BOE pointing fingers and contradicting themselves

The latest salvo in the Montgomery County Board of Elections mayhem is that the directors can’t defend themselves because the evidence of their incompetence is missing.

Sort of like the class slacker saying “it’s not my fault because the dog ate my homework.” Read on from a story that was on the DDN homepage but seems to be missing today:

A search through 11 years of Montgomery County elections records failed to turn up the original hand-written report presented as proof that more than 600 provisional voters in the November 2006 election weren’t given full ballots, elections officials said Wednesday.

“It was either illegally removed or it’s not authentic,” county elections Director Steve Harsman said….

…a copy of a “post election ballot inventory” county officials use to verify used and unused ballots. Administrative documents such as this are locked away at board offices, and the keys are in the possession of a Democrat and a Republican, Harsman said.

The document would be considered a public record and anyone could request a copy, but Harsman said the office has no request on file.

“These are allegations about our key staff. They can’t defend themselves, because the records are missing,” said Greg Gantt, chairman of the Montgomery County Board of Elections. “My concern is, now we have stolen records removed from the board somebody is in possession of. We know they’re in possession of them, because they sent a copy out with the letter.”

The four-member board has called for an independent investigation. Assistant Montgomery County Prosecutor John Cumming confirmed “there will be an investigation,” but would not comment further.

via Supposed ‘proof’ of unfair balloting called fake.

There are questions about why the Secretary of State isn’t investigating as the chief, and only elected, elections officer.

But, let’s be honest- this isn’t the first problem at the Board of Elections- we already know about hiring family members, convicted of rape without a job application.

But, let’s go dig up some really old news: June 18, 2004, the Dayton Daily News reported this:

DAYTON – A former Montgomery County Board of Elections employee has accused the board’s Republican director of violating her federal rights when he reneged on a promise to promote her, then sought her dismissal.

An attorney for former board staffer Jeanette Fenton claims Fenton was fired from her $30,000-a-year job because she was suspected of supporting an effort by challengers to county Republican Chairman John White. Fenton worked as the Republican staffer in the campaign finance office at the board’s downtown location. She also claimed that when she told board Director Chris Heizer she needed to go on maternity leave, Heizer asked if she was going to return to work after the leave was over.

“When she told him that she would, Mr. Heizer told her `Good. Don’t pull any of that [FMLA expletive] with me,’  Fenton’s attorney, Terry W. Posey, wrote this month in a letter to the county board of elections.

The Family and Medical Leave Act requires employers to give employees up to 12 weeks unpaid leave following the birth of a child.

Posey has threatened to file a lawsuit unless the board rehires Fenton with back pay and be awarded $100,000 in damages. Fenton was fired by a unanimous vote of the board of elections April 19. Posey did not return a call seeking comment. Board officials declined comment. Fenton’s situation sheds light on the unique situation created by both political parties at boards of election throughout Ohio. Almost all board employees are political appointees who are given jobs based on their work for the Democratic or Republican parties.

In Montgomery County’s case, the board of elections has 31 employees – 15 filled by Democrats and 16 by Republicans, according to deputy director Steve Harsman.

In practice, when employees have fallen out of favor with party officials, they have been quietly removed from their jobs. The board hired Fenton in 2001.

Most boards of election employees in Ohio are at-will employees of the boards and can be fired any time, according to a spokesman for Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell.

Fenton was paid $30,000 to go away. That money came out of the taxpayers’ pockets- for the mistakes of political hacks being given serious jobs.

No, the problems at the Board of Elections won’t go away- just like the disgruntled former worker, who had access to the storage lockers where the incriminating evidence is stored. I’m sure we’ll see plenty more come out.

I’ve heard many times, from many different people, that there were some Diebold voting machines that were sold for cash that was then funneled into political party coffers. I’ve heard about a higher than average retirement with disability from the BOE and of office affairs.

But, when you get right down to it- the problem is that we entrust jobs as important as running honest elections to the two major political parties- whose sole job it is to stop third party and independent candidates from getting on the ballot or getting elected. It’s time for a major revamping of the way we set up our elections overseers in the State of Ohio.

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11 Responses

  1. Butler TWP Repub May 19, 2011 / 8:08 am
    The BOE wants a investigation about the theif of documents taken from tehir off, LMFAO!
    This is a ploy to take the spotlight off themselves. Anyone could have taken that document, dozens of copies were made and passed around the office, Heck look no farther for the theives, they are the ones sitting in their office, with their flat screens TV’s.  Give me a frekin break! Hasrman makes Heizer like a saint. I agree, lets open the investigation and interview Harsman, he’s the true theif.

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  2. Hall May 19, 2011 / 8:37 am
    The story is on the DDN’s website. Titled ”

    Supposed ‘proof’ of unfair balloting called fake”

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  3. Eric Worthen May 19, 2011 / 8:42 am
    I can only speak to the policies and procedures that were in place while I was at board but let me address the Boards response.

    All archived electiion materials are under double lock and key.  One key held by the Director (Steve) and one key held by the Dep. Director (Betty).  If they have internal security problem it only increases the need for investigation by an EXTERNAL entity. 

    As for his assertion that the document may be false-  let us apply Achems Razor!

                                                                           EITHER-
    The information in the document presented to this blog is accurate and the Board is scrambling to coverup an embarrassing incident at the expense of 600 honest voters trying to exercise their constitutional rights. 
                                                                                OR-

    Someone found a blank form- created a false election report that matches the permanent record in terms of number of provisionals cast-  then altered the information with the knowledge that a real report exists and would completely discredit this entire scenario- THEN they introduced it into a public forum with an insistence that it be pulled apart by an independent oversight agency.  Something about this latter scenario doesn’t smell right….

    The smell of desperation is thick in the air.  This feable grasp at straws will not endure scrutiny.  Lies hate the light of day and in the end there is only truth left.  The more the board resists an external investigation in light of these allegations the more it becomes apparent that they DO have something to hide.  I guess all the rhetoric about transparency of government is just that…. rhetoric. 

    Quit attempting to use positions of authority to intimidate these whistleblowers… do what is right and do it now.  Face the consequences of your actions and give the voters of Montgomery County back their constitutional rights that have been paid for in the blood of TRUE Americans!  The more the board fights an external investigation the more it shows they DO have something to hide.

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  4. Eric Worthen May 19, 2011 / 8:50 am
    Just read the DDN article…. so what is it… stolen or fake… you should have compared notes before opening your mouths.  We have the Chairman making one assertion and the Director making another- 

    This being said if the Greg Gannt believes this item to be legitimate (stolen or not) it warrants investigation!  AGAIN I SAY DO YOUR JOB and get an impartial investigative team in and find out whats really going on-  there is no reason the two investigations can’t be conducted at the same time.

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  5. Gary May 19, 2011 / 8:59 am
    Why bother … it was five 5 years ago …

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  6. Eric Worthen May 19, 2011 / 9:08 am
    Your apathy sickens me Gary… men and women are dying daily to protect this nation; their families take solice in the fact that they died for something.  Maybe next time it will be your vote that is arbitrarily denied (if you bother to vote).  Regardless, I will stand by these families who believe their loved ones died for a nation that DOES care about the electoral process-

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  7. Gary May 19, 2011 / 12:08 pm
    @Eric.  Yes man, I vote, and I voted for Obama and haven’t had work since … This post was County, and I admit, I don’t even know what the vote was for back in ’06, probably getting Debbie Lieberman in as a County Commissioner … I vote locally, too!  Since you are so smart, will you do the research for me, i.e., when do we vote for Dayton’s commissioners, in particularly, on Dean Lovelace … I have predicted he will win, by default or cheating … I have stated over and over again you cannot fight City Hall, nor the County nor the BOE apparently, so that’s why I’ve become negative and tired of it.
    I see David has a new post on how to start the BOE investigation — look for my comment there, too!  I do want to help, but it seems hopeless, even when I have faith in Jesus and hope and pray, and I even go out and vote, too, but to a lose lose situation it seems every time!

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  8. Eric Worthen May 19, 2011 / 12:33 pm
    Gary I apologize for my zealous attack of your previous statement but these people rely on us to be disenfranchised and assume that nothing can be done.  If nothing else it keeps these flagrant violators in power.  Apathy on our part is their greatest ally.  Stand, speak, and do not lose heart!  You are not alone!

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  9. Gary May 19, 2011 / 12:43 pm
    Okay Eric, thanks!  I feel like going down there, to the BOE sometimes … But when I try to say something like on a job I get fired!

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  10. Hall May 19, 2011 / 2:54 pm
    It might just be me, but I don’t see the LINK to this story on the DDN’s site now. The article is there if you search for it though.

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  11. gary May 20, 2011 / 5:34 pm
    Since the DDN prints but doesn’t act on city violators, why doesn’t someone TURN TO 2?

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