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SC Republican Commodities Broker Uses FOIA to Investigate Electronic Voting

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Joanne98 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-01-11 09:15 AM
Original message
SC Republican Commodities Broker Uses FOIA to Investigate Electronic Voting
My guest is South Carolina commodities broker, Frank Heindel. Welcome to OpEdNews. But we're not here to discuss pork bellies, orange juice, or the vagaries of the market today. I'd like to talk about your interest and concern about our elections. Can you tell our readers how you first became interested in this topic?

Technically, I am a grain trader - predominantly trading in corn, soybeans and wheat.

I first became interested in our voting machines after the Ohio EVEREST report was released in December 2007, which detailed how the iVotronic machines were unsuitable to be using for safe, reliable elections. After Alvin Greene won, I figured it was time to roll up my sleeves and try to understand what was really happening. I like Carl Sagan's quote about extraordinary claims requiring extraordinary evidence so I dove in, looking for all the evidence I was legally entitled to view. I have always been skeptical of any type of claims derived from black boxes, whether from commodity futures trading schemes, or economists' claims of outlandish numbers of jobs being created.

Good for you! How did you know how to go about it and where to look?

I had done quite a few Freedom of Information Act Requests (FOIA) in the past and found it to be one of the most powerful tools available for a citizen to use to really find out what is going on with our government. It is even more valuable today than it was 5 or 10 years ago, due to the decline in investigative reporting done by the larger newspapers. I sent off several FOIA requests to the State Election Commission as well as the local Charleston County Election Commission after Alvin Greene won. For instance, our Charleston County election director was on the TV news and stated there was a paper trail so I asked via the FOIA for a copy of the paper trail. I had no real idea how an electronic election really worked so I had a very steep learning curve in the beginning. Over the last six months, I have filed over 20 FOIA requests.

Luckily, you already had some familiarity with FOIA requests. I've never filed one and I'm assuming that most of our readers have not, either. How did you decide what to ask for? How long did it take the authorities to respond? Did they drag their heels? Walk us through it, please, Frank.
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xchrom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-01-11 09:25 AM
Response to Original message
1. his process is interesting -- lots of work involved.
and based on this interview he appears to be non-partisan about the issue -- time will tell.
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