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Whistleblower Details Ohio Voting Red Flags

• July 28, 2008 • 10:09 PM

 

Miller-McCune.com in May identified Ohio as one of five battleground states that have performed poorly in terms of election integrity. Now a new allegation has surfaced, claiming that Ohio vote-counting software was outsourced in 2004 to the same servers that hosted Republican campaign Web sites.

Attorneys contesting the results of the Ohio 2004 election recently released new evidence detailing how they say Republican operatives linked to the White House may have hacked the computer programs used to tally the votes in Ohio in 2004 and Florida in 2000.

And the trail leads to former presidential adviser Karl Rove, said attorney Cliff Arnebeck, lead prosecutor in the case of King Lincoln Bronzeville v. Blackwell filed in 2006. Arnebeck and his law partner Bob Fritakis held a small press conference on July 17, which was broadcast by the progressive-leaning Web site VelvetRevolution.us, to announce their latest developments.

The parties agreed to put a stay on the case in 2007. Now, armed with new evidence from a cyber-security expert with ties to the GOP, Arnebeck filed a motion to lift the stay last week. The pair wants depositions from Rove, former Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell and Michael Connell, a GOP computer guru who was alleged to be at the scene during several instances of alleged election fraud since 2000.

As CEO of New Media Communications, Connell performed campaign Web services to Bush/Cheney in 2000 and 2004. At the same time, he helped design election systems for the Ohio Secretary of State in 2004 and the state of Florida in 2000. He also worked on the firewall servers for Congress and now works for John McCain.

Connell allegedly ran the servers that housed the Ohio election results in 2004 from the basement of a former bank building in Chattanooga, Tenn. — the same place where the company houses the servers for such Web sites as the RNC Voter Vault, which is updated in real time with virtually every American voter, and GeorgeWBush.com used to communicate with the White House about strategies for firing eight U.S. attorneys. In essence, Connell had access to real time “tuning” of the election, according to Stephen Spoonamore, the GOP whistleblower who worked with Connell and put many of the technical pieces together for the attorneys in Ohio.

Although Spoonamore reportedly had been working with the McCain campaign until recently, he did contribute to Democrat Howard Dean’s presidential bid in 2004.

A well-respected source on electronic security who has received commendations from both the departments of defense and homeland security, Spoonamore said that enough red flags in Ohio were raised to have triggered “a fraud investigation in a bank, but it doesn’t when it comes to our vote,” he was quoted in reporting by Steve Heller, who writes for the Velvet Revolution site.

“You have to ask yourself, ‘Why would the state of Ohio, at the last second, right when the unexpected vote flip comes, be outsourcing that in real time to Tennessee?’” Fritakis told Velvet Revolution in a separate interview.

Spoonamore identified 14 counties where election results looked suspicious in that unlikely “down ballot” candidates received more votes than John Kerry. Investigators are hampered because the paper ballots and election records from 56 of Ohio’s 88 counties from the 2004 election were illegally destroyed.

He subsequently revealed in an interview with The Raw Story, an alternative news Web Site, that a Diebold whistleblower told him how a computer patch was used to manipulate an election in Georgia in 2002.

Arnebeck and Fritakis have the cooperation of Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner and U.S. Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., chair of the House Judiciary Committee.

David Rosenfeld
David Rosenfeld is a freelance journalist based in Portland, Oregon with 10 years of experience writing for newspapers. He writes primarily about health care, conservation and the changing world around us.

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