17 October 2014

The following table is a compilation of excuses for the destruction of some or all of the records from the 2004 presidential election in Ohio. The statements are excerpted from the "letters of explanation" submitted in April 2007, by certain Boards of Election to the office of Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, which were provided to us in response to a public records request.

According to the Columbus Dispatch ("56 Ohio counties failed to keep ballots," August 2, 2007), Brunner stated that there is no evidence that ballots were intentionally destroyed. We respectfully refer her to the "letters of explanation" from Fayette and Warren counties, both of which state, in these exact words, that some or all ballots were "intentionally destroyed." We also refer her to the "letters of explanation" from Allen, Champaign, Fairfield, Hancock, Hardin, Holmes, Logan, Marion, Medina, Monroe, Montgomery, Morrow, Paulding, Perry, Putnam, Sandusky, Seneca, Shelby, and Stark counties, all of which state, in other words, that some or all ballots were intentionally destroyed.

Adams – "does not have in its possession"
Allen – "water damage and subsequently destroyed"
Ashland – "mistakenly destroyed"
Ashtabula – (BOE) "inadvertently disposed of"
(Prosecuting Attorney) "inadvertently discarded and destroyed"
Athens – "inadvertently discarded"
Auglaize
Belmont
Brown – "accidentally destroyed or have been misplaced"
Butler – "unintentionally discarded into a Rumpke dumpster"
Carroll
Champaign – "these items have always been destroyed"
Clark – "those ballots were shredded"
Clermont – "unable to locate" "No one remembers specifically discarding the ballots." "There is a possibility that the ballots will surface"
Clinton – "not found"
Columbiana
Coshocton
Crawford
Cuyahoga
Darke
Defiance
Delaware
Erie – "does not have" "unaware we needed to keep"
Fairfield – "They would have been shredded, as we have a contract with Shred-It for disposal of all election materials."
Fayette – "intentionally destroyed"
Franklin
Fulton
Gallia
Geauga
Greene
Guernsey - "destroyed in error, due to the county maintenance worker, when collecting trash"
Hamilton - "inadvertently shredded"
Hancock – "did not have to be retained and these items were destroyed"
Hardin – "destroyed prior to the court order"
Harrison
Henry
Highland
Hocking
Holmes – "a shelving unit collapsed onto a side table holding a working coffee maker. Many of the stored items had to be destroyed due to broken glass and hot coffee"
Huron
Jackson – "may have been destroyed pursuant to retention schedule" "Another possibility is that (the ballots were) accidentally destroyed"
Jefferson
Knox
Lake
Lawrence
Licking
Logan – "we were instructed by the previous Director to destroy"
Lorain
Lucas
Madison
Mahoning – "accidentally disposed of (by) the Mahoning County Green Team"
Marion – "destroyed pursuant to the retention schedule"
Medina – "destroyed following the record retention schedule"
Meigs
Mercer – "were not found" "we will continue to search"
Miami
Monroe – "according to our retention schedule we were allowed to dispose of"
Montgomery – "We did not receive formal notice from the courts prior to preparing the certificate of destruction." "In addition, we contacted our county prosecutor for further authorization."
Morgan
Morrow – "it does not say to in the retention schedule."
Muskingum
Noble
Ottawa
Paulding – "destroyed after the official and the recounts were certified"
Perry – "destroyed shortly after the election"
Pickaway
Pike
Portage
Preble – First: "unable to find" "thought it likely they had been inadvertently discarded" Second: "Ballots are buried in County landfill and are not capable of being replicated."
Putnam – "destroyed for security purposes"
Richland – "destroyed or lost by the movers or by our staff"
Ross – "unable to duplicate these ballots"
Sandusky – "Our ballots were stacked all over our office and we had them picked up at the first opportunity."
Scioto – (some) "unable to locate" "unknown whether the ballots were accidentally destroyed or have been otherwise misplaced." (some) "released and shredded"
Seneca – "The ballots were disposed of during the first week of September"
Shelby – "destroyed pursuant to the retention schedule, do not remember the date they were shredded"
Stark – "destroyed prior to notification of Judge Marbley’s order"
Summit
Trumbull
Tuscarawas
Union
Van Wert – "unable to find" "We assume that these ballots were discarded."
Vinton
Warren – "The ballots were intentionally destroyed."
Washington
Wayne
Williams
Wood
Wyandot