Sunday, July 17, 2005

J. Kenneth Blackwell: Is he going to the state house, the out house or the big house?

J. Kenneth Blackwell's name is back in the news as the result of a lawsuit by Electonic Systems and Software claiming that Mr. Blackwell only permitted one company (Diebold) to bid for making voting machines for the 2004 presidential election in Ohio. A Diebold exec. Mr. Gallina gave $10,000.00 to Ohio Republican leader Matt Damschroder, who now states that accepting this money was a mistake after the fact that many consider this act to be improper. This may just only be the tip of the iceberg since there are others who believe that Mr. Gallina may have contributed up to $50,000.00 to Blackwell. Mr. Blackwell allowed over 34,000 so called Republican poll watchers to slow down the voting process in predominantly African-American communities in Ohio, causing people to wait on long lines for as many as seven hours to vote because said poll watchers were challenging their right to vote. Since Mr. Blackwell is an African-American this act seems traitorous to so many African-Americans, such as myself. Mr J. Kenneth Blackwell conjures up images of Clarence Thomas, Benedict Arnold and Judas. Mr. Blackwell prior to the presidential election promised he would deliver the state of Ohio to President Bush, an action that has caused speculation of impropriety due to the alleged connection between Mr. Blackwell and Diebold, whose voting machines were exclusively used in Ohio. The Columbus Dispatch reports that Blackwell's spokeman Carlo LoParo said "Pasquale Gallina tells me that he wrote a check for $50,000 for Blackwell's political interests. I have no idea "For his part Mr. Gallina doesn't confirm or deny his contribution. He only states that all of his donations have been on public record. I have no idea why he (Damschroder) would say anything other than that every encounter we've had with Matt Damschoder has shown a little bit about his character."Meanwhile, ES &S(another company that makes voting machines) wants to depose Blackwell, Gallina, Cummings and Dana Walch, Blackwell’s director of legislative affairs. ES &S sued Blackwell in May, saying it was unfairly excluded from the selection process. Blackwell ordered counties to make their selections by May 13, but only Diebold was certified to sell electronic voting machines in Ohio. ES &S said Blackwell had met secretly with officials from the North Canton company. Franklin County and 31 others joined the suit, and Blackwell agreed last month to push the deadline back to September. The change wasn’t a settlement of the lawsuit, however. Ohio must use new voting machines in the 2006 elections to qualify for federal funding through a congressionally mandated upgrade."

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