Updated December 21, 2004

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Ohio Voting Bombshell

Ohio Voting Bombshell

Legitimacy of Ohio Vote Recount Called Into Question After Probe


By Ken Hoop


After several weeks of utilizing Ohio election laws to demand a recount, Third Party presidential candidates David Cobb of the Green Party and Libertarian Michael Badnarik have achieved their first tangible success. Two stunning affidavits recently filed have made it virtually impossible for GOP Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell to tidily sabotage the recount process.

Truthout.org, the congressional offices of Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), and other sources have web site postings of the affidavits of Sherole Eaton, deputy director of the Board of Elections in Hocking County, and of Evelyn Roberson, a participant in the Greene County recount.

Cobb first alerted Conyers to these affidavits in congressional hearings held in Columbus, Ohio, Dec. 13. Conyers then sent letters to FBI special agent in charge of Ohio, Kevin R. Brock, and the Hocking County prosecutor, Larry Beal, on Dec. 15.

Conyers letter states:

As part of the Democratic staff’s investigation into irregularities in the 2004 election I have learned that Sherole Eaton, a deputy director of the Board of Elections in Hocking County, Ohio has first hand knowledge of inappropriate and likely illegal election tampering in the Ohio presidential election in violation of federal and state law. . . . Similar actions may be occurring in other counties in Ohio. I am therefore asking that you immediately investigate this alleged misconduct and consider immediate impoundment of election machinery to prevent any further tampering.


Conyers then points out that Ms. Eaton asserts that on Dec. 10 Michael Barbian Jr., a representative of Triad GSI, unilaterally obtained access to Hocking County voting machines and records. He proceeded to “modify the computer tabulator, learn which precinct was planned to be the subject of the initial test recount and made further alterations based on that information and advised the election officials how to manipulate the machinery so that the preliminary hand recount matched the machine count.”

Ms. Eaton first relayed this information to Green Party representatives and then completed, signed and notarized an affidavit describing this course of events.

The affidavit of Ms. Eaton claims technician Barbian also explained how to post a “cheat sheet” on the wall so that only Hocking County workers would know what it meant, so that those conducting the hand “recount” of the pre-ordained precinct could make the final results correspond with the published computer count.

This shows that vote fraud gumshoes like the Collier brothers, the authors of the book Votescam: The Stealing of America, and Jim Condit Jr., of votefraud.org, were correct in charging that hand recounts of a pre-designated small fraction of ballots are meaningless because those precincts must be selected weeks in advance, removing the element of randomness.

Votecobb.org charges that officials in many counties know which precincts are slated for recount well in advance. Board of Election officials and their vendors can ensure any recount matches initially published results.

Both affidavits swear that one private company, Triad, services the computerized systems in these two counties, confirming Christopher Bollyn’s AFP reports of several weeks past.

The Dec. 15 New York Times carries a Tom Zeller story stating, “Among other things, Ms. Eaton says in her affidavit that a representative of Triad Governmental Systems, the Ohio firm that created and maintains the vote-counting software in dozens of Ohio counties, made several adjustments to the Hocking County tabulator last Friday in advance of the state’s recount.”

Triad in fact is utilized in 43 of 88 Ohio counties.

Election officials in 99 percent of the 3,100-plus counties in the United States use private companies—Triad, Diebold Election System and Software (ESS) and Sequoia, and a few other minor players. These corporations maintain that their software is proprietary and the courts have allowed these companies to keep their software secret from the public.

What makes this so disturbing was highlighted by veteran reporter Ronnie Dugger in the August 2004 Nation magazine: “On Nov. 2, millions of Americans will cast their votes for president in computerized voting systems that can be rigged by corporate or local election insiders. Five out of every six [American voters] will consign their votes into computers that unidentified programmers, working in the main for four private corporations and the officials of 10,500 election jurisdictions could program to invisibly falsify the outcomes.”

As the Colliers noted in Votescam, the computers that spoke in November 1988 held in their inner workings small boxes that contained secret codes that only the sellers of the computers could read. The programs were regarded as “trade secrets.”

The sellers of the vote-counting software zealously guarded their programs from everyone on the dubious grounds that “competitors could steal their ideas if the source codes were open to inspection.”

In his letter to the FBI and Hocking County prosecutor, Conyers stated that the actions of the Triad technician appeared to violate several Ohio laws, including one that requires that during a period of canvassing (recount), all interaction regarding ballots must happen in the presence of all relevant officials in that county.

To compound Triad’s problems, Ohio Secretary of State Blackwell issued instructions on Friday Dec. 10 that the state was in a period of canvassing and at least one Democrat and one Republican should be present for any phase of the recount.

Lawyers working with the Green and Libertarian candidates have added “election tampering” to the civil suit filed against the state of Ohio, AFP has learned.


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