Friday, February 11, 2005

Blackwell Order Ruled Illegal By OH Judges, But Too Late

83 of 88 Counties Strong-Armed Toward Diebold and ES&S By Now-Voided Edict

By ADVOCATE STAFF

It's official: the arbitrary (February 9th) deadline set by J. Kenneth Blackwell for Ohio counties to choose new voting systems has been ruled illegal by not one, but two Ohio judges.

[See The Advocate's prior coverage of this story here].

Blackwell's spokesman, Carlo LoParo, thumbed his nose at the judges, telling the press that 83 of Ohio's 88 counties had already -- due to pressure from Blackwell -- been forced to choose between the Secretary of State's two preferred voting systems, one from Republican-connected equipment manufacturer Diebold, Inc., and the other from...

...Republican-connected equipment manufacturer ES&S.

[Article].

LoParo had previously told the Ohio press corps, in a thinly-veiled threat directed at county Boards of Election, that Blackwell's order "carries the weight of law, and he expects that to be complied with." [Article].

Blackwell's now-voided administrative decree left companies with no publicly-acknowledged Republican ties too little time to bring their machines into compliance with the Help America Vote Act, or HAVA.

It appears, therefore, that the vast majority of Ohio voters in 2006 and 2008 will vote on Diebold and ES&S voting machines. Indeed, only five counties in the state still have the option of using machines by companies with no ties to the national Republican Party.

Had Blackwell not violated Ohio law by forcing the state's counties to choose new systems by February 9th, these other voting machine manufacturers would have had until the end of this year to become HAVA-compliant -- proving, once again, that Blackwell reaps enormous political and strategic benefits every time he violates state law.

And that he has never been held to account for his actions.

Yet.

Take note, kids -- this is how adults display their "moral values" to the next generation.

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