An Open Letter to John Tanner, Chief, Voting Section, U.S. Department of Justice, July 2, 2005, by Bob Fitrakis of the Columbus Free Press:
An Open Letter to John Tanner, Chief, Voting Section, U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Section in response to his June 29, 2005 letter to Nick A. Soulas, Jr., Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, Civil Division, Franklin County:
Dear Mr. Tanner:
I was curious to find that you had “conducted an investigation into the November 2, 2004 general election in Franklin County, prompted by allegations that Franklin County systematically assigned fewer voting machines in polling places serving predominantly black communities as compared to its assignment of machines in predominantly white communities.”
Let me begin by suggesting the word “contrasted” would be more appropriate than “compared.” Indeed, the difference is literally black and white.
You praise the bipartisan nature of the Franklin County Board of Elections (BOE). But you fail to mention that the Director, Matt Damschroder, is the former Chair of the Franklin County Republican Party, and that J. Kenneth Blackwell, Ohio’s Secretary of State and the Co-Chair of the Bush-Cheney Re-election Committee appoints all board members as well as officers, and they serve at his pleasure. Blackwell’s actions throughout the election year were openly partisan and obviously unethical.
For example, I was at a meeting prior to the election where Mr. Damschroder informed a delegation of esteemed international election observers that he would have them arrested based on the orders of Blackwell if they crossed the 100-foot line outside the polls to observe closer to the voting site. Is that what you mean by “the spirit of cooperation?”