By Brad Friedman on 10/2/2006, 6:52pm PT  

ED NOTE 11:49pm PT: Well, it hadda happen. A story at The BRAD BLOG that needs retraction! It's an unfortunate first in our going-on-three years here. Hopefully a last. But so it goes. We're pulling the following story (leaving it below in full, along with a note where we went wrong) so nobody accuses us of trying to hide anything. When we're wrong, we're wrong. And unless further info appears, it would seem that we worked too quickly in our research here and were, infact, wrong. We most certainly regret the error and regret slurring Ms. Hoke, albeit accidentally, by reporting that she was an attorney for Bush/Cheney '04! She appears to have been representing the Green and Libertarian parties in the Ohio 2004 recount instead. Further explanation below, if you're interested...

The good John Gideon caught an interesting piece of breaking news as it came in via Lou Dobbs this evening.

As it turns out, Cuyahoga County, OH (who had a disasterous meltdown during their recent primary election) has now named The Center for Election Integrity (CEI), at Cleveland State University as "Public Monitor" for their general election on Nov. 7th.

Sounds good as Dobbs reported it!

...Until you dig a little deeper to find that the CEI is headed by one S. Candice Hoke who was an attorney for Bush/Cheney in Ohio in 2004! ED NOTE ON RETRACTION: This is where things began to go wrong! Read on...

As this little blast from the past, detailing the gamed Cuyahoga County recount on December 18, 2004 shows, good old Candice was right there in the trenches as Bush/Cheney's official "Recount Coordinator" when the County ran their now infamously phony recount:

Around 5:30pm, Attorney and Democrat Coordinator Dora Rose, Attorney and Green/Lib reps. George Taylor and Candice Hoke, the Bush Cheney attorney and Coordinator, and the Board of Directors met to discuss the process and what they were allowing for tomorrow.

ED NOTE RETRACTION: A close re-reading, and additional investigation shows that, in fact, we misread the quoted text above! On closer examination, it appears that the "Green/Lib repS." (plural!) were Taylor and Hoke, and that the "Bush Cheney attorney and coordinator" mentioned in that graf was actually unnamed! Trouble with commas, and reading too fast! The rest of the story, as follows, is accurate, however, though only useful for background info in general at this point.

Of course, eagle-eyed BRAD BLOG readers will recall, three Cuyahoga County Board of Elections officials were later indicted for having faked the selection of "random precincts" to count during the Green/Libertarian requested recount, so as, presumably, to avoid a full county-wide hand count.

According to the Cleveland Plain-Dealer's April 6th article on the three indictments which we covered at the time:

[T]he fix was in at the Cuyahoga elections board, [County Prosecutor Kevin] Baxter charges.

Days before the Dec. 16 recount, workers opened the ballots and hand-counted enough votes to identify precincts where the machine count matched.

"If it didn't balance, they excluded those precincts," Baxter said.

According to the CEI website today, here's their mission in Cuyahoga this year:

The Cuyahoga County Board of Elections and the County Commissioners have jointly appointed CSU's Center for Election Integrity to serve as the Public Monitor for the County Board of Election's (CCBOE's) conduct of elections. The Center will monitor implementation of the reforms recommended by the Cuyahoga Election Review Panel’s Final Report (July 20, 2006), certain recommendations from other studies, the achievement of CCBOE election preparation plans, and the actual conduct of the County's elections. This last set of monitoring tasks will encompass absentee ballot procedures, Election Day voting, vote tabulation and reconciliation, provisional ballot verification, and recounts.

As Public Monitor, the Center will provide frequent public reports on Cuyahoga County's progress toward election administrative excellence, and on any risks that develop in preparation for its conduct of an election. The Public Monitor will report to the public, as well as to the Boards of both the Cuyahoga County Commission and the Board of Elections, with the goal of ensuring a lawful, equitable, and secure electoral system that produces accurate and verifiable election results.

With "impartial" Public Election Monitors on hand like Hoke and CEI this November, who needs "impartial" Public Election Monitors at all? The Cuyahoga County Election Hoax continues.

TOMMOROW: More on all-new Buckeye State Election Chicanery...Including what would appear to be the first official (known) dirty trick of 2006! Stay tuned...