Report by Bob Drake of the Clermont County recount team. He read the following letter to the Board of Elections on Thursday, December 16, 2004. "Clermont County used optical scan sheets, many of which were altered with stickers to cover a third party candidate vote (and at least one vote for Kerry), and modified to cast a vote for Bush. There were many other irregularities as well, and most are detailed in the letter below (e.g., Ralph Nader's name being present on the ballot). We still have not received answers to any of our questions.":
2004 COBB/BADNARIK RECOUNT
CLERMONT COUNTY, OHIO
DECEMBER 16, 2005
Presentation at 2:00 PM Board of Elections Meeting
We the undersigned witnesses for the Ohio 2004 Cobb/Badnarik Recount in Clermont County hereby present this challenge and action request to the Board of Electors of Clermont County (“Board”):
1. We ask each member of the Board to disclose publicly what knowledge he or she has of the “stickers” found on certain ballots selected for the 3% hand count in Clermont County. Who affixed such stickers, what was their purpose and what statutory or regulatory authority can be cited in support of such practice?
2. We ask the Board to explain the decision of the Director not to reprint the ballots in order to remove the name of Ralph Nader as a candidate. If the decision was made not to reprint the ballots because there was insufficient time before Election Day, why is it that other counties were able to reprint their ballots to remove Nader’s name in time for the election? What actions were taken to attempt to reprint the ballots in time? What considerations went into such decision with respect to how the presence of this candidate might tend to siphon off legitimate votes for other candidates?
3. We ask the Board to explain each decision made at the Tuesday, December 14 meeting of the Board to count potential “overvotes” and potentially altered ballots, specifically:
a. Ballots to which stickers had been affixed to cover up marks in front of the name of one candidate where ovals were blackened for another candidate – such votes being treated in accordance with your Tuesday vote as votes for the candidate whose oval remained blackened, and not as overvotes
b. Ballots where there were two votes for a single candidate, one vote evidenced on the write-in line and a second vote being evidenced by a blackening of the oval next to the same candidate’s name, these ballots being treated as overvotes or, potentially, inconsistently depending upon the identity of the candidate benefiting from the characterization
c. Votes for both Ralph Nader and another candidate, which votes were not treated as overvotes, but rather a vote for the second candidate whose oval was blackened
4. If the Board has voted or does vote in the future not to change the characterization of the ballots in question as described in (3) above, which decision will result in there being no discrepancy between the 3% hand count and 3% tabulator count, we challenge such action on the grounds that it operates to lead to a false conclusion that no irregularities exist that justify a 100% recount in accordance with the Secretary of State’s guidelines. We hereby exercise our right to demand a 100% hand recount of the votes of Clermont County.
5. In the absence of a 100% recount and a completion of the review of documents pursuant to the recount (viz., the poll books, the uncounted abstentee ballots and the uncounted provisional ballots, as described below), we challenge any premature certification of the Clermont County 2004 election.
6. In the event there is no 100% hand recount, we restate our request that there be a substitution of some larger precincts so that the sampling will be more representative of the constituency of the county and we request that the Board override the decision of Danny Bare, director of the Board of Elections, not to accommodate this request.
7. In the event no substitution of precincts is made as requested in (6) above, we challenge the randomness of the selected precincts under the guidelines issued by the Secretary of State, which require a “random” selection. The precincts selected for recount were not selected randomly; rather, the smallest precincts were selected, plus one additional precinct, which could “skew” the results.
8. We hereby restate our request for the following documents and challenge any certification of the 2004 vote on the grounds that the recount has not been completed, because there has been no 100% hand recount and the following have not been provided for reasonable review by Cobb/Badnarik witnesses:
a. Polling books for all precincts
b. Uncounted (rejected) absentee ballots
c. Uncounted (rejected) provisional ballots (which should include the name and address of each provisional voter), together with an explanation in each case as to the reason for the rejection
9. Additionally, we ask as citizens for
a. A list of the names, addresses, telephone numbers and titles or job duties of all employees, contractors, officials, Board members and others playing a role in the process of counting, recounting, systems certification and other matters affecting the integrity of the 2004 election in Clermont County and a list of any conflicts of interest that any such individuals or companies may have with respect to the role played by each such individual or company.
b. Online minutes and other public information as to the proceedings of the Tuesday, December 14 Board meeting and the meeting held today.
Signed this 16 day of December, 2004:
Tina Herald, Clermont County Recount Coordinator
Cynthia Asrir, Recount Regional Coordinator, SW Ohio
Bob M. Drake, Clermont County Recount Witness