And other notes from Ohio...
By Brad Friedman on 12/14/2004, 11:25pm PT  

(As we take a quick pause from preparing our friendly response to The Yangs.)

After a few choice words for The NY Times (and even some helpful ones) by The BRAD BLOG over the past several weeks, we're glad to see our new best friend, Tom Zeller Jr. pick up where only us conspiracy-theorists and dissidents have feared to tread over the last 5 and a half weeks!

In a refreshingly tinfoil-reference-free article in tomorrow's Times Mr. Zeller smartly covers the troubling reports (reported here yesterday) out of Judiciary Committee hearings in Ohio about the Triad Governmental Systems employee who, for reasons still unclear, is said to have taken apart one of the tabulating machines in Ohio just last Friday.

Triad, (get me!) --- according to The NY Times --- is "the Ohio firm that created and maintains the vote-counting software in dozens of Ohio counties" and which seems to have some splainin' to do about why the heck one of their employees was taking apart counting machines --- with volatile memory chips! --- prior to the planned recount in the Buckeye state!

Our story yesterday cited a congressional source as describing an unnamed eyewitness election official as "100% real and credible" after interviews. In tomorrow's story, Zeller reveals her to be Sherole Eaton, deputy director of elections for Hocking County and that she's filed a sworn affidavit recounting what she saw along with "at least two county employees".

As mentioned in a letter from John Kerry's attorney to Ohio Elections Officials last Friday which questioned their methods for selecting the 3 percent sample of precincts chosen for the initial counting tests, The Times reports...

Ms. Eaton contends that the Triad employee asked which precinct Hocking County planned to count as its representative 3 percent, and, upon being told, made further adjustments to the machine.
...
But Brett Rapp, the president of Triad, said that although it would be unusual for an employee to ask about a specific precinct, preparing the machines for a recount was standard procedure and was done in all 41 counties where Triad handles vote counts. He added that he welcomed any investigation.

"I've been doing this since 1985, and in all my experience this is the first time that we have had any complaints whatsoever," Mr. Rapp said.

Neither the story, nor Mr. Rapp seems to provide an explanation as to what it was that Triad was "further adjust[ing]" or trying to fix.

Nor is any explanation give as to why neither Greens, Libertarians, Democrats or --- presumably --- Republicans were notified about the "adjustment" prior to the Triad employee getting caught doing it! Apparently even the deputy director of elections for the county had no prior notice! Strange, given Ohio of Sec of State (and Ohio Co-Chair of the Bush/Cheney Re-Elect Committee) J. Kenneth Blackwell's adamant response that public polling books(!) could not be reviewed by Green/Lib recount volunteers because neither a Democrat nor Republican was present after such books were yanked from volunteers hands over the weekend.

In other related news that I've been frustratingly unable to cover as much as I'd like, Blackwell sent a response [PDF] --- if one can call it that --- to John Conyers very specific 36 questions [PDF] (2 of them in this updated letter [PDF] based on information provided to the Judiciary Committee by The BRAD BLOG!) asking for explanations about a number of incidents that the JC was troubled about before they even began their hearings.

Blackwell's letter answered "not a single question", as Conyers put it, in his [PDF] reply back to Blackwell concerning his "refusal to cooperate with Judiciary Committee members". BuzzFlash offers a concise selection for the dissident-on-the-go from each letter.

I hope to have more to say in the near future about the heroic efforts of Conyers, his staff and the rest of the Dem JC members and staffers in the future. But for now, let it suffice to say, the country is blessed to have at least a few elected officials in such high places who are willing to fight --- really fight! --- for the American people.

As long time BRAD BLOG readers may recognize, such words from this blog --- about Democrats of all people! --- is no faint praise. Since there are quite a few of you in those hallowed halls now reading this page, let me say publicly: Thank you for what you've done so far! Keep it up! It's what we're paying you for! And if you don't, you'll have a lot of angry BRAD BLOG readers to contend with. And that's not always fun. Just ask Mr. Zeller.

My time is maddeningly spare while working on new reports re: Clint Curtis, but as things continue to heat up in Ohio and other such areas where we find democracy in various forms of critical condition, I'll attempt to continue touching base --- even cursorily --- when I can. Even if it's not with the detail I've been able to offer on some of these matters overall since Nov. 3rd.

I rest a bit easier, however, knowing that some five+ weeks ago there were just a few of us willing to report on these issues out loud. But now the numbers grow every day and the places to get good information on this have grown exponentially.

The "dissidents", as the AP now calls us, have arrived.

To which I'll add a comment I heard yesterday attributed to a Pacifica Radio Producer when they'd heard about our new appellation. "Great! So now we're dissidents?! What's next --- "insurgents"?!"

We'll hope it doesn't come to that...But we make no promises.

[Originally published at BRAD BLOG TOO while The BRAD BLOG server was down.
Comments left by readers on the original article can be read at the above link.]