By Paddy Shaffer
Director, The Ohio Election Justice Campaign
Asking for clarity on how the decisions on the testing results will now be made is of great interest to The Ohio Election Justice Campaign, the citizens of Ohio, the citizens of the nation, and to the world. When the fate of the planet can rest on the voting machines in Ohio, what the reports reveal and what actions will be taken are of importance.
On Wednesday December 5, 2007 in a phone call with Brian Green, Election Counsel for Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, I raised multiple issues regarding the timeline, procedures, and parties involved on behalf of the Ohio Election Justice Campaign, whose members were and continue to be troubled by the lack of clarity on the when, how, and who of decisions based on the report. Verbal questions to Mr. Green on this topic include the following:
Will there be an ad hoc committee formed?
Will there be hearings?
Will the hearings be public?
What is the protocol or procedure to be included in the public hearing, testimony,
or meetings to discuss Project EVEREST?
What is the timeline?
This was followed up with a more formal request for this information sent as a letter to the Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Nance and other key members of staff. I have included the letter and requests for information at the end of this blog.
Since we have raised the issue, we are pleased that the Secretary of State is beginning to reveal a plan for the public to know something of what is coming. We hope the many detailed questions we ask are answered in a timely manner. Members of the media were copied on our written request.
The Ohio Election Justice Campaign is pleased to say that since the phone call to Mr. Green and the letter requesting information, we are now seeing a response to these issues coming via the Dispatch and the Plain Dealer at http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/local_news/stories/2007/12/09/z-apoh_cuyahogaelections_120.ART_ART_12-09-07_B4_8B8NJTK.html?sid=101
And at http://www.cleveland.com/news/plaindealer/index.ssf?/base/cuyahoga/1197107119143840.xml&coll=2
These reveal a little about what is coming, but many more details about the process are needed. Who makes the decisions, can we observe the process and participate in the processâ€¦ and what is the timeline are just a few prime things we all have a right to know as citizens in a democracy. We pay the bills for all aspects of this, and just as importantly, bringing the process into the open is the best defense we have against the culture of corruption that has reigned for too long in our fair state.
The letter to the Secretary of State and Staff:
Ohio Election Justice Campaign
Jennifer Brunner, Ohio Secretary of State
Bobbie Gilbert, Executive Assistant to Jennifer Brunner
Christopher Nance, Assistant Secretary of State
Kellye Pinkleton, Director, Voting Rights Institute
David J. Klein, Elections Research and Operations Specialist
Brian Green, Elections Council
Friday, December 7, 2007
Sent via email and US Post
Re: Request for Project Everest report and recommendations parties, process, and timeline
Dear Ms. Brunner, Ms. Gilbert, Mr. Nance, Ms. Pinkleton, Mr. Klein, and Mr. Green:
We are writing to request the document or documents that provide information on the parties, process, and timeline for review of and/or deliberation on the Project Everest report and recommendations.
1. The names, titles, and, if possible, contact information of all legislators, committees, or deliberative bodies, including liaisons, assistants, consultants, or ad hoc committees, that will receive a copy of the report and recommendations.
2. The names, titles, and, if possible, contact information of all executive personnel, including the gubernatorial liaisons, assistants, or consultants, as well as election officials at the county and statewide level and their consultants or deliberative bodies, whether public or private, that will receive a copy of the report and recommendations.
3. A description of the deliberative process involved in reviewing the report and recommendations, whether in writing or orally, including whether such process will be open for public observation and/or comment and where and when such opportunity for public observation and/or comment will be.
4. The timeline for review and/or deliberation on the report and recommendations, including the timeframe for study and/or comment by all parties who receive the report and recommendations, including legislative and executive personnel, the anticipated completion of review/deliberation, and any deadlines imposed either internally or externally.
5. Please add my name and contact information on the list of people to be informed of all meetings, and please copy me on all documents: Paddy Shaffer, firstname.lastname@example.org, 614-761-0621.
According to a phone conversation with Brian Green, I understand that Mr. Nance will need to share this information with me. He has not yet returned my call, and this is a very timely matter. I am copying this letter to all of you in the hope I will receive a timely and meaningful response.
I had requested permission for the OEJC to observe the Project Everest testing by phone several times, and in writing prior to and on November 7, 2007, and on November 22, 2007. These requests were denied by Mr. Nance in a letter dated November 30, the last day of testing, and the letter arrived via email on Sunday, December 2 at 4:06 p.m. This was neither a timely nor meaningful response.
This above request is a matter of legitimate and public interest to the citizens of Ohio and the citizens represented by the OEJC, and we would appreciate the courtesy of a speedy response.
Given that the process as publicly reported is apparently outside the regular course of executive/legislative decision-making as well as the significant public interest in the results of this process, we would also appreciate up-dated information should any of the above requested information be changed or revised in the course of the process.
I would also like to know who reviewed the package of information that included the Nevada and Washington state product liability lawsuits regarding voting machines that we delivered to your office on November 30, 2007. These were provided as a possible template for a recall and refund regarding the Ohio voting machines. Whom shall we call to discuss the package?
Thank you for your time and attention.
Ohio Election Justice Campaign
cc: The Ohio Election Justice Campaign
Mark Niquette – Dispatch
Mark Kovac – Vindy News
Jon Craig – Cincinnati Inquirer
Ian Urbina – New York Times
Mary Ann Gould – Voice of the Voters