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Database 101 for Board of Elections

Screenshots of same voter, from two different precints.

In today’s Dayton Daily news, Mike Bock, publisher of www.DaytonOS.com, had a letter to the editor urging Dems to run for precinct captain seats. He also covered it in a few posts on his site:

I’m a precinct captain, elected to Dayton 1-D, but how do I know that? Well, funny you should ask.

I’m supposed to be able to go to this site and look up my voter status and polling location: http://www.mcohio.org/boe/voter_information/voter_reg_lookup.cfm [3]

Unfortunately, the middle name field is required, and I can’t look myself up because I don’t have a middle name.

But, my parents who live across the street do have middle names. I can find my father, Stephen G, but when searching for my mother, Nina B, no such person.

What’s more interesting is according to the county site, they are in Dayton 1-E. I was elected to Dayton 1-D, and when calling the current director, Jan Kelly she confirmed those assignments.

Now, here’s where it gets interesting. I have a database of all Dayton voters for my campaign- at www.electesrati.com and it has me in 1-D, but I also have a list of the entire county loaded at www.independentdayton.com and that list, downloaded from the Secretary of States site, http://www2.sos.state.oh.us/pls/voter/f?p=111:1 [4] has me in Dayton 1-E and my parents in 1-F.

Stupid question, but isn’t that the core, most essential information maintained by election officials? Shouldn’t something as simple as what precinct you are in be correct?

Screen shot of Ohio Secretary of States voter data for David Esrati showing wrong precinct [5]

The Secretary of State isn’t told the truth, how can you trust our elections officers?

You can look up my voter location by first searching my name at http://voterlookup.sos.state.oh.us/voterlookup.aspx [6] however it’s a 2-step dance, then having to click on my name to see the polling location: which comes up with Dayton 1-E (see screen shot)

I’d show you mine from the county site, but, alas, I can’t see my registration there because I don’t have a middle name.

When I told Director Kelly about the problem with middle names, she said they’d work on it “if they got more complaints.”

Quite frankly, this Board of Elections can’t be trusted to maintain their own website in the first place. When I wrote the first post in this series, they still had election dates for 2013 posted and that was on Jan 12, 2014 [7] (since updated).

Note, there are no tools for candidates to download the “correct” voter data file from Montgomery County on the county site. With a turn-in deadline of Tuesday for petitions, any questions of voting precinct should be ruled null and void at this point, since the data isn’t verifiable or accurate.

An investigation should also be started since this is probably typical of most county board of elections in the State of Ohio- which are run by un-elected political pogues in patronage positions instead of by qualified election professionals. Never mind the fact that in Montgomery County, they are handpicked by the parties- who engage in what amounts to racketeering- filling the lowly precinct captain positions with people who get paid by the politicians they select and elect through illegal closed door “screening committee” meetings.

The integrity of election data is, and should be, one of the most sacred duties of any public servant. Unfortunately, in Montgomery County, and by extension now the State of Ohio, we look like our elections are being run by amateurs.

There are five different “approved” voter database vendors in the State of Ohio. The question is why? The fact that there are discrepancies between the databases in this instance make one question the integrity of all. There are also difference in field naming, data contained within the fields, lacks of easily sourced data keys (for non-party people trying to utilize this data) and different data maintained by state and local boards. Examples including how election dates are maintained (Montgomery county uses a letter P, S, G and a date 140506 while the State uses the much less cryptic format 05/06/14). The County uses the most arcane, and technically inept way of indicating if someone voted early, absentee or at the polls- using a lower case or capital letter in the election field- something most databases can’t sort on (capitalization) instead of a separate searchable field.

I could go on to point out that I still have a real question of how when sending out postcards to people who requested an absentee ballot via mail, or voted early (can’t tell the difference thanks to their data format) I get returns of first class mail to those voters- saying “undeliverable” – yet they vote.

My confidence in the entire voter registration, Montgomery County Board of Elections, Ohio Secretary of state’s office is nil. I’m currently awaiting a call back from the SOS office, about my latest findings. If you need a visual, here it is:


Screenshots of same voter, from two different precints. [8]

My father votes in the same place, but the precinct name changes

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Thank you , once again, for doing the grunt work necessary to expose that which needs to be exposed. The information you revealed about the MCBOE’s website work product  is  inexcusable, intolerable, and unacceptable for the  good people of MC as well as the State of Ohio.  We deserve better.  It may be that we have to petition the highest law enforcement in the state, AG’s or OIG’s office(s) about this, so that a proper investigation can be conducted.  But lets not hold our breath…
There are no investigative reporters left at DDN and  none of the Columbus or Cincinnati papers do much in the way of investigating reporting anymore either so  exposing this via state media is highly unlikely. An idea that may work: The New York Times loves exposing Midwest corruption–it fulfills their expectations about what they already think.  You have done all the investigative work & published in this blog  is a formidable document exposing them. Only  minimal background copy & fact checking would need to be done—so put it in the hands  of a real reporter, one that may hunger for a Pulitzer, w/you as contributor.  Take it out of the corrupt county & state.
BTW, this is true for a number of your other investigative works published here. TPTB won’t let you qualify as a candidate for an election. Now is the time for them to  feel your thunder!  Show them what change is all about.

Dale C

So sad but what do you expect from the current or past board members or directors?  The bulk of the blame falls on long running director Steve Harsman.  The main drive of director Harsman has always been to scam the county out of every dime he can get through obscene salary, overtime, travel and abuse of county time.  If he was a competent professional working on serving the taxpayers instead of helping himself to the tax dollar trough these types of problems would not exist.  Staff have filled me in on so much disgusting information about the long running director “Hairsman” as they call him it would make your head spin.  He should be in jail and unable to collect PERS if the laws of the state were imposed.  Say hi to Cathy for me Steve! 

Jennifer Alexander

AS I’ve told you before, when I was doing investigations with OEJC that started with the missing ballots from 2004, that then went onto investigating all the MANY differences from Ohio county to county BOE’s from ballot security, to budgets, hiring practices & so forth. I did the first ever investigative study of the differences between all 88 county BOE websites & the sick amount of inaccurate info & outdated info & so forth. I met with the SOS office several times with this report & literally pestered the hell out of them over it…no one basically gave a shit, even with the facts in my hand, nothing came of it. The only fact is…on election day in Ohio, we have 88 DIFFERENT elections. The local county BOE websites MUST be managed at the State level, as the frickin idiots at the local levels will NEVER be able to properly maintain them, so that all info is correct & updated. http://www.opednews.com/articles/genera_paddy_sh_080210_ohio_2008_2c_still_not.htm  No one would listen back then, since our initial research surrounded the 2004 Ohio Election Fraud, the only people that got the story nationally recognized were RFK Jr & Stephanie Jones Tubbs who sadly died. The only sorta local journalist was with the Cincinnati Enquirer. Those who questioned the 2004 election were labeled crazies with Tin Foil Hats. Yet, our in depth investigations uncovered major issues with the local BOE’s & employees, that go far beyond just that particular election, issues that will continue to plague elections going forward. EVERY single BOE in not just Ohio but nationwide needs to be overhauled & investigated, if we are EVER suppose to have faith in our election process. Every single BOE has to adhere to the same security measures for each election, to the same hiring practices without nepotism & they MUST be held legally accountable for any infractions. RFK Jr. was one of the few that was able to get the crimes of the 2004 election published on a national scale with this article in Rolling Stone…it is a MUST read, when reading it go beyond the thought of just this… Read more »

Jennifer Alexander

“See the original story at: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2009/01/prweb1823794.htm Some Final Record Requests For 2008 The below string of letters is regarding ongoing attempts to access Franklin County, Ohio public records. Aaron Ockerman is named in the  requests as someone we are seeking the correspondence between him and the Franklin County Board of Elections (BOE). Aaron Ockerman is a lobbyist for The Ohio Association of Election Officials. This group, The Ohio Association of Election Officials (OEAO) does not make it’s records public, not even the names of the officers of the organization, nor their budget. If Ockerman sends correspondence to any election official in Ohio at their county office (paid for with our tax dollars $$$), that correspondence is a public record. The OEAO is a private corporation that runs the elections in Ohio. They do not make public their members, which can include businesses and organizations interested in elections. Similar organizations are in other states running our US elections across the United States. I have been told that they also do not make their data available. In the past several years, other BOE’s have provided the requested records regarding their correspondence with Ockerman, and we did not have to battle for it. Aaron was also a lobbyist for the election company ES&S and others in his company, State Street Consultants, were lobbyists for Diebold (now Premier). The time frame for the mentioned lobbying on behalf of ES&S and Diebold included but is not limited to when the large original purchase of over $110 million dollars was spent because of HAVA to buy electronic voting machines. The name of Patrick J. Piccininni who is Cc’d by the Franklin County Board of Elections, is one of the Franklin County Prosecutors. The county prosecutors are legal council for the county agencies, including the Board of Elections. Is this a proper usage of the prosecutor, to block public record requests, this service paid for with public (taxpayer) funds? A court case is mentioned repeatedly by the Director and Deputy Director of the Franklin County BOE, “State ex rel Glasgow v. Jones”, and they repeatedly say… “your request… Read more »


Free vacations with our tax dollars, I can afford that! Don’t forget the free parking at the county parking garage for the BOE Director and Dep. Director. 

Dale C

Wow, all of that salary, the scam vacations and Jan and Steve get free parking right next to the front door of the county garage free?  I guess if you are not going to have any shame stealing from the taxpayers you might as well take it all!

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