Montgomery County Board of elections admits 20% fail rate

Blaming the whistle blower isn’t the first step to proving innocence, asking to be investigated by an impartial commission is.

This is lost on both the Montgomery County Board of Elections– and apparently the people who were mailed a 9-page letter yesterday alleging that the 2006 general election had some problems.

Montgomery County elections officials claim allegations that they failed to provide more than 600 provisional voters a full ballot in the November 2006 election are false.

Those same officials are calling for the Ohio secretary of state and the county sheriff’s office to investigation the accusation, which came in a two-page letter with supporting documents, signed by Concerned Election Workers of Montgomery County Ohio….

County elections board Director Steve Harsman said the allegation is false.

“We are very passionate about getting to the bottom of these allegations and pursuing any legal remedy available to us,” he said.

Harsman said that 80 percent of the precincts were 100 percent accurate on the inventory, with matching page numbers.

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted’s office views the matter as a local one, according to spokesman Matthew McClellan.

Sheriff Phil Plummer said he has not been contacted by the elections board.

via Elections board wants investigation.

The secretary of state, as the only elected elections official, is criminal in not conducting an investigation.

The sheriff not starting an investigation on his own, is a failure as well.

The people deserve to know that elections are handled by consummate professionals. Instead what we get is a group of political party hacks out to cover their behinds.

Trouble has been brewing at the Montgomery County Board of Elections for a long time- from the hiring of a family member who is a convicted rapist without a job application, to the firing of a powerful lobbyists son for forging a signature on an absentee ballot. Sooner or later, a whistle blower had to come crawling out of the cesspool that poses as a protector of our rights (when it is in fact, just a patronage factory).

Yes, this letter only outlines the errors on provisional ballots- and only 600 of them, but the fact is that when the sealed ballots were opened and one page instead of two were included, the Board of Elections could have rectified this by holding the election results until all 600 voters had been contacted and given the opportunity to vote properly- which wasn’t done. These are the ONLY ballots that could have easily been traced back to their owners, had the BOE cared about getting the election right- yet, the decision was made to quietly ignore the problem.

It’s time for a chief ethics officer in the county- more than ever.

 

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19 Responses

  1. Butler TWP Repub May 18, 2011 / 7:43 am
    Belive the wistle blower on this one, this did happen. I was sent out to check the problem with the two page ballot. After talking to the poll workers, they never handed out the second page of the paper ballot. They were not told at their tranning sesion that there were two ballots. Hundreds of voters were given a incomplete ballot. This is only one of many mistakes and cover-ups by Harsman. I belive a investigation is a MUST by the SOS to get to the bottom of the ALL the crimes comitted by these two. Interview ALL the employees involved in the election in 07, see what they know. I’m not surprised Huested does not want to investigate his home town friends. Belive me this incident is minor compared to others crimes comitted by the Director and Depty Director.

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  2. About Time May 18, 2011 / 8:10 am
    What about the accusation is Steve Harsman claiming is false?  Is he claiming the employee that meticulously filled out the ballot serial numbers on the document was lying about the ballot numbers?  They should have Steve Harsman take the board members through the step by step start to finish process of counting a two page provisional ballot and have him show how he can prove there was a page one and page two ballot counted for every voter in that election, he can’t.  Harsman needs to fess up to the mistake and take his lumps like a big boy.  

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  3. Butler TWP Repub May 18, 2011 / 9:03 am
    Where there is smoke, there is usually fire. This is exactly what is wrong with our political system. It is said the reason the Bureau of Elections has democratic and republicians running the elections is for checks and balances. Sounds like putting the foxes in charge of the hen house! This county needs to do something to protect my voting and make sure someone is doing their job. Looks like they protect each other to keep their positions, can’t we have honest elections in this counrty. Sounds like Florida all over again? Who picks these people to run the elections? Are they elected?

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  4. Eric Worthen May 18, 2011 / 9:14 am
    As a combat injured veteran and former employee of the Board I find it appalling that these officials are so anxious to sweep this under the carpet.  Saying that we got it 100% right 80% of the time is like saying I only beat my wife on Thursdays.  Rather than honestly addressing the issue and bringing light to this situation; the Board’s response is to circle the wagons and attempt to bully or intimidate the whistleblower.  If Greg Gannt wants to demonstrate a shred of leadership he will insist on an external investigation to find the truth of the matter.  Of his own admission he was not there at the time so he SHOULD want some honest answers.  Failure to follow through in light of these allegations is a slap in the face to the families who have lost loved ones in the service of this great nation.  Trivializing 600 votes is unnacceptable when each vote is steeped in a sacred trust and written in the blood of true patriots.  Those at the state level should take note that the voters of Montgomery County will be watching and waiting for due process…

    SGT. Eric Worthen
    Forward Observer
    101st Airborne Division (Ret.)

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  5. David Esrati May 18, 2011 / 9:46 am

    @Sgt. Worthern, thank you for your service, one veteran to another.

    Your comment is absolutely right on the money. The real question to investigate is if these documents are correct- and if they are, why was this not addressed.

    @Butler TWP Republican- once again- stop posting with different names- and you full well know, these people ARE NOT ELECTED. They are appointed by the Democrats and the Republicans at a local level.

    @About Time- Remember- you can’t blame Harsman without also blaming his check and balance- Betty Smith. The reason we have 2 of everything is to make sure this kind of BS doesn’t happen- but, it still happens.

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  6. mcohio May 18, 2011 / 9:46 am
    Trust me when I say the parties do not want an investigation. If it is learned by authorities outside the tight political circles of the harassment Mr. Harshman inflicts on his employees, both parties would have egg on their faces.
    In the last three years it has been discovered that the Director hid voting machines from authorities during an audit. Ask Mr. Tipps, he has the details. It was proven that Steve shared his hotel on a trip to Florida with his secretary. Evidence of photos, audio files, flight iteneraries, all presented to both parties and it was all ignored. It has been proven that bonuses where given with the expectations that a portion be given to their party.
    For far too long the Republican’s have laid in fear of Mr. Harshman and are negligent for not acting. The mantra is “Dems take care of Dem’s, the GOP takes care of the GOP”. Not any longer. It seems too many employees from both sides are taking action. Speak the to dozens of former employees, full and part time, and the real story of Mr. Harshman’s leadership will be known.
     

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  7. Eric Worthen May 18, 2011 / 10:42 am
    In response to Jon Husted’s comment that it is a “local matter”- 

    Duties and Responsibilities
    Chief Elections Officer
    As Ohio’s chief elections officer, the Secretary of State oversees the elections process and appoints the members of boards of elections in each of Ohio’s 88 counties. The Secretary of State supervises the administration of election laws; reviews statewide initiative and referendum petitions; chairs the Ohio Ballot Board, which approves ballot language for statewide issues; canvasses votes for all elective state offices and issues; investigates election fraud and irregularities; trains election officials, and works with counties to train poll workers. The Elections Division of the Secretary of State’s office also compiles and maintains election statistics, political party records and other election-related records.

    His website begs to differ-

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  8. David Esrati May 18, 2011 / 11:58 am

    @Eric- I’m also wondering if there isn’t Federal oversight as well- what good are national elections if local yokels can’t keep their houses in order. Maybe we need to contact the Federal Elections Commission to investigate both the SOS and the MCBOE?

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  9. Eric Worthen May 18, 2011 / 12:54 pm
    It seems aggregious that the voters of Montgomery County should have to solicite federal assistance when we pay our Secretary of State to execute this exact function.  Hiding from the issue, or using excuses like “it wasn’t during my watch” hold no salt.  If there is a pattern of misconduct and most notably a possible coverup then how can a citizen have any faith in the electoral process?  The answer is simple- they can’t.  This issue will not go away and neither will I.  I have sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States and protect it from enemies both foreign and domestic.  Unlike some- I take my oath seriously.  DUE PROCESS MUST BE SERVED

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  10. Hall May 18, 2011 / 3:00 pm
    So when someone (the DDN) contacts Husted’s office to investigate the fraud allegations, he says it’s a “local issue”. Then the board of elections says the SOS should investigate. Well, he’d BETTER not ’cause it’s a “local issue” still, right ???

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  11. About Time May 18, 2011 / 3:55 pm
    People that work for the county, which includes elected officials, know through the grapevine that Steve Harsman is a grade “A” criminal. He has done everything from ordering staff to use county vans to bring food and alcohol to democrat fundraisers, steal at least $200,000 worth of voting machines from Diebold, hire a convicted rapist as a political favor, have an affair with his secretary for political reasons, and cover up a full disenfranchisement of provisional voters with deputy director Smith in 2006.

    As a former employee I had to watch helplessly as one of the dozens of staff members Betty Smith and Steve Harsman harassed and attacked was a former army ranger.  Smith and Harsman were afraid that this man’s love of country, code of honor and integrity made him someone that was a threat to expose the ways of the Board of Elections cesspool.  I am absolutely furious that the political parties, law enforcement, and the prosecutor have turned their backs on what has been going on in this office when they have known about it for many years.  This is the final straw for Betty and Steve at the board of elections.  I plan on organizing protests of this office and others if justice is not done.

    Betty Smith and Greg Gantt should be ashamed of themselves for being absolute embarrassments to the Republican party.  As a long time supporter of the Montgomery County Republican Party and member of the central committee I want to personally state that Smith and Gantt make me sick to my stomach.  The republican party needs to clean its house just like the board of elections must do, what a sad day this is. 

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  12. Eric Worthen May 18, 2011 / 4:15 pm
    @About time-

    If a person has no courage of conviction they will do whatever is necesary to retain what they have.  They will not stand bravely in the face of injustice and confront the wrong-  instead they will lie, deceive, bully, and do whatever they can to avoid personal accountability.  I find it hard to believe that there is not one official willing to step forward and deal with this perversion.  I must agree this is truly a sad day for county and state… not one of them with the courage of the 18 year old soldier who sits in a guard tower half way around the world…  apathy AND cowardice… truly a sad day.

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  13. Gary May 18, 2011 / 6:11 pm
    Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted; misspell, he’s Jon Hustled, Jon Hustle getting his hustle on to get his buddies into county offices in 2006, bet ya!
    Now the case is latched!

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  14. About Time May 18, 2011 / 6:29 pm
    If Steve Harsman and Betty Smith have nothing to hide they should demand the Sheriff perform a public polygraph examination of both of them concerning all of these allegations.  I don’t know how those machines are wired but if they have fuses my guess is they would explode! 

    Smith and Harsman are two professional politicians that are paid by the political parties to lie, cheat and steal until the very end.  Sadly, Smith and Harsman represent all the voters in the state as members of the Ohio Association of Election Officials and serve on the legislative committee.

    http://www.oaeo.us/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=86&Itemid=467

    The following article includes information about how much former Secretary of State Brunner was a fan of how Steve Harsman handled his business when he was PRESIDENT of the O.A.E.O.

    http://www.dispatch.com/live/contentbe/dispatch/2007/01/25/20070125-D3-01.html

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  15. David Esrati May 18, 2011 / 8:58 pm

    @About time- nice link:

    Brunner also said neither she nor any of her employees will attend the evening receptions at the conference this week because they are being sponsored by voting-machine vendors who have received millions of dollars in state funding.

    Diebold hosted a “Monte Carlo Night” yesterday, while Election Systems & Software is sponsoring a “President?s Reception” tonight. Both companies have hosted similar events at previous conferences.

    The Ohio Ethics Commission issued an advisory opinion in 2002 that said a public official can attend such events if they are “of an ordinary, routine character, and all those public officials and employees who attend the conference are invited.”

    The commission also has said it is illegal to accept gifts and favors from vendors, an issue that surfaced during the 2003 conference because some officials received meals, limousine rides and concert tickets from companies vying to sell voting devices.

    “I think in terms of the role that we have to play in helping people?s perception of our election process improve, we just decided it was better for us not to attend,” Brunner said.

    Steve Harsman, the outgoing association president, defended using the vendors as sponsors. He said it has been a longstanding practice and that other vendors also help sponsor the conference and display their products there.

    “I personally don?t see it as an issue,” he said.

    Harsman couldn?t immediately provide what Diebold and Election Systems & Software paid to sponsor the evening events, but he said the bulk of funding for the conference comes from registration fees.

    Harsman just doesn’t get it.

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  16. About Time May 18, 2011 / 9:45 pm
    Ask Hairsman if he would take a polygraph test about whether or not he accepted a limousine ride and concert tickets to see the Dave Matthews Band from Diebold.  It really is as bad as you think David.

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  17. Hall May 18, 2011 / 10:08 pm
    “I personally don?t see it as an issue,” he said.

    Of course he doesn’t ! Sometimes people need to look at a situation and say “Maybe I shouldn’t”. It doesn’t sound like back then it was the status quo either since this advisory board made public comments about this sort of thing.

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  18. Gone From Dayton May 19, 2011 / 9:30 am
    I previously volunteered with the Mont. County Democratic Party.  I previously worked as an Election Judge at precincts throughout Dayton for several years.  I quit both activities 5+ years ago.  I no longer consider myself a Democrat but rather an Independent/Libertarian. 

    BOTH parties are to blame for this situation.  Montgomery County may not be Chicago or New York City, but this is still machine-politics and patronage.  It is flat wrong.  Let’s see how many documents end up “missing” and how many quotes appear which state the speaker (Dem or Repub) say “I mis-stated …”

    Where is the independent oversight?  Where is the investigation?  How does each citizen ensure that his/her vote truly counts?

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  19. joe_mamma May 19, 2011 / 1:25 pm
    “Harsman said that 80 percent of the precincts were 100 percent accurate on the inventory, with matching page numbers.”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pjvQFtlNQ-M

    He should be fired for touting 80% as a success.

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