Summit County Ohio, the GOP, the SOS, and a State Senator
By Paddy Shaffer
Director, The Ohio Election Justice Campaign
March 10, 2008
For a better understanding of the Dispatch article below... a little history has been provided on several of these Ohio characters, and the voting machine integrity in Summit County.
Ohio State Senator Kevin Coughlin who is pointing out problems with Alex Arshinkoff has some issues of his own. Kevin was very involved in Ohio's voter suppression bill, officially titled House Bill 3. It seems as though Kevin's job was to trump up the charges of Voter Fraud in his testimony before the Ohio Senate Rules Committee, when Ohio's problem is not that, but alleged Election Fraud by vendors, technicians, and election officials.
Coughlin's testimony seems to have been successful as House Bill 3 adopted the voter ID provisions which currently disenfranchise hundreds, or hundreds of thousands of Ohioans. When you can't vote, or are forced to vote provisionally anywhere in Ohio because of the new voter ID rules, thank State Senator Kevin Coughlin (you might want to drop him a card, or call him).
(614) 466-4823 phone
(614) 644-5879 fax
As for Arshinkoff and Summit Counties elections: In 2006 Alex Arshinkoff was a board member for the Summit County Board Of Elections. That November Summit County had reported that over 100% of the people voted in 34 precincts for November.
Bryan Williams, the director of the BOE, blames it on the ES&S machines counting some of the ballots twice, because the ballots are two pages. Yet some absentee ballots got counted only once. He said it was a software problem. I must let my gentle readers know that in Ohio the Secretary of State, Jennifer Brunner is now in March of 2008 looking at spending 64 million dollars, up from 31 million dollars in December 2007 on more ES&S machines to tabulate our votes. I presented Kathy Spinelli, of The Ohio Secretary of State's office in the spring of 2007, with the undervote/overvote report from Summit County, and the following results which I have provided for you, and so much more that was in that report. Remember... this is some of the fine work of ES&S.
Actual Official 2006 Certified Election Results from just a few Summit County Locations:
Silver Lake Vill - registered voters 2049 - ballots cast 2899 - turnout percentage 141.48%
Richfield Twp - registered voters 1771 - ballots cast 2396 - turnout percentage 135.29%
Bath Twp - registered voters 7598 - ballots cast 10287 - turnout percentage 135.39%
Northfield Ctr Twp - registered voters 3944 - ballots cast 5009 - turnout percentage 127.00%
Sagamore Hls Twp - registered voters 8236 - ballots cast - 10056 - turnout percentage 122.10%
As for the final official count and the official certified results (certified by former SOS Blackwell), Director Bryan Williams said, "The report is meaningless", referring to his report on the certified totals. Byran also claimed that many voters voted for both Blackwell and Strickland for Governor. Hmmm... who would do that? According to the overvote and undervote report that I requested from Director Williams, 2208 people overvoted for Governor.
And yes folks... this is Ohio elections, and the vendors we buy voting machines from.
The Ohio Election Justice Campaign recommends that we go to Hand Counted Paper Ballots, counted at the precinct. We also recommend a recall and a refund for the voting machines. Ohio needs to go to the front of the line to get our money back. The OEJC recommends that not one more dime be spent on ES&S, nor Diebold, and that we no longer certify vote totals of over 100%.
According to the below article, Arshinkoff will be taking his complaints about Secretary Brunner and his losing his job before The Ohio Supreme Court.
Summit Board of Elections Website
The next link is for "The Godfather in the Closet Story" on Arshinkoff. Disturbing stuff, be prewarned.
Read below for GOP guys in a circular firing squad.
GOP chief under fire
Kicked off elections panel, he could lose Summit County post
Monday, March 10, 2008 3:03 AM
By Julie Carr Smyth
Critics are lining up against one of Ohio's longest-serving, most-powerful political bosses.
Summit County Republican Chairman Alex Arshinkoff, a man President Bush has called the most effective party chairman in America, was removed from his seat on the county board of elections last month by Democratic Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner. She cited concerns that employees in Akron were being harassed, intimidated and threatened.
Arshinkoff challenged her decision to the Ohio Supreme Court, for which depositions are to begin this week.
Within his party, Arshinkoff faces a power struggle with a Republican state senator who wants him dethroned as county GOP chairman.
"I think that people are just fed up," said state Sen. Kevin Coughlin, whose ouster effort is dubbed the New Summit County Republicans. "Everyone's got their own reason for letting him go, whether it's how he treats people, how he spends the money, or his losing record of 10 wins and 67 losses over the last six years."
Coughlin, who lives in the Akron suburb of Cuyahoga Falls, said he thinks enough new central committee members were elected last week to push Arshinkoff out for good.
Brunner said she also based her decision to remove Arshinkoff on evidence that he was running his party operation out of elections-board offices.
Also, three local judges signed affidavits saying that Arshinkoff interfered with their official duties.
"I really did not want to lose the opportunity to have this board function in a more civil and professional manner," Brunner said. "When you visit there, it feels kind of like a rubber band pulled tight."
Arshinkoff, who took charge of the county party in 1978 at the age of 23, defends his record and his approach. He said he has never been accused or convicted of a crime or found to have broken an ethics or elections law in three decades of service.
"Do I kick ass sometimes to make sure things get done? You're damn right," Arshinkoff said in a telephone interview. Referring to his party, he said: "When you don't have the (backing of the local) paper, and you don't have the (voter) numbers, you have to."
Coughlin accuses Arshinkoff of exploiting his position with the party to steer business to his lobbying firm and to pay for a car and other personal perks.
"He's got about $600,000 that he budgets for loosely defined operational overhead, which includes a Cadillac Escalade and three meals a day, a bloated staff, and his pay," Coughlin said. "We want a chairman who's interested in winning elections and not feathering his own nest."
Arshinkoff calls Coughlin "truth-challenged."
He said he makes $72,000 a year as party chairman, and he and his wife, Karen, have often taken on personal debt to make the contributions to the party that are required of central committee members.
Arshinkoff also noted that the win-loss record Coughlin assigns him neglects the party's influence outside the county. For example, Coughlin counts state Auditor Mary Taylor of the Summit County suburb of Green, whom Arshinkoff recruited and groomed, in the "loss" column because she did not win her Democrat-heavy home county on her way to statewide victory in 2006.
Arshinkoff has built a small county party into a fundraising dynamo that has given millions of dollars to candidates. In 2000, Arshinkoff's fundraising machine gave $2.8 million to elect then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush president.
Arshinkoff's demands that donors give to the party rather than directly to candidates is both the source of the county party's might and the heart of criticism of it. Most county party chairmen no longer require such loyalty.
Arshinkoff said the attacks by Coughlin and Brunner are politically motivated.
Coughlin aspires to be Ohio's next governor and is using his attacks to build a statewide reputation among Republicans, Arshinkoff said.
As for Brunner, undercutting Summit County's fundraising prowess for Republicans would benefit her and the Democratic Party, Arshinkoff argued.
"Would it perhaps be in her interest not to have us donating $1 million to statewide Republican candidates in 2010?" Arshinkoff said.
Coughlin did not deny having political aspirations, but fighting Arshinkoff won't necessarily benefit his career, he said.
"The safe thing for me to do would have been to stay on the sidelines with my eyes shut and my mouth shut to Alex," Coughlin said. "Whether or not it's a smart political move on my part, it really doesn't matter to me anymore. This guy's conduct has to stop."
Brunner said prudence, not politics, motivated her decision. "It might have been easier to keep him on the board, politically," she said. "But I think the way the board was operating, it wasn't serving the best interests of the voters."
"Do I kick ass sometimes to make sure things get done? You're damn right."
Summit County GOP chief