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Ohio's election website still sent real-time results to GOP mirror server

by rcs1

A follow up story on Ohio's election webpage.  Did the ePMedia article cause Blackwell to keep the site on his own servers this election?

Ohio's live 2006 election results fed to GOP mirror server
On Election Day, November 7, 2006, ePluribus Media reported on technology developed for live reporting of election results by the Secretary of State of Ohio was programmed, hosted, and operated by companies that are related to the Republican National Committee.


Jan. 23, 2009 - More than two years of reference to the late Michael L. Connell and his network insiders is found in an updated list of recent, related stories throughout ePluribusMedia:

Mike Connell: A Trail of Questions

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commentary :: :: :: buzz-it!
On two occasions in recent elections, a third-party source recorded that the Ohio election results website '' was operating at an IP address which falls within the range assigned to service hosted by Chattanooga, TN-based SMARTtech Corp. The IP address assigned to '',, lies between IP addresses assigned to and which are managed by the RNC and affiliates.

Mike Connell started NewMedia Communications and its 'non-partisan' spinoff GovTech Solutions which provide campaign and technical services to a "Who's Who" list of Republicans.  Kenneth Blackwell, the Secretatry of State of Ohio, is one such notable Republican that has awarded 'pay-to-play' contracts to these companies to the tune of nearly half a million dollars.

After ePluribus Media released an article calling attention to this, it appears Blackwell may have thought twice about overtly hosting the election data on GOP servers out of state.  On election day, the Ohio IT website still held up to the traffic of election night, so you have to wonder, what was the point of hosting the election results on another server in the first place.

Readers of the ePMedia story observed that the Election Night Dashboard site hosted on the GOP servers was reporting the exact same real-time election results as Ohio SOS server residing on Ohio IT OARnet network.  The screen grabs show that the GOP servers still had access to Blackwell's real-time results.

Check out the original story if you missed out on Blackwell hosting 2004, 2005, 2006 election results on a GOP webserver.

Update [2006-11-9 14:8:42 by intranets]: I guess the pay-for-play goes out the window when your man in office doesn't get re-elected. Looks like the lights have been turned off, doors are lock, and shredders are probably going full tilt on the NMC stuff.

Well, there is always google cache until the robots.txt catches up with that, and this story is lost down the memory hole.

Don't worry Ken, we have a copy if New Media won't give it back to you. [here also]

I posted a link to this story with the original so that people might get a better understanding of how the Ohio system was constructed - and, of course, to demonstrate that there is proof they were prepared to do it again.

I hope that Jennifer Brunner or Ted Strickland or both can hook up with Marc Dann to investigate Blackwell.
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by wanderindiana on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 08:15:29 AM EST

I mean really.. the 'contracts' to tons of people are gonna have to show up.  Isn't someone going to wonder who this Connell guy is and why he's trying to collect money from Brunner.  She already called out Blackwell on this very issue, and LoParo called her a 'nut'.

Let's see how much of a nut she is.

by intranets on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 09:10:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]

you know a year of researching really pays off when the top hit for "ohio election" is this story.  Or maybe you wanted to know "ohio results"... Maybe some other news groups will report on this ever.  well. There is always the do-it-yourself plan for new now a-days.

by intranets on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 09:13:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Please uprate this story on digg and/or reddit.
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by wanderindiana on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 09:23:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hey, all you dudes from that have come to read this, get back to work, and read this on your un-paid time!

Nah, I'm just kidding, feel free to continue to spend 24 minutes on ePM.  Hey email to co-workers.

by intranets on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 02:19:23 PM EST

While Blackwell was SOS, he:
  • outsourced hosting election results via the web address '' at an IP address probably owned by GOP-friendly Smart Tech Solutions, even though the Ohio servers were obviously capable of handling the volume of traffic and data.

  • went back, late in the 2006 election game, to the Ohio servers, but mirrored (sent the data to) the GOP-friendly Smart Tech Solutions that had read-access to the data in 2004.

  • My questions:

    1. did the GOP friendly Smart Tech Solutions company have write access to the data?  In other words, could they have tampered with the vote in 2004?

    2. are there laws in Ohio against elected officials (Secretary of State in this case) outsourcing to companies that do most of their business with one political party?  In other words, by outsourcing to the GOP-friendly Smart Tech Solutions for hosting the election results web page, did the SOS break any laws?

    3. Besides the little problem of the tax payers paid twice for hosting and mirroring election results -- once for the State site and once for Smart Tech Solutions, is there anything illegal here besides gross cheekiness of hiring partisan companies for government work?

Thanks in advance for any help you can provide in interpreting what your findings mean!

by Cho on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 03:04:38 PM EST

thank the powers that be we've got thinkers in this neck of the woods!

Re: 1. did the GOP friendly Smart Tech Solutions company have write access to the data?

  • Nothing we have access to or provided by readers suggests or denies that the programmer had write access to the underlying data in the database.  I'm not particularly nuanced on what evidence of that write access might be obtainable through the web at this late, post-production date.  Anyone else?

Re: 2. by outsourcing to the GOP-friendly Smart Tech Solutions for hosting the election results web page, did the SOS break any laws?.

  • A quote in our earlier report tells the story, I think:

    Sunday, April 16, 2006 - "That's the way business is done in Columbus. Want a contract? Write a check," Redfern said.

  • However, Blackwell's common sense (you'd expect that in your elected SOS, wouldn't you?), should have told him as he spent years in preparation to avoid any Florida-like fiascos occurring in Ohio, that YOU ABSOLUTELY DO NOT HIRE THE PROGRAMMER FOR ONE OF THE TWO PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES WHOSE FUTURE WILL BE DETERMINED BY THE RACE TO TINKER EITH THE MACHINE THAT DETERMINES THE RACE for which you are designing the technology years in advance.  That must be covered by conflict of interest somewhere in the pay-to-play State don't you think?

Re: 3. is there anything illegal here besides gross cheekiness of hiring partisan companies for government work?

  • I don't know the answer to this.  There are probably many details involved in the contract structures that bear on conflict-of-interest that must be assessed.  But I'd think that Blackwell's office charges him to represent the interests of ALL of the citizenry of Ohio, not only Republican interests.  

  • Then again, he wore the hats of Bush-Cheney co-chair on top of his SOS sombrero which was widely known at the time.  What's that tell you about Ohio law?

by luaptifer on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 05:59:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]

... you've clarified for me admirably!

by Cho on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 08:43:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Govtech Solutions > Michael Connell > OH-based.

Smartech Corporation > Jeff Averbeck > TN-based.
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by wanderindiana on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 09:31:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]

the implication you are suggesting is that there is "cross contamination" between TN and Ohio?

by Cho on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 11:16:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In your comment upthread, you referred to "Smart Tech Solutions," which was a blending of two businesses mentioned in the commentary, Govtech Solutions and Smartech Corporation. I was just trying to set the record straight.

A flow chart, like those done for the Tom Whatman/Ohio First commentaries from about a year ago, is what we really need here.

The bigger story, which others are more qualified to speak to than I am, involves individuals working together with each other and with separate businesses that go back quite a few years. It's not easily explained (especially by me) in a comment.
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by wanderindiana on Fri Nov 10, 2006 at 08:52:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]

I changed that reference a couple times -- first GovTech, then Gov Tech corporation, then Smart Tech Corp (I actually had it right at one point, sigh!)...

Yes, I would love a graphic of this, but I suspect it would look like a huge web of yarn completely tangled up within itself!

by Cho on Fri Nov 10, 2006 at 11:49:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]

It doesn't involve Smartech Corp. out of TN, but it's a great start!

One prominent missing link is Becki Donatelli of Campaign Solutions. Another is Jeff Averbeck and Smartech Corp.

More graphics with the next in the series, please!
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by wanderindiana on Wed Apr 25, 2007 at 01:01:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]

You guys rock!!!

by lawnorder on Sat Nov 11, 2006 at 04:48:16 PM EST
Any other State gov'ts doing the same??? Georgia, Florida, New Mexico?
Perhaps they are all hijinxed by the NSA anyway?
Why have they not investigated election fraud?

by dael on Mon Nov 13, 2006 at 01:28:44 AM EST
You can check FL election website.  It also has some odd IP switching in Netcraft.  I believe I looked into it briefly, and I couldn't find anything obviously wrong, but... why was the IP changed around elections?

by intranets on Wed Apr 18, 2007 at 09:09:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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