga BOE executive
director, came under intense criticism for the
bitter controversies surrounding both the 2004
and 2006 elections. Last month, he resigned "to
pursue future career growth," according to a
Cuyahoga County Board of Elections release.

In an interesting and perhaps telling statement
coming from a Republican who was commenting on an
appointee supported by the Democratic Party,
Bennett said "Michael Vu has worked hard and
accomplished a great deal on behalf of Cuyahoga
County votes and will, I am sure, continue to
have success in his career of public service.

"Michael oversaw a difficult transition period at
the Board including the implementation of a new
electronic voting system county-wide in the May
(2006) primary followed by a near flawless
general election," Bennett concluded.

Brunner's action underscores a growing sentiment
that the unraveling of what happened during and
after the 2004 election has only just begun.

The Free Press has learned that Brunner's office
is also investigating an unexplained undercount
in the 2006 general election in six Ohio counties
which all used the Diebold TSX DRE voting
machines. In Montgomery County, where the
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ted Strickland
beat Blackwell, the Republican nominee, by
107,593 to 76,189, there was an abnormally high
13.76% of the machines registering no vote for
the state's highest office. Problems are also
under investigation in Adams, Darke, Highland,
Mercer and Perry Counties.

With stiff prison terms, forced resignations and
widespread investigations underway, there is a
well-founded sense in Ohio that much more is yet
to surface about the disputed presidential
election of 2004 and what has come after it.

Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman are authors,
with Steve Rosenfeld, of WHAT HAPPENED IN OHIO?
2004 ELECTION & IS RIGGING 2008, available via

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