December 12, 2004

Blackwell's Locked-Down Ohio Poll Records Left in Unlocked Building


Locked-Down Ohio Poll Records Left in Unlocked Building

DAYTON Saturday December 11, 2004

Greene County election records that were the subject of Secretary of State Blackwell’s personal lockdown order on Friday December 10 were left vulnerable in an unattended, unlocked Board of Elections office. According to Joan Quinn and Eve Roberson, two election observers researching voting records, revisited the office the next morning to find the building unlocked and unoccupied.

Quinn and Roberson were the citizens who had been allowed access to voter records by Director of Elections Carole Garman, who then abruptly withdrew access to these records upon the order of Secretary of State Blackwell. On Friday, Garman did not offer a valid legal basis for the withdrawal of voting records to these observers. The Ohio Revised Code requires that all election records be available to the public and provides penalties for those preventing public access. The Ohio recount process does not officially start until the week of December 13, after the Electoral College vote will have taken place.

The records taken from Quinn and Roberson’s hands on Friday stood in an unlocked Board of Elections office Saturday morning, apparently overnight. Several observers arrived Saturday morning, noticing cars in the parking lot, and looked for officials in the office, but found nobody in the unlocked building. Law enforcement and media contacts had been alerted and were at the site before County officials arrived. Deputy Director of Elections Lynn McCoy arrived later and stated that all election records were still “locked down” and remained unavailable to the public. However, metal boxes with sealed locks had been stacked in the unlocked basement immediately accessible to the unlocked entrance. The Deputy Director would not confirm that these boxes contained original ballots.

Quinn and Roberson are part of a vote recount and observation team researching voting irregularities in Ohio from the November general election. The Greene County voting records were required to document irregularities in advance of the official recount. Because the voting records are considered vital to the accuracy of the recount, Quinn and Roberson questioned why any election official would intentionally keep them from public view. Roberson said “Any lockdown of public records is a violation of the public’s right to know what its government is doing.”

The recount team is soliciting affidavits of people who have witnessed or experienced voter irregularities in Ohio. Persons with any information or experiences to share are invited to send comments to:

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