Independent investigation needed for Board of Elections

The problems have already exponentially increased by having the local Sheriff do the investigation. As part of the “Monarchy of Montgomery County,” Sheriff Plummer has been been part and party to other questionable actions in office. Of course, regular readers know that his sister was making ridiculous money as an appraiser, and had been granted more money per appraisal than was allowed by law.

If the Board of Elections had one shred of integrity, it would call for an impartial investigator from outside the region, preferably, assigned by the Secretary of State, Jon Husted, who is the only elected elections officer in the state (sad, but true). If the fact that this Board of Elections tried unsuccessfully to have this Secretary of State called on violations of the residency requirements is an issue, there is always the ability to ask the Federal Elections Commission for an investigator.

That once again, we end up with another problem with a person who got the job through nepotism isn’t a piece of news- since EVERY SINGLE employee of the Board of Elections is there as a favor to some political party big wig or donor is exactly why we have these problems in the first place- from the DDN article:

“I trained dozens of poll workers and I know exactly what I said because I said it every day for three months,” said Kym Brush, a retired employee of the board of elections. “The two-page ballot was talked about in great detail. It was my perception that they understood what I was talking about.”…

“That will be determined by the sheriff’s investigation and reviewed by the prosecutor’s office,” he said.

via Sheriff’s Office launches investigation into allegations against elections board

As pointed out by a reader (“Are You Kidding Me”)  to this site:

Brush is the wife of Montgomery County Clerk of Courts Gregory Brush.  The Clerk of Courts is a unionized office that is represented by the same labor union (allegedly) that Board member Tom Ritchie works for.

Gregory Brush also employs his father at the Clerk of Courts office.

The whole elected body of Montgomery County, at both city and county levels- as well as those serving as state legislators have benefited at one time or another from help from the people at the Board of Elections- either through direct services such as pre-turn in petition signature checking from Board of Election employees on their “lunch hour” (which is paid since the BOE is open from 8-4) – where the elections chiefs send them out to the lobby to check them so it’s not done in their “official capacity”- or through the forced kickback of $125 per every $10k of salary to the political party machine.

Having anyone from inside this county do an investigation is a farce.

But, here it is from the above mentioned DDN article:

The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office launched an investigation Thursday into allegations that election officials failed to report that some provisional voters in the November 2006 election did not receive full ballots.

The two-fold investigation also will focus on a document included in the accusation that was mailed to boards of election across the state that was removed illegally from the county office.

Sheriff Phil Plummer said he met with members of the Montgomery County Board of Elections on Thursday, who asked for an internal and criminal investigation.

“It’s very early in the game right now, but the investigation is officially under way,” Plummer said.

In the interest of making sure that no more incriminating documents are “lost”- the entire office should be shut down, employees put on other tasks- such as roadside trash collection, and the crime scene should have been sealed. One can bet, there have been other things sent to the shredder in the last three days- and that plans and plots to misdirect investigators have already been hatched.

 

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13 Responses

  1. Fact Check May 20, 2011 / 7:02 am
    109 of 548 precincts not handling ballots correctly sounds like a failure to train and notify to me.  Am I missing something?

    It seems the City of Dayton precincts had more problems than outside of the city by my rough estimate.  We should see if there is a pattern that shows it happened more in one area of town or the county versus another.

    Very odd to see the Sheriff is doing an investigation on behalf of the BOE Directors that signed off on the payroll for a convicted rapist to work in the county building.  How can anything the BOE Directors say about record keeping be taken seriously if they were involved something like that?  The Sheriff is responsible for security in that building I think.  Did the Sheriff investigate the BOE after that incident happened at the very least for safety reasons?

  2. Fact Check May 20, 2011 / 7:38 am
    Mrs. Brush claims that she taught poll workers for 3 months during that election.  Does that mean poll worker training started in the first or second week of August prior to the 11/7/2006 election?  I don’t think it did.  Can they prove poll worker training started that early prior to that election?  Can they prove she “said it every day” 7 days a week or 5 days a week during training classes for 3 months?  My guess is that most poll workers had some accurate training but the training overall was a failure as we know.  I guess the debate will be over what the definition of failure is to train is.
  3. Bill May 20, 2011 / 8:47 am
    I applaud the efforts of all to hold the county accountable. The Montgomery County Sheriffs Department/Phil Plummer has proven himself, as unlawful, as the criminals he prosecutes!
    Independent Investigation will instill the necessary checks and balance system, necessary to keep the system running with integrity!(or at least its a start)
    Sheriff Plummer has proven himself, and his department very quick to sweep integrity issues “under the carpet” quickly. Why would we not assume he would do the same again and again……?
    Public office should welcome any checks and balance system.
     
  4. Hall May 20, 2011 / 8:54 am
    David, I won’t dispute that something stinks and it’s painfully obvious that there’s a lot of “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” in local gov’t, but please back up this statement with a bit of fact please (or are you exaggerating like you often seem to do?):

    “since EVERY SINGLE employee of the Board of Elections is there as a favor to some political party big wig or donor”

    By the way, where is a how-to on how to use this comment form box ? I want to ‘quote’ the last statement but it wants to indent my whole post…

  5. mcohio May 20, 2011 / 9:09 am
    A few things, first, not every employee is there as a favor for a contribution or politician. While the GOP side of the office has come farther along than the democrat, the majority of rank and file employees are competent in their jobs and many are uninvolved in politics outside the BOE office.
    Kym Brush is on a medical retirement from the County and works as a bartender in Vandalia. She had a reputation as an excellent trainer, respected by both parties. The training manuals can be requested from the BOE and it will show emphasis in writing and supported in training that the ballot would be two pages.
    These 600 second pages are a minor issue. This happens in every county in Ohio and across America. The voting system is only as dependable as the voter and the poll worker. The fact that 80% of the precincts got it right shows that it was taught and emphasized. This issue, almost 5 years old, is merely one gotcha moment that has allowed those who have been abused by Director Steve Harsman to bring to light his lack of leadership, morality, ethics, character, judgement and management ability.
    The folks who sent that letter aren’t concerned about the integrity of the election. The elections in this county are safe and secure. No amount of voter fraud, led from the BOE offices, will ever be found. The investigation will only show Steve Harsman’s prefers to manage his office by intimidation, threats, harassment and humiliation of staff. No staff member currently employed or previously employed will debate this.  From reading his employees email, to watching his staff on cameras, to commenting on women’s clothing, to making unwanted advances on female subordinates and placing him above the very rules he institutes upon his staff, Steve will be exposed.
    Thanks to the Sheriff’s Department one or two employees and one or two former employees will be blamed. Charges will be filed and Steve will be vindicated and held in high regard by Owens and company as the protector of Democracy. Steve and his hair plugs will not be fired or even disciplined. You see, Marc Owens and the Democratic Leadership already knows these things about Steve. They have been told time and time again. There is nothing new to be learned here, only the hope that more and more people outside the confines of the Democratic inner circle learn the true nature of the man they hold is such regard.
  6. David Esrati May 20, 2011 / 9:25 am

    @Hall- The employment at the BOE is decided by the Directors- who apparently fall outside of the purview of civil service, since jobs are granted, without posting- and without even an application as proven by the hiring of the rapist That every single one isn’t a political favor- it may be for other reasons- nepotism seems to be one, or hiding people from the public until they can retire so that they can’t cause any more damage- a former health department manager comes to mind.

    As to how to use the “Blockquote” function- highlight a separate paragraph, then hit the quote marks- and it will indent it so that it looks like it’s a different style.

    To make a link- highlight the text you want to be a link- hit the link tool (it looks like a chain)- and enter the URL.

    @McOhio- while you say:

    ” aren’t concerned about the integrity of the election. The elections in this county are safe and secure. No amount of voter fraud, led from the BOE offices, will ever be found.”

    Yet, maybe it’s the elections that aren’t held- thanks to over zealous enforcement of draconian rules to exclude people from the ballot, and – the preference given party people with the pre-checking of signatures? Either or- this is a den of impropriety.

  7. Hall May 20, 2011 / 9:43 am
    I wonder if the formatting tools don’t work properly in Google Chrome. The methods you explain are how I was trying already and it does work in Firefox…
  8. David Esrati May 20, 2011 / 9:53 am

    @Hall- probably true. I’m a big fan of anything but Internet Exploder- but, when it comes down to it- I only truly trust Firefox not to have an ulterior motive- and to work to standard.
    I’ve yet to find a compelling reason to switch to either Chrome or Safari- despite Firefoxes slowness- and other minor issues.

  9. Gary May 20, 2011 / 10:42 am
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Politics_of_Dayton,_Ohio

    Lest we forget, Dean’s election is coming up, and it’s probably going to be fixed … So instead of looking back on dirty politics, why not try to nip this election in the bud first … In that, let’s go to Nan who used to work for the County and get a snowball rolling … I also find it funny that Joe Tuss of the County economic development department  once worked for the City in Economic Development, odd …
    Seems to me the majority of the politics in Dayton and Montgomery County are fixated on the politicians keeping their jobs rather than the work … But a lot is getting done, too!  And I swear Debbie Lieberman had a funny look on her face when she asked the Human Services lady to give her report, who is Black!  Seems all the high profile White politicians are racist!

  10. Eric Worthen May 20, 2011 / 10:55 am
    I have seen posts that seem to cast dispersion upon ALL of those at the Board of Elections… which in my personal experience is completely wrong.  I had the pleasure of working with some extremely competent and dedicated professionals who were doing a valued civic duty in order to provide for their families (shout out to Robin Titus if you’re reading!).  This in no way relieves any burden on the leadership though.  Regardless of the origin of this document— it warrants a thorough investigation, and due to the grossly incestuous nature of this political web, I believe warrants external entities to conduct this investigation.  There can be no assurance of propriety on behalf of the voter unless we have some serious disclosure.  Perhaps federal involvement is needed…
  11. David Esrati May 25, 2011 / 6:13 am

    Hmm- since when do the accused get to proclaim their own innocence? From today’s Dayton Daily News- the Elections board proclaims they are guilt free:

    With board member Tom Ritchie absent, the three remaining members approved a bipartisan statement calling the allegations “an obvious attempt to slander the Board of Elections and its leaders in an unfounded effort to destroy voter confidence in our election process.”….

    The board formally requested an internal and criminal investigation, both of which have already started….

    A board effort to validate the anonymous information resulted in the discovery that the official version of the document, a precinct checklist, was missing from a locked vault accessible only by a two-employee team made up of one Republican and one Democrat.

    Official, final results of tabulated ballots on file with the county do not match the information in the anonymous document and it does not contain markings like those that are on completed precinct checklists from other elections.

    Board Director Steve Harsman and Deputy Director Betty Smith have denied wrongdoing.

    via Elections board: Anonymous claims false.

    Shouldn’t we wait for the results of the investigation? And, it was my understanding that there was no official version of this sheet- it was a form used to tally the count. Now, there is an official version? Or maybe, the missing “Official version” and what was turned in- were a “field expedient” solution to cover up what this worksheet showed-

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