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Detroit - Criminal investigation requested for elections violations

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Black Box Voting calling for Detroit elections officials to be removed.

Let's watch Detroit carefully, because today's request to prosecute election violations may help with a rotten elections culture elsewhere in the USA.

Ex-candidate Tom Barrow has filed a formal request for investigation along with stunning documentation of chain of custody breach in the recent Detroit mayoral election. Black Box Voting has been in close contact with Barrow, and we will be reviewing additional documents related to this case. The allegations are fascinating.

Detroit citizens executed watchdog actions brilliantly. One of my favorite tactics: They piled leaves in front of the back door, and went out to check frequently to see if anyone was sneaking in and out. The leaves showed that someone had entered through the back door. A security guard confessed to letting strangers in to the security area.

There's more ... in fact, the full complaint and its accompanying Exhibit provides a pretty good primer for citizens and candidates who want to watchdog elections. Full details of the 79-point complaint, and you can discuss this story at this link:

But first, a word about how widespread this culture of violating chain of custody has become:


In New Hampshire (2008), Black Box Voting documented ballot boxes with removable seals affixed with post-it note style adhesive, ballots arrived in the wrong boxes, ballot boxes arrived open, they placed ballots in an unlocked room outside the ballot vault and they refused to account for the blank ballots. The only investigation launched was into the citizens who videotaped these transgressions.


In Arizona (2008), citizen observer John Brakey spoke up about broken and mismatched seals in Pima County. The only investigation done was into John Brakey himself, who was arrested, apparently for his loud utterances about the broken chain of custody. That got Brakey and his pesky observations off the premises while they proceeded to count; charges were later dropped.

In Maricopa County (2008), Black Box Voting board member Jim March revealed that they were ordering up to 10 copies of duplicate seal numbers (rendering seal numbers moot for chain of custody protection).


In Georgia (2006), one poll worker after the next wrote down notes detailing missing, mismatched and broken seals. No action at all was taken, except to ridicule Cynthia McKinney, the candidate who had the backbone to ask for chain of custody records.


In Maine (1992, but this one's a doozy), the chief of staff for the state of Maine Speaker of the House was caught in the ballot vault tampering with ballots. The giveaway: He was smoking and someone thought there was a fire. No one prosecuted the speaker of the house. The perp caught red-handed was convicted and sentenced to community service and a fine. He didn't finish his community service and never paid the fine.


In Ohio (2004), former Black Box Voting Associate Director Kathleen Wynne caught two Cleveland elections workers admitting to counting recount ballots secretly and out of public view, and then hand-picking the batches to count in public. They were convicted and sentenced to 18 months in prison. They never served time; a judge stepped in and for no apparent reason, decided to suspend the sentence that had already been ordered.

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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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