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More from Ohio: The Vu Memos - Cuyahoga Elections Director conversations with the prosecutor

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Black Box Voting : Latest Consumer Reports from Black Box Voting: 2-7-07: The Vu Memos - Cuyahoga Elections Director conversations with the prosecutor

Posted by Bev Harris on Wednesday, February 07, 2007 - 07:13 pm:

(Links to document photocopies at end of this article)



14. On December 8, 2004, Director Vu contacted this office to discuss the upcoming recount. Director Vu stated that he wants to eliminate the human error factor because a time consuming hand recount should
not be required because it will not change the results. Director Vu was advised to send all recount information and procedures to this office for review, and that the Board should stay consistent with the
foregoing procedures.

16. December 9, 2004 e-mail from Director Vu: "We will be conducting the Presidential Recount on December 16th and 17th. Before the recount, I would like to discuss with you our procedures and make sure
you are aware of how we intend to proceed. There are also several questions we have in conducting the recount that we would like your legal counsel on. I'd like to set up a time tomorrow to ask several
questions over the phone and in person. These are questions that I needed answered so the staff can make preparations including notifying the presidential candidates. They are simple questions, but ones which are important." (Exhibit 19)

17. December 10, 2004, phone conference between Director Vu, members of his staff, and attorneys from this office. Director Vu starts the conversation regarding the recount by stating that he wants to
eliminate the human error factor, which would cause a total hand-recount of all votes cast, and that he thinks such recount is unnecessary because the election results would not change. The only issue discussed is the "3% random issue" as to what random means. Director Vu states that only precincts with plus 500 voters would be chosen. This office asked Director Vu whether the 500 plus criteria was consistent with prior practice, and Vu stated yes it was consistent. Director Vu was advised that following past Board practice and staying consistent should not be a problem as long as all stated
procedures and requirements imposed by statute and the Secretary of State Directive are followed. Director Vu continues to make comments that he is trying to eliminate the human error factor and that the recount is not needed because it will not change the results. This office continually advises during the conference call that the stated procedures should be followed. This office was never informed, at any
time, that Director Vu was conducting recount(s) or test runs without witnesses prior to the time of December 16 and 17, 2004, when witnesses were to be present.

22. Prior to the January 3, 2005 meeting, Director Vu admits to counsel that prior to the scheduled official recount of December 16 and 17, 2004, the sealed ballot boxes were opened, ballots were looked
at, and recounts occurred. Director Vu was advised that nothing permits the foregoing.

23. On January 5, 2005, in a conference call to this office regarding the allegations of recount irregularities, Director Vu and Jane PLatten stated that they would like to know the prosecutor's position so we are all on the same page, and they would also like to know the prosecutor's position, so they know how to respond to the media. They
were advised that there could be no response to such questions, because Director Vu had admitted that prior to the official recount the sealed ballot boxes were opened, the Ballots were looked at, and recounts were conducted prior to the official recount;Director Vu was again advised that it was wrong.

24. On January 15, 2005, Director Vu contacted this office and stated that he wanted to make sure that, what he phrased as the recount mistake, never happened again. Director Vu asked whether the matter
was being investigated, and whether the matter would come up at the February meeting. Director Vu was advised that a memo was being prepared, the matter should be addressed at the February meeting, and
this matter should be discussed on the record. The conversation then ended.


Pg. 10, first paragraph

- In regards to the staff members statements at the December 15, 2004 meeting, it should be determined whether these statements were based on a desire not to interfere with a plan to manipulate and/or rig the
recount, which may have already occurred by the time of this meeting.

Pg. 11, second paragraph

- An issue to be determined is whether a fewer number of precincts used in the 3% hand recount gives a prior plan to manipulate the recount, a greater chance to balance.


The allegations that the recount of Cuyahoga County's presidential vote was conducted in violation of the spirit and letter of Ohio law are serious. When precincts are pre-counted, and discarded by election
officials in violation of State law, the Secretary of State's directive, and theBoard's own Standard Procedures, the integrity of the entire process is called into question. In light of this office's
statutory representation to the Board, it would be prudent to have this matter further investigated by an outside office or agency.


Document photocopies:
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(6000 KB)

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Bev Harris is executive director of Black Box Voting, Inc. an advocacy group committed to restoring citizen oversight to elections.
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