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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters Stages Coup: Republican Intervenes In Elections Case Without Authority

Deters Joins GOP Allies

CINCINNATI (TDB) -- The GOP prosecutor's aides officially intervened in the 6th Circut U.S. Court of Appeals.  The county lawyers are now allied with the Ohio Republican Party and John Williams, a GOP candidate for Juvenile Court Judge in Hamilton County. Joe Deters -- who by law represents the Hamilton County Board of Elections -- committed his office to support Williams' effort to thwart an investigation into 869 provisional ballots.   The provisionals were cast aside as legally defective.  Where it gets dicey: The board of elections never agreed to intervene in the federal appeals case on Williams side.  A 2-2 tie put it officially on the sidelines.  Deters move -- to assign staff lawyers to join the Republican side of a legal dispute -- has the look and feel of pure partisanship, a coup against the board of elections.

How did the board divide 2-2?  Democrats Tim Burke and Caleb Faux said no appeal; Republicans Alex Triantafilou and Chip Gerhardt said yes.  On a tie, the motion to appeal died.   

At the moment, the 6th Circuit is considering whether to set aside U.S. District Judge Susan Dlott's order that forces county elections officials to inspect the provisional ballot for signs of poll worker error.  Tracie Hunter, the Democratic candidate for juvenile judge, trails Williams by 23 votes.  A mandatory recount is coming.  Hunter wants more than a recount -- she believes the discarded provisional ballots will break her way and should be added to the mix.  Hunter and the Ohio Democratic Party launched the court fight last week to have them counted.

To counter the Dems, Deters' office filed what it calls a "response of the Hamilton County Board of Elections to Intervenor John Williams' emergency motion to stay."  That suggests false advertising, because the Hamilton County  Board of Election never authorized such a move.  Deters aide, Assistant Pros. James W. Harper acknowledged as much:  "The nature of the Board's further participation in this matter will be determined by the Ohio Secretary of State as the Board is divided."   Outgoing Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, a Democrat who did not seek reelection, is seen as unlikely to authorize an appeal.  Which is why Deters staged what amounts to a coup.

Williams, whose legal team includes Stuart Dornette (an extremely talented attorney who represents the Cincinnati Bengals and handled negotiations that stuck the county with stadium expenses it cannot afford to pay), contends the 869 disputed provisional ballots are not valid.   Meanwhile, Hunter contends a subset of 289 provisional ballots were cast at the right polling location but in the wrong precinct.  Her lawyer, Jennifer Branch, said poll workers created a mess:

"A single polling location often is the site for voting in multiple precincts.  A citizen must not only locate the right polling place (church, fire hall, school) but also the right table inside the polling place.  Poll workers employed by the Hamilton County Board of Elections have a duty to direct the voter to the correct table so the voter can vote in the correct precinct.  On November 2, 2010, poll workers in Hamilton County did not direct 289 voters to the right precinct table,  This is obvious poll worker error . . . All 289 provisional  ballot cast at the right location but in the wrong precinct on Election Day were rejected by the Board of Elections despite the obvious poll worker errors.  It is likely that these 289 ballots may effect the results of this race since only 23 votes separate the two candidates."

1 comment:

  1. deters is a big, fat, crook.