Who Really Won?

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Snail Voting in Oregon

The American Prospect has a story or two on voting by mail in Oregon.

It sounds like it's good for voters (although you might miss the little twinkle of patriotism you feel going to the polls) but not particularly better for one party or the other, so don't know if it'll catch on anywhere else. But in this day and age, anything to make voting easier (and more accountable) is a good idea.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Phone Jamming Scheme Investigation Points to White House

Key figures in a phone-jamming scheme designed to keep New Hampshire Democrats from voting in 2002 had regular contact with the White House and Republican Party as the plan was unfolding, phone records introduced in criminal court show.

The records show that Bush campaign operative James Tobin, who recently was convicted in the case, made two dozen calls to the White House within a three-day period around Election Day 2002 — as the phone jamming operation was finalized, carried out and then abruptly shut down.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Once Again, the Ethics of Ohio Republicans

Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell revealed Monday he accidentally invested in shares of voting-machine manufacturer Diebold Inc. last year, a period when he was sued by other manufacturers over contracts that Diebold was up for.

In a required ethics filing, Blackwell, who is seeking the Republican nomination for governor, said his investments are directed by an accountant and financial adviser without his knowledge or help, "similar to a blind trust."

He said a manager of his investments account at Credit Suisse First Boston bought 178 shares of Diebold stock at $53.67 per share in January 2005.

Blackwell said the manager did not follow instructions to avoid such investments.

He said 95 shares were later sold at a loss but he still held 83 shares until discovering them and liquidating them Monday, also at a loss.

He discovered them while reviewing his 2005 investments to prepare for Monday's filing with the Ohio Ethics Commission, a form required of all statewide candidates.

"While I was unaware of this stock in my portfolio, its mere presence may be viewed as a conflict and is therefore not acceptable," Blackwell said in a letter dated Monday included in his filing.

January 2005 also was the month Blackwell ordered that counties should use optical-scan voting machines rather than more expensive touch-screen systems.

The company predicted it would earn less money in 2005 because of Blackwell's decision.

That didn't stop Texas-based Hart Intercivic Inc. from suing, saying the order left two rivals, Diebold and Election Systems & Software, eligible for bidding.

Blackwell reversed his decision in April and announced a deal with Diebold of $2,700 per touch-screen machine.

That prompted a lawsuit from ES&S saying the decision eliminated the opportunity for counties to choose from more than one touch-screen vendor.

Blackwell has said the Diebold machines are the only electronic machines to meet federal and state standards under the Help America Vote Act of 2002.

Bob Paduchik, a spokesman for Attorney General Jim Petro, Blackwell's rival in the GOP primary, called for further investigation "considering Ken Blackwell's history with Diebold."

Democrats weren't buying Blackwell's explanation. "If he can't manage to know what's in his checkbook, why would the people of Ohio want to trust this man with the state's checkbook?" said Brian Rothenberg, spokesman for the Ohio Democratic Party.