Mitt Romney, his wife, son and brother are major investors in an investment firm that holds a majority share and three out of five board members in the company that owns the “notoriously faulty” electronic voting machines that will count the ballots in swing state Ohio November 7.
In other words, Mitt along with brother G. Scott Romney and Ann and Tagg Romney, have a straight-line financial interest in the company Hart Intercivic that will provide voting machines in the state that insiders predict will be this election’s key to the Electoral College final outcome.
No Republican candidate has ever won the White House without winning Ohio.
Through a closely held equity fund called Solamere, Mitt Romney and his wife, son and brother are major investors in an investment firm called H.I.G. Capital. H.I.G. in turn holds a majority share and three out of five board members in Hart Intercivic, a company that owns the notoriously faulty electronic voting machines that will count the ballots in swing state Ohio November 7. Hart machines will also be used elsewhere in the United States.
On their website, Hart Intercivic touts itself as a national provider of election voting systems, management products and services, “total solutions for state-, county- and city-level elections.” The company sells everything from the voting machines, voting booths and even the “I voted” stickers that voters get after they hand in their ballots. (Image to the right was taken from Hart’s catalog.)
The Hart Intercivic machines were part of a test conducted in 2007 by the Ohio Secretary of State that found some of the voting systems had failed the test.
As reported in the New York Times, “At polling stations, teams working on the study were able to pick locks to access memory cards and use hand-held devices to plug false vote counts into machines. At boards of election, they were able to introduce malignant software into servers.”
In 2004, in the dead of election night, an electronic swing of more than 300,000 votes switched Ohio from the John Kerry column to George W. Bush, giving him a second term. A virtual statistical impossibility, the 6-plus% shift occurred between 12:20 and 2am election night as votes were being tallied by a GOP-controlled information technology firm on servers in a basement in Chattanooga, Tennessee. In defiance of a federal injunction, 56 of Ohio’s 88 counties destroyed all election records, making a recount impossible. Ohio’s governor and secretary of state in 2004 were both Republicans, as are the governors and secretaries of state in nine key swing states this year.
To everyone’s amazement, we learn that two members of the Hart Intercivic board of directors, Neil Tuch and Jeff Bohl, have made direct contributions to the Romney campaign. This, despite the fact that they represent 40 percent of the full board of directors of a company whose independent, disinterested and studiously non-partisan status in any election taking place on their voting machines would seemingly be a ‘no brainer’.
To Mr. Bohl’s credit, after giving a total of $4,000 to “Romney For President”, it must have occurred to him that it might not look so good for a board member of a company whose voting machines are to be a part of the presidential election to be playing favorites—so he gave $250 to Barack Obama to sort of balance the scales.
This latest controversy just adds to the list of questionable tactics GOP groups have made in Ohio to ensure their party’s success come November.
Last week the Supreme Court refused a Republican request to get involved in a dispute about early voting in Ohio. The state’s Republican Secretary of State tried to end early voting before Election Day, which many black churches took advantage of in their “souls to the polls” campaigns that bussed voters to the polls after Sunday service.
President Obama currently holds a five-point lead over Romney in Ohio, according to a new Quinnipiac University/CBS News poll.
According to the 2010 United States Census, Ohio is made up of 81.1% “Non-Hispanic Whites,” 12.2% blacks and 3.1% Latinos.
Colorlines.com’s voting rights reporters Brentin Mock and Aura Bogoda have covered election news in Ohio more closely. Visit Colorlines.com/tag/Ohio to see a list of the most recent coverage from Ohio.