For Immediate Release
From: Patrick Kriner and Lynn Olman
Re: THE TRUTH CONCERNING RECENT ALLEGATIONS DIRECTED TOWARDS THE LUCAS COUNTY BOARD OF ELECTIONS.
It is time to set the record straight concerning recent allegations cited in the Toledo Blade regarding performance issues at the Lucas County Board of Elections. Since our appointment to the Board of Elections in March of 2005, we have worked diligently to insure fair and accurate elections in Lucas County. Along with our counterparts from the Democratic Party we have eliminated political infighting and restored trust in the electoral process. These recent allegations seem to indicate that there are issues, which undermine the elections process. They cannot be any further from the truth. Lets deal with the facts.
There is an allegation of race fixing in the 2006 Republican Party central committee race. The facts are quite clear. That this is false. Ms. Gallagher was defeated in that race by one vote. Thomas Nichols received 12 votes Ms. Gallagher received 11. The twelfth vote claimed to have been cast for Ms. Gallagher, was actually cast on a Democrat Primary ballot for the 46th House District. Mark Dansak was running as a write in candidate for the Democratic Party in the 46th house district and a voter requested the Democratic ballot and wrote Ms. Gallagher’s name in for that race. Since there was no ability to write in for the Republican Central Committee because the voter requested a Democratic Ballot, we could not rule that the voter intended to vote for Ms. Gallagher for central committee. In addition, Democrats cannot cast votes for the Republican Party Central Committee. The result: Nichols 12 votes, Gallagher 11 votes.
In addition, it is alleged that documents were destroyed. The facts are that we have a policy that deals with destruction of documents. The test decks were on a destruction list. These test decks are documents used in testing the accuracy of the machines used to scan paper ballots. It is uncertain whether these documents were destroyed or not. We may never know. However, these test decks do not have an impact on the official outcome of the election.
There is an allegation about misleading the public regarding the fire that took place in our warehouse. The fire actually happened in an adjacent building and we did suffer smoke damage as a result of that fire. All discussions regarding the cleanup, cost, and claims regarding this incident were discussed in an “open meeting” and shared with many members of the local media. The public was not mislead. Were records damaged in the fire? Absolutely. Did our Board employees respond in an appropriate manner to protect and preserve these documents? Absolutely. Were our comments to the media misleading? No.
There is an allegation that the Board allowed the former Executive Director of the Republican Party to sign documents which were required to be signed by a candidate when in fact she was not the candidate. The fact is that we did allow her to sign those documents. Ms. Wack was filing petitions for several candidates and was presented with a document that all petition filers are required to sign indicating that they received information from the Board regarding campaign finance requirements. We want to make sure all of our candidates are aware of their obligations in filing campaign finance reports. Was Ms. Wack able to file petitions for candidates other than herself? Absolutely. Was she asked to sign a form stating receipt of the campaign finance information for each candidate she filed for? Absolutely. Just because the form states “candidate signature” does not mean that the only person that can file petitions is the candidate. There is no language in the Ohio Revised Code that requires this. The form is simply an acknowledgement of receipt of information. No harm, no foul.
Finally, there is an allegation that we failed to monitor the activities of an employee who downloaded pornography onto his computer during work hours at the Board of Elections. The fact is that someone outside the Board of Elections sent the employee an email with suggestive material thinking that they had sent it to the employee’s home email address. When the employee opened the email and realized what it contained, he immediately closed it. He did not forward it to anyone nor did he download anything. The email should have been deleted from the computer but as a result of the many public information requests made in our office which include copies of emails, our employees are instructed not to delete any emails from their computers. The employee was aware of this and the suggestive email remained on his computer. No downloading of pornography occurred in this instance in 2005 and none have taken place since that time.
Unsubstantiated allegations serve only one purpose. That purpose is to undermine the public’s confidence in the Lucas County Board of Elections. It is time for truth and fairness to prevail. Voters in Lucas County must have confidence in their elected officials and in the process by which they are elected. The integrity of the electoral system in Lucas County is always at the top of our agenda. Although we are partisan by design, the current members of the Board of Elections have taken a “Bi-Partisan” approach to our duties to insure fairness and accuracy. Although we take no joy in having to deal with these unsubstantiated allegations, we cannot allow party politics to impinge on the electoral process. Our first and highest mission is the integrity of the vote. To that end we will remain diligent in our efforts and remain steadfast in our duty to protect the vote at all cost.
Saturday, July 25, 2009
This just in via email: