Friday, November 23, 2007

Multiple requests - SOS - Observers for testing of Voting Machines, Project Everest, OH Sec. Of State

Jennifer Brunner, Ohio Secretary of State
Chris Nance, Assistant Ohio Secretary of State
Kellye Pinkleton, Director, Voting Rights Institute
Brian Green, Elections Council

Thanksgiving Day, November 22, 2007

Dear Secretary Brunner, Christopher Nance Brian Green, and Kellye Pinkleton,

Happy Thanksgiving to you all, and the staff at the Ohio Secretary of State's office.

The Ohio Election Justice Campaign (OEJC) writes to you this evening about the growing concern of many of the members of the OEJC regarding the multiple written and verbal unanswered requests we have made to be observers of your Project Everest testing of the Ohio voting machines. As we understand it, according to Kathy Spinelli of the Secretary of State's office, the testing finishes at the end of this month, with a report due out in mid December.

As we have repeatedly asked to be observers of the testing, we have continually been told that someone will get back to us, or we get no answer at all.

That leaves us now with a maximum of 6 day's left to observe, and this 6 days would include the Friday after Thanksgiving... which for many is still part of the holiday. So that takes us on a more practical level to 5 days of testing remaining.

Has any member of the public gotten to observe? As this 1.8 million dollars is taxpayer HAVA money (our money), used to do the testing, should not we as taxpayers get to take a look?

We understand that the members of the Voting Rights Institute (VRI) that were offered a chance to view the testing of the voting machines, on November 14th were also offered a dilemma. It is our understanding that to view the facility where the testing was, with the possibility that they might see some of the testing, they were informed they must agree to silence. It is our understanding that they would have had to sign a non disclosure agreement, to not speak about what they saw until the year 2017, ten years in the future. Do we understand this correctly? Could you please explain why this was a condition of observing the testing.

We request a copy of the form that you asked them to sign, please send it and the other documents we will now be requesting to our contact person, Paddy Shaffer. We request to know what they were told, verbally and in written form. Did any of them observe the testing? We request the forms of any VRI members that signed such a form.

What if they saw something that really troubled them, something that did not show up in your report. Do you really think they should not tell the public what they saw?

Who else was asked to sign a non disclosure agreement regarding Project Everest? If there are other versions of non disclosure forms that your office has asked people to sign this year, we request to have copies of these records.

Please send copies of all non disclosure agreements that you have asked any member of the Voting Rights Institute to sign, or for them to even consider signing this year in regards to anything having to do with interaction with the VRI, the office of the Secretary of State, or Ohio Elections. We request these items as part of the Ohio Public Records Laws, ORC 149.43

If there have been other verbal requests to "keep quiet" or not share information either verbally, photographically, audio, video, or other means from members of the VRI, or the public in their interaction with any County or State Ohio Election Officials, with venders of Ohio election machines, silence requests that in any way have come from the Ohio Secretary of State's office, from any member of the SOS staff, we request to know the details, and what and when things were agreed to. If this is in writing please provide it, if it is all been verbal, please write it down, that we may know what our tax dollars are paying for in the way of public servants.

It is known that Brian Green, who sends out the record requests from the SOS office likes to only provide paper records, but this topic is so very important and for our fragile democracy to survive, and for us to trust what we now see as non trustworthy voting machines, that we feel it is necessary to know about it all, and to know about it now. We hope that if the requested information has only been verbal up until this time, that it will be deemed necessary to put it in writing, and provide it to us.

If we can schedule observers in for watching the testing during the final week, we are interested. If we would also be asked to sign a non disclosure agreement to do this, we would of course, need to see what it says.


The Ohio Election Justice Campaign

Contact Person:

Paddy Shaffer
Director, The Ohio Election Justice Campaign
(614) 761-0621

Cc: All of The Ohio Election Justice Campaign
Mark Niquette
Jon Craig
Ian Urbina
Brian Rothenberg

P.S. Below you will find a previous request to view the testing, it was never resolved.

----- Original Message -----
From: Paddy Shaffer

Sent: Wednesday, November 07, 2007 4:45 PM
Subject: SOS - Observers for testing of Voting Machines, Project Everest, OH Sec. of State,

Chris Nance, Assistant Ohio Secretary of State
Kellye Pinkleton, Director, Voting Rights Institute

November 7, 2007

Dear Chris Nance,

Dear Assistant Secretary Nance,

I write today to request to be able to place observers from The Ohio Election Justice Campaign to witness the Project Everest 1.8 million dollar tax payer supported testing of the Ohio Voting Machines. I wrote you about this previously in a letter about several subjects, and did not get a response. As I now wonder if my request was overlooked, I thought it was important that I repeat it.

It is my understanding that the testing is to be complete on Thursday November 15th, 2007. Is this correct? As there are only a few days before that date, please send me details on how to have observers in to watch some of the testing, and the location for which they would need to go.

Please let me know what the anticipated date is for your Project Everest Report on the findings to be complete.

Thank you so much for your assistance Chris and Kellye.

Paddy Shaffer
Director, The Ohio Election Justice Campaign,
(614) 761-0621

cc: Bev Harris
Victoria Parks
Dan Stanton
Tim Kettler
Sheri Myers
Jon Craig
Mark Niquette
Nancy Tobi
Ian Irbina
Paul Lehto Esq.
Brad Friedman
Greg Palast
Stephen Caruso
Jamia Sheppard
Ray Beckerman Esq.
Blair Bobier, Esq.
Tim Kettler
Paul Harmon, Esq
Michael Collins
Joan Quinn
Jo Anne Karesek
Jane Schiff

No comments: