Ohio: Inside Stark County’s Dominion Voting machine controversy: What do other counties use? | Robert Wang/The Canton Repository

The Stark County Board of Elections will be using 16-year-old touchscreen voting machines in the May 4 primary while most of the state uses more modern equipment. Most Ohio counties bought new voting equipment in 2019 with the state funding much of the purchase. The Stark County Board of Elections wanted to first see what the other counties experienced. Now the election board is mired in a legal battle with Stark County commissioners over its plan to buy Dominion ImageCast X touchscreen voting machines. Commissioners say the board failed to sufficiently consult them, vet Dominion’s price quote and properly consider other options. The commissioners also heard from dozens to more than 100 people influenced by baseless claims by former President Donald Trump and his supporters about Dominion voting machines. The Stark County Board of Elections wants to buy Dominion ImageCast X machines, with Director Jeff Matthews later citing several reasons. The ImageCast X machines are the most similar to the old TSX machines, presenting voters and board staff with a minimal learning curve. Votes are recorded on USB sticks and on paper receipts. Dominion was the only vendor offering a trade-in credit. And Stark County had a good long-term relationship with Dominion.

Full Article: Other counties using new voting machines as Stark mired in lawsuit

Ohio GOP lawmakers propose election changes, limiting drop boxes and allowing online ballot requests | Jessie Balmert/Cincinnati Enquirer

Proposed changes to Ohio election law would eliminate voting on the day before Election Day, limit drop boxes and allow voters to request absentee ballots online. The changes, which will soon be introduced as a bill by Rep. Bill Seitz, R-Green Township and Rep. Sharon Ray, R-Wadsworth, would eliminate in-person voting on the Monday before Election Day so county election officials could prepare for Tuesday. However, those hours of in-person voting could be reallocated to another day. The Ohio Association of Election Officials has been requesting the change. The proposal would also limit drop boxes for mail-in ballots to 10 days before Election Day instead of the entire early voting period. Each county board of elections could have three receptacles on their premises. Boards could have one drop boxfor the entire early voting period during a pandemic or emergency. Ohio lawmakers approved the use of drop boxes during the COVID-19 pandemic when Ohio’s primary shifted to mail ballots rather than in-person voting. Several judges ruled that Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose was allowed to set rules on how drop boxes were used, but he deferred to lawmakers.

Full Article: Ohio election bill: Limit drop boxes, allow online ballot requests

Ohio Supreme Court takes case over Dominion voting machines purchase | Andrew Welsh-Huggins/Associated Press

A dispute over the purchase of voting machines tied to unfounded allegations of fraud in the 2020 presidential election has reached the Ohio Supreme Court. At issue before the high court is a feud over the purchase of Denver-based Dominion Voting Systems machines between the bipartisan elections board in Stark County and that northeastern county’s GOP-dominated board of commissioners. Dominion machines became a flashpoint during the election because of unfounded allegations that the company changed votes through algorithms in its voting machines that had been created in Venezuela to rig elections for the late dictator Hugo Chavez. Dominion has pushed back against these allegations, including in a $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit filed last month against Fox News, arguing the cable news giant falsely claimed that the voting company rigged the 2020 election in an effort to boost faltering ratings. Because of such claims promoted by on-air Fox personalities, the company is now widely targeted by conservatives who falsely believe it manufactured former President Donald Trump’s defeat, the lawsuit said. This conspiracy theory even reached Stark County, the elections board alleged in its complaint to the Ohio Supreme Court last month.

Full Article: Ohio Supreme Court takes case over voting machines purchase

Ohio: Progressive group circulates election bill; GOP lawmaker says it’s not final | Jessie Balmert Anna Staver/Cincinnati Enquirer

A progressive group published a draft of an Ohio election overhaul that would eliminate a day of early voting, require more forms of identification to vote early in person and allow drop boxes only during a statewide emergency. However, Rep. Bill Seitz, R-Green Township, says that draft won’t turn into proposed legislation. “What you have is not what will be introduced,” said Seitz, one of several lawmakers working on changes to Ohio election law. “Drafts are drafts. That’s all they are.” What changes will be introduced? Seitz wouldn’t share any details, but Rep. Bride Rose Sweeney, D-Cleveland, said the fact that a draft like that exists at all says something about the “misguided notions” of her Republican colleagues. “They have had these false notions of we need to have more strict voter ID laws because of voter fraud, and that’s just not true,” Sweeney said. “That’s a lie, and it’s part of voter suppression.” Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose, a Republican, has pushed for a way to request mail-in ballots online, the ability to update voter information at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles and direction on how many ballot collection drop boxes each county should allow.

Full Article: Progressive group circulates Ohio election bill; GOP lawmaker says it’s not final

Ohio Supreme Court outlines deadlines for voting machine case | Cassandra Nist/The Canton Repository

The Ohio Supreme Court has laid out its calendar for hearing the Stark County Dominion voting machine dispute. There won’t be a ruling before the primary election on May 4 but Stark County Board of Election had hoped to buy the new voting machines in time for elections later this year. The elections board has until April 26 to file all its evidence and legal briefs. Stark County commissioners have until May 10 to file its briefs, then the BOE must respond by May 14. The Ohio Supreme court noted the clerk of court shall refuse to file any requests for a time extension. “Whether this case is heard quickly or on a normal timetable, we’re confident that the law and evidence support the position of the county commissioners. They have the ability and the duty to carefully review recommended expenditure to ensure taxpayers are getting the best value,” attorney Mark Weaver, who represents county commissioners, said Monday. The elections board filed the 69-page lawsuit in the Ohio Supreme Court, and a motion to expedite the case due to a “fast approaching election-related deadline of June 15, 2021.” The board is seeking an order from the Supreme Court directing county commissioners to acquire Dominion Voting Systems Image Cast X machines, The bipartisan elections board unanimously voted to buy the new machines for use in Stark County’s elections nearly four months ago. The machines, according to the complaint, are similar to the voting machines that the county has used since 2005 and competitive in price.

Full Article: Ohio Supreme Court outlines deadlines for voting machine case

Ohio: Get COVID-19 vaccine and vote at Hamilton County Board of Elections all at once. Vax & Vote seeks to increase voter turnout and COVID-19 immunity. | Scott Wartman/Cincinnati Enquirer

Ever wonder if there’s a way to both support democracy and help end a pandemic without having to make two trips? There is, the Hamilton County Board of Elections said in a statement Thursday. Officials with the board of elections and Hamilton County Public Health Department hope to boost turnout out in the May 4 primary and COVID-19 vaccination rates with a Vax & Vote initiative. Early voting at the Hamilton County Board of Elections office in Norwood started April 6 for the primary that features the Cincinnati mayoral race and some local levies. The board of elections also happens to house Hamilton County’s central COVID-19 vaccination site. The county health department has administered the vaccine in the 15,000-square-foot space at 2300 Wall Street in the same Norwood office complex as the board of elections. The board of elections rented the space in 2020 for early voting.

Full Article: Get COVID-19 vaccine and vote at Hamilton County Board of Elections

Ohio: Stark County Board of Elections filed a lawsuit in Ohio Supreme Court | Cassandra Nist/The Canton Repository

The Stark County Board of Elections has followed through on its promise to file a lawsuit against county commissioners for refusing to fund the purchase of Dominion voting machines.The elections board filed the 69-page complaint Friday in the Ohio Supreme Court, and a motion Monday to expedite the case due to a “fast approaching election-related deadline of June 15, 2021.” The board is seeking an order from the Supreme Court directing county commissioners to acquire Dominion Voting Systems Image Cast X machines. The bipartisan elections board unanimously voted to adopt the machines for use in Stark County’s elections nearly four months ago. The machines, according to the complaint, are similar to the voting machines that the county has used since 2005 and competitive in price. The board wanted commissioners to approve upfront funding of about $1.5 million to purchase 1,450 Dominion touchscreen voting machines and other voting equipment. The state is providing another $3.27 million to finance the purchase. However, Commissioners Bill Smith, Richard Regula and Janet Weir Creighton, all Republicans, voted last month against accepting the Dominion recommendation and have questioned the cost.

Full Article: Stark County Board of Elections filed a lawsuit in Ohio Supreme Court

Ohio: Stark County commissioners refuse demand to fund Dominion voting machines | Robert Wang/The Canton Repository

Facing the threat of an imminent lawsuit from the Stark County Board of Elections, county commissioners stated they would not be complying with the board’s demand to approve funding by Wednesday for new Dominion voting machines. Commissioner Bill Smith, president of the three-member board of commissioners, read a statement shortly before the board adjourned at the conclusion of its regular Wednesday meeting. “Since March 10th, the Board of Elections has not submitted any new information, or new analysis to the commissioners. What has been missing during this process, or at least it has never been shared with the commissioners and the public, is a comprehensive and transparent review of all the available and state-approved voting systems, including a side-by-side comparison and analysis of the pros and cons of each voting system. Back in December, the commissioners requested much of this information, but it was never provided. Also missing has been any kind of vigorous negotiation by the Board of Elections with voting systems vendors to ensure Stark County taxpayers are getting the best bargain for their money,” the statement said. “Regrettably, none of these things have changed since March 10th, therefore, this board (of commissioners) will not be taking any new action today.” Neither Board of Elections Chairman Samuel Ferruccio nor the Board of Elections’ Columbus-based election law attorney, Don McTigue, could immediately be reached for comment. An email seeking comment was sent to Dominion. The commissioners issued their statement a day after meeting either in person or by teleconference with attorneys in executive session to discuss pending or imminent court action.

Full Article: Stark commissioners refuse to comply with voting machines demand

Ohio: Stark County Board of Elections chair responds to commissioners’ refusal to fund voting machines | Robert Wang/ The Canton Repository

The Stark County Board of Elections isn’t going to back down in its dispute with county commissioners over the purchase of Dominion voting machines. That was the indication Thursday morning from Samuel Ferruccio, chairman of the Stark County Board of Elections. The board has threatened to file a lawsuit against commissioners over the issue. He read a statement at the end of the regularly scheduled Board of Elections’ meeting: “The Board of Elections appreciates the Stark County commissioners’ duties and responsibilities under the law. The Board of Elections also has a responsibility under the law to make purchases and selections of many items during the year. Protect the rights of our citizens to vote in a fair, efficient and impartial manner. This includes selecting voting equipment. I believe the evidence will show if we cannot resolve this matter that we have made our selection in a bipartisan and transparent manner.” The Board of Elections has two Republicans and two Democrats, and all votes on the Dominion machines issue have been unanimous. The commissioners’ Columbus-based attorney, Mark Weaver, issued this statement by email in response:

Full Article: Stark County Board of Elections chair responds in Dominion dispute

Ohio: Stark County Elections Board gives county commissioners ultimatum over Dominion voting machines | Robert Wang/The Canton Repository

The Stark County Board of Elections moved Friday to initiate a lawsuit against the county commissioners if they don’t approve funding to buy Dominion voting machines by their regular board meeting next week. The vote during the special five-minute meeting was 3-0 by Chairman Samuel Ferruccio, Kody Gonzalez and William Cline. Board member Curt Braden abstained. It’s not clear why, but he’s a regional director for the Ohio Attorney General’s Office. Braden could not immediately be reached for comment. Ferruccio, besides being the board chairman and an attorney, is the chairman for the Stark County Democratic Party, and Gonzalez is the county Democratic Party’s vice chair. Braden is a former Stark County Republican Party chairman, and Cline, an attorney, is a Republican. In Ohio, each of its 88 counties have an elections board that has two Democrats and two Republicans and each staff position of the boards of elections have a Democratic and Republican counterpart.

Full Article: Elections board to sue if commissioners don’t act on voting machines

Ohio: Stark County Board of Elections to sue over Dominion voting machine purchase | Robert Wang/The Canton Repository

The Stark County Board of Elections voted unanimously Monday to initiate a lawsuit against the county commissioners to compel them to fund the purchase of Dominion voting machines. The board met twice in executive session before announcing its decision. After the first executive session, which lasted about 20 minutes, board members said they would not consider the commissioners’ apparent suggestion that they consider an updated price quote by Dominion’s competitor, Election Systems and Software. Commissioner Bill Smith had invited ES&S to submit a new quote, which ended up being about $143,000 less than Dominion’s over a 10-year period, according to resolution language released by the commissioners last week. “I think it’s unfair to consider ES&S. We have no inclination to revisit the decision and recommendation that we made previously,” said Samuel Ferruccio, chairman of the Stark County Board of Elections and chairman of the Stark County Democratic Party. “When presented to our board, Dominion Voting Systems’ bid was lower than ES&S. The commissioners took it upon themselves to contact the company (ES&S) our board did not select and accepted a revised bid. That decision was ill advised and detrimental to the integrity of the process.” Board member William Cline, a Republican, agreed, saying “it was manifestly unfair to other bidders to allow a losing bidder to come in and take another bite at the apple. I think at best, unfair, and arguably not ethical either to solicit the bid or to make.” Board member Curt Braden, a Republican, said: “They’re (ES&S is) looking to sell us some used equipment, and we’re looking to buy new equipment.” Braden referred to the fact ES&S’s revised bid included two refurbished ballot scanners with warranties where Dominion was offering to sell the county new ballot scanners.

Full Are: Stark Board of Elections to sue over Dominion voting machine purchase

Ohio County Rejects Dominion Voting Systems After Trump Supporters Balk | Jaclyn Diaz/NPR

The three person Board of Stark County Commissioners in Ohio rejected the purchase of more than 1,400 new Dominion voting machines. The county’s Board of Elections had recommended the purchase, but the three members voted to withhold the money for the purchase following pressure from supporters of former President Trump, who falsely accused the machines of manipulating vote tallies in President Biden’s favor. For months, local Trump supporters in Stark County, home to Canton, voiced their complaints and beliefs about Dominion voting machines. County Commissioner Bill Smith said in February that the response from local residents on whether to purchase new voting machines “far exceeded the response any of us have received on any topic to come before our board.” Commissioners Smith, Janet Weir Creighton, and Richard Regula voted against the Board of Elections recommendations to buy the machines on Wednesday, saying they had to weigh the long-term viability of the purchase. The commissioners’ resolution said, “Whenever there exists a potential cloud…or public perception or concern regarding a vendor’s long-term viability, regardless of the cause or reason, the County must take a vendor’s long-term viability into account” when spending millions of dollars of taxpayer money. Trump and many of his inner circle helped to create that cloud. His camp continued to spread the falsehood that Dominion machines changed votes even after multiple audits and recounts in several states and counties that used the company’s equipment showed there were no issues with the machines. Now it’s clear that disinformation campaign has had a direct impact on the company’s business. Officials in at least one other state, Louisiana, have backed off plans to purchase Dominion voting machines following pressure campaigns from residents, according to The Advocate.

Full Article: Stark County Commissioners Reject Dominion Voting Machine Buy : NPR

Ohio: Stark County commissioners reject Dominion voting machine purchase | Robert Wang/The Canton Repository

The Stark County commissioners voted unanimously Wednesday afternoon to reject funding the purchase of 1,450 new Dominion touch-screen voting machines. Commissioners Bill Smith, Richard Regula and Janet Weir Creighton, all Republicans, voted against accepting a recommendation by the Stark County Board of Elections to fund the purchase. None of them commented during the teleconference meeting. All of them said from December to February that dozens to hundreds of Trump’s supporters in Stark County contacted the commissioners, who have to approve all major spending by the county, urging them to block or scrutinize the purchase more closely. Then-President Donald Trump and his allies have alleged without credible evidence that the Dominion voting machines were hacked or counted votes inaccurately and contributed to him losing the election. While the resolution the commissioners voted down said Dominion had a “potential cloud” over its “long-term viability” apparently due to the unsubstantiated allegations, the resolution avoided delving into those allegations and instead raised questions about whether Dominion’s price quote was superior to competitors. The resolution said, the commissioner have “to conduct the business of the county with due diligence when spending (citizen’s) hard-earned money, without rubber-stamping recommendations that come before it, and to seriously investigate the cost, trustworthiness, long-term viability, and other aspects of any voting system to be purchased to ensure Stark county is obtaining the best value.” On Wednesday, county’s budget director, Chris Nichols, said that cost figures provided by the Board of Elections did not give a full picture of the price quotes for voting equipment by Dominion and its competitor Elections Systems & Software. The Board of Elections said ES&S voting machines would cost the county $2.02 million more than Dominion’s, mainly due to a $1.7 million trade-in credit Dominion was offering. The county cost would be $1.48 million for Dominion and $3.5 million for ES&S.  But Nichols said the Board of Elections’ numbers did not include the cost of maintenance, support and software licensing over 10 years. “I was unable to get my numbers to match up,” Nichols said.

Full Article: Stark County commissioners reject Dominion voting machine purchase

Ohio: Stark County commissioners to decide Dominion Voting machine purchase | Robert Wang/The Canton Repository

Stark County commissioners expect to make a decision by March 15 on whether to approve buying Dominion voting machines for the general election in November, said Commissioner Bill Smith. A vote could take place on Wednesday at the three-member board’s weekly teleconference meeting, he said. It would be up to Stark County Administrator Brant Luther by Tuesday whether to put the item on the Wednesday agenda. Smith said he has not yet decided if he’ll vote to approve the purchase. Commissioners have met a few times in closed-door sessions to discuss the purchase of public property and met with the county’s attorneys to discuss possible imminent court action. Smith declined to confirm if they discussed the voting machines purchase in executive session. On Dec. 9, the Stark County Board of Elections, made up of two Republicans and two Democrats, voted unanimously to buy 1,450 Dominion ImageCast touchscreen voting machines as part of a $6.45 million order from Dominion Voting Systems. The state would cover $3.27 million of the cost. Dominion has offered to extend a $1.71 million trade-in credit on old voting machines, leaving the county’s share around $1.5 million. Dominion’s competitor Elections Systems and Software was offering to sell touchscreen voting machines that would cost the county more than double, or $3.5 million. However, then-President Donald Trump and his allies have alleged without credible evidence that the Dominion voting machines were hacked or counted votes inaccurately and contributed to him losing the election.

Full Article: Stark County commissioners to decide Dominion Voting machine purchase

Ohio: Trump’s Baseless 2020 Conspiracies Complicate Stark County’s Effort To Buy Voting Machines | Nick Castelle/NPR

A conspiracy theory sown by former President Donald Trump and his allies to cast doubt on his loss last year has trickled down to county-level politics, impeding one Ohio county’s ability to purchase new voting equipment ahead of local elections this year. The theory falsely claims voting machines made by a company called Dominion changed votes to swing the election in favor of now-President Biden. Multiple audits and recounts in states and counties that used the company’s equipment confirmed that the machines accurately recorded the vote totals last November. But those audits and recounts haven’t stopped Republican county officials in Stark County, Ohio, home to Canton, from slowing the procurement effort for new machines. Voters in the county twice voted for Barack Obama then twice — by double digits — for Donald Trump. The controversy started in December, when the bipartisan Stark County Board of Elections voted unanimously to replace its aging voting machines with new ones from Dominion. Since that vote, the county’s three top elected officials, all Republicans, say they’ve been getting an earful from voters.

Full Article: The Real World Impact Of A Voting Machine Conspiracy Theory : NPR

Ohio elections chief again orders limit on ballot drop boxes | Julie Carr Smyth/Associated Press

Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose has reissued a contentious order limiting the number of ballot drop boxes to one per county for the May 4 primary. In a directive issued late Friday, the Republican elections chief set the limit in the context of a federal court opinion describing Ohio’s absentee voting options as “generous.” “Even though Ohio law does not explicitly provide for the use of secure receptacles, commonly known as ‘drop boxes,’ for an absentee voter to return their ballot to the director,” he wrote, “this Directive, once again, provides for the continued use of secure receptacles outside of the boards of elections.” A virtually identical order LaRose put in place for the 2020 election drew fierce criticism from the Ohio Democratic Party, voting and civil rights groups, labor unions and several Ohio cities, leading to litigation. The state GOP, the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Congressional Committee and the Trump for America campaign sided with LaRose in court. While courts allowed that order to stand, one describing Ohio’s restrictions as “reasonable and nondiscriminatory,” they rejected the argument LaRose had advanced publicly that he needed additional authority from the Legislature to expand drop boxes to multiple locations — because they’d initially established them on a one-time basis. Still, spokesperson Maggie Sheehan said in a statement on the new order that LaRose is maintaining the status quo while “the newly seated General Assembly takes up the question of the time, manner and location of alternative means for voters to return absentee ballots other than the United States Postal Service.”

Full Article: Ohio elections chief again orders limit on ballot drop boxes

Ohio: As America Lurches Back Toward Reality, Stark County Confronts a Make-Believe Problem | Pete Kotz/Cleveland Scene

When Stark County’s voting machines grew so old it couldn’t find replacement parts, its election board reached a $6.45 million deal for new ones. Then a make-believe problem intervened. Residents pounded county commissioners with angry calls. They claimed that Dominion, the supplier whose machines are used in 26 states, was run by Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez. And that its machines were programmed to change votes. They didn’t seem to notice that Chavez had been dead for seven years. Nor that Dominion is actually a Toronto firm founded to help blind people vote. Or that there’d never been any evidence of vote changing or the unauthorized use of magic. County commissioners were forced to put the deal on hold pending investigation of the fairy tale. Consider it the latest sign of America’s regression to a childlike state, where monsters lurk under every bed, and public officials must placate citizenry tethered to the make believe.  At Dodger Stadium last week, officials were forced to halt a Covid vaccination drive when protesters blocked the entrance, believing it a sorcerer’s potion. The feds wondered what to do about the stock market as investors bet on an obsolete game store thought to have hidden, magical powers. Meanwhile, President Bided halted work on the border wall. The Trump administration had spent $15 billion to pacify fears of a Mexican “rapist” invasion, though undocumented immigrants have half the crime rate of native-born Americans. CNN even revealed an imaginary plot to eat babies. “Once you get to baby eating,” says a White House spokesperson, “it’s like trying to govern in the middle of a German bedtime story.”

Full Article: As America Lurches Back Toward Reality, Stark County Confronts a Make-Believe Problem | Scene and Heard: Scene’s News Blog

Ohio: Uproar over Dominion voting machines in Stark County shows Trump’s falsehoods linger | Hannah Knowles/The Washington Post

Late last year, amid rampant false claims of a stolen presidential election, officials in a Trump-loving county in Ohio took a stand: They voted 4 to 0 to buy Dominion voting machines. It was a good deal for the county, years in the making, says Board of Elections Director Jeff Matthews, who heads the Stark County GOP as well. It was also a step into a firestorm — Donald Trump’s supporters were incorrectly accusing Dominion Voting Systems of helping to rig the 2020 results. “We knew exactly what we were getting into,” said Matthews, who has worked on the elections board for 30 years. Two months later, Stark County has yet to replace its aging voting equipment while May primaries loom. The all-GOP board of commissioners has fielded an unprecedented deluge of upset callers and spent a recent meeting peppering election staff with doubts and questions. Matthews says officials could go to court to push commissioners to make the purchase. A former Trump campaign strategist’s video urging people to “warn” Stark County authorities against moving ahead just fueled a new round of complaints, Matthews said, many of them from out of state.

Full Article: Purchase of Dominion voting machines in Stark County draws a backlash – The Washington Post

Ohio Secretary of State pushes changes after Trump-supporting vendor doesn’t deliver ballots | Rick Rouan/The Columbus Dispatch

Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose is pushing new rules for absentee ballot vendors after a Northeast Ohio company that flew a Trump 2020 flag over its headquarters couldn’t keep up with production of ballots last year. Several counties cut ties with Cleveland-based Midwest Direct last fall when it failed to deliver thousands of absentee ballots on time during a general election that drew historic levels of voting by mail because of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The company had contracts with about 16 of Ohio’s 88 counties. Nine of them fired the company. Midwest Direct also received national attention for flying a Trump 2020 campaign flag over its headquarters as the former president criticized voting by mail. The company eventually removed the flag. Now LaRose is proposing that local boards of elections first get approval from his office before contracting for absentee ballot processing and get assurances in writing from vendors that they have the resources to handle the contract. They also have to consider “any action, appearance of impropriety, or political bias that the choice of vendor might impute on the board,” according to a draft of changes to the Ohio Election Official Manual.

Full Article: LaRose pushes changes after Trump-supporting vendor doesn’t deliver ballots

Ohio GOP U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan challenged by Democrats to repudiate stolen election claims | Sabrina Eaton/Cleveland Plain Dealer

Champaign County Republican Rep. Jim Jordan on Tuesday clashed with Democrats on the House Rules Committee over GOP claims that the 2020 presidential election was “stolen.” The confrontation occurred as Jordan argued against bringing a measure to the House floor that would urge Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the Constitution’s 25th Amendment to assume the presidency on the grounds that President Donald Trump is unfit to serve. Horrified that a mob of Trump supporters marched on the Capitol last week and rioted as Congress attempted to tally electoral votes that showed Democrat Joe Biden won the election, Democrats who control the House are bringing a measure to the floor that would urge Pence to displace Trump. Five people, including a Capitol Police officer, died as a result of the melee. If Pence doesn’t act, Democrats will bring up a measure to impeach Trump. The rules committee’s Democratic chairman, Rep. Jim McGovern of Massachusetts, repeatedly asked Jordan to “admit that Joe Biden won fair and square and the election was not rigged or stolen.” Jordan argued against bringing up what he called “a Democrat resolution to attack the president just eight days before he has said he will leave office, just eight days before we will have a peaceful transition of power as we have had in this country every four or eight years since our nation’s founding.”

Full Article: GOP U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio challenged by Democrats to repudiate stolen election claims – cleveland.com

Ohio: Why did Franklin County send out 50,000 wrong ballots? Board, vendor blame each other | Rick Rouan/The Columbus Dispatch

Franklin County Board of Elections officials and a vendor pointed the finger at each other for an error that resulted in thousands of absentee ballots being sent to the wrong voters in the 2020 presidential election. A new report released Tuesday in response to a public records request shows that, while an unnamed board employee was logged into equipment that stuffed the wrong ballots into the incorrect envelopes, board employees said it was a representative from the vendor who disabled a scanner that would have caught the problem. “While one may never know for certain who was at the keyboard when the error occurred, it is certain that the change was made inadvertently in the course of trying to troubleshoot a system error after an equipment failure and not a deliberate attempt to cause harm,” former elections Director Ed Leonard wrote in the Dec. 31 report to board members. Technicians for BlueCrest, the equipment’s vendor, were on-site at the board of elections on Saturday, Oct. 3, just days before ballots were to be mailed, to help resolve an error with the machine, according to the report. Leonard wrote that the optical scanner was disabled in an attempt to fix the problem, but it was never re-enabled. BlueCrest maintains that it was a board employee who was logged in to the machine and not one of its technicians who was responsible for the error, according to the report. The board declined on Tuesday to identify the employee who was logged in to the machine when the setting was disabled, citing security concerns.

Full Article: Franklin County elections employees, vendor blame each other for sending wrong ballots

Ohio: Audits made near-perfect tally of presidential results | Julie Carr Smyth/Associated Press

A post-election audit has found that Ohio’s 2020 votes were tallied to near perfection, including those cast in the presidential contest, the state’s elections chief said Tuesday. The announcement by Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose came a day ahead of a brewing showdown in Congress over the outcome of the race between Republican President Donald Trump and Democratic President-elect Joe Biden. Trump has refused to concede and continues, with the help of allies, to pursue challenges to Biden’s victory. The effort hasn’t targeted Ohio, which Trump won by more than 8 percentage points. LaRose has responded to months of unfounded assertions by the president, including that results were rigged, fraudulent or stolen, by touting Ohio’s bipartisan, decentralized election system and advocating transparency. That included making post-election audit results available online for the first time. In counties that used percentage-based assessments, presidential results were 99.98% accurate, LaRose said. “The incredible accuracy of the results as reflected in the post-election audits should make every Ohioan proud not only of their bipartisan election officials, but of the system we have in place,” he said in a statement. “Ohio ran a fair and accurate election.”

Full Article: Audits: Ohio made near-perfect tally of presidential results

Ohio: Franklin County examines 2020 Election, looks to future changes | Catherine Ross/WCMH

With the 2020 election in the rearview, the Franklin County Board of Elections is bracing for several changes in 2021. Thursday, the board was conducting its post-election audit to make sure all equipment and procedures worked properly. It was one of the final loose ends to tie on the election cycle. “It’s been an incredible year. We’re certainly glad it’s been completed and we’re putting it to a bookend,” said public information officer Aaron Sellers. Tuesday, the Board of Commissioners approved $2.5 million in funding for the Board of Elections to cover the costs of several things, including replacing the voter registration database and eventually replacing the county’s poll pads. Sellers explained the current voter registration system is 15 years old and increasingly costly to maintain. The board will be rolling out a new database ahead of the May 2021 Primary Election. On Election Day 2020, some polling locations experienced long lines when the electronic poll pads, used to scan voters’ IDs and find their voter information, were unable to download the large file. “The reason why we went to paper the morning of the election was associated with the inability to manage the amount of data that was associated with unprecedented voting activity,” explained Franklin County administrator Kenneth Wilson.

Full Article: Franklin County examines 2020 Election, looks to future changes | NBC4 WCMH-TV

Ohio tea party leader urges Trump to suspend the Constitution, declare martial law to hold new vote | Jeremy Pelzer/Cleveland Plain Dealer

A prominent Ohio tea party leader has taken out a full-page ad in the Washington Times calling on President Donald Trump to temporarily suspend the Constitution and declare martial law to stage a “re-vote” of the 2020 presidential election. The ad, placed by Tom Zawistowski of the We the People Convention, drew swift criticism from at least one top Ohio Republican. In the ad, Zawistowski states that when Democrat Joe Biden is formally elected the next president, as is expected, Trump should order the U.S. military to oversee a new election for federal candidates using only paper ballots. Zawistowski cited unfounded claims of voter fraud, many of which have been vocally pushed by Trump himself. Trump’s campaign has filed dozens of lawsuits in battleground states narrowly won by Biden, though those suits have mostly been thrown out or withdrawn. “Without a fair vote, we fear, with good reason, the threat of a shooting civil war is imminent,” the ad states, adding a vague warning that if Trump doesn’t declare martial law, “We will also have no other choice but to take matters into our own hands, and defend our rights on our own.” Zawistowski, also the executive director of the Portage County Tea Party, has been one of Ohio’s most visible tea party leaders. Known in Ohio political circles as “Tom Z.,” he ran unsuccessfully for Ohio Republican Party chair in 2013.

Full Article: Ohio tea party leader urges Trump to suspend the Constitution, declare martial law to hold new vote – cleveland.com

Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose: ‘We’ve gone down the path of constantly challenging the elections when we don’t like the results.’ | Andrew J. Tobias/Cleveland Plain Dealer

Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose defended the integrity of the U.S. election, calling recent claims from President Donald Trump and other Republicans disputing the results an example of a harmful trend of politicization of elections administration. LaRose, like a few other Republican, also said President Donald Trump has a right to make his case in court, but that he should do so quickly for the sake of an orderly transition into the next presidential term. He said he believes Democratic former Vice President Joe Biden won the election, based on currently available evidence. “I certainly have faith in Ohio’s elections, and I believe that other states… almost all, I think all the other states do it very well also,” LaRose said during an interview Monday with reporters and editors from cleveland.com and The Plain Dealer. “All I’m saying is there’s a reason why there’s an opportunity to present evidence in a courtroom, and if you have that evidence you have to bring it forward and vet it out.” “Maybe it can even be cathartic for people to see it play out, but it has to happen quickly. That’s my point. If anybody believes that there’s something out there, they need to show evidence. Otherwise, making claims without any basis or evidence behind it is problematic,” he said.

Full Article: Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose: ‘We’ve gone down the path of constantly challenging the elections when we don’t like the results.’ – cleveland.com

Ohio: Franklin County moves to paper pollbooks, leading to voting delays | Rick Rouan/The Columbus Dispatch

Franklin County has shifted to paper pollbooks for Election Day in a move that could make the voting process slower in Ohio’s largest county. The county has for years been using electronic pollbooks, which allow poll workers to quickly check in voters at their precinct polling location, but problems uploading the most recent data overnight prompted the Franklin County Board of Elections to make the change. An updated electronic file containing data about who voted early was too large — a product of an unprecedented level of early voting in Franklin County — and could not be synced with the electronic poll books, said Ed Leonard, director of the Franklin County Board of Elections. At the close of early voting, 350,982 people had cast early votes in Franklin County, either in person or via returned mail-in ballots. The county has about 833,000 registered voters. “We can’t guarantee all the data would be there for all the most recent absentee activity,” Leonard said.

Full Article: Franklin County moves to paper pollbooks, leading to voting delays

Ohio: Voting-rights’ groups end federal fight over drop boxes in presidential election | John Caniglia/Cleveland Plain Dealer

A legal fight to add more drop boxes in Ohio counties before Election Day ended Thursday, as voting-rights’ advocates dismissed their federal lawsuit against Secretary of State Frank LaRose. The NAACP of Ohio, the League of Women Voters and the A. Philip Randolph Institute of Ohio filed a brief notice that dropped all claims against LaRose in U.S. District Court in Cleveland.The filing marked the end of a contentious issue that lasted six weeks and bounced between a federal judge in Cleveland and the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled in LaRose’s favor earlier this month and limited the number of drop boxes across the state. “We believe the appeals’ decision was wrong, but we didn’t have any other options,” said Jon Greenbaum, an attorney representing the organizations. “We weren’t going to make it better by appealing that decision.“At a future date, it can be brought up with new information, including from the 2020 election.”

Ohio: Nine counties switch to printing absentee ballots in-house due to delays with Cleveland-based company | Robin Goist/Cleveland Plain Dealer

Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose has reported that nine of the 16 counties that contracted with Cleveland-based Midwest Direct to print and mail absentee ballots have switched to printing ballots in-house.The counties of Butler, Clinton, Defiance, Fulton, Henry, Lucas, Mahoning, Miami and Williams have “discontinued their relationship” with the company and are instead printing and mailing ballots from their boards of elections, LaRose said. The other counties with apparently intact contracts with Midwest Direct are Cuyahoga, Lorain, Stark, Summit, Trumbull, Union and Wood.LaRose shared the update Monday evening following a report from cleveland.com and The Plain Dealer that thousands of voters were still awaiting absentee ballots nearly two weeks after they were supposed to be mailed.“ Many of you have heard that there’s a vendor in Northeast Ohio that had failed to really meet expectation on getting absentee ballots out on time,” LaRose said, without mentioning the company by name. “It’s truly unfortunate and unacceptable that they over-promised and under-delivered.”

Ohio: Most election vendors face little oversight in Ohio | Rick Rouan/The Columbus Dispatch

Outside vendors hired to help run Ohio elections have been blamed for mistakenly scheduling voter registrations to be purged and for slowing down the distribution of mail-in ballots during the past year. But state law provides little in the way of oversight for those vendors, and elections in Ohio are “decentralized,” left mostly to local boards of elections to manage. That means decisions about who to hire to print ballots, manage voter registration rolls and other outsourcing of elections administration are made individually in each of Ohio’s 88 counties. “There is scrutiny to the extent that they’re public agencies that are conducting a public bid,” said Aaron Ockerman, executive director of the Ohio Association of Election Officials. “Local boards of elections need to conduct due diligence when they’re considering their vendors just like any public company or agency would do.” But most of the state and federal oversight is reserved for voting equipment providers, and not the vendors that have had problems over the past year.

Ohio: Elections chief faces two new lawsuits 95 days out from the November general election | Laura Hancock/Cleveland Plain Dealer

Two new lawsuits were filed against Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose on Friday: One by the Ohio Democratic Party to allow online requests for absentee ballots and another by the League of Women Voters of Ohio over the practice of signature-matching when absentee ballots are requested. On Friday, it was 95 days until the Nov. 3 election. Ohio Democratic Party Chair David Pepper noted that this year is more unusual than typical election years. “Given the fact that we’re in a global pandemic and many Ohioans have to remain at home to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, many more voters will be casting absentee ballots this fall,” he said in a Friday morning call with reporters. LaRose, a Republican, criticized the suits as challenging security and trust in elections.