Inside the Election Board Convictions

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On January 24, two Cuyahoga County Board of Elections employees were convicted of criminal charges for mishandling the 2004 presidential recount ["Guilt by Association," January 31]. Jacquie Maiden and Kathy Dreamer now face possible prison sentences of as long as 18-months for simply obeying orders based on the board's past practices and Assistant Prosecutor Reno Oradini's advice. Don't believe us? Then check out the internal memos between Oradini and his boss, Prosecutor Bill Mason. After the Green Party complained that the recount had been rigged, Oradini set out to investigate. It was an odd move — lawyers don't usually launch criminal investigations into their own clients to expose their own shoddy work. Even weirder is that these three files clearly show that Maiden and Dreamer were simply collateral damage. Their names never appear in the following documents. In fact, the main target of the investigation was none other than director Michael Vu, who announced his resignation yesterday. Document 1: In this memo, Oradini gives a timeline of events that lead up to his decision to have an outside prosecutor conduct a larger investigation of the Board. Maiden and Dreamer are never named. Instead, Oradini writes that on several occasions Vu told him, "he wants to eliminate the human error factor, which would cause a total hand-recount of all votes cast, and that he thinks such recount is unnecessary because the election results would not change." Document 2: This is a more in depth timeline of conversations between Vu and Oradini. Oradini again refers to Vu's desire to "eliminate human error." Oradini also likes to point out how much Vu "babbles" and how often Oradini, himself, says "I don't know." Document 3: This is a board meeting agenda from February 8, 2005. It is the first time that Jacquie Maiden's name appears. According to Oradini's handwritten notes, she simply confirms what Vu says — that the board had always presorted ballots for recounts. Ironically, it was Oradini who told them to follow past practice. He claims he never knew that presorting was part of those procedures. Dreamer's name is still no where to be found. — Denise Grollmus

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