Ken Blackwell, OH Sec. of State 2004

Ohio Secretary of State in the 2004 Bush/Cheney Election, Trump’s Voter Suppression Commission

The Council for National Policy (to which Kellyanne, Bannon, the DeVos family, the Mercers, Pence, Ken Blackwell, and two men whose families funded the largest voting machine vendor in the U.S.) has set a deadline of 2020 for restoring “religion and economic freedom and Judeo-Christian values” under the Constitution. . Dec 27, 2017 By Jennifer S. Cohn December 27, 2017 Citations updated July 20, 2018.  

Thread continued from Voting Machine Issues

“70. At the time, Ohio’s Secretary of State was Ken Blackwell, who also co-chaired Bush’s re-election campaign in OhioThe 2004 Election OHIO’S ODD NUMBERS No conspiracy theorist, and no fan of John Kerry’s, the author nevertheless found the Ohio polling results impossible to swallow: Given what happened in that key state on Election Day 2004, both democracy and common sense cry out for a court-ordered inspection of its new voting machines. Vanity Fair by CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS OCTOBER 17, 2006

[In 2004, Blackwell was both Ohio Secretary of State and a co-chair of Bush’s reelection campaign]

71. Blackwell is currently a member of Trump’s voter suppression commission.

72. The 2014 CNP directory lists Blackwell as a member. Like KellyAnne, his interests include “campaign election technology.”

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73. As Secretary of State, Blackwell fought for paperless (unverifiable) voting machines Diebold’s Political Machine Political insiders suggest Ohio could become as decisive this year as Florida was four years ago. Which is why the state’s plan to use paperless touch-screen voting machines has so many up in arms.Mother Jones BOB FITRAKIS AND HARVEY WASSERMAN MARCH 5, 2004 

Lawmakers in Congress and the Ohio legislature are scrambling to do just that. In Ohio, State Sen. Teresa Fedor of Toledo has proposed a bill requiring a “voter verified paper audit trail for all elections in the state. Congressman Rush Holt of New Jersey is pushing a similar measure in Washington. But the efforts are being fought by Republicans in both places. In Ohio, Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell has already signed $100 million in agreements to purchase voting machines. The bulk of the purchases would go to Diebold and ES&S, and Blackwell insists there is no need for paper receipts. Considering the political opposition and the companies’ wait-and-see approach, it’s almost certain that voters using touch-screen machines in November will walk away from their polling places without ever seeing a printed record of their choices.”

74. In the 2004 election, Blackwell tried to block exit polls, but lost in court. News Media Access to Polls in Ohio ABC v. Blackwell (Michael H. Watson, S.D. Ohio 1:04-cv-750) and Beacon Journal Publishing Co. v. Blackwell

“On the morning before the 2004 general election, news media sought federal court orders granting them access to polls in Ohio. Separate lawsuits were filed in the Southern District of Ohio and the Northern District of Ohio. The Southern District action chal- lenged a directive by Ohio’s secretary of state that exit polling not be conducted within 100 feet of a polling place. Late at night on the day the case was filed, the judge granted the media injunctive relief against the directive. In the Northern District, news media sought access to the polls for reporters and photographers. The second district court denied the media relief, but the court of appeals vacated that decision and granted the media injunctive relief a few hours before the polls closed. 

In the Southern District’s Cincinnati courthouse, a complaint and a motion for a temporary restraining order challenged the constitutionality of an oral directive by Ohio’s secretary of state that exit polling not be conducted within 100 feet of a polling place.1 

The court assigned the case to Judge Michael H. Watson,2 who had joined the bench in September.3 His primary chambers were in Columbus, but most of his cases were Cincinnati cases during his first few years on the bench.4 Judge Watson held an informal status conference at 11:00 a.m. on the day of filing.5 The motion was heard that evening at 6:40 p.m.6 Late at night following the hearing, Judge Watson granted the temporary restraining order, and the news media were able to conduct exit polls the next day within 100 feet of polling places.7 Judge Watson reaffirmed this ruling by summary judgment on September 26, 2006.8 Both sides appealed elements of Judge Watson’s opinion, but the appeals were voluntarily dismissed in 2007.9” 

75. Blackwell also hired Karl Rove’s IT guru, Mike Connell, to design a “backup server” that re-routed Ohio’s election results through a hosting company in Tennessee called “Smartech,” which also hosted a range of sites for the RNC. Computer expert denies knowledge of ’04 vote rigging in Ohio GREG GORDON – MCCLATCHY NEWSPAPERS NOVEMBER 03, 2008 NOVEMBER 04, 2008. “Records show that Blackwell hired Connell’s Govtech Solutions, LLC, of Richfield, Ohio, as an Internet consultant. SMARTech Corp. of Chattanooga, Tenn., was retained to provide a backup server, which was needed because the secretary of state’s Web site got more than 40 million election-night visits, said a spokesman for Ohio’s current Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, a Democrat.

During the same year, Bush’s campaign paid New Media Communications, which was owned by Connell, more than $806,000 to for Web services, according to Federal Election Commission records. Connell’s firm also has served as a consultant to John McCain’s 2008 Republican presidential campaign.”

76. “Smartech was paid more than $72,000 by Bush’s 2004 campaign and has hosted hundreds of Republican Web and e-mail sites…” MCCLATCHY

77. “Connell was the Bush campaign’s chief IT strategist.” How to Rig an Election Harper’s Magazine The G.O.P. aims to paint the country red By Victoria Collier  November 2012.

78. Connell was also a zealous anti-abortion activist. Harper’s

79. The backup server was supposed to “kick in … if the official Ohio servers were overwhelmed by Election Day traffic.” Harper’s he G.O.P. aims to paint the country red By Victoria Collier  November 2012.

“In 2004, Connell was hired by Blackwell to design a website that would post Ohio election results to the public. Connell’s contract also required that he create a “mirror site” that would kick in to display the vote totals if the official Ohio servers were overwhelmed by Election Day traffic. For the latter portion of the job, he turned to SmarTech, a little-known company headquartered in Chattanooga, Tennessee. SmarTech was as partisan as Connell himself, and the company’s servers hosted hundreds of high-profile Republican websites (and, later on, an assortment of anti-Obama websites).”

80. “The SmarTech site [in Tennessee] went into action at 11:14 p.m. on Election Day.” Harper’s 

81. The transfer of Ohio’s vote count to the backup server remains a mystery because there’s no evidence Ohio’s system failed.

Court Filing Reveals How 2004 Ohio Presidential Election was Hacked: “Unexpected Shift in Votes For George W.”  GlobalResearch.  By Bob Fitrakis. July 26, 2011

“In the Connell deposition, plaintiffs’ attorneys questioned Connell regarding gwb43, a website that was live on election night operating out of the White House and tied directly into SmarTech’s server stacks in Chattanooga, Tennessee which contained Ohio’s 2004 presidential election results.

The transfer of the vote count to SmarTech in Chattanooga, Tennessee remains a mystery. This would have only happened if there was a complete failure of the Ohio computer election system. Connell swore under oath that, “To the best of my knowledge, it was not a fail-over case scenario – or it was not a failover situation.”

82. In 2008, attorney Cliff Arnebeck (formerly a Republican) filed a civil racketeering case against Karl Rove, which included allegations that the 2004 election was rigged. Harper’s “Four years later, Ohio attorney (and former Republican) Cliff Arnebeck began gathering evidence to file a racketeering claim against Karl Rove, which included the charge that Rove had masterminded the theft of the 2004 election. “We detected a pattern of criminal activity,” Arnebeck told the British journalist Simon Worrall. “We identified Connell as a key witness, as the implementer for Rove.” On November 3, 2008, he took a sworn deposition from Connell, who had repeatedly tried to quash Arnebeck’s subpoena.”

83. On November 3, 2008, “Connell swore under oath [in deposition] that, ‘To the best of my knowledge, it was not a fail-over case scenario…”GlobalResearch

84. “Bob Magnan, a state IT specialist for the Ohio Secretary of State during the 2004 election, agreed that there was no failover scenario. Magnan said he was unexpectedly sent home at 9 p.m. on election night and private contractors ran the system for Blackwell.” GlobalResearch

85. “Late on Election Day, John Kerry showed an insurmountable lead in exit polling, and many considered his victory all but certified. Yet the final vote tallies in thirty states deviated widely from exit polls, with discrepancies favoring George W. Bush in all but nine.” Harper’s

86. “The greatest disparities [in 04] were concentrated in battleground states — particularly Ohio.” Harper’s

87. “In one Ohio precinct,” exit polls gave Kerry “67 % of the vote, but the certified tally gave him only 38%.” Harper’s

88. Although Connell testified in a deposition on November 3, 2008, he died in a plane crash on December 9, 2008, before he could testify at trial. Harper’s “Arnebeck hoped to have Connell testify in open court against Rove. But the prospective witness died on December 19, 2008, at age forty-seven, when his single-engine Piper Saratoga, which he was piloting alone, crashed en route from Washington, D.C., to Ohio. The circumstances of his death were viewed with suspicion by his family and close friends and sparked a firestorm of conspiracy chatter on the Internet, but no criminal investigation was launched. Whether Rove and his collaborators orchestrated the electronic theft of the 2004 election will likely never be known. Still, Election Day exit polls make a compelling case that somebody may have been tampering with the presidential vote count, in Ohio and elsewhere.”

Republican IT Guru Dies In Plane Crash CBS News

89. “Arnebeck believes the data being routed to Tennessee was used by G.O.P. partisans to target Ohio counties that were ripe for vote tampering. ‘The SmarTech people may have been guiding the manipulation of paper ballots in places like Warren County,’ Arnebeck told me.” Harper’s 

90. According to “Stephen Spoonamore, an IT specialist (and Republican) who has consulted on cybersecurity for Boeing, MasterCard, the Navy, and the State Department,” SmartTech “might have been able to use Connell’s interface to gain access to and modify vote totals.”Harper’s 

91. Here is a link to Jon Conyers’ House Judiciary Committee Report re: 2004 voting irregularities. …

92. Here is a link to the transcript of a Congressional hearing about the 2004 recount in Ohio. …

93. Directors of the Election Boards in two Counties stated that Triad (an affiliate of the butterfly ballot company in 2000) had remote access to computers used in the 2004 recount; Triad reportedly also handed out recount “cheat sheets.”


“It is noteworthy that the companies implicated in the misconduct outlined above, Triad and its affiliates, are the leading suppliers of voting machines involved in the counting of paper ballots and punch cards in the critical states of Ohio and Florida. Triad is controlled by the Rapp family, and its founder Brett A. Rapp has been a consistent contributor to Republican causes. In addition, a Triad affiliate, Psephos Corporation, supplied the notorious butterfly ballot used in Palm Beach County, Florida, in the 2000 presidential election. The Directors of the Board of Elections in both Fulton and Henry County stated that the Triad company had reprogrammed the computer by remote dial-up to count only the presidential votes prior to the start of the recount. The voting computer company Triad has essentially admitted that it engaged in a course of behavior during the recount in numerous counties to provide “cheat sheets” to those counting the ballots. The cheat sheets informed election officials how many votes they should find for each candidate, and how many over and under votes they should calculate to match the machine count. In that way, they could avoid doing a full county-wide hand recount mandated by state law.”

94. After the election, it was discovered that, in late Aug. 04, the DHS had quietly released this Cyber Alert regarding the Diebold GEMS system, which felon Dean had programmed. Howard Dean on Electronic Voting Machines, Diebold and Otherwise…

By BRAD FRIEDMAN on 4/22/2006

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95. Fortunately, Jennifer Brunner (a Democrat), replaced Blackwell in 2007, and she worked hard to improve Ohio’s election system for 2008.  Brunner promises cleaner presidential election in Ohio this fall

When U.S. voters go to the polls in November to elect the next president, media pundits and advocacy groups again will be keeping a close eye on Ohio.  City Beat KEVIN OSBORNE JULy 27, 2008    “As almost anyone with a pulse knows, President Bush won reelection in 2004 thanks to Ohio’s 20 electoral votes. And he won the Buckeye State by a meager 2.1 percent margin over John Kerry in what many critics allege was a deeply flawed election process.

The election four years ago was marred by various problems throughout Ohio, including dubious purges of voter rolls, areas that didn’t receive enough voting machines, long lines at the polls and lingering questions about whether every ballot cast was in fact counted.

Some believe the process was intentionally manipulated by then-Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell — a Cincinnati native — to help his Republican brethren, while others say the problems were simply the result of incompetence. Regardless, Americans were saddled with yet another presidential election that left a bad taste in their mouths.

Jennifer Brunner, the Democrat who was elected in 2006 to replace Blackwell as Secretary of State, is determined that this presidential election will be different.

Last winter Brunner overhauled security procedures for the touch screen e-voting machines known as Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) systems — used in many Ohio counties — after bipartisan testing revealed they could be easily manipulated by outside factors and had “critical security failures” that could compromise the integrity of elections.”

96. Brunner even sued Diebold/Premier alleging the company’s touch-screen voting machines “didn’t work properly” and that “votes in at least 11 counties were ‘dropped’ in prior elections when memory cards were uploaded to computer servers.” The case was settled in 2010, with the company agreeing to pay $470,000 plus up to $2.4 million in free software licensing. The company also agreed to provide up to 2,909 new machines statewide, plus a 50% discount in maintenance fees, plus a 50% discount for “precinct-based optical scanner voting machines.”

State, maker of voting machines settle case The Columbus Dispatch August 12, 2010 

97. But American had not seen the last of its election irregularities.”/End Jennifer Cohn thread

Continue Jennifer Cohn Thread on Jim DeMint, Ohio Secretary of State in 2004