Threatening Packages, Messages Received Following Brunner's Legal Tussles With State Republicans
Website Set to 'Static Mode' Due to 'Security Breaches'; Investigation Launched by State Police...
By Brad Friedman on 10/20/2008, 5:54pm PT  

The website of the Ohio Secretary of State is being set to "static mode" following a recent series of "security breach" attempts, as well as suspicious packages and a number of death threats sent to the office, according to a press release issued late this afternoon. (Posted in full at end of this article.)

The threats against Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner's office come in the wake of a rash of recent burglaries and vandalism at ACORN offices in Massachusetts and Seattle, as well as death threats delivered to a number of their workers following much-hyped media reports of "voter fraud" by the community organization. The attacks against the group escalated following the Republican Presidential nominee John McCain's comments about ACORN "voter fraud" at a recent rally, and his extraordinary allegation that ACORN was "on the verge of maybe perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country, maybe destroying the fabric of democracy" at last week's Presidential debate.

Notably, there has been no actual evidence of any such "voter fraud" by ACORN, simply allegations by many on the right.

The recent threats against Brunner and her office follow on criticism from state Republicans, who have launched a number of legal suits against her during the final weeks leading up to this November's election...

Brunner's announcement notes the OH SoS website has been temporarily placed into "static mode with limited functionality as a precaution," while an investigation has been launched by her office and state police into the recent threatening incidents.

"Unfortunately, [the attacks on the website are] not the first instance of direct assault on the operations of the Secretary of State's office," the press release states. "In recent weeks, phone lines and e-mail channels have been barraged, even in the business filings section of the office, with menacing messages and even threats of harm or death. Last week, a suspicious package covered with threatening messages and containing an unidentified powder was mailed to the Secretary of State's office via the previous location of the Client Services Center. "

Brunner, a Democrat, has been in a recent series of legal clashes instigated by the Ohio Republican Party and a number of their surrogates. She most recently won a decision at the Supreme Court concerning GOP allegations of fraudulently registered voters in the Buckeye State.

The complete press release from the OH SoS follows below in full...

October 20, 2008

For Immediate Release

Secretary of State Website Temporarily
Taken Down for Security Purposes

Ohio State Highway Patrol will assist with investigation

Columbus, Ohio - Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner announced on Monday afternoon that the state website has been set in a static mode with limited functionality as a precaution. The Ohio State Highway Patrol will assist with an investigation of one or more security breaches detected by the Secretary of State.

"Due to security concerns experienced by the Secretary of State's website, full functionality of the website has been suspended to protect the integrity of state records and data. Full functionality will be restored when we are assured that all data has been protected to acceptable levels of security," said Secretary of State Brunner.

"Our focus is and has always been to protect the vote of every eligible Ohio voter from any kind of fraud, be it voter registration fraud, illegal voting or vote suppression. This action has been taken to detect and prosecute any illegal breach of our voting infrastructure to maintain voter confidence," said Secretary Brunner.

Unfortunately, this is not the first instance of direct assault on the operations of the Secretary of State's office. In recent weeks, phone lines and e-mail channels have been barraged, even in the business filings section of the office, with menacing messages and even threats of harm or death. Last week, a suspicious package covered with threatening messages and containing an unidentified powder was mailed to the Secretary of State's office via the previous location of the Client Services Center. These incidents are also under investigation.

The Secretary of State's office will continue to work in the best interest of Ohio voters and the boards of elections as we continue our preparation for a successful election.

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UPDATE 10/21/08, 12:54pm: The OH SoS reports the site is now back online. Press release from this morning follows...

October 21, 2008

For Immediate Release

Secretary of State Website Back Online
Investigation Will Continue

Columbus, Ohio - Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner announced Tuesday that the Secretary of State website is back online with some limited functionality and should be fully functional by the end of the day. The Ohio State Highway Patrol will continue to assist with an investigation of a security breach detected Monday by the Secretary of State.

"Our Information Technology department worked through the night to establish the needed security measures to make certain that no information on the website could be compromised," said Secretary of State Brunner.

On Tuesday morning the website was available for customer use with added safeguards to detect any further issues. The Secretary of State's office continues to investigate the breach.

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