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News :: Politics
Ohio Recount: Interview with Chair of Franklin County's Board of Elections
26 Dec 2004
If Ohio Secretary of State Blackwell's office is under the impression that the local county election boards are going to back up Blackwell's assertion that everything went well with Ohio's Presidential election, they are mistaken. My conversations with two of them, the two that the secretary's office directed me to call, suggest a long litany of issues that may very
well have changed the outcome of the election.
Date: Sat, 25 Dec 2004 13:47:26 -0800
To: (Recipient list suppressed)
From: radtimes
Subject: Ohio Recount: Interview with Chair of Franklin County's Board of Elections

Ohio Recount: Interview with Chair of Franklin County's Board of Elections

http://www.elitestv.com/pub/2004/Dec/EEN41c754d14d6d9.html

12/20/04

Like Tim Burke, Chair of Hamilton County's Board of Elections, William A.
Anthony, Jr., chair of Franklin County's Board of Elections disagrees with
the uniformly positive statements coming out of Ohio's secretary of state's
office. Carlo LoParo, the spokesperson for Kenneth Blackwell, Ohio's
Secretary of State, encouraged us to contact these local county elections
boards to refute any allegations of problems with Ohio's Presidential vote.
He specifically mentioned that we should contact the chair's for Hamilton
and Franklin County. On December 14th, we reported that Tim Burke had a lot
of complaints regarding decisions made by the Secretary of State. If
anything, Franklin's chairman Anthony went further.

'A lot of the problems and allegations could have been avoided if the
Secretary of State hadn't made the rulings he did in the last few days leading up to the election' said Anthony, 'We in the local election boards
tried to do the best we could [with these rulings]'. Prior to the election,
Franklin county joined in a lawsuit against the state regarding Blackwell's restrictive policies on provisional ballots, restrictions that prevented certain ballots from being counted that would have counted in previous
years. 'In Franklin County, we tried to set up sites specifically for provisional voting ahead of the election to make sure everyone could vote
and all votes were counted...in previous years you could provisionally vote anywhere in your county. We tried to take this step because we knew the
state didn't allow us enough voting machines.' Blackwell's rulings prevented them from having specific sites throughout the county for
provisional ballots. 'All across this county, we didnt have enough voting machines. People are blaming us at the local level, but the real blame
should be placed on Blackwell, HAVA and the Republican state legislature.' Anthony blames the legislature for part of the problems because they did
not vote to authorize paper trails for Ohio's electronic voting machines until late in 2003, too late to change the machines that the counties
already had purchased.

Burke and Anthony both seemed to stress the problems created by Blackwell's
many directives and opinions in the days right before election day. 'Why, since Blackwell has been Secretary of State since 1998 did he wait until 37 days before election day to make this ruling [changing the way we count
provisional ballots]?' Anthony wondered.

Nor can county boards opt to disregard directives or even mere opinions
issued by the Secretary of State's office. 'Even though county board
members are chosen by their party,' Anthony said, 'Blackwell has the power
to remove any board member of any county elections board if they fail to
carry out the law or any of his directives.'

If Ohio Secretary of State Blackwell's office is under the impression that
the local county election boards are going to back up Blackwell's assertion
that everything went well with Ohio's Presidential election, they are
mistaken. My conversations with two of them, the two that the secretary's
office directed me to call, suggest a long litany of issues that may very
well have changed the outcome of the election. Franklin County's Anthony
summed it up thusly, 'There are public hearings coming up, people are angry
and want to see change. thety want uniform voting and something they can
have confidence in. People have no confidence in the system. If people have
no confidence in the system, they will not participate in it. The
perception is that it doesn't work.'

Steven Leser, stevenleser (at) walla.com

This work is in the public domain
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