Monday, July 23, 2012

Brown County Board of Elections Update: Hacks Call Newspaper Man a Hack for Asking Questions and Try to Assassinate His Character

Dallas Hurt and his little press friends at the News Democrat are at it again. They are in full spin mode over the scandal at the Board of Elections, where people were intimidated into not voting a certain way based on using affadavits as a way of voter intimidation. This was done under the auspices of Dallas Hurt and Kathy Jones, member of the board and director of the board. There is no written record, but there is enough anecdotal evidence that any fool (except the Secretary of State's office, apparently) would see that there was a coordinated effort to suppress crossover voters in the 2012 primary. Dallas Hurt and others have besmirched the names of Paul Hall as a sore loser, Mariah Votel and Bill Herdmann as blabbermouhts; claiming they filed a complaint with the Secretary of State's office leading to the investigation. Well, apparently, now that the truth is out that NONE of this is true, they are going to smear the person who asked a question of the Secretary of State's office. This man also is editor of the competing paper to the News Democrat (run by the father of a county democrat operative and registered democrat himself), the Brown County Press. His name is Wayne Gates and he apparently got the ball rolling by asking questions based on sources telling him that people were being forced to sign or fill out affadavits if they wanted to switch parties, something no other county in the area was doing, and that the Secretary of State had said was verboten.

Anyway, now that the source of the alert to investigate is known, Dallas "I Lie" Hurt and others are trying to pounce on Wayne Gates, who was only following up on a tip. The News Democrat, which is run by a man whose son is Vice President of the County Democrat Club, printed the text of Gates's letter and also Hurt's insinuation that Gates was "wanting to know who was going to jail." This is just wrong, especially, Dallas, if you like, read the letter! From Mr. Gates's comments in the paper he edits, where you can't tell what side he is on, because he covers everything, unlike the Democrat, which only seems to print whatever Dallas Hurt says it can unless it is submitted as a letter to the editor:
One of the things I was taught as a young journalist was to try to avoid becoming part of the story.

But sometimes you can't do that.

It all started with an e-mail that I sent to the Secretary of State's office regarding the story I wrote in the May 6 edition of the Press regarding the possible violation of Secretary of State directives during the March Primary election.

I received a call on May 29 from a source who told me that Democrats on the Brown County Board of Elections were violating procedure. I noted the allegations made by the caller and telephoned Matt McClellan in the Communications Division of the Secretary of State's office.

Now, Mr. Hurt and Mr. Triplett, this is what is called checking a source and looking to get info on a, investigative reporting....not just party hackery like you all have been doing....but back to Mr. Gates:

I am investigating a story in Brown County that may involve a violation of election law. The basics are that poll workers were instructed by the Director of the Board of Elections (a democrat) and an election board member (the chairman of the county democrat party) to require voters to sign affidavits before being given a ballot of a party other than that they are registered with. Two very popular local Republicans were running for state offices and some party switching would be expected.

A republican member of the board of elections questioned the director three times on the phone and once in person, being told each time that the affidavit was required. The GOP BOE member then called the Secretary of State's office and was told by Pat Wolfe on speakerphone with the BOE director present that the affidavit was not required and voter signatures were not to be requested. Poll workers were notified.

An hour later, poll workers were apparently called back and were told to fill out the affidavit when a voter requested an out of party ballot but not to have the voter sign it. This was reportedly done to create a "cheat sheet list" of the voters that switched parties. The GOP BOE member tells me that she personally witnessed a voter request an out of party ballot and then change their mind when told of the affidavit requirement.

This is a potentially explosive story of statewide interest and I want to make sure that I know what happened with the Secretary of State's office that day before I talk to the Democrats involved. I would also like a comment from the office regarding the behavior and the potential penalties faced by those involved if they are found to have violated election law or Secretary of State policy regarding elections."

Now, this part in bold tells me Mr. Gates was wanting to get details on his story. But, Dallas Hurt, playing the victim card, said this in an article in the PARTY ORGAN, er, I mean, the News Democrat:
Finally, there is this in Triplett's article:

""You can see what the (Brown County Press) letter says... I want to know what the penalties are and I want to know who is going to jail," said Hurt."

I guess Dallas Hurt is a mind reader or his paper has secret print. Because I see nothing about jail in Mr. Gates's letter. Again, Dallas Hurt and Kathy Jones are covering their arses because they know that, thanks to Sec. Husted's lack of testicular fortitude, they got away with one. Thanks to Paul Hall being classy instead of the "sore loser" Ralph Quallen and Hurt made him out to be, the Democrats are getting away with subverting a primary election. So, kindly stop trying to make it look like someone is victimizing poor Dallas Hurt, you arrogant, self serving bully. But, I will let Mr. Gates continue:
After I heard from the Secretary of State's office, I contacted Brown County Repuplican Chairman Paul Hall, Brown County Board of Election Member Mariah Votel and Brown County Democrat Chairman and Board of Election Member Dallas Hurt.

I made certain all of them knew what I had been told and what I told the Secretary of State's office.

Since the Secretary of State's office had told me that they were "gathering facts", I wanted Hall, Votel and Hurt to hear about it from me before they heard from the state. I wrote the story confident that I had talked to everyone involved and that nobody was going to be left out or blindsided.

But that was not the end of the story.

The issue became a topic of conversation, accusation and frustration for the next two months at the the Brown County Board of Elections.

At a meeting in June, Dallas Hurt said that he was told that a complaint to the Secretary of State about the actions of March 6 came from a board member.

All board members denied it and Hurt was eventually given a copy of my e-mail by the Secretary of State's office.

My e-mail to the communications department seeking information for a story had suddenly become a "complaint".

The Secretary of State's office apparently made an internal decision to use my e-mail as evidence instead of a request for confirmation of information.

On July 5, the BOE received a letter from the Secretary of State's office requiring all members, the director and deputy director to sign a form stating that they were aware of any future directives sent out by the Secretary of State.

The Board of Elections met again on July 12. I did not attend the meeting, because it happened on a Thursday afternoon, and that is when we put the paper together.

Steve Triplett of the News Democrat was there, though.

In the July 19 edition of the News Democrat, Steve quotes this exchange between Democrat Board of Election Members Ralph Quallen and Dallas Hurt.

"Quallen said, "someone had to ask for an investigation."

Hurt followed, "it appears it was an email from the Brown County Press."

Quallen said referring to the Brown County Press story, "Wayne Gates says it is not him (making the accusation), it's a board member."

"I know, but the email we got back in our main inquiry goes back to him (Gates)," said Hurt."

In the June 3 story I quote Paul Hall, who is not a BOE member, as saying "My attorneys and I are adamant that these actions were a violation of Secretary of State policy and that voters were unneccessarily burdened and disenfranchised."

I also quote BOE member Mariah Votel as she explains her memory of what happened on March 6. The quotes from Hall and Votel are presumably what Quallen is referring to.

There is also this passage in Triplett's story:

"Hurt proposed asking for a meeting with the Secretary of State's office, "so that they are not left with the false impression of what's going on here in Brown County.

"I believe if they saw what we are faced with and they had our input instead of some third party's input. I think their impression of Brown County would be improved. They would have more faith and confidence in us if they heard the rest of the story," said Hurt."

I can only assume that I am the "third party" that Hurt is referring to. The letter above was the only "input" I had in this issue.

Yes, Mr. Hurt, let's let the Secretary's office see just how much you and Kathy Jones bully people. Let them see how Kathy Jones foists what should be her duties onto others because she is lazy. Let's see how low morale is. Let them see the lack of customer service under your rule. Please, please.

I wish that there were a time machine so we could show them how you violated your own ethics by hiring someone outside the office for the director's job even though you now claim that in office people should get the job. Let them see how you and Kathy Jones treated a fellow board member like a child in trying to cover up this debacle of a scam of intimidating voters. Yes, yes, let's see it all. I wish people would wake up and see that Dallas Hurt is as much of a menace as Dennis Varnau.

Hurt and Jones know they got away with one. From the News Democrat coverage:
Dallas Hurt, a Democratic election board member and chairman of the Democratic party in Brown County, produced a letter from the Secretary of State's Office dated July 5. The letter dealt with the issue that came up during the primary.

The letter from Matthew Damschroder, deputy assistant Secretary of State, stated, "it has come to our attention that the Brown County Board of Elections may not have fully complied with the Secretary of State Directive 2011-43 during the March 6, 2012, primary election."

The letter scolded the board regarding an affidavit which was to be used when a voter asked to change parties in a primary election. The specific directive instructed election boards to not have voters switching parties sign an affidavit. Going forward, the secretary of state's office is requiring the Brown County board to sign off on each and every directive handed down in the future.

The letter states, "To document the Brown County Board of Elections' receipt and understanding of all future directives, each board member, the director and deputy director, must complete the attached form following the issue of a directive by the Secretary of State through Dec. 31, 2012. The form must be returned to the Elections Division within five days..."

So Husted just gave them an extra signature to do each time something happens. LAME AND COWARDLY, MR. HUSTED!!!!

But wait, now Hurt and Jones are trying to refashion history, like most libs do:
"Paul (Hall) accused Kathy Jones of losing the election for him," said Quallen referring to that article and that issue. "To me that is nothing but sour grapes. It was very immature."

When discussing the matter in the June meeting, board members discussed from where the complaint came. Hurt said he was told it came from a board member. Seeking to find out where the complaint actually came from, since all board members denied making such a complaint, Hurt said he was given an email from the Secretary of State's office from Brown County Press Editor Wayne Gates.

The email stated, "The GOP BOE member tells me that she personally witnessed a voter request an out of party ballot and and then change their mind when told of the affidavit requirement."

The key word in the statement, Hurt pointed out, was "she" as Mariah Votel is the only woman on the board of elections.

Hurt asked Votel if she registered a complaint with the Secretary of State's Office. Votel denied making any official complaint.

Quallen asked Board of Elections Director Kathy Jones if she instructed the poll workers that they had to sign the affidavit. Jones said no she didn't and then asked Deputy Director Kathy Long if she did and she said, " no, not that I remember."

"Then I assume Mariah, they are referring to you when they say she was a member of the board," said Quallen. "Did you file a complaint?"

Votel responded she didn't, "I talked to the secretary of state's office that day, the day of the election."

Quallen said, "someone had to ask for an investigation."

Hurt followed, "it appears it was an email from the Brown County Press."

Quallen said referring to the Brown County Press story, "Wayne Gates says it is not him (making the accusation), it's a board member."

"I know, but the email we got back in our main inquiry goes back to him (Gates)," said Hurt.

Votel said she would like to respond to a question that was asked of Kathy (Jones).

"When I called and asked. I was told yes that they had to sign," said Votel.

Jones responded, "You asked me, and in certain circumstances they did have to sign, but they didn't have to ask every person. There are certain circumstances, I even asked Matt (McClellan) at the conference. I said you didn't tell us not to put the forms in (precinct packets) and you didn't tell us they couldn't use them for certain circumstances. He said, 'that is correct. But we didn't tell them to use them.' "

Votel reflected further on that day.

"I am not going to sit here and say that you are not telling the truth or whatever. But I did call you. Twice from Clark Township and once from Pike and asked you in regards to ... do they have to sign the affidavit? The first time I called I was told yes. Then I went back into Clark and said yes they have to sign them. The question I posed to you was if a person was switching political parties do they have to sign the affidavit, the answer you gave me was a very simple yes they do.

"So when I went back into Clark Township one of the poll workers showed me the handbook which I have read. Of course I didn't recall what it said word for word regarding affidavits, so we sat there and read it and it talked about the challenging in regards to that. So I came back out, I did not do any of this in front of poll workers, and asked again and I was told that yes they have to sign them. So I went back in and told them yes you have to sign them.

"I go to Pike Township ... there was an independent standing there and they were switching to be a Republican. I witnessed it, they got rather upset. I went back outside and I called again and talked to you. That's when you told me that they only had to sign if they were switching from one major party to another. We hung up and that's what I told them."

Jones recalled the discussion.

"I remember you calling and I remember you asking me to call the secretary of state's office and we did," said Jones.

Votel continued, "I left Pike Twp. I was confused. I chalked it up to the fact that I am new. But I wanted to understand why people had to sign the affidavit. So I came here and we talked about it ...

"I called the secretary of state's office, because after I came back here and we talked about it. I understood what you were saying. Not that I full-heartedly agreed with it. Not that I didn't agree with you, but I didn't agree with having to sign the affidavit."

So, when is Ralph the Quack Quallen going to apologize to Paul Hall? Also, note how Hurt and Jones attempt to gang up on Votel? Once again, no one filed a complaint but Hurt and Jones, who knew in the first place no complaint was filed, continue to try to besmirch someone's character. I find it amusing that Hurt, who uses Triplett's paper as his own manifesto sounding board, would insinuate that Wayne Gates is a partisan hack. To my knowledge, Mr. Gates is not a member of the Brown County GOP, nor does he have family who are. On the other hand, Steve Triplett is member of the Brown County Democrat party and his son is vice president of the county Democrat club. So, where is the real hackery in the county?

Once again, justice doesn't prevail. But hopefully, someday, the truth will catch up with Ms. Jones and Mr. Hurt. They subverted many people's crossover votes, and for what? To abuse power and intimidate those who switched, to compile enemies lists. Disgusting and disturbing. Now, they are trying to take down the one objective county wide newspaper in an attempt to cover their hides. Cowardly, but typical of liberals.

Steve Triplett's paper is at the disposal of lefties. Look at the kookery he puts in his Sunday paper from some guy named Kaul who thinks George Bush is the anti-Christ and responsible for every bad thing that has ever happened. Look at how he basically calls Gates the center of the controversy. No, sir, the center is the corruption and intimidation of Dallas Hurt and Kathy Jones. At least there is one paper in the county willing to do some investigative journalism and cover stories staright up. And it isn't the News Democrat. Kudos to Mr. Gates for checking his sources and seeking comment from the Secretary of State's office before running an article. Maybe the Democrat could learn a little bit about journalistic ethics from Mr. Gates, especially since Mr. Triplett never discloses that his son is a democrat party operative.