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Investigative Report - Part Two in the Moonshine Elections Series

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SHORT VERSION - An original Black Box Voting investigative report
By Bev Harris

This report is dedicated to Dave Greenwell of Bullitt County, Kentucky, who ran for sheriff in 2006 with a pledge to clean up nepotism in Bullitt County government. He lost. Last time I met him, his thank-you-for-trying message consisted of three broken ribs. A powerful family now dominates Bullitt County, but if what we have learned will help to achieve reforms (see end of article), Dave's loss can result in a win for Kentucky and many other states.


West Virginia, Mingo County: The Hatfields
Kentucky, Pike County: The McCoys

By my count, at least 14 people were murdered during the Hatfield-McCoy feud,
not including the hangings of the criminally convicted. Despite their anger
management problems, the Hatfields have managed to hold several public offices
in West Virginia, and at least one direct descendant of both a Hatfield and McCoy hold office right now.

Let's go back in time, for illustrative purposes. Suppose you are a McCoy. Suppose you want to run for office. Would you like the Hatfields to count your vote in secret? Would it bother you to see various Hatfields wandering in and out of the back room while McCoy votes are being counted?

"Trust Me" elections are a bad idea whether or not the people who control the
counting happen to be related to each other.

*Moonshine Election Territories: 4 or more of the following characteristics
1. Rural location
2. Family members hold multiple positions in the local government
3. Problems are noted in financial audits
4. Felony convictions of local officials
5. Questionable election situations
6. Obstructs or ignores Freedom of Information (public records) requests
7. Uses computerized voting systems serviced by small subcontractors

16 states, 210 electoral votes - Black Box Voting has identified of these kinds
of election jurisdictions in Kentucky, West Virginia, Arkansas, North Carolina,
South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and parts of southern
Illinois, Ohio and Indiana, as well as some of western Pennsylvania, eastern
Missouri, and scattered locations in Texas.


Two local public officials in each county have especially close proximity to
elections and ballot chain of custody: the county elections director and the
county sheriff.

In the 2006 election that installed Donnie Tinnell as the new sheriff, outgoing
Bullitt County Sheriff Paul Parsley was in there helping with the Election Night
e-vote tallying, and Parsley's granddaughter, whom nobody can recall being on
the payroll or appointed to any official position, was seen handling the poll
tapes - results from each individual voting machine - which by the way didn't
match up to the official results, but nobody did anything about that. Paul
Parsley had already announced that the new sheriff in town was going to be
Donnie Tinnell - in fact, he announced that Tinnell would be chosen by the voters some months before the election.

Another person getting up close and personal to the e-vote counting was Linda
Tinnell, the sister-in-law of Donnie Tinnell. No one could actually view the
counting of the e-votes of course, other than noting that someone was doing
something to computers. So here we have Donnie Tinnell running for sheriff, and
we also had Donnie's cousin, Sherman Tinnell, running for mayor. Here a Tinnell, there a Tinnell, helping with the votes a Tinnell, and all the Tinnell people won, including relatives like Donnie's niece, a schoolteacher named Melanie Roberts who happened to land the most powerful position in the county.

The mantle was duly passed from Sheriff Parsley to new Sheriff Donnie Tinnell,
who now also sits on the Bullitt County Board of Elections.

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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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