Brunner Moves In The Right Direction


by Bob Fitrakis

Ohio Secretary of State recently released a report that seeks to safeguard Ohio’s 2008 presidential election. A tall task after the open theft of the 2004 election by her predecessor.

The Brunner report as usual is a mixed bag. She’s responding to the Everest Study of electronic voting machines which showed the Ohio election system vulnerable to fraud and error. She was in a showdown with the Republican-controlled Statehouse who refused to give her the
$64 million she wanted primarily for precinct-based Optiscan machines.
In the game of chicken, Brunner was afraid to decertify the machines because she feared the Republicans wouldn’t give her the money to replace them.

Some of her recommendations seem to come directly from the consent decree that I authored in the King-Lincoln-Bronzeville case pending in the State of Ohio. The case charges former Secretary of State Blackwell with manipulating the 2004 election as the agent of the Bush-Cheney Re-election Campaign, but also included 50 proposals for election reform to ensure free and fair elections in Ohio.

To her credit, she’s attempting to improve the county voter registration databases as well as fixing and promoting the polling sites. These were both problems in the inner cities in 2004. She’s also promoting more use of absentee ballots and early voting and is now requiring security plans from each county, particularly in regards to ballot access including the memory cards. This concern for chain of custody issues is long overdue. She’ll also be requiring an audit and has the ability to order every county to do a post election audit. I’m hoping she has the courage to demand a true random post-election audit.

So she’s moving in the right direction. But the result will depend upon how the final directives look.