Ten Thousand Voter Registration Documents May Have Been Shredded in Hocking County, Ohio
July 13, 2005
Members of the Progressive Ohio Backbone Campaign traveled to Hocking
County on Monday morning, July 11, and filed an affidavit of fact alleging criminal conduct with the Hocking County Sheriff’s Department against the county’s Board of Elections (BOE) Director Lisa Schwartze.
Schwartze had previously admitted at the July 5 BOE meeting that she
had used the office to promote a Republican Party fund-raiser last
fall. The affidavit of fact alleging criminal conduct filed against Schwartze, however, does not to pertain to Schwartze’s use of the BOE office for partisan political fund-raising. Rather, the affidavit filed pertains to her alleged illegal shredding of election documents, the Free Press has learned.
Sherole Eaton, the fired Hocking County BOE deputy director and
Congressional whistleblower, who swore an affidavit against a Triad
company technician for allegedly offering a cheat sheet and replacing
the county’s central voting tabulator hard drive during last year’s
presidential recount, says that Schwartze may have destroyed up to “ten
“I told her that she couldn’t shred and delete the changes of addresses
that were coming in from registered voters during the election year,
but she wouldn’t listen to me,” Eaton explained, “In order for Lisa to
destroy those documents, she’s got to go to the Board of Elections,
state officials, and then ask the Ohio Historical Society if they want
them. And even then, she can only destroy them according to a public
records retention schedule that requires they are kept for four years.”
Eaton says that all investigators would have to do is ask Schwartze for
hard copies of the change of address forms to verify her allegations.
Eaton also claimed that she told BOE President Gerald Robinette of
Schwartze’s action including her use of the office for Republican
fund-raising purposes and the Democratic Board Chair said, “Let’s not
go public with it. We can use it for blackmail purposes later.”
“I think he thought of it as some form of political leverage, but I
really didn’t understand why he didn’t investigate activity that is
obviously illegal,” Eaton said.
Eaton told the Free Press that Schwartze, a Republican, and Robinette
had hand-picked a Democratic replacement for her job who was the wife
of a prominent Republican and had no history of voting in Democratic
A hastily called Hocking County BOE meeting on Monday, July 11 went
into a private executive session to discuss legal issues concerning
Eaton’s firing and a temporary restraining order (TRO) prohibiting the
BOE from replacing Eaton. Cliff Arnebeck, an Alliance for Democracy
attorney, obtained the TRO from Judge Gerkin and served the Board at
the July 5 meeting.
The Logan Daily News ran a front page article following the July 5 BOE
meeting which included Schwartze’s admissions that she had coordinated
a Republican auction out of her office. The Columbus Dispatch, in a
front page Metro story on July 9, wrote that Schwartze “used the
government office downtown as a collection drop for items being donated
to a silent auction featured at a Republican Party fundraiser last
Eaton told the Free Press that Schwartze used the BOE phones to
coordinate the event and plan the catering. Schwartze publicly admitted
using the phone for fund-raising purposes.
Arnebeck believes that the Hocking County prosecutor will agree to
reinstate Eaton because of the obvious “retaliation” against Eaton for
bringing allegations of illegalities to the Board. The Logan Daily News
reported that Board members anonymously claim that Eaton is not a team
But Eaton told the Free Press, “Why should I be a team player if the
director’s doing illegal things? She took an entire rotating file
cabinet of registration documents including brand new changes of
addresses and shredded the hard copy and deleted items on a computer.
Why should I keep my mouth shut? And I really don’t understand the
so-called Democrats that fire me after I blow the whistle.” Eaton said
the document shredding occurred between the spring primary and the
November 2 election last year.
Eaton, who is a 65-year-old widow, recently underwent unsuccessful
brain surgery for an aneurysm and is concerned about a lack of health
care. She says she appreciates the supporters who are standing up with
her and believes that Democratic BOE officials in Hocking County
definitely need “a backbone.”
Bob Fitrakis is the co-editor of Did George W. Bush Steal America’s
2004 Election? (www.freepress.org) and co-counsel with Cliff Arnebeck in the Alliance for
Democracy suit against the Hocking County Board of Elections.
Revised: July 14, 2005. Word "charges" changed to "affidavit of fact alleging criminal conduct."
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