State data glitch delays delivery of thousands of Ohio voter registration records

AP. COLUMBUS, Ohio — A small fraction of Ohio voters’ absentee ballot requests may have been mistakenly rejected due to a recently discovered glitch in the transfer of change-of-address records.

Even though the deadline for voters to register or change their address was three weeks ago, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted just this week sent about 33,000 updated registration records to local elections officials. The local boards had to immediately process the records to ensure those voters could properly cast a ballot in the Nov. 6 election.

An unknown number of absentee ballot applications across the state have been rejected due to the delay because election officials did not have some voters’ current addresses.

Officials in Cuyahoga County said 71 such applications were rejected. Those voters now will be sent new absentee ballots. Figures for rejected absentee ballot applications in other counties were not immediately available.

The delay can be traced to a breakdown in the data-sharing partnership between the Secretary of State and the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

Husted last year began working with the BMV to coordinate the agency’s online change-of-address system with the state’s voter registration rolls.

But, according to a directive Husted sent Monday to election officials across the state, “the vast majority of the records collected electronically through the BMV change of address system between July and Oct. 9, 2012 were transferred late last week.”

Husted, a Republican, sent the updated data to county boards of elections in batches on Monday and Tuesday. He called the timing “unfortunate” in his directive.

Ohio Senate Democratic Leader Eric Kearney, of Cincinnati, criticized Husted for not acknowledging the problem more publicly – in a media advisory, for example – so voters could be aware of any potential problems.

“The secretary of state needs to explain why this happened,” Kearney said. “We’re just very concerned about the confidence people have in the voting system in this state.”

The data-transfer failure began with the BMV, said Geoff Dutton, spokesman for the Ohio Department of Public Safety, which oversees the BMV. A website the bureau launched in July allowing users to update their information was supposed to transfer information to the secretary of state’s office.

“The glitch was clearly with our web page not being in sync with the file that was sent over to the secretary of state’s office,” Dutton said, adding that an employee caught the problem about a week ago.

The BMV’s online records are only a portion of the data the BMV shares with Husted’s office to keep voter registration records updated, Dutton said.

Husted spokesman Matt McClellan said it would have been nice if the problem had been caught sooner. But he said Husted’s efforts to clean the state’s voter rolls, including his work with the BMV, have been successful overall and will cut down on the number of provisional ballots cast in the election. Provisional ballots are given to voters when their eligibility is in question, and the ballots are held 10 days to determine eligibility.

“At the end of the day, we’re proud of the work we’ve been able to do with the BMV and think this is a good thing for the voters and we’re getting the records updated,” McClellan said.

Cuyahoga County received 2,760 new voter registration records, said Jane Platten, director of the board of elections.

Platten said the records have been updated and those voters will be mailed new voter registration acknowledgment cards. Poll books at each precinct will have up-to-date information on Election Day so those voters will not have to vote provisionally, Platten said.

The Franklin County Board of Elections received more than 4,900 new voter registration records this week, spokesman Ben Piscitelli said in an email. He did not yet know how many absentee ballot applications were rejected due to the delay.

Voters who get a new absentee ballot due to the confusion have a few options.

The ballot can be returned by mail as long as it is postmarked the day before the election. It can be returned in person at a voter’s board of elections by 7:30 p.m. on Election Day.

Or, just like anyone who requested an absentee ballot but has not returned it, a voter can visit their board of elections to vote early. In that case, the absentee ballot request is suspended so the voter can cast an in-person ballot.

Early voting, which began Oct. 2, has been popular with Ohio voters.

More than 1.2 million Ohioans had already voted in the presidential election as of Oct. 26, Husted’s office announced Tuesday. Of those early voters, more than 306,000 cast their ballot in person at a board of elections or voting center.

Ohio’s Voting Machines – The Box That Mitt Built

by Gary Polvinale (Sandusky Ohio)
Madog Music

We knew it would come down to Ohio in this election. Please pay close attention to what is going on in the deciding state. It is ground zero for a massive grab for the election by the Republicans.

There’s something just plain “third world” about Ohio voting on Mitt Romney’s voting machines. By now you have heard that Mitt and his son Tagg recently bought into Hart Intercivic, the company that provides the voting machines to Cincinnati, Ohio. If plain old intimidation, suppression, lying, throwing votes in dumpsters or taking a swing at the President doesn’t work, they can always rely on Romney’s kid to switch the votes. It’s like the Muslim Brotherhood operating the voting booths in Egypt.

We knew it would come down to Ohio in this election. And now we need to pay close attention to what is going on in this deciding state, ground zero for a massive grab for the election by the Republicans. The corruption should be obvious by the simple money trail. The Romneys are Solamere Capital, which owns HIG Capital. In 2011 HIG Capital bought Hart Intercivic, who will count Cincinnati’s votes. So the Romneys built, service, program and control a big chunk of Ohio’s voting machines – enough to change the election. If Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted’s siphoning off Ohio’s Democratic votes doesn’t turn out to be enough, Romney can flip the votes on the machines. Bit by little bit, they’re creating the margin they need to steal Ohio.

I was told when I commented on an article written about this by Rick Ungar on the Forbes blog, that I was overly sensitive because I live in Ohio and was advised, “Let’s keep it real.” I live in Ohio; that’s as real as it gets. In Ohio during the 2004 election, investigators were run off the road, whole dumpsters of ballots found discarded, thousands of pages of testimony in hearings, machines hacked and misdirected to wrong precincts, people purged from voter rolls, doors to voting machine storage areas on election night found unlocked and records stolen. At the 2004 election fraud hearings in Columbus I filmed testimony of hundreds of disenfranchised Ohioans and investigators in the midst of a media blackout. ELECTION fraud (very different from the 10 confirmed cases of VOTER fraud) suppresses millions of votes, and is real and still rampant in Ohio and other swing states.

I’ve been asked by people who prefer living in the Matrix, “Come on… do you expect me to believe that the GOP candidate for President of the United States would really do something as unethical as vote manipulation?” Even a quick look at Mitt Romney’s corporate schematic and the links between his money mills and the trail of human devastation left behind reveals his moral compass. He’s a vulture capitalist, fer chrissake. It’s not my belief that any of these corporate speculators who treat companies as common commodities and turn them into empty shells with weeds growing through cracks in the parking lots subscribe to a code of ethics. Case in point… Romney’s brazen export of 170 American jobs to China at Freeport Illinois’ Sensata Technologies. Take a look at the video of Ed Schultz’s Show live from the Sensata protests. It’s a snapshot of our future under a Romney presidency.

Romney has no ethics, so yes, voting on Mitt Romney’s voting machines could be a problem. He’s the guy who signs the paychecks of the people who run the company that builds them. And he tells those people how high to jump. So I would be so bold as to suggest that Romney controls the machines and how they function. The candidate that represents the 1% owns a company that provides, services, supports and programs voting machines used by the State of Ohio to count his own election. Of course no politician ever plays foul; especially not a vulture capitalist worth billions with the ultimate control of America at stake.

A systems programmer for 10 years and an IT Manager for 10 years after that, I can tell you that those machines can be programmed to do anything – anything – the programmer wants. Don’t take my word for it; testimony of programmers is all over the internet. And testimony of programmers who worked for the GOP and wrote the actual code to switch the votes is out there. The fact that the US is still using such an opaque, easily corruptible and unverifiable system – and even worse, a privately controlled system – is ridiculous, criminal and should scare the daylights out of every voter. Add to that the physical manipulation and assignment of voting machines to precincts and the many methods of intimidation and suppression that have been verified by the press in swing states, and you’ve bought yourself an election.

With all the corporate investments available out there, I don’t ascribe Romney’s purchase of a voting machine company to coincidence. A presidential candidate buying the very voting machine company that controls all of the votes of the large city of Cincinnati in the single most critical state for 2012 – Ohio – is more than a bad judgement call giving the appearance of impropriety. It was a strategic decision. Romney’s investment firms did not make billions by making bad financial decisions. They are financial wizards. They know exactly what they are doing. They also know that most people and nearly all media commentators won’t touch the election fraud issue with a ten-foot pole.

So here it is. Done right out here in the open under the contention that, “It’s just business, I like teachers, I like Big Bird.” In conjunction with all of the other suppression methods, the machines only need to swing a few votes here and there. This year the entire election will come down to a few hundred votes in a few Ohio precincts. Do you really think the Romney campaign will let that opportunity pass? I am called a “tin foil hat” because I’m concerned enough to bring attention to the GOP candidate for president stealing the presidency. I live here in Ohio, the state that will elect the president. My vote in Erie County will end up on an ES&S central tabulator having ties to George W. Bush. And that doesn’t make me feel any better.

Please say just one time to someone “What’s going on with the vote in Ohio?” to get the news media to stop ignoring the story. More info on this topic is available at Madog Music. Anyone interested in using my new song “Gotta Vote” to help draw attention to what’s going on can listen or download the mp3 for free. Petition to have a federal investigation is available at Change.org. To find out what type of voting machine you will vote on in your Ohio county visit: Ohio Secretary of State website.

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Gary Polvinale is a computer guy, web designer, songwriter, composer for film and TV, performer, recordist, activist, blogger and founder of indie record label Madog Music. He lives in Sandusky, Ohio, near Lake Erie. Email: garypgen@madogmusic.com. Website: Madog Music.

Jon Husted Should Be Watching Ohio Vote From His Jail Cell

by Gary Polvinale (Sandusky, Ohio)      http://www.madogmusic.com
[Note:  Please re-post everywhere.  Ohio needs to vote.] 

Got a few million bucks to spend on a comic book?  I see that someone just paid three million dollars for a Superman first edition.  And you can bet he didn’t have to save his nickels and dimes.  Currently, right-wing politicians want to give people like this a $250,000 tax break and pay for it with contributions from poor Americans.  And it’s Jon Husted’s fault.  How’s that?  Who’s he?  I’ll get to that in a minute.

There’s plenty of money out there.  Money that could provide security, healthcare, education and jobs for every American.  But it’s a safe bet you haven’t seen any of it lately.  Because it’s in the hands of a few, the job creators – and this is what they do with it.  And that comic book?  Well, your deprivation bought it.  Republicans chant, “Nothing wrong with being wealthy and well compensated.”  That’s baloney.  Doing well for yourself is one thing – having 3 mil from overseas investments to drop on a comic book is something else.  Something obscene, when 50 million Americans can’t pay the rent or feed their kids.

While the rich have become obscenely rich, seniors you’ll be forced to give up the Social Security and Medicare you paid for all your life, and sick people you’ll be left to die because you can’t afford insurance.  It doesn’t have to be that way.  We’re the richest nation in the world.  With enough wealth for every single family to live happy, healthy and productive lives.  Instead, a few live in the lap of unimaginable luxury while the rest of us get squashed under their Gucci boot.  And now the Republican party pledges to deliver what’s left of your money to these rich guys, spending billions on advertising lies, scary billboards… and vote suppression in swing states.  Which brings me to Jon Husted’s part in all this.

Husted is Ohio’s Secretary of State, the man in charge of Ohio’s elections.  And he’s after your vote – literally.  100,000 Ohioans, mostly Democrats, used the weekend before election day to vote early in the last presidential election.  Husted refused to provide that early voting time, even though two federal courts have ordered him to do so.  For months Husted has ignored the court’s ruling.  However, a few days ago on Oct 16 the United States Supreme Court unanimously denied Jon Husted’s appeal to squelch early voting the three days before the election.  Even so, aside from the early voting restrictions, Husted’s tougher voter ID requirements are making it harder for seniors, shut-ins, nursing home residents, low wage earners and college students to vote. And all that theatre is distracting media attention from the rest of the disenfranchising being wrought from hacking electronic voting machines, shorting machines in Democratic precincts, purging largely Democratic voter rolls, intimidating billboards in low-income neighborhoods and malarky advertising.  In this close election, all it takes is a couple of hundred thousand votes to swing Ohio and snatch the presidency.

You would be behind bars if you ignored a federal judge.  But every time there has been another court ruling come down on Ohio’s early voting, I have called the board of elections and asked whether those early voting hours were in effect.  And every time the same answer, “No early voting the three days before… orders from the Secretary of State… there is an appeal pending.”  The Secretary of State has said he doesn’t want to confuse Ohio voters by changing the hours to comply with the court while it is being appealed.  So his website and local Board of Elections sites showed no early voting hours available during that time, until the Supreme Court finally said “or else”.  And the early voting flyer I received in the mail from the Secretary of State didn’t show them.  The local print and broadcast media had no idea until the Supreme Court decision.  Even the Obama early voting info website didn’t show them.  Even though by law, those hours should have been in effect.  The damage has been well done.  Ohio voters are completely confused and disgusted.

That’s pure vote suppression, designed to discourage Democrats from voting.  Husted’s true motives were revealed months ago when he attempted to block early voting in highly Democratic precincts only.  Sure, it seems outlandish, over the top, so outright outrageous that people can’t wrap their heads around it.  But that’s why they can do it.  At stake right now in Ohio, control of the American people (that’s you), their money and their lives; both Obama and Romney have been camped out here in Ohio for months.  If Jon Husted doggedly continues to follow his Koch Bros directive to confuse Ohio’s election process and stifle Democratic votes, he should be locked up until the election is over.  Ohio Boards of Elections need to encourage people to vote, instead of disenfranchising them.

An encouraging bit of information.  As of Tuesday Oct 16 when I voted, twenty percent of Ohio’s registered voters had already voted early.  And seventy five percent of them were Democrats.  It’s possible that the grassroots thing in Ohio is working, and that Democratic Ohioans are determined not to be bulldozed.

It’s up to you Ohio:

ID requirements are a hassle, but not impossible.  Go to the “Ohio Secretary of State” website http://www.sos.state.oh.us/SOS/elections.aspx to learn official voter ID requirements.

  • You can vote early during the week, daytime and evenings at your local Board of Elections.  Call them or visit their website for hours and info.
  • Owing to the Supreme Court’s decision, early voting hours are also posted for those all-important three days right before the election.

Sat    Nov. 3rd   8:00 am – 2:00 pm
Sun   Nov. 4th   1:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Mon   Nov. 5th   8:00 am – 2:00 pm

  • Ask your local Democratic Party or Obama headquarters about obtaining transportation to vote.

Ohioans, don’t be suppressed.  Find a way to vote.  That’s what it comes down to.  Help someone else find a way to vote.  We all want to be able once again to look at our spouse and say, “Honey, it’s gonna be ok.”  But we have to make it ok.

 

Starting blog about Erie County voting – info & vote suppression

I’m starting this blog to expand the conversation about Erie County’s voting and vote suppression.  For instance:

At 11:00 this morning, a federal judge ruled that Ohio must reinstate early voting in the 3 days just before the election, the same 3 days it took away in a state law in March.  I called Erie County Bd of Elections (BoE) today 5 hrs after the ruling, and they told me that Sec of State Husted has told them there will be no change in their position on early voting hours – that is, there will still be no early voting on the 3 days immediately before the election.  Early voting will end Fri Nov 2 at 6pm.  They have been told to ignore the court order and tell people no early voting during that time.  They told me I needed to vote before then.

And that was that.

But did you know that a million voters will be removed from the equation in the election in Nov if those 3 days of early voting are not reinstated?  Figures from the last election show that African Americans, seniors, women, the disabled and many other what are considered “minorities” disproportionately vote early.  And experts agree that almost all of them will vote Democratic.

Ohio’s Republican Governor Kasich, Republican Secretary of State Husted and Republican controlled State Legislature have conspired, as have their counterparts in more than a dozen other states, to supress the Democratic vote.

In the last election, a difference of 100,000 votes statewide was enough to swing the election one way or the other.  The reduction of these 3 early voting days will drop 1 million democratic votes.  That’s way more than enough to deliver Ohio – your state – to the Republicans.