December 15, 2004
Mr. Kevin R. Brock
Special Agent in Charge
John Weld Federal Building
550 Main Street, Suite 900
Cincinnati, OH 45202
Attorney Larry E. Beal
Hocking County Prosecutor
Hocking County Courthouse
88 South Market Street
Logan, OH 43138
Dear Mr. Brock and Mr. Beal:
As part of the Democratic staff's investigation into irregularities in the 2004 election and following up on a lead provided to me by Green Party Presidential Candidate, David Cobb, I have learned that Sherole Eaton, a Deputy Director of Board of Elections in Hocking County, Ohio, has first hand knowledge of inappropriate and likely illegal election tampering in the Ohio presidential election in violation of federal and state law. I have information that similar actions of this nature may be occurring in other counties in Ohio. I am therefore asking that you immediately investigate this alleged misconduct and that, among other things, you consider the immediate impoundment of election machinery to prevent any further tampering.
On December 13, my staff met with Ms. Eaton who explained to them that last Friday, December 10, Michael Barbian, Jr., a representative of Triad GSI unilaterally sought and obtained access to the voting machinery and records in Hocking County, Ohio, modified the computer tabulator, learned which precinct was planned to be the subject of the initial test recount and made further alterations based on that information, and advised the election officials how to manipulate the machinery so that the preliminary hand recount matched the machine count. Ms. Eaton first relayed this information to Green Party representatives, and then completed, signed and notarized an affidavit describing this course of events, a copy of which is attached.
The Triad official sought access to the voting machinery based on the apparent pretext that he wanted to review some "legal questions" the officials might receive as part of the recount process. At several times during this visit, Mr. Barbian telephoned into Triad's offices to obtain programming information relating to the machinery and the precinct in question. I have subsequently learned that Triad officials have been, or are in the process of intervening in several other counties in Ohio - Greene and Monroe, and perhaps others (see attached).
There are several important considerations you should be aware of with respect to this matter. First, this course of conduct would appear to violate several provisions of federal law, in addition to the constitutional guarantees of equal protection and due process. 42 U.S.C. §1973 provides for criminal penalties against any person who, in any election for federal office, "knowingly and willfully deprives, defrauds, or attempts to defraud the residents of a State of a fair and impartially conducted election process, by . . . the procurement, casting, or tabulation of ballots that are known by the person to be materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent under the laws of the State in which the election is held." 42 U.S.C. § 1974 also requires the retention and preservation, for a period of twenty-two months from the date of a federal election, of all voting records and papers and makes it a felony for any person to "willfully steal, destroy, conceal, mutilate, or alter" any such record. Further, any tampering with ballots and/or election machinery would violate the constitutional rights of all citizens to vote and have their votes properly counted, as guaranteed by the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Second, the course of conduct would also appear to violate several provisions of Ohio law. No less than 4 provisions of the Ohio Revised Code make it a felony to tamper with or destroy election records or machines.1 Clearly, modifying election equipment in order to make sure that the hand count matches the machine count would appear to fall within these proscriptions.
Moreover, bringing in Triad officials into other Ohio Counties would also appear to violate Ohio Revised Code § 3505.32 which provides that during a period of official canvassing, all interaction with ballots must be "in the presence of all of the members of the board and any other persons who are entitled to witness the official canvass," given that last Friday, the Ohio Secretary of State has issued orders to the effect that election officials are to treat all election materials as if they were in a period of canvassing,2 and that "Teams of one Democrat and one Republican must be present with ballots at all times of processing."3
Third, it is important to recognize that the companies implicated in the wrongdoing, Triad and its affiliates, are the leading suppliers of voting machines involving the counting of paper ballots and punch cards in the critical states of Ohio and Florida. Triad is controlled by the
Rapp family, and its founder Tod A. Rapp has been a consistent contributor to Republican causes.4 A Triad affiliate, Psephos Corporation, supplied the notorious butterfly ballot used in Palm Beach County, Florida, in the 2000 presidential election.
Please respond to me at your earliest convenience through Perry Apelbaum or Ted Kalo of my Judiciary Committee staff, 2142 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20515 (tel 202-225-6504, fax 202-225-4423).
John Conyers, Jr.
cc: The Honorable F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr.
1Ohio Rev. Code Ann. §3599.27 provides "[n]o person shall tamper or attempt to tamper with, deface impair the use of, destroy or otherwise injure in any manner any voting machine...No person shall tamper or attempt to tamper with, deface, impair the use of, destroy or otherwise change or injure in any manner any marking device, automatic tabulating equipment or any appurtenances or accessories thereof."
Ohio Rev. Code Ann. §3599.24 provides "[n]o person shall...destroy any property used in the conduct of elections."
Ohio Rev. Code Ann. §3599.34 provides "[n]o person, from the time ballots are cast or voted until the time has expired for using them in a recount or as evidence in a contest of election, shall unlawfully destroy or attempt to destroy the ballots, or permit such ballots or a ballot box or pollbook used at an election to be destroyed; or destroy, falsify, mark, or write in a name on any such ballot that has been voted.".
Ohio Rev. Code Ann. §3599.33 provides "[n]o person, from the time ballots are cast or counted until the time has expired for using them as evidence in a recount or contest of election, shall willfully and with fraudulent intent make any mark or alteration on any ballot; or inscribe, write, or cause to be inscribed or written in or upon a registration form or list, pollbook, tally sheet, or list, lawfully made or kept at an election, or in or upon a book or paper purporting to be such, or upon an election return, or upon a book or paper containing such return the name of a person not entitled to vote at such election or not voting thereat, or a fictitious name, or, within such time, wrongfully change, alter, erase, or tamper with a name, word, or figure contained in such pollbook, tally sheet, list, book, or paper; or falsify, mark, or write thereon with intent to defeat, hinder, or prevent a fair expression of the will of the people at such election.".
2Mehul Srivastava, Greene County elections board scrutinized; Office containing ballots found unlocked overnight, Dayton Daily News, Dec. 12, 2004 at B1.
3Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell, Directive 2004-48, Oct. 29, 2004, "Absentee/Provisional Counting and Ballot Security".
4Contributions of Tod A. Rapp
National Republican Congressional Committee
Ohio State Central and Executive Committee
Republican National Committee